A former Big Brother housemate has claimed that the show "ruined" her life and has spoken out about being left out of work, anxious and traumatised by her experiences.
Laura Carter was a contestant on the 17th series of the reality show which aired on Channel 5 in 2016, where her housemates included Andrew Tate and Marco Pierre White Jr, son of the famous chef.
Big Brother's theme in 2016 was a second, secret house filled with contestants called The Others whose task was to secretly "target and take down the housemates" to be in with a chance of winning the prize fund – leaving housemates feeling paranoid and confused.
Laura, who had worked as an actor with roles in the West End and soaps, as well as having a job as a nightclub host before she entered the show, posted a video on YouTube before the current ITV reboot detailing her nightmarish experiences.
She explained: "We didn't know that was the theme. It was a real mind f***. I had no idea and neither did anyone else. It was like being in a living nightmare."
Laura added that the times she was targeted in the house included "really degrading, horrible things" and left her feeling like the public hated her, saying: "I did feel humiliated."
The reality TV star was shown getting intimate with Marco, who was engaged at the time, and said that after therapy she had realised that what she had done with him was "self-destruct mode" as she felt so hopeless about the public's opinion of her.
When Laura eventually exited the show, she found that clubs she had previously worked for did not want her back and said that she was left feeling very low.
She said: "I'd sit in silence – I had nothing left to give. It was the darkest, loneliest time of my life…My life changed but it literally ruined my life. It ruined it."
Laura, who welcomed son Jaxon with her partner Tony in 2018, also said that she had found new motherhood triggering as she struggled with insomnia, anxiety and anger, and saw her weight plummet.
She feels her struggles were an effect of still being "mentally damaged" by her TV fame.
In recent years, reality TV shows have been held more accountable for taking care of their contestants' mental health and offering support after they finish filming.
But Laura said: "I feel like I was really taken advantage of. As much as the producers were doing their job, all this process was to see how I would react to things. The minute the show finished, that was it. It was like, 'See ya'. And it was all left for me to deal with."
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