A British woman who squandered more than $2.2 million in lottery winnings in just eight years said she doesn’t regret how she spent her cash and “had a great time.”
Nearly 20 years later after collecting the prize, Lara Griffiths, a mother of two, said she’s just “sick of being painted as tragic.”
“It’s become an overriding narrative that the lotto ruined my life,” Griffiths, of Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, told the South West News Service.
“People kept saying I was stupid, pumped full of plastic surgery and needed my kids taken away. But the fact is, I spent it wisely – and I had a great time,” Griffin, 53, said.
Griffiths was “shocked” when her husband Roger told her that he’d won the life-changing prize back in 2005.
“Everyone always asks you what it’s like to win the lottery,” she told the outlet. “But it’s not a tangible feeling — imagine being told you suddenly have two million in the bank.”
Their first big spend? Immediately taking a 10-day trip to Dubai — although they still flew economy class and didn’t “fritter money away.”
The couple then bought a salon for more than $187,000 as an investment after Griffiths quit her $50,000 a year teaching job out of concern her students and coworkers would look at her differently.
She started working at the salon without paying herself a salary but said she felt “bored” and “unstimulated,” as her passion was teaching.
The Griffiths got a mortgage on a new, $560,000 home instead of buying it outright, Lara said. They also purchased 30 pre-owned cars and 15 designer handbags as investments.
Roger, Griffiths claims, flushed money away on his music career. He told SWNS he spent more than $30,000 on producing a record with his college band.
But eight years later, the money — and her relationship with her husband — had dried up.
Griffiths and her ex-husband’s two daughters — Kitty, now 16 and Ruby, now 19 — live comfortably with her 86-year-old mother in a four-bedroom house.
“I fully hold my hands up and accept my mistakes,” she said. “I’ve spent the last 10 years making sure my children have a nice life regardless of that.”
“But the lottery did not ruin my life,” Griffiths added.