In 2003 Big Brother Australia viewers were introduced to Reggie Bird, a young girl from Tassie who ran a fish and chip shop with her then-husband. In 2022, she wants to become Big Brother‘s first-ever two-time champion.

Considering she charmed the pants off Aussies way back when, we’re gonna say taking out a second victory won’t be hard for the fan favourite.

reggie bird big brother
Reggie Bird (R) is back to win Big Brother Australia for a second time. Source: Network Ten.

In season three of Big Brother, Reggie won the series with a yuge 72 per cent of the final vote. ICYMI: that’s the biggest winning margin in a BB victory to date.

Now, the 42-year-old is back for Big Brother Australia 2022, but not everything is the same as it was nearly 20 years ago — for Reggie, or the game.

Reggie Bird On Being Diagnosed As Going Blind

In a promotional trailer for the upcoming season, Reggie explained that Big Brother “changed [her] life”.

“I was the little Aussie battler, and I related to a lot of people,” she said.

However, the mum-of-two has fallen on hard times.

“Since my time on Big Brother, I got diagnosed with going blind,” Reggie shared. “I’ve now lost all my peripheral vision. I have no night vision. I could wake up tomorrow and it’s gonna be gone.”

The reality star has a degenerative eye condition known as retinitis pigmentosa. The genetic condition essentially causes the cells in the retina to break down over time, resulting in poor vision and blindness.

Reggie was diagnosed in 2004, just one year following her rise to Big Brother fame.

The breakout star has also faced a number of other medical issues, including an ectopic pregnancy in 2008 for which she had emergency surgery to correct.

In 2017, she also suffered a stroke as a result of a heart condition.

“They told me I have a hole in my heart,” Reggie told Woman’s Day a year later. “I was literally heartbroken. But it makes sense now, why I’m always so tired and unwell, and what caused my stroke.”

Medical Bills Almost Saw Reggie and Her Family Evicted from Their Home

Following her stroke, Reggie and her second husband, Dale Sorenson, along with their two children Mia and Lucas, faced being evicted from their home.

Lucas suffers from cystic fibrosis, which requires daily medication and expensive physiotherapy. Add that to her own medical bills. and the family were facing financial ruin.

reggie bird son big brother
Reggie’s son Lucas suffers from cystic fibrosis. Source: Instagram @reggiebirdbb.

“I’m so scared,” she told Woman’s Day at the time. “One day your kids are cuddled up and warm and safe and just like that, it could all be gone. I owe my kids a warm bed and a safe house, that’s not too much to ask, is it?

Reggie continued: “It’s hard to believe I became known as the girl who survived multiple evictions in the Big Brother house, to 14 years later be faced with the real thing. I’ve been having nightmares ever since, wondering where we’re going to go.”

This Wasn’t the First Time Reggie Faced Financial Hardship

In 2005, Reggie fell victim to a conman who swindled the Big Brother winner out of $40,000.

The conman, who was posing as a television producer, convinced Reggie that he wanted her to star in an upcoming travel series.

Chatting to the Not Here to Make Friends podcast, she explained that she honestly believed “it was legit”.

“He said he didn’t have money and asked to borrow five grand and another five grand and then it all snowballed,” she recalled.

However, despite all this, Reggie is “still a fighter” and “still a battler”.

Big Brother is in my blood,” she expressed.

While Big Brother: Back to the Future might be a “new game”, know one thing: she’s “still the same old Reggie”.

Want even more goss? Listen to episode 180 of the So Dramatic! podcast with Megan Pustetto below!

Know something that we don’t? Spill the tea here!

Get the tea first! Follow So Dramatic! on Instagram and tune in on Mondays to get your reality tea fix with the So Dramatic! podcast with Megan Pustetto.