Guy Sanford is the Dad of seven who found himself in the middle of The $25 Million Dollar Hoax. His daughter, Chrissy, told the family that she had won $5 million, and had a chance to win even more. The Sanfords were whisked away to a resort to spend five days watching Chrissy spend her millions all on herself.
Mr. Sanford’s reactions were always heartfelt and sometimes comical, and here we get a chance to find out more of what was actually going on with him and the rest of the family as they watched Chrissy transform from a sweet girl to a rich diva.
Hi Mr. Sanford! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions!
What was going through your mind when Ed McMahon and his crew arrived at your home? Did you ever question the explanation that Chrissy had won an internet lottery?
It seemed surreal. I had a question (in my mind) about thebigwin.net; I have a web site and I didn’t think you could have a gambling site that ended with .net. I thought it would have to be a com.
How much time did you have to prepare before being whisked away to Palm Springs? I always wonder if people have time to call into work to say they’re going to be away, or if that’s all pre-arranged for you!
We had very little time to get ready. They told us to take enough clothes for five days and it would be a warm climate. I then called my boss and told him that my daughter had won 5 million dollars and we were off to an undisclosed location. He understood.
When did you start to realize that Chrissy was letting the money go to her head?
When we went to Beverly Hills and she was spending money like it was water, I had trouble trying to figure out what she was thinking.
Was there ever a time on your shopping trips with Chrissy that you actually pulled her aside and told her that you thought she was going through her money far too quickly?
Yes. At St.John in Beverly Hills, I spoke to the fake lottery official and asked him for a financial advisor to help Chrissy. He said he would as soon as we got back to the hotel. By then they just kept us going from prank to prank and I didn’t have any time to talk about it.
Looking back on things now, does anything jump out at you as being an obvious clue that things weren’t as they seemed? Did you ever suspect that this wasn’t real?
Having watched reality shows before, it was in the back of your mind. But I wanted her to have won the money and I put it out of my mind. The boys would say at times ” If Ashton Kutcher jumps out and says You’ve been punked! we will beat the hell out of him”. I guess it’s a good thing that it was George Gray!
What stands out as the most difficult part of the whole experience for you?
Giving up the money, but the prizes are great.
If asked, would you have agreed to do the same thing that Chrissy did? Do you think you would have been able to pull it off?
I don’t think I would have been able to get away with it. So probably not.
Obviously the show was heavily edited and we only got to see three hours of your five-day experience. What were some of the things you remember that didn’t make it on the air?
When we were at the dinner table we told so many stories about the family that were very funny. We laughed for hours! It’s too bad they couldn’t show those moments. Also when we were at the car dealer and my daughter bought the Hummer I noticed it had a sun roof and I jumped out of the sun roof and yelled “My daughter just won 5 Million Dollars on the Bigwin.net, point, click and win big.” I figured that we were promoting the web site and I was doing my part.
Have you been getting a lot of attention now that you’ve appeared on national television? How has the publicity affected you?
Around town we get stopped by our frends all the time and that’s great. When we go out for dinner we do get recognized and it’s okay. My boys love the attention. Its a little weird when people stare at you that you don’t know!
Have you received your prizes yet? Is everyone happy with what they won?
Not yet. We will have to pay taxes on all of the prizes as if it were income. I’m a little worried about that.
Your family is obviously very close and loving, and you all seemed to learn just how tightly knit you all are through this whole thing. Is there anything else you learned about yourselves in the process?
Everything we learned I think we already knew. But it was great to see them in action and how they stuck together as a family.
I can’t even imagine how it felt when you realized that your dream of starting a family business was going down the tubes, then to think you could actually do it again (after the big wheel spin), and then finally to hear that it was all a hoax! Can you describe the emotional toll that this took on you personally?
We go through adversity our whole lifes.This was just another bump in the road. It would have been great to have a family business and all work together, and we may have opportunities in the near future to do so.
By the end of the finale, my husband was certain that you knew what was going on. I say you had no idea. Who’s right?
As soon as the check was ripped and I said “What!”, the next words from my mouth were, “This is a reality show” (of course you didn’t hear that).
What will you do with the $200,000 that you received?
I think that by the time I pay all the taxes for the $200,000, $100,000 dollar vacation, and the $40,000 for the kitchen I don’t know how much will be left. I would like to have enough to pay off my credit card bills.
Mr. Sanford, I wish you and your family the very best! It’s nice to actually see some ‘real’ people on a reality show, and I know that viewers were impressed with all of you. Thanks again for your time!
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