What Happened to the “Lucky Ones” Whose Lives Were Ruined After Winning a Jackpot

People don’t usually think about what they’d do with $10 million because they’d never imagine having that much money. But thanks to different lotteries, an ordinary person can become incredibly wealthy in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, many people fail to manage their jackpot wisely.

Bright Side has collected some stories that prove huge sums of money don’t always make people happy.

5. Adrian and Gillian Bayford shouldn’t have bought a mansion with a garden.

Jackpot: $148 million

Adrian Bayford was a mailman and had a small vinyl record store. Later, he won the EuroMillions jackpot of $148 million. He bought a 19th-century mansion, organized 2 rock fests in his garden, and hired a gardener who Mrs. Bayford ended up falling in love with. He divorced his wife and continued wasting the money.


One of his beloveds liked horseback riding so he bought her horses and built stables. Then he proposed her. The girl said, “yes” but then changed her mind and ran away. His personal life was a mess. Everything became even worse when Bayford realized his ex-wife was married and happy. Mr. Bayford’s sold all his horses and wants to sell his mansion as well. He’s about to move to Australia where no one knows him: he wants to start a new life.

4. Martyn Tott and his wife spent a month trying to find their lottery ticket at home.

Jackpot: $3 million

He didn’t even hold this money in his hands!

Martyn and Kay Tott are the unluckiest people ever. They won $3 million but failed to find their lottery ticket. In this lottery, they inserted the numbers in the ticket on their own and Martyn and Kay were sure they had won: they remembered their numbers.

Computer records proved that Kay had bought the ticket and lottery managers were ready to give them the money but then they realized it was too late according to the rules: Kay and Martyn had applied for the jackpot a month earlier. Other winners who’d claimed their money without tickets earlier supported the Totts and even Tony Blair was against the decision.

Unfortunately, Martyn and Kay weren’t permitted to take their jackpot and their dreams about a beautiful life were ruined. Martyn grew depressed and frustrated while trying to find different ways to change the managers’ opinions. All in all, the couple decided to divorce.

Their money was the biggest unclaimed jackpot in the history of the lottery. Today, Martyn produces videos and short films.

3. Sharon Tirabassi wasn’t ready for a wealthy life.

Jackpot: $10.5 million.

She spent all her money in 10 years.

Sharon is a mother from Canada who won $10.5 million in 2004. She bought a house, clothes, 4 cars, and traveled a lot. She ran out of money faster than she expected. Her husband was arrested for exceeding the speed limit. Because of deposits and taxes, she lost her new house. Sharon also had to sell 3 cars. The 4th car needs repairs which Tirabassi says they can’t afford right now.

Today, Sharon rides a bicycle or takes a bus to get to work. She says that she’s from a poor family and just doesn’t know how to manage money. The only decision she doesn’t regret is putting some money in her children’s bank accounts that they’ll be able to use when they turn 26 years old.

2. Tonda Lynn Dickerson paid huge taxes for sharing her money with relatives.

Jackpot: $5 million

Paid taxes: $1.2 million

Tonda was a waitress in a cafe and one of the patrons always used to buy lottery tickets. One time, he gave all the waiters envelopes with lottery tickets and Tonda’s envelope held a winning ticket. But her colleagues claimed that they’d agreed to split the proceeds. Tonda refused to hand over any of her winnings so her co-workers sued her.

The court found that there had been an agreement to split the winnings but it was an oral contract. Nevertheless, Tonda had to pay. Together with members of her family, she formed a corporation to hold her lottery winnings. The court decided it was a gift for her family and requested the woman pay a federal gift tax. After all, there was only around $1 million left.

1. Janite Lee was too generous.

Jackpot: $18 million

She spent all her money in 8 years.

Janite Lee was 53 when she won $18 million in 1993. At first, she used the money to rent luxurious cars, buy brand new clothes, and purchase a house. But later, she decided to help others with it.

She donated money to different educational and social programs and political campaigns. Her political contributions led her to dine with Bill Clinton and the president of South Korea. Her educational donations put her name on a reading room at the Washington University School of Law. But in 2001, Janite became bankrupt: she was around $2.5 million in debt.

Have you ever bought lottery tickets? If you ever won, what would you buy?

Preview photo credit Oli Scarff / Getty Images News / Getty Images

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