‘Big Brother made us miserable’: Ex stars reveal show ruined their lives

Former Big Brother housemates found fame changed their lives forever

ITV's Big Brother reboot reveals its iconic eye logo. (ITV)
Big Brother is returning to ITV after five years (ITV)

As Big Brother returns this weekend, former stars have revealed the reality of how the show changed their lives forever — which at times has been totally devastating for them.

Big Brother has been off air for five years but it's making a major comeback this weekend, with many across the nation expected to tune in.

Read more: Big Brother returns: The reality show's most controversial moments

Alison Hammond and Josie Gibson lead some of the most successful housemates to have appeared on Big Brother, having secured fabulous showbiz careers.

However, not everyone who has appeared on Big Brother or Celebrity Big Brother have had the same sparkling and positive experience following their exit.

Chantelle Houghton

Chantelle Houghton wins Celebrity Big Brother in white minidress
Chantelle Houghton won Big Brother in 2006 but has since said the experience left her "miserable" (Getty)

Finding overnight fame after winning the fourth series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2006 didn't bring Chantelle Houghton happiness.

Although she later returned to the show for Ultimate Big Brother in 2010, the fame that came with her appearances made the reality star "miserable".

Read more: When does Big Brother 2023 start, and how can you watch the new live stream? (Evening Standard, 5-min read)

"I needed to step out of the spotlight for my mental health," the former winner, now 40, told The Sun recently. "I was going through a really awful time. I was abused for a very, very long time.

"I lost myself in a lot of misery and I’m getting myself back bit by bit and enjoying being the person I always was."

Penny Ellis

Former Big Brother contestant Penny Ellis at Channel 4's London headquarters
Former Big Brother contestant Penny Ellis struggled after her stint on the show (Getty)

Penny Ellis, now 55, also found her brush with fame difficult.

She famously dropped her towel during the live feed by accident which sparked an apology from Channel 5 for airing the moment in the 2001 series.

In 2021, she reflected how this had a knock on effect on her life. She told Premier Christianity Magazine: "It has been 20 years of being mocked, and jibed and ridiculed.

"I lost all my money, my reputation, my church, my job, my self-esteem, my friends, my home - that two weeks in the house I lost everything."

Laura Carter

Laura Carter sparkles in minidress as she enters Big Brother House
Laura Carter said her life was "ruined" after appearing on Big Brother (Wire Image)

Laura Carter also complained Big Brother "ruined" her life and compared it to "being in a living nightmare".

Last year, the TV star — who appeared on the 2016 series — spoke out on YouTube saying: "I lost all self-worth. I forgot that my family were watching, my friends were watching.

"I'd sit in silence –- I had nothing left to give. It was the darkest, loneliest time of my life. I realised my life was not going to go back to how it was. My life changed but it literally ruined my life. It ruined it."

Nasty Nick

Big Brother star Nick Bateman wears blue jumper at press conference
Former Channel Four Big Brother contestant Nick Bateman was disqualified from the show (Getty)

Then of course there is Big Brother villain Nick Bateman. He famously was nicknamed "Nasty Nick" when he pinned other housemates against each other during his controversial stint on the show, leading to him being disqualified.

While he had no regrets, the star escaped the media storm and created a new life for himself where no one really recognises him.

Recently, the star told Lorraine: "I've been here in Australia 12 years. It's just much nicer – blues skies all the time great weather, great food. It's refreshing and it’s just nice to be somewhere where you're happy."

After all that happened, the reality star has no regrets though. He said: "No, you can’t have any regrets. Regret is a very negative thing to have. You can’t change the past, all you can do is change the present or the future."

Big Brother returns on Sunday. Big Brother: The Launch will air on ITV1 - plus ITV2 and ITVX. Following the launch show, viewers can tune into watch the rest of the series on 9pm on ITV2 and ITVX.