Anne Hegerty has opened up about the extreme poverty she experienced before joining The Chase.
The quizmaster, 61, said she struggled to afford food while working as a freelance copy editor before her big break with the popular ITV game show.
She told The Sun on Sunday: "I was struggling, I was hungry, I was a freelance copy editor but had very little work. I had to go to Asda, it's the best supermarket if you're poor as they have a good basic range, Sainsbury's is for rich, posh people.
"I would take vouchers, do sums in my head just to get some eggs and bread or a tin of cheap Irish stew. I'd be starving and want two tins but couldn't afford it. The poorer you are the hungrier you feel."
One of the "worst moments", she recalled, came when she went to a Mastermind Club society event.
Having appeared on the game show in the '80s, Anne went to the meet-up at a pub in Manchester but ended up spending the evening "alone" and in "tears" because she didn't have enough money to buy herself a drink.
She said the experience was "dreadful" and admitted she doesn't know where she would be today without The Chase, as it "changed my life".
I would take vouchers, do sums in my head just to get some eggs and bread or a tin of cheap Irish stew.
Anne joined The Chase in 2010, after which her lifestyle was dramatically transformed.
She said it enabled her to settle her debts and pay off her mortgage, adding: "There are very few problems that money can't solve."
It's not the first time Anne has spoken about her past.
The trivia expert and former I'm A Celeb fave stunned fans in June when she revealed a little-known fact about her career - she once had children's books published, albeit under a different name.
"I actually once wrote two books under the name Richard Scarry," she said on Twitter. "With his permission, I should add. He couldn't do EVERYTHING himself. They were a bit rubbish and nobody bought them.
Explaining more about that previously unknown part of her career, she tweeted: "They were sticker books. The publishing firm I was working for had a licence to cannibalise Scarry books and use the art in other books - provided we cleared the new text and storylines with his son, Huck."
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