A WOMAN who scooped a £1.8m lottery prize says her life spiralled after she splashed out on a trip to Dubai.
What should have been an exciting and positive time for Lara Griffiths, 53, and her now ex-husband Roger, actually turned into the "darkest time" of her life – but not because of the money.
After bagging the jackpot as a pair in 2005, Roger "fell out of love" with Lara and she fell victim to online trolls.
Before the couple's downfall, they splashed the cash on expensive cars and homes to fund an extravagant lifestyle, claim reports.
But Lara, from Leeds, said they didn't spend anywhere near what was being made out – despite Roger only having £7 in the bank just six years later.
She exclusively told The Sun: "The cars were always second-hand. We had a mortgage on the house.
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"And we had one holiday in Dubai.
"We were incapable of making financial choices on our own.
"Something that would help invest and manage the money positively – we didn’t know how to do that.
"We set ourselves up for a fall."
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The pair had a messy divorce in 2011 after 14 years of marriage when Lara claimed to have found emails between Roger and his pal about setting up an affair – something he strongly denies.
And when the split was publicised, the mum-of-two then started getting trolled by users who believed she had blown the winnings on plastic surgery and designer handbags.
She added: "I had Botox and that was it. Plastic surgery? Absolutely not.
“And I don't think even Louis Vuitton can spend £2million on Louis Vuitton bags.
"It just felt so personal. It was the darkest time of my life.”
She even claimed bailiffs turned up on her doorstep to collect debts that she knew nothing about.
Now 10 years on, the former school teacher works seven days a week running a tattoo parlour and make-up studio from a shed in her garden.
She now lives in the home her and Roger bought before their windfall with their two daughters Ruby, 19, and Kitty, 16.
She insists winning the lottery didn’t ruin her life, adding: “It was great. I loved it.
"I think it's ridiculous to be given £2million and say it ruined your life. You ruin your own life, or the people around you, or the decisions that you make.”
But she does caution other young lottery winners to learn from her and Roger’s experience.
"Don't let the excitement and enthusiasm cloud your judgement," she warns. "Don't tell people you've won the money.
“Keep it to yourselves, get really good advice so you can invest it properly.”
In a statement, former IT manager Roger said: "I don’t profess to be a saint, and I made many mistakes, but leaving Lara was not one.
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"It cost me everything, including the love of my eldest child.
"Nothing hurts as much as that, but I could not have stayed another moment in that toxic relationship… Lara just would not accept that we were going to split either with £1.8m in the bank or not.”
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