Half a mile underground, the 33 men made a pact in their early days of captivity, promising never to disclose details of how they endured 17 days, desperate and starving, with no word from the outside world. They also signed a pledge to evenly split all proceeds from the media attention. But back then, the hardscrabble, working-class men and their families couldn't imagine the fame and fortune now awaiting them in exchange for telling their stories.
Some miners have admitted to breaking the pact for financial gain. "I have to think about myself," rescued miner Jorge Galleguillos told Reuters, explaining why he would tell his story only for a fee. He said he believed the miners' agreement was voluntary and non-binding.
Others, like Mario Sepulveda -- dubbed "Super Mario" for his humor and energy -- said he broke the pact to dispel false rumors about how the men behaved while trapped for 69 days half a mile underground.
Asked about rumors that the miners had some "Brokeback Mountain" moments underground, the 40-year-old heavy equipment operator said, "Nothing like that ever went on. We were too busy trying to survive to think of sex.
"We didn't really even talk about sex. We spoke of our wives and we made some jokes, but we never talked about sex seriously because that would have been too painful," Sepulveda told the Mail. It's unclear if, or how much, he was paid for the exclusive interview.
Sepulveda said the miners' pact of silence was meant to shield some of the younger miners from embarrassment about how they acted underground. He wouldn't confirm reports that squabbles erupted into fistfights, but he acknowledged that some of the miners got so depressed they "cried like babies" and refused to get up.
"When you are in a stressful situation like that, you do and say things in extremes," he said. "People have been gossiping and saying things, and I think it is important for one of us, me in this case, to tell it as it was down there, but also to answer some of the things that people are getting wrong. Saying we had sex down there with each other is just plain wrong.
"There are some things I will never talk about. But they are things that would embarrass some of the kids. Nothing sexual, more that they acted like kids," Sepulveda said. "It is important, even now, for the older ones to protect the younger, more vulnerable ones."
Asked about reports that the miners discussed cannibalism, even jokingly, Sepulveda responded, "Do you think about things like that? I didn't. Maybe some men did. Maybe I would have thought about that if things had got worse.
"I just thought about dying," he said.
In an interview with ABC News, Sepulveda acknowledged that wealth -- new jobs, presidential invitations, book and film deals -- await him and his fellow miners now that they're free. He said he planned to set up a college fund for his kids, and maybe take his wife on a nice vacation.
But in the end, he said, he's left with one enduring mantra to live by: "Don't worry so much about money. Live your life. Live every second of it."