For most people, winning the lottery is a dream come true. However, a young recent winner claims it has ruined her life. Jane Park from Edinburgh, Scotland became the youngest EuroMillions winner in Britain, winning $125 million jackpot at age 17.
A normal teenager
Jane worked an $11-an-hour job as a temp receptionist and lived in a two-bedroom apartment in Edinburgh with her mom. Like most of us, Jane had big dreams of fame and fortune but a superstar lifestyle had always seemed out of reach. She had no idea that her life was about to change.
A Dream Come True
She decided to purchase a lotto ticket on a whim. The winning numbers were announced and Jane soon discovered the unthinkable had happened; she had won! At first, she was ecstatic. She had won a whopping $125 million – more money than she could have ever imagined.
After receiving her winnings, Jane knew her life would never be the same. She was sure that all her problems were solved. She no longer had to worry abut bills or debt. The future seemed bright and full of possibility. Sadly, she would soon learn that things would not turn out as she hoped.
Life of a millionaire
Jane quit her job immediately, excited for the life of a millionaire. She booked a two-month long vacation in sunny Spain. She then bought her own house in Prestonpans, Scotland, and got herself a chihuahua. She of course didn’t stop there. She continued to splurge on luxury items, she was finally living her dreams, or so she thought.
Some of her highest-priced items include: a $23,000 Volkswagen Beetle, a $34,000 BMW, and a $25,000 bright purple Range Rover, with the seats lined in the colors of her favorite football team.
Rich and famous
Jane began to live the life of the rich and famous. She spent nearly every night out partying with her friends at exclusive parties, and flew her friends on five-star vacations to the Maldives. She was living like a celebrity, she finally had the life she had always dreamed of.
Not only did she splurge on high-priced items, she also spent thousands of dollars on several plastic surgery procedures including a breast augmentation and a Brazilian butt lift. She also had lip fillers and Botox, which brings her entire makeover total to nearly $70,000.
However, the excitement of Jane’s exciting lifestyle began to come to an end. Today, the 22-year-old claims that becoming rich hasn’t made her happy at all. Rather, it has left her feeling “empty” and stressed. She explained, “People look at me and think, ‘I wish I had her lifestyle, I wish I had her money.’ But they don’t realize the extent of my stress. I have material things but apart from that my life is empty.”
Jane said that shopping started getting boring, and that she missed being just a normal teenage girl and working for a paycheck. She said that the stress of being a millionaire was getting to be too much and that she wished she could go back to her life pre-jackpot. “I wish I had no money most days,” she stresses. “My life would be so much easier if I hadn’t won.”
She was warned by her grandmother after she found out she won the millions. Jane said, “My nana Anne told me, ‘You might as well have given me a gun.’ I was like, ‘Nana, what are you talking about? This is the best thing ever.’ But now I totally agree.” What would happen now?
Over the years, her two favorite purchases, her Range Rover and precious chihuahua named Princess, stopped bringing her happiness. Jane has since given her dog to her aunt because she “didn’t have time for her.” Even her dream car failed to make her happy, she explained. “It was flashy and people were always looking at me. It was far too big.” It seemed her world was falling apart.
Who Had She Become?
Jane has expressed the deep sadness and loneliness that she feels since winning the lottery. Instead of being overjoyed at at her freedom and wealth, she didn’t like who was looking back at her in the mirror. She didn’t recognize herself or what she had become. Things even got so bad, that she sought out a therapist to speak to. She felt so lost and did not know where to turn.
Not fitting in
Jane stopped going on fancy vacations at 5-star resorts. “Although I’ve been to the Maldives, I much prefer Benidorm in Spain because nobody is looking down at you.” She continued, “You can drink as much as you want.” Jane explained that she never felt that she fit in or could relate to other wealthy people.
How To Know Who To Trust
When you win a large sum of money, you tend to make a lot of friends. But how many of these so-called friends can you actually trust? This was definitely a question that Jane had to ask herself, after being taken advantage of over and over again. She would give her money away in order to help friends, but they would just use the money for other things.
One of Jane’s biggest struggles since her win, has been her love life. The 22-year-old explained that although she has been in multiple relationships since her win, they have just wanted her for her winnings. Many men have pursued her in the hopes of getting to her millions and getting their fifteen minutes of fame.
She said, “I’ve had horrible relationships and it’s left me with a massive guard up. With the last one, I showered him with gifts. I thought it would make him happy.” Fame and fortune had not been what Jane had hoped for. She continued to struggle to have real friendships and relationships and was taken advantage of by a string of unworthy men.
One of her boyfriends was revealed to be the former star of The X Factor, Sam Callahan. However, the relationship came to an end after Sam kissed another girl at a party in front of Jane. Since saying goodbye to Sam, she has been dating the 18-year-old Dundee soccer player, Jordan Piggott. But would it last?
Since Jane’s jackpot success, she has become a well-known public figure, with paparazzi constantly following her and sharing her every move. She appears in the local tabloids often and has become the object of ridicule and public scrutiny. She misses her days of anonymity, without all the public judgment and attention.
In Trouble with the Law
Jane has had her fair share of trouble with the law lately, including an arrest for allegedly driving her BMW under the influence at a McDonald’s drive-thru. The young millionaire was also charged a fine after getting into a physical fight with a nightclub security guard. Jane spoke out about the fight, it’s my own fault. I should have walked away from the situation.”
Social media queen
The 22-year-old rich girl has also become a social media queen, with now over 50 thousand followers on her Instagram page. On her social media profiles, she loves sharing glamorous images of her wearing quite provocative designer clothing, partying at elite nightclubs, and pictures alongside her soccer player boyfriend. But is that really her?
Unfortunately, being a public figure often means having to deal with negative attention also. Jane has received several harsh comments and messages. On Twitter she responded to the online trolls with a photo of her holding up a lot of cash and wrote, “Read some very nasty comments about myself. So this photo is for all my haters.”
At one point, the harsh online attention got so bad, that she had to hire bodyguards. She said she received frightening messages from people threatening to attack her. At 17, the new millionaire felt uneasy and scared and said she definitely realized the “dark side” of fame. She said she was desperate to go back to normal life.
Shut Herself Away
Her social anxiety got so bad, that she could not even leave the house by herself, if at all. She became overly paranoid and would not trust anyone.
Trying to help
Jane has tried to help people in need. She spoke about one case in particular, “The worst was when I said I’d pay for the travel insurance for a young boy who was sick to go to Florida, and a couple of folks said I was just doing it for publicity.”
A supportive family
Jane’s family has been very supportive. She said that she feels lucky to have such loving parents and brothers and sisters who are always there for her.
Sharing the winnings
One of Jane’s biggest worries when winning her millions was how to share the money with her family. Of course, she wanted to give some of her jackpot to her parents and siblings, but at 17, she had no idea how much was enough. “It was hard to decide how much was enough, but not too little. I didn’t know how people were going to take it.” Jane admitted, “That was the most stressful part.”
Not long after she purchased her new house, Jane decided that it was too difficult living on her own. She said that she felt “lonely” living in a big house by herself, so she sold the house and its belongings and moved back in with her mom in her small apartment. She didn’t know how to live alone.
From Bad To Worse
Her mum had to bring her from her house, as her anxiety levels reached a new high, and she was convinced that there were people at her door, trying to scare her. She was a nervous wreck, not like the bright, shiny, happy girl she once knew and loved.
No one understands
As for her friends, she has maintained the same group of girls that she had before she was rich. However, she claims sometimes it is challenging to communicate with them because she feels like their lives are so drastically different now that she has money. She said, “It’s scary how different my life is from my friends’. When they say they’re stressed about money, they mean their wages are horrible.” She continued, “There’s no one in the same boat as me, no one who really understands. I feel like I’m a 40-year-old.”
Get rid of it?
Since Jane’s new found fame has caused so much distress, she has been asked on several occasions ‘Why not just get rid of the money?’ “What?…Nah.” Doesn’t seem like she plans on giving away the money anytime soon.
Jane’s friends and family recommended her to seek therapy to help her cope the stress of it all. However, instead of turning to therapists, she decided to turn to lawyers. Jane revealed that she is planning on filing a lawsuit against the UK Lotto bosses Camelot, claiming that winning the jackpot has completely ruined her life and that they should never have let someone so young win such a large sum of money.
When Jane won the lottery, she wasn’t even old enough to drink. During an interview on a UK Television talk show, she explained that if you aren’t old enough to drink, you shouldn’t be old enough to win millions. “I just feel like at 17 you are either still in school or just left school, and at that stage in your life where you are deciding what chapter comes next.”
Changing the law
Jane is hoping that the lawsuit will make the UK Lottery reconsider the minimum lotto-playing age. She said, “I think 18 should be the minimum age for winning the lottery.” The current age in the UK for in-store lottery ticket purchases is 16, which Jane believes is way too young. Camelot, the company that runs the UK EuroMillions, claimed that they have offered the young winner “ongoing support” since hitting the jackpot.
Now that Jane is older, she has confessed that she is trying to live a much more “comfortable” life and is trying to make more “sensible” purchases. She explained, “I’m trying to be sensible, I’m trying not to be a stereotypical teen. I want people to look at my life and think something positive has come out of it.” However, she still can’t resist going on shopping sprees.
Words of advice
Today, Jane warns young people playing the lottery to be careful. She encourages future young winners to think twice before going public with their winnings. She said, “I would encourage any young people not to go public, they should listen to what their family says.” She added, “You have to invest wisely.” Jane hopes that other young teens will wait until they are older to play, and won’t take part herself again.