Foolishly, I never play the lottery, but this week I found myself fantasy-spending an imaginary Euromillions win. I'd buy a house in a fashionable area of London, and another in a fashionable area of Brazil. I'd take a five-star holiday with a few close friends (on condition they never ask me for a loan). I'd outbid a Russian for a piece of art I don't understand. I'd book a seat on Virgin Galactic. I might order an obscure exotic pet. The one thing I absolutely wouldn't do is hold a press conference.
Why do lottery winners ever agree to publicise their good fortune? It's not as if they need the money. The fame is fleeting, and potentially damaging to relationships and careers. About a quarter of winners go public, including 22-year-old Cassey Carrington and her fiancé, Matt Topham, who seem like a jolly nice couple, and just won a £45m Euromillions jackpot.
I don't quite feel sorry for them. Not yet. At least they don't live in Italy, where the Camorra have been known to threaten winners out of their cash.
However, it took just a day for Topham's estranged mother to appear on page three of the Daily Mail. Perhaps he's pleased to hear from her; they haven't spoken in six years. But I can't imagine he was happy to read about painful bits of his private life in the papers.
I foresee a lot of awkward phonecalls in his future, not to mention mean jokes about his facial hair. (Although – and with apologies, Matt – it's not quite on his face, as such, is it?) The "beard" can be got rid of in minutes. That troublesome money will last a lot longer.
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