When guessing the final puzzle with just four letters on the board got tough for “Wheel of Fortune” contestant Autumn Erhard, she thought of what else was tough in her life.
“I knew it was ‘tough,’” Erhard said today on “Good Morning America” of the first word in the puzzle. “I was just like, ‘What could be tough? What could be tough?’ I workout. A workout.”
Putting those two words – “tough” and “workout” – together and saying them aloud to “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak made the 30-year-old from Laguna Niguel, Calif., a millionaire.
“It felt like I was in a dream. It was so surreal,” Erhard said. “It felt like I kind of blacked out.”
With the win on last Thursday’s show, Erhard became only the second contestant in the show’s history to win the $1 million prize. To win the money, Erhard had to land on the one million dollar grand prize wedge during the show, solve that puzzle, make it to the Bonus Round without hitting bankrupt, spin the wheel and land on the million-dollar card (the bonus wheel has 24 slots with prize cards) and then solve the final puzzle in the Bonus Round.
Erhard’s big win came last Thursday, May 30, during the show’s “Celebrating 30″ theme week to celebrate the game show’s 30th season. She was a part of the week because she is 30 years old.
Though the show aired last week, it was actually filmed in February, meaning Erhard had to keep her secret from family and friends for more than three months. Her parents and her fiance, who were present in the audience, were the only people who knew she won.
“When we would get together Sundays for dinner we’d be able to talk about it, let it out,” she said of the stress of keeping her win a secret.
Now that the secret is out, Erhard, an animal pharmaceutical sales rep, can plan her wedding to her fiancé, Joey, with a new budget in mind.
“There’s a lot less stress,” she said. “We definitely want to travel a bit and just kind of prepare for life and kids.”