Marie Holmes, a struggling mom of four from North Carolina, never imagined her luck would change overnight. When the single mom realized she was the owner of a winning lottery ticket, she was filled with joy and excitement and knew that her life would never look the same. However, the church that she loved and trusted had become her worst enemy and the millions that she earned have become the source to her problems. This is the story of a mom whose life got flipped completely.
The Struggling Single Mom
Marie Holmes grew up in a low-income neighborhood. Young Marie Holmes chose to find comfort with her high school boyfriend to escape the rough childhood she had. Marie Holmes found herself pregnant with her first child. She had four children in all. Marie Holmes worked minimum wage paying jobs from McDonalds to Walmart to try and pay the bill on the trailer they lived in. She was at a loss of what to do, which led her to take advantage of small lottery tickets.
Buying Lottery Tickets
One day, Marie Holmes asked her mother to pick her up some lottery tickets. She gave her mom $15 extra to purchase a few additional lottery tickets. The decision was made with a lot of thought because she didn’t have a lot of money to spare. Marie Holmes didn’t have a lot of money at the time, so this small and precious amount was all she had to try to win with the lottery’s impossible odds. She had a 1 in 170 million chance of winning, but didn’t expect much.
Winning the Reward
Marie Holmes was over the moon when the lottery read off her numbers. It was one of the happiest moments she had ever experienced. She couldn’t believe that one of the tickets she had purchased actually won. She was running around the trailer telling her children that they would no longer struggle. The young kids may not have known what she was talking about, but Marie Holmes said it regardless. Tears of happiness streamed down her face as she checked the ticket over and over again.
Life Changing Circumstances
She was given the choice of receiving smaller payments over the next few years, or to take a lump sum of cash. Knowing how hard her and her children had struggled, she chose to take the lump sum of $122 million dollars. This amounted to about $88 million dollars after taxes were taken out. She went to accept the larger than life check on live TV, and she showed up looking like a different person. She went and got a makeover that was fit for the millionaire she had just become.
Marie Holmes moved into a large plantation style home in a gated community. Because she had this newly acquired fortune, she also hired security to watch over and protect the family from being looted or robbed. Marie began buying new clothes for her children, herself, and her mother. She was overjoyed they were no longer struggling and took full advantage of that fact. The lottery winner focused on creating a healthier environment for her four children, especially the oldest who had cerebral palsy.
Hard Times Ahead
Even though she was a huge lottery winner, Marie Holmes began to realize that life remained the same as it always had. The father of her youngest child, Ebony, was a known drug dealer throughout the area. Her boyfriend, Lamarr McDow, increased the amount of drug dealing he was doing, too. He believed that living in the house that they did, with the money they had, would diffuse the cops on their tail. Unfortunately Lamarr was arrested multiple times.
Bailing Out Her Baby Daddy
The single mom’s boyfriend was arrested multiple times, and Marie Holmes felt that she had nothing else to do but bail him out of jail. The news surrounding Marie Homes’ name quickly became negative, but she continued paying her boyfriend’s bail of $21 million. She didn’t realize how quickly lottery money could diminish, but she kept her head high as she bailed him out. Marie Holmes grew up around gangs, and had multiple family members incarcerated growing up, which led her to have a soft spot for him.
Boyfriend’s Drug Charge
The first time her boyfriend ended up in jail, Marie Holmes paid the $3 million bail. He was arrested for drug charges, and he was a well-known drug dealer in the area. The DA had set a high bail for this reason. However, the cops didn’t think that Lamarr “Hotsauce” McDow would have a girlfriend who won $88 million from the lottery. She was working at the Walmart before, and Lamarr was dealing his drugs and staying home with the kids for the most part.
Not Showing Up for Court
McDow was not one to show any gratitude however. Instead of making sure he would not be arrested again, he missed his court date completely. Since that constituted as a violation of his parole, Lamarr McDow was sent to jail again. Frustratingly, Marie paid even more to get him out of jail! His bail was set at $6 million, and once again Marie Holmes paid it without a second thought. She was once again thrust into the public eye for her choices.
Illegal Street Racing
McDow was then arrested for illegal street racing. Determined to keep this man off the streets, Lamarr McDow’s bail was set at $12 million. Marie decided to bail him out for the third time, which in total came in at $21 million. Lamarr responded to criticism by saying, “We are a couple, and I am the father of her youngest child… She has the money and she can do what she wants with it… People are just jealous because of how much she won and people want to see me locked up in jail.”
Boyfriend Misusing the Money
Marie Holmes was also determined to use her money for the betterment of her children. While this ideal was met with a hiccup when she spent almost a fourth of her money on bailing out her boyfriend, she tried to turn her life around and donate to good causes. However, it seems that her partner didn’t have the same idea. There were reports of Lamarr McDow misusing the money to pay for the rich neighborhood women to perform inappropriate acts on him.
Paying Off Mistresses
When light was shed on the whole mistress situation, things seemed to get a little rocky between Marie Holmes and Lamarr McDow. Some thought that they would finally be calling it quits, but she decided to stick by him once again. Many people think that Marie Holmes paid off the mistresses that Lamarr McDow was involved with. To keep their family name from being trashed even further, throwing money their way was not beyond her. Since the mistresses weren’t heard of again, it could be possible.
Going to Prison Anyway
Unfortunately, Marie Holmes can’t catch a break. Even though she spent $21 million on bail for Lamarr McDow, he is still going to prison. This time, the charges are due to drugs and he’s sentenced to seven years. He was charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin. Given how big of a charge this is, Lamarr McDow is certain to serve a number of years before being eligible for parole. With multiple arrests, he may not get the chance at all.
The stories online became increasingly negative, but the comments were worse. People were commenting on all of the online stories, and her social media accounts, about how her decision was stupid and immature. Most women chided Marie Holmes, telling her that a man who lets her waste her fortune on bailing him out of jail is not someone she should want to be with. She soon became a viral story, her each and every move being analyzed. Despite this, she stayed with him.
Adjusting to the Spotlight
Many look at Marie Holmes and chastise her for the decisions she has made. However, the case can be made that she was not used to the public view, and that many of her decisions were not ones she thought would reach the public forum. She was the only lottery winner who wasn’t anonymous, so people were looking at her under a microscope to see what she would do with all of her money. Her adjustment was something that took her time to finish.
A Drug Possession Charge
While Marie Holmes’ boyfriend was charged multiple times with dealing drugs, it appeared that she wasn’t all innocent herself. In 2015, alongside with Lamarr, Marie Holmes’ found herself being charged with a drug possession charge. When police showed up at her home, they found her in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. She was not arrested, but she did have to pay a fine for the charge. Unfortunately because her children were home, she did make the news.
Donating to Church
Marie Holmes’ life hadn’t been all rainbows after winning the lottery, but that didn’t stop her from thanking God. She was a woman who often attended her church services, and she thought it was time to pay back God. With the millions of dollars she had left, Marie Holmes decided to donate roughly $700,000 dollars to her local church. This money was going to be used to help out the children in the area. The money was well received, and Marie Holmes felt good about her decision.
Helping Form a Retreat
As time went on, Marie Holmes began talking to Pastor Kevin Matthews. Kevin Matthews came to Marie Holmes’ home on multiple occasions, meeting with her and providing prayer sessions. Pastor Kevin Matthews approached Marie Holmes with talk of purchasing a large space of land. This purchased land was going to serve as the church’s new retreat facility, and was meant to help members become closer to God and Jesus Christ. The two supposedly talked about donating an amount anywhere between $1-2 million, and then they agreed that Marie Holmes would donate $1.5 million.
The Lord’s Greedy Servant
Kevin Matthews and Marie Holmes allegedly made a verbal agreement to purchase the land with Holmes’ donated $1.5 million. Kevin Matthews wanted more, but Marie Holmes agreed upon that amount. As time went on, however, the money didn’t come through. Kevin Matthews called Marie Holmes in hope of gathering the money she owed him. Instead, he was met with silence. Pastor Kevin Matthews became increasingly greedy, telling Marie Holmes that she promised to provide this money to better the church.
Family Controlling Money
When the money still didn’t come, Pastor Kevin Matthews reached out to Marie Holmes again, but instead was met with Marie’s aunt. She was the chief executive officer of the lottery winner’s newly formed charity, and she took the opportunity to help out with her finances. When Kevin Matthews demanded the money, she prodded the pastor and asked him if Marie had promised the money to him. He told Marie’s aunt that she had never said the word “promise,” but that the verbal agreement was there.
The Jaw Dropping Law Suit
While Holmes believed the money donation was something that would be swept under the rug, they were astonished in early 2016 when a lawsuit came instead. Marie Holmes suddenly found herself being asked for $10 million dollars. While the allegedly agreed upon amount was just $1.5 million, Kevin Matthews was suing for a far greater amount. He believed that he was owed more money because Marie Holmes had caused him emotional distress in the process (at the tune of more than 5x the price).
Kevin Matthews’ Reasoning
The lawsuit became a viral story. He stated that he didn’t want a huge amount of money, but what was promised and owed to him. Kevin Matthews claimed that he had to increase the dosing of his antidepressant and antianxiety medications because of the process. Because of the distress this situation with Marie Holmes caused him, he decided to create a $10 million lawsuit to try and remedy things. Not only was the family shocked behind his reasoning, but he also became a villain in the viral stories.
What the Lawyers Say
Pastor Kevin Matthews filed the lawsuit without a lawyer, but Marie Holmes had one is her arsenal. The lawsuit of Kevin Matthews was generally dismissed by many as frivolous, but it still had the family in shock. Marie Holmes’ lawyer, Ruth Sheehan, was no stranger to the legal problems the Holmes family had gone through. However, when asked about the pastor’s large lawsuit, she dismissed it and said she didn’t know much about it. It’s unknown as to the phase it’s in.
The lawsuit really didn’t make a lot of sense. The church she had been going to for years only received $700,000 from her, so giving Mathews so much money seemed pretty hard to believe. It would seem that the lawyers of Marie Holmes were probably right when they said that the lawsuit was seen as frivolous. The lawsuit has not gone to court, so it’s possible it had been settled privately, with an agreement by the parties to keep it confidential. Either that, or the pastor dropped it.
Controversial Lottery Winner
Marie Holmes’ struggling story of being a young single mom to four children wooed the nation, but her façade quickly came tumbling down. Her fiancé’s many arrests, and being known as a drug dealer, quickly snuffed out her sweetheart image to the press. Marie Holmes found herself becoming multiple viral stories, and she was painted as someone who was too immature to handle her money. The lottery winner was obviously overwhelmed with going from nothing to everything, and she didn’t know how to manage money.
More Money, More Problems
The lottery winner decided to seek help from a kind source who was eager to show her the ropes of managing money. She appeared on Fix My Life, where the host, Iyanla, tried to mend the relationship between Marie and her mother. Even though Marie had helped provide for her mother after winning the large sum of money from the lottery, she didn’t feel she could please her. Iyanla worked to help their relationship, and gave Marie advice on keeping her financials locked down tight.
A Lotto Drama
The episode which featured Marie Holmes is named ‘Lotto Drama’ where she tries to help the single mom of four who might not be struggling financially anymore but is indeed struggling with other personal issues in her life after her big win. Iyanla usually keeps up with her guests after giving them advice. Marie’s life has become chaotic since winning the lottery and Iyanla is there to help her see things in different perspectives. There was a lot of emotion on the show.
Trying to Gain Clarity
Marie Holmes knew that she was not making the best choices with her money, and adjusting to being wealthy didn’t help her circumstances. Marie quickly found herself losing her grip on what she considered to be a normal and healthy life. Going on the show was her way to try and adjust. It was a wakeup call for what she needed to do to change her life around. Marie was hoping that the show could give her some clarity on how to adjust to her financial success.
Living On A Plantation
When Iyanla arrived at the eye-popping estate that Marie has purchased for her family, she immediately felt something was off. The energy was sitting right and when she found out why, she was speechless. She said: ‘I believe that every location has an energy…So, it was important for me to help Marie recognize and understand that as a black woman living on a plantation, there was an energy that she was dealing with, sitting in, living through—in addition to what was going on in her own personal life.’
A Slap In The Face
Marie admitted that her mom, Fontella, slapped her in the face when she was growing up and till this day the emotional and physical pain still echoes. Marie has kept her emotions to herself for years, but it took a toll on the relationship she had with her mom. This made her doubt her own mother’s intentions. Iyanla took the time to explain Fontella why slapping another person in the face is simply degrading and humiliating. Fontella then expressed how sorry she was for everything.
When Iyanla saw Marie on the show, she realized that something was off with her. Iyanla thought that Marie Holmes seemed very numb to all the circumstances in her life. It was like she had detached herself emotionally and physically because it was all too much to deal with. Iyanla thought that perhaps Marie was depressed from all the changes that had gone on in her life. Money doesn’t fix everything, and Marie is a prime example that it can sometimes make things even worse.
Were The Numbers Random?
When people fill out a lottery card, they either choose completely random numbers or they choose numbers that are meaningful to them in hopes to win the jackpot. As it turns out, the numbers on Marie’s ticket anything but random. While on the show, Fontella confessed that she was very selective with the numbers. She said: ‘I kept dreaming about your brother that we lost. His birthday, he was the third child, he’d have been 25 that year. Those were the numbers.’
Money Doesn’t Solve All Problems
It’s easy to say that Marie Holmes learned a lot from winning the lottery. She isn’t as rich as she was when she won, but chances are she still has a good arsenal in her savings. Her tumultuous relationship with her fiancé, Lamarr, continued, and she struggled with her need to try and please her mother. For now, Marie Holmes is trying to stay out of the news for a while to live her life as a stay at home mom.