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Former Big Brother star Penny Ellis has revealed that the show "ruined her life" twenty years after finding fame in the house.
Penny, now 52, was a fresh-faced 33 year old teacher who initially thought she had applied to be on Channel 4's The Big Breakfast, when she appeared on the second series of Big Brother back in 2001.
Things went far from smoothly for the unwitting reality star after she immediately hit the headlines when thousands of viewers saw her drop her bath towel while in the house.
After becoming the first evictee of the season, Penny emerged from the house to learn that she had been stripped from her teaching position after a barrage of complaints from shocked parents.
Penny has now admitted that her short-lived appearance on the show two decades earlier still affects her to his very day.
"It has been 20 years of being mocked, and jibed and ridiculed," she told Premier Christianity Magazine.
"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."
Speaking of the towel incident, in particular, the former reality star admitted that she didn't think producers would let the edit air and didn't expect to see it all over the newspapers in the weeks that followed.
Penny added that she made the most of her new life in the spotlight before the interest in her fizzled after the third season of Big Brother approached.
Getting back onto the workforce proved to be challenging as she "too famous to be normal, but not famous enough to survive".
After reaching a crossroad, Penny returned home and turned to her Christian faith for comfort and direction – which she believed helped save her life.
"There have been 38 reality suicides, and I came home to Hastings in 2002, and that was my point of starting to get back to my faith because otherwise, I would have one of those suicides if I'm honest," she said.
Penny has kept a low profile since her days as a reality star. From her Instagram, it is clear that she still practises her faith regularly and has a fondness for cats.
Among her fellow housemates on the show were bubbly Welsh girl Helen Adams, now a hairdresser in Bristol.
The second series was won by Brian Dowling, who went on to turn his fame into a career and now works as a telly presenter.
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