How do you survive going from fame and fortune to being the blind, broke mum of a chronically ill child? Answer: With a lot of guts.
Reggie Bird won $250,000 when she took out Big Brother 11 years ago. Now all that money is gone and she’s a single mum struggling to make ends meet.
It was recent hurtful newspaper headlines that lead Reggie to come out publicly and tell her story to Channel Nine’s A Current Affair last night. She says one article in particular, claiming she was about to move into a caravan park, left her in tears. “It really upset me and I was just bawling my eyes out. Why, why do they have to write things like that?”
Reggie says a decade after winning Big Brother she is now a single mother of six-year-old Mia and four-year-old Lucas. Her son has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, she's rapidly losing her eyesight and she is broke, living on a disability pension and surviving from fortnight to fortnight.
When asked where all that prize money went she says, "Marriages and lawyers and getting ripped off."
Shortly after leaving the Big Brother house her marriage to first husband Adrian collapsed. She returned to her fish and chip shop in Tasmania but struggled to readjust. Then, Reggie claims that while she was away on a promotional trip her husband met someone else and had an affair. "He was happy to have met someone else," she said.
She paid Adrian $100,000 in the divorce settlement and then got a job working as a flight attendant for Virgin for several months. However the attention she received from the public made it unbearable, as did constant questions from colleagues. "And then I left that because a lot of the girls were quite jealous."
These were dark times that saw Reggie struggling with depression. Her first marriage had failed, then she was scammed out of a further $40,000 of her winnings by a man who promised her a TV show of her own.
Thing soon turned around for the bubbly Reggie when she met second husband Dale. They had two children - Lucas and Mia. However the marriage failed, but not before their son Lucas was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. "We both just cried our eyes out, it was awful, just because we got a friend that their son has got it so we know what they've gone through."