Whatever happened to Marie Holmes, winner of the Powerball jackpot in 2015? These 20 facts will update and fill in some of her chequered experiences during and since the win:
FACT #1. Marie Holmes was a 27-year-old single mother with four children living in a mobile home in Shallotte, North Carolina. She was broke, and her lottery ticket purchase in the North Carolina Powerball in 2015 was her last resort.
FACT #2. The former McDonald's and Walmart worker thought she was going to have a heart attack when she saw her numbers appear.
FACT #3. Marie had to appear publicly despite knowing that the press exposure would upturn and disrupt her life. In North Carolina, winners’ names, their city or town of residence, the game they played and the amount of money they won are released to the public.
FACT #4. Her prize was either to receive installments of her $188 million over a period of 30 years - or take a one-time lump sum of $127 million after tax and costs. She decided on the US$127M lump sum and collected the cash immediately.
FACT #5. The father of her children, Lamarr McDow, had a two-year relationship with Marie before the win, but was constantly in and out of prison and having run-ins with the law.
FACT #6. The pastor of her church, Kevin Matthews (below), was like a father figure to her, and gave support and encouragement, promising that the church would always be there for her. Marie was known in the community as being a regular and faithful churchgoer, attending with her four children every Sunday. However, there came a twist in their relationship shortly afterward.
FACT #7. Marie decided to give 10% of her winnings to the church, the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. After taxes, the amount was $1.5 million, the largest contribution made to a church from a lottery win. Up till then, the biggest donation had been a $100,000 contribution in Boston.
FACT #8. In a curious twist, pastor Matthews saw the donation as an insult after knowing that Marie had won $127 million after taxes and costs.
FACT #9. Pastor Kevin Matthews decided to sue Holmes, stating that she had verbally pledged $10 million to the church. He said that he had gone ahead and made financial investments based on her statement.
FACT #10. Marie said she would honor her promise of $10M to the church. She had already given $680,000 and was waiting for the remainder to come through, but that wasn't enough for the church.
FACT #11. Stress was a big factor for pastor Matthews during this time, and he told the press, "Because of the emotional distress and mental stress they put me through, I had to start taking more medicine for anxiety and depression due to this situation."
FACT #12. Marie bought a large house, but it turned out later that the property had previously been a slave plantation.
FACT #13. Marie's winning ticket was actually bought by her mother, Fontella, who confessed the fact on tv program Iyanla: Fix My Life hosted by inspiration speaker Iyanla Vanzant. The mother said she even chose all the numbers, but Marie did however pay for the ticket herself.
FACT #14. Marie's mother said in the Iyanla: Fix My Life interview (bottom of story) that the numbers she chose were connected with her third child who had died early. His birthday formed part of the winning numbers.
FACT #15. Marie invested $10 million into her charitable organization called Marie Holmes Foundation.
FACT #16. The father of Marie's youngest child, Lamarr McDow (above), was a convicted felon and regularly drew on her money, once to post bail from his prison sentence.
FACT #17. Marie Holmes spent a staggering $21 million buying Lamarr McDow jewelry and new cars.
FACT #18. While the lottery win saga was unfolding, McDow was having an affair with a woman named Lorna Marlowe who later blackmailed Marie. McDow later went to prison again for 7 years.
FACT #19. Marie’s extended family members claimed that Marie had stolen the winning ticket from her 90-year-old grandmother.
FACT #20. Marie sent her children to live with mom Fontella (pictured above, right) in Seattle, Washington for a short period of time after winning the lottery.