Cosmopolitan (UK)

“Nothing can prepare you for fame”

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LISA APPLETON, SERIES 9

Known for… Entering the BB house as part of a couple with then-boyfriend Mario Marconi. Now: She’s a sex columnist and is writing a book.

“I was popular in my hometown before Big Brother and had been on TV shows like Body Heat [an ITV fitness show in the mid-’90s] and Fear Factor before. So [when we were approached] Mario [Marconi, now her ex-husband] and I gave it a go. It wasn’t about fame, I didn’t understand fame then. The psychologi­st warned us that the producers would try to split us up and cause issues but we were prepared for that. They questioned us on how we’d feel about people knowing who we were wherever we went and how we’d deal with that. But, the thing is, nothing can prepare you for fame – it’s so intense. Mario and I split in 2013, five years after the show [after a conman “destroyed” their lives, duping them into filming a fake reality show]. I couldn’t get my head around it all – people were jumping on my car, camping opposite my house. I couldn’t go to the shops, anything normal was invaded. There wasn’t any work for me and I couldn’t get a job – I was broke, in debt and living on benefits. It was a prison and it went on for years and years; I wanted to hide away and I lost my confidence. Fame changes how people behave around you, and there are a lot of sharks and fake friends. But I’d do it all again, I’m just wiser and stronger now.”

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