Facts of Life” beauty LISA WHELCHEL is $100,000 richer – and the divorced mom of three is telling pals it’s all thanks to an ENQUIRER scoop!

Lisa lost out in the finals of “Survivor: Philippines” but still raked in a six-figure prize because viewers voted her “Player of the Season.” And sources say that the lovable actress credits an ENQUIRER exclusive for whipping up support for her among fans.

Just as the 25TH season of the popular reality show was starting to air in September, The ENQUIRER revealed that Lisa had been trapped in a loveless marriage to her minister husband Steve Cauble for more than two decades – and the story helped her to capture the hearts of viewers.

“Lisa told me, ‘They really got behind me and related to me as a struggling, middle-age woman,’” confided a friend.

“As far as her marriage goes, Lisa says that after starting a family, she didn’t feel she should divorce Steve until their three children were adults.”

“They finally called it quits in December 2011 and tried to keep it a secret,” added the friend.

“Once The ENQUIRER revealed her marriage ended, Lisa confirmed it in interviews.”

What’s more, Lisa believes the publicity helped her to win the special $100,000 prize, which she now plans to use for her showbiz comeback, according to the source.

“She’s already co-hosted several episodes of ‘The Jeff Probst Show,’ which will air in mid-January, and she’s looking at sitcom scripts,” said the source.

“Lisa is happier than ever and feels she owes a lot of it to The ENQUIRER.”