reality tv

Twelve years ago, Terri Munro became Big Brother's oldest winner. This is her life now.

In 2008, supermarket worker Terri Munro took home $250,000 as the winner of Big Brother. The Sydney grandmother was 52 at the time, making her the show’s oldest winner.

It was a moment of triumph. But 10 years later, things weren’t going “too crash hot” for Munro.

“My relationship broke up,” she explains to Mamamia. “We’d been together for 23 years. That’s a big slice of your life.”

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Video by Mamamia

By then in her sixties, Munro turned to an “older person’s dating site”. The first date she went on was a waste of time.

“I went out with a fella and he said he wanted a ‘real lady’. I said, ‘Well, that ain’t me.’”

But then she spotted a man she felt she had something in common with.

“I thought, ‘Oh, that bloke’s got a caravan and I’ve got a caravan.’ I messaged him and said, ‘Are you interested in someone to travel with?’ and he said, ‘I’m just going away for a while on my own, but when I get back, we’ll get together,’ and that’s what we did. And we’ve been together ever since.”

Munro and her new man have “a great time” together.

“We can go bushwalking for the whole day,” she says. “I’ve got a few knee problems and foot problems, but nothing a bit of Dencorub doesn’t help.”

Munro has never let her age hold her back from doing anything. When she was picked to go into the Big Brother house in 2008, she was twice the age of many of her housemates. It was the third time she’d applied.

“I just think I was lucky that year that they wanted different age groups and they wanted to mix it up,” she explains. “They thought I was a racist and they knew I didn’t like religion. They thought we’d all argue and hate each other but we didn’t.”

However, Munro says she did get a hard time from the other housemates at first.

“My daughter saw what was going on and the way they were treating me and she was so worried that she wanted to vote me out,” she remembers.

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As time went on, the housemates that she felt were giving her the hardest time got evicted.

“I just went, ‘Yes! Maybe the public can see what I’m seeing!’ I couldn’t believe it.”

Ultimately, she thinks that’s why she won the show over the younger housemates.

“I think that maybe I didn’t win it, but they lost it for themselves by being so horrible to me at the beginning.”

But winning Big Brother didn’t change her life much.

“When you’ve been through a bit of a whirlwind like that and you’re older, you don’t want your life to be a whirlwind like that,” she says. “All I wanted to do was go home and watch TV.”

Despite having $250,000 in the bank, she returned to her old job at Coles.

“It’s only five years’ wages,” she explains. “You can’t just not work and just live on your money.”

Her prize money has long been spent, with some going on travel and buying a caravan, and a big chunk going into paying off a house that she and her ex had together.

“He got that house,” she adds.

Munro now has four grandchildren. When she went on Big Brother, she had just one – a baby boy, who appeared on the show with her. That baby is now a teenager.

“Time goes fast, doesn’t it!”

But after all these years, she’s still working at Coles, including shifts on the checkout, and is planning to keep working until she’s eligible for the pension in a couple of years. Even though she’s only got about 50 per cent lung capacity, she’s not too concerned about coronavirus.

“I’ve had two anaphylactic shock episodes, I fell off the roof of my house and couldn’t move for a week, and I had a head-on smash in a car,” she explains. “If I haven’t died from any of that, then the man upstairs doesn’t want me.”

Munro is looking forward to watching Big Brother when it returns, and she’s hoping there’ll be some older people in the house this time. But she’ll understand if there isn’t.

“Maybe we are a bit too boring,” she says. “Older people are more likely to sit there and talk about politics or debate climate change.”

She says she doesn’t think she’d go on the show again, but she’s happy she did it, because she proved a point.

“The show was always about the young. The world isn’t just about the young. It’s about the old and the ugly as well.”

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