If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help is always available. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website.
Sweet Tasmanian Reggie Bird swooped onto our screens on Big Brother‘s third season in 2003, where she became the first woman to win the series.
The nation was enamoured by the former fish and chips server, but they didn’t realise behind the scenes how much she sacrificed for the show.
Reggie had left her first husband Adrian to move from Tassie to Sydney, but it wasn’t the happy new beginning she’d dreamed.
“I left everything to Adrian (her partner) and moved to Sydney. I couldn’t get a job for about two years after the show because no one would take me seriously,” she told the Not Here To Make Friends podcast.
“I spent all the money I had left on rent and getting ripped off by that a–hole who made out he was a TV producer.”
Reggie and Adrian split soon after her win and she was forced to face scammers, a stalker, the party life that comes with fame, and financial issues alone.
That is until she met her second husband, Dale Sorensen, a few years after her win in 2007.
They welcomed two children together; a daughter called Mia, who is now 14, and 11-year-old son Lucas.
The couple was soon faced with their biggest challenge when their son was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
During an interview with Now To Love, she explained how the condition comes with daily physiotherapy and medication to help Lucas digest food and break down mucus from his lungs.
“It’s mentally and physically draining on Lucas, so I have to stay strong for him. It’s a constant battle to try to get weight on him, so he has to drink supplements and have a diet high in calories and fat. I hope he will live past the 37 years of expected time,” she said.
Watching her son deal with the condition throughout his childhood has been heartbreaking for Reggie, who recalled one particularly harrowing moment in 2018.
“At the moment, he’s saying, ‘Mummy, I don’t want to live. I don’t want to live with cystic fibrosis, I don’t want to be here’. A little nine-year-old saying they don’t want to live… it’s not good,” she told celebrity podcast Who Are You.
As Reggie makes her big return to Big Brother for the show’s 2022 season, fans are set to receive new insights into her family of four.
The latest season will also see fresh faces competing against much-loved former contestants.
In a sneak peek, Reggie says: “This may be a new game, but I’m still the same old Reggie. It’s just little old me from Tazzie. Big Brother is in my blood. I just can’t believe I’m here.”