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Lottery winner hits baby jackpot

After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: Lottery winner hits baby jackpot
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The first time lady luck smiled on Joe Denette, he won a boatload of money.

The second time, the prize was even more amazing.

He and his wife, Meagan, became the parents of two babies, delivered during separate births, 100 days apart.

One was the result of planned medical intervention. The other came as a complete surprise.

"Both are 100 percent genetically our children," the mother said, adding: "It's a cool story."

It's made even more interesting by the fact that Joe's life had already changed dramatically in 2009. That's when he won $75.6 million in the Virginia Lottery.

Then, with Meagan by his side, he wanted a family—something he hadn't been ready for in his younger, wilder days.

When babies came at a rate neither could have imagined, his life was transformed even more.

"I guess you could say he's lucky and won again," she said.

'I want it now'

Joe was a laid-off construction worker, living in Spotsylvania County's Partlow area with his mother, when he splurged on 23 lottery tickets for the Mega Millions game in May 2009.

He was one of three winners to split a $225 million jackpot.

He could have spread the payments over 20 years, but worried the financially strapped government might tap into his win nings.

When it came to his money, he said: "I want it now." After taxes at payoff time and again the follow ing April 15, Joe got about $29 million, free and clear.

Joe had been married in his 20s but never had kids. He had a need for speed and was too wild to settle down—or stay in one place too long.

"Moss doesn't grow on a rolling stone," he said.

He was 47 when he won the lottery and decided he was ready for children.

He wanted to share his life with someone he al ready knew—not a woman who might be looking for a sugar daddy.

He'd known Meagan for several years, and when he saw her alone at a Fourth of July party, he gave her a call.

"I knew Meagan's values and everything like that," he said. "A lot of people are just looking for the money, and that's all."

Like Joe, she had lived from paycheck to paycheck and had to borrow money to make her car payment.

When they started dating, she was a single mother of two boys, living with her parents. He asked if she ever thought about more kids. He promised he'd take care of her the rest of her life.

Joe and Meagan married in November 2009. To this day, she makes it clear that he's the one who got the big check, not both of them.

She insisted on a prenuptial agreement—even though he didn't want one. It said she'd get a cash settlement and the house they were living in, if they were to divorce after a certain time.

"I never wanted him to think I was with him for the money," she said. "I wanted him to know I loved him for him."

Blue-collar roots

The couple—he's 51 and she's 37—lived in two subdi visions before they bought a more private home, on 17 acres, in Stafford County.

They're enjoying their newfound wealth.

He said it's nice not having to worry about getting up and going to work every day—or being stuck in traffic on Interstate 95.

He built an extra-large garage to hold his "sweet toys"—Mustangs and four– wheelers, golf carts and pick ups and a luxurious recre ational vehicle the family stays in when he goes to his beloved races.

Joe is part-owner of a NASCAR truck team, NTS Motorsports. In the pit area at race time, he rubs elbows with guys he used to watch on TV, like Kyle Bush.

Kevin Harvick and Ron Hornaday drive his team's Chevy Silverados.

Meagan collects oil paint ings of the icon she's always adored: Mickey Mouse. She has a whole Disney series by Thomas Kinkade.

She happily shows off the spacious in-ground pool out back that's so big, the pool company is sending two crews to open it for the season. It has a diving board, slide and areas where adults tan and kiddies splash.

The Denettes seem to be managing their money better than many lottery winners, who end up divorced, desti tute or worse. A Texas man committed suicide less than two years after he won $31 million, as his spending and lending spiraled out of con trol.

Joe paid off the houses of Meagan's parents and his mother. He also bought his mom a car and pays her bills. And, he set up two of Meagan's brothers in busi ness—with a children's gym and a car dealership.

He put his money into investments and annuities, then set up a spending plan with a financial counselor.

"We're on a budget our selves," he said, grinning. "If you sit there and constantly spend and don't have any money coming in, you're gonna be broke."

Plus, the two haven't for gotten their blue-collar roots. He painted all the bedrooms in their home, which is roomy and has wonderfully high ceilings and hardwood floors, but is hardly a McMansion.

She shops for the best prices online and stocks up during sales. To prove her point, she goes to the dining room, where 19 cases of diapers are stacked in the corner.

The Denettes have been featured in People magazine and on several TV programs about how lottery winners handle their money.

Meagan told one celebrity interviewer that she still uses coupons, especially for things like baby formula.

Barbara Walters laughed and asked why in the world she would do that.

"Because that's the way I was raised," Meagan said.

'Just hire somebody'

Meagan has two children from previous relationships. Hunter is 13, and Joe adopted him. Aidan, who's 9, lives in Japan with his father and spends summers with the Denettes.

Soon after their marriage, the newlyweds started their quest to conceive, but needed assistance.

She took fertility shots, then had four in-vitro fertil ization treatments before she got pregnant.

It was a rough nine months. She spent a lot of time sick and on bed rest.

Soon after Bentley Austin was born on Feb. 25, 2011, the parents started talking about a sibling for their new son.

Meagan's doctor told her her body couldn't handle another pregnancy. She had a lot of scar tissue from the three cesarean sections.

"Why don't you just hire somebody?" the doctor sug gested. "It's not like you can't afford it."

The Denettes contacted an agency in California, which located a "gestational carrier" in Richmond. The couple paid the woman $25,000 for what Meagan described as "use of her oven."

"Just her uterus, that's all we needed," she said.

Doctors combined Mea gan's egg and Joe's sperm, and implanted them in the carrier.

It was a good thing the match took, Meagan said, because she had only one viable egg at the time.

She'd had five miscarriages in the past, and she learned she might be going into early menopause as a result of the fertility treatments.

"They told me not to worry about birth control," she said.

'It was a total shocker'

The Denettes were on vacation at the Outer Banks with their extended families and their gestational carrier, who was five months preg nant. She was carrying a girl, and Joe and Meagan were thrilled.

Meagan had missed two cycles and thought she'd better take a pregnancy test. She didn't think for a minute that she was pregnant; she just wanted to rule it out.

When she saw the lines, confirming that she was with child, she couldn't believe it.

"It was a total shocker," she said.

The couple was nervous and scared, worried what the pregnancy might hold. There was also the issue of how they'd cope with three babies born in just over two years.

Meagan was five months pregnant herself when she and Joe went to the hospital to welcome Brooklyn Paige, who was born Dec. 4, 2012.

Meagan was seeing a doc tor every few days, because she was a high-risk patient, and getting weekly shots to prevent a miscarriage.

Several times after Brook lyn's birth, the doctor asked Meagan when she was going to hire some help at home.

Meagan finally conceded and hired Caitlin Dodd to be the children's nanny.

Meagan and Caitlin went way back. Meagan was 12 when she started baby-sit ting Caitlin, who was a chubby six-month-old and clearly Daddy's girl.

Caitlin joined the family when Brooklyn was one month old.

"I was six months preg nant, taking care of a new born who's eating every two hours, with a kid inside me who wouldn't stop kicking and two kids at home," Meagan said. "I just needed hands-on help."

She gave birth to Hudson Kane on March 14. His middle name is a nod to one of Joe's favorite NASCAR drivers, Kasey Kahne.

Even with everything going on at the time, Meagan's fourth pregnancy was rela tively easy compared to the previous one.

Joe clearly is comfortable with feeding and diapering the three babies. He loves being a pal to Bentley and can't wait to take him fishing, and spends equal time cooing to Brooklyn and Hudson.

Meagan said she feels the same bond with the boys she carried as the baby girl that another woman delivered.

"I guess I wasn't made to have girls," she said. "We had to send out for that."

'This one's a good one'

Hunter, the oldest child, laughs at the way the size of the family exploded in such a short time.

"I like it," he said.

He's the first to say his parents don't spoil him, even though they can afford to. In fact, they "say no a lot" when he asks for things.

He has the same electronic devices as most other kids— but with rules. Recently, after he brought home a C on his report card, Hunter lost the use of his phone.

There's no doubt that money changed Hunter's life, too, but even at 13, he can see benefits beyond Disney cruises and beach vacations.

"I was happy that I had a dad I could keep," Hunter said. "I've had three dads, and this one's a good one."

Joe and Meagan agreed, hands down, that their family changed their lives more than winning the lottery ever could.

"Money can be here today and gone tomorrow," Joe said. "But your family is here all the time."

Still, Meagan admits it's awfully nice not having to worry about everyday ex penses, like where your next box of diapers is coming from. She's got 19 cases, stacked in the dining room.

Thanks to hearsetrax for the tip.

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18 comments. Last comment 4 years ago by helpmewin.
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maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
Massachusetts
United States
Member #37433
April 14, 2006
2747 Posts
Offline
Posted: April 14, 2013, 3:00 pm - IP Logged

I remember reading this story about this NASCAR enthusiast hitting the JP. I am happy for him that he found love and joy and freedom from this hellish life of paycheck to paycheck.

That money's gone fo ever

    noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
    Bay Area - California
    United States
    Member #136477
    December 12, 2012
    4108 Posts
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    Posted: April 14, 2013, 3:40 pm - IP Logged

    I remember reading this story about this NASCAR enthusiast hitting the JP. I am happy for him that he found love and joy and freedom from this hellish life of paycheck to paycheck.

    Do not recall this story, but l can see how the win changed his life.

    All the best with the added family and nice reading that his watching his money grow.

     

    Paycheck to paycheck sucks. Bang Head

      dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
      Oklahoma
      United States
      Member #82391
      November 12, 2009
      6290 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: April 14, 2013, 3:52 pm - IP Logged

      Congratulation to the Denette familyHurray!

      I Love Pink & Green 1908

        maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
        Massachusetts
        United States
        Member #37433
        April 14, 2006
        2747 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: April 14, 2013, 4:08 pm - IP Logged

        Do not recall this story, but l can see how the win changed his life.

        All the best with the added family and nice reading that his watching his money grow.

         

        Paycheck to paycheck sucks. Bang Head

        I'm a semi-dinosaur at LP lol

        That money's gone fo ever

          DC81's avatar - batman39
          MI
          United States
          Member #54830
          August 31, 2007
          985 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: April 14, 2013, 4:21 pm - IP Logged

          I remember that story too, remembered who this was before I even got to the racing mention.

          You can't predict random.

            psykomo's avatar - animal shark.jpg

            United States
            Member #4877
            May 30, 2004
            5121 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: April 14, 2013, 5:54 pm - IP Logged

            Congratulation to the Denette familyHurray!

            DCBF:

            I Agree!  CONGRATULATION's to the Denette family White Bounce

            Baby Jackpot>>>better<no jackpot$$

                                 Hurray!DanceDrumDanceHurray!

              Avatar
              wisconsin
              United States
              Member #130754
              July 23, 2012
              198 Posts
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              Posted: April 14, 2013, 6:26 pm - IP Logged

              $29 millions buys a lot of diapers. Good luck to them.

                maximumfun's avatar - Lottery-030.jpg
                Lavender Rocket

                United States
                Member #124616
                March 16, 2012
                2642 Posts
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                Posted: April 14, 2013, 8:00 pm - IP Logged

                19 cases of diapers.  yikes.  im still trying to wrap my mind around that...

                  HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                  United States
                  Member #72448
                  March 18, 2009
                  1228 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: April 15, 2013, 12:23 am - IP Logged

                  Jeez, sounds like Joe and Meagan Danette think alike.  They are selfish people for refusing to acknowledge huge overpopulation problems in their own country and all other countries.  They easily could have adopted one or two children -- from hundreds of thousands -- who desperately need someone to care for them!  Instead, Meagan decided to do something that might have injured or killed herself, plus abandon her children.

                  What?

                  Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

                  Disney

                    Piaceri's avatar - sarsony1
                    Republic of Texas
                    United States
                    Member #57557
                    January 9, 2008
                    1095 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: April 15, 2013, 2:12 pm - IP Logged

                    Great story about a lovely and growing family! Congrats on their fortunes.

                    face

                    singlewinnersinglewinnersinglewinner   

                      Avatar
                      Seattle, Washington
                      United States
                      Member #121153
                      January 3, 2012
                      120 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: April 15, 2013, 7:19 pm - IP Logged

                      Nice; a good story about lottery winners.  Honestly, I get so tired of reading of Dave Edmonds types who blow through their winnings like drunken sailors...


                        United States
                        Member #130815
                        July 25, 2012
                        1636 Posts
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                        Posted: April 15, 2013, 8:50 pm - IP Logged

                        Jeez, sounds like Joe and Meagan Danette think alike.  They are selfish people for refusing to acknowledge huge overpopulation problems in their own country and all other countries.  They easily could have adopted one or two children -- from hundreds of thousands -- who desperately need someone to care for them!  Instead, Meagan decided to do something that might have injured or killed herself, plus abandon her children.

                        What?

                        Its not so easy to adopt when you have millions of dollars...people will string you along with kids sometimes...Im just glad the surrogate didnt do that to them...its always heartbreaking to hear those stories

                          dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                          Oklahoma
                          United States
                          Member #82391
                          November 12, 2009
                          6290 Posts
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                          Posted: April 16, 2013, 12:55 pm - IP Logged

                          DCBF:

                          I Agree!  CONGRATULATION's to the Denette family White Bounce

                          Baby Jackpot>>>better<no jackpot$$

                                               Hurray!DanceDrumDanceHurray!

                          I just told my hubby I wanted a another baby he said get off LP...Green laugh

                          I Love Pink & Green 1908

                            Saylorgirl's avatar - Lottery-065.jpg
                            Indiana
                            United States
                            Member #129225
                            June 13, 2012
                            546 Posts
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                            Posted: April 17, 2013, 2:22 pm - IP Logged

                            That is indeed a lovely story!!  Congratulations to the entire family!