Big Brother might seem like a load of fun and games (in amongst the countless arguments, drama, and screaming, obviously), but for ex-housemate Lisa Appleton, her experience after the show was anything but.
The BB9 housemate, who is appearing in Channel 5′s ‘Celebs on Benefits: Fame to Claim’, has revealed that she was “forced to become a beggar” after her 2008 experience, and even contemplated suicide “for a while” when things got particularly rough.
Speaking to Mirror TV, Lisa admitted she had “nowhere to live” and “no money,” explaining: “I got sanctioned at the Job Centre. They told me to come back in two weeks but it was supposed to be one week. Then I couldn’t get any money for a month.
“When that happens you cannot apply for a crisis loan so I had to become a beggar. I had to start asking everyone for food. I went to food banks. I just felt my dignity had gone, my confidence had gone.
“If anyone gave me a pack of food I was so grateful – pasta, milk, rice, biscuits and soup. I was so grateful for anything. I was crying everyday and my health was horrendous. I started getting chest infections and tonsillitis, it just ran me down because I was stressed.
“Then I’d go in the Job Centre crying again. I started signing on and was living off £35 a week.
“I’d go in the supermarket and straight to the reduced food section. It might’ve been a salad that was going off but if it was 3p I was having it. Everything I bought was reduced, bread for 7p, and that’s how I had to live.”
Lisa had entered the house with husband Mario Marconi, but the couple sadly split in 2013 after eight years together, which she (partly) blames on a conman who tricked them into starring in a fake reality show.
She still lives in the same flat in Warrington, which is “very run-down” and “full of rats,” and claims to be stalked by her neighbours on a daily basis.
She revealed: “I get recognised all the time still, I get followed, I get stalkers because I’ve got raunchy pictures on the internet and people know who I am.
“I get followed to the shops all the time, I’ve had to divert off and watch my back. I get lads knocking on the door, going on about my gorgeous body and all this.
“I’m still not the Lisa you knew from Big Brother, I’m a right little stress-head these days. I’ve got zero tolerance.”
The 47-year-old admitted that while she wanted a job when she was on benefits, she struggled because of her age, her lack of experience, and because some companies strangely saw her as a “secret spy for the media.”
She claimed: “businesses are scared of your power. People may laugh but they see you as having media connections.”
Lisa was even refused insurance when trying to her a van because of her “celebrity status.”She finds it “heartbreaking” that she cannot do more for her 25-year-old daughter Sophie, and admitted to “suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome.”
Two and a half years later, Lisa came off jobseeker’s allowance in November 2014 and is hoping to start a successful dog-walking business in the near future.
She explained: “I’m dog-walking at the minute and I’m doing some PR for a flower shop in Warrington.
“I’ve never been a dog owner but I’ve just bonded with dogs. I’m going to start a dog-walking business in Warrington and start building that up. Wish me luck.”
Fingers crossed things start looking up for Lisa now.
[TOWIE's Dan Osborne Heading For Celebrity Big Brother?]
[Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace Dropped From Big Brother Return]
[Pete Bennett Returns To Big Brother But Is Ignored By Housemates]