Big Brother’s Reggie: I blew all my money but I’m happy!

While former Big Brother winner Reggie Sorensen hasn’t had an easy time recently, the mum of two is keeping her chin up.

While former Big Brother winner Reggie Sorensen hasn’t had an easy time recently, the mum of two is keeping her chin up.

Reggie, who used to be known as Reggie Bird, pocketed $250,000 after winning Big Brother back in 2003.

Now, Reggie tells Woman’s Day she lives in a modest two-bedroom townhouse on the Gold Coast with her most important role being a single mum of two children Mia, 6, and Lucas, 4. Reggie, who is legally blind, lives on a disability pension and struggles fortnightly to pay her rent.

“I’m so sick of people who don’t know me thinking I’m rich and irresponsible with money,” reveals Reggie, 40, who has faced a social media backlash since an online news site incorrectly said she was moving into a caravan park.

“I want the truth out there. I feel people look down on me thinking, ‘Stuff her! She won all this money and now she has nothing. What an idiot!’ A lot of people assume I won $1 million, and I didn’t.”

Trevor Butler who won the show after Reggie pocketed a life-changing six figure sum. Reggie says she thought she put her money to good use.

“I won Big Brother, went back to Tasmania to my [then] husband Adrian and spent the majority of my $250,000 prize money on paying off our mortgage,” reveals Reggie.

“I thought our marriage was fine but it wasn’t and that’s the reason I left Adrian, my home and money behind. Then there were lawyers to pay for my divorce. That took $20,000.”

Reggie’s bad luck continued when she used some of the money to get out of a celebrity management contract and lost a further $40,000 to a con man.

“I tried to get my money back but nothing eventuated,” she says.

Reggie’s celebrity status soon became a double-edged sword, with the reality TV star finding it impossible to get a “real” job for two years. Her prize money was used on living expenses and paying her rent.

“I finally got my job with Virgin Airlines but that didn’t work out because my workmates got upset when passengers wanted to talk to me and I couldn’t get on with my job,” she says.

Reggie thought her luck had changed when she moved to the Gold Coast and met her second husband Dale Sorensen. The pair had two children together, but her marriage collapsed leaving Reggie virtually penniless.

“Dale and I had our house and an investment property, but when our marriage broke down, the market had really dropped and we lost a lot of money on both properties,” she says. “When Dale sold everything and paid our debts, there was nothing left over for me.”

While Reggie admits her life hasn’t been easy, she does want to set the record straight. She says a recent story, suggesting she was moving to an $18 a night caravan park published in UK newspaper The Daily Mail, is totally incorrect.

“I’m on a disability pension because of my eyes. I live from fortnight to fortnight. There isn’t any money left over for holidays or taking the kids somewhere special. The last time we went home to Tasmania, Mum and Dad paid because they wanted to see us. Mum gave up smoking so she could save to fly us there.

“My treat is going to the bowling club with the old blokes on a Friday night. I only have one or two beers and a lot of them shout me!”

Reggie’s son Lucas’s cystic fibrosis adds financial pressure to the already tight family budget.

“With the changes coming for doctor visits and paying for prescriptions, it’s going to be tough for us,” she said.

“Lucas has four different scripts that need to be filled each week.”

But despite her many ups and downs, Reggie continues to maintain her glass half full outlook on life.

“If I had my time again, of course, things would be very different. I’m older, wiser and not as trusting anymore. If Big Brother wants to put me back in the house – go ahead! I’d do it all again… just smarter this time.”

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