SUNTREE, Fla. - After months of struggling to keep the secret, Jean Opheim was able to share with her friends that she won the gameshow "Wheel of Fortune."
In her crowded living room Wednesday night, the Suntree woman watched herself complete three out of four puzzles. After correctly guessing the phrase "barely enough" in a bonus round, she won a total of about $55,350, including a trip to St. Lucia, a Caribbean island.
Opheim, 53, has been a fan of the show for at least 30 years, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported. Her path to playing on "Wheel" began in 2012, when her husband entered her as a contestant online. She did a video interview and an in-person interview in Tampa.
Opheim, who has three children and two grandkids, found out in February she would be in the Mother's Day edition of the show. They filmed the show in California on February 28, but she wasn't permitted to tell people what she won until it aired this week. Then it was all laughter and hugs and champagne.
The win came at a fortunate time -- Opheim's husband had been out of work for about 12 months, finding a job in Sarasota in January.
"Our luck has changed," she said.
They plan to use the money to buy a condo for her husband, pay off bills and maybe shop for a car for her 16-year-old daughter.
At their viewing party, Opheim gave away 0.1 percent of her winnings in the form of a Carrabas gift card for $55.35 to the guest who could most closely guess the amount she won on the show.
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