Wednesday, 05 June 2019 17:27

Hamlet native appears on 'Wheel of Fortune'

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Crystal Lovett, a Hamlet native, recently appeared on the TV gameshow "Wheel of Fortune," winning nearly $8,000 and a trip to Barbados. Crystal Lovett, a Hamlet native, recently appeared on the TV gameshow "Wheel of Fortune," winning nearly $8,000 and a trip to Barbados. Photo Credit: Carol Kaelson

CULVER CITY, Calif. — Fans of the long-running show "Wheel of Fortune" may have noticed that a Richmond County native was spinning the wheel and answering puzzles Monday night in Los Angeles.


Crystal Young Lovett was born at the hospital in Scotland County but spent her entire life in Hamlet up until 2012 when she and her husband Pete moved to Franklinton, North Carolina, just outside of Raleigh. Looking for a change in her life, the two moved upstate where she is now a teacher assistant at Hilburn Academy.

Perhaps the biggest change in her life now is that Lovett is $7,850 richer and will be taking a seven-day trip to Barbados next year after winning on the TV gameshow.

Although the episode aired Monday night, it was taped back on March 29 under the bright lights at Sony Pictures Studios.

"It was great," Lovett said of her trip. "That was my first time going to LA. Me and my husband went to Santa Monica and the Hollywood Walk of Fame."

Lovett admitted that she was very nervous before and while the show was taping; something most people must endure because she said host Pat Sajak and Vanna White were very accommodating.

"Yes, I was nervous. Yes, it was my first time being on TV," said Lovett. "It was a dream come true. Everyone was so friendly. Everyone was trying to keep me calm to make sure I wasn't nervous."

Lovett said she had to keep reminding herself that she wasn't dreaming, especially after realizing she was on set with two people she'd watched on TV her whole life.

"I was like, 'this is for real.' Am I dreaming? I'm here with Pat and Vanna," she recalled. "They were really nice. Pat was like, 'Don't be nervous.'

"We got to actually see Vanna before the show when she got to the studio. During the show, during the other parts, we got to see her and she answered any questions people had."

As far as her trip to the Caribbean, Lovett said she'll have to schedule it but is hoping to wait until April of 2020 during her school's spring break so she won't miss work.

"You can call them. I can give them dates that I would like, and they'll set it up," she said. "I couldn't do anything until after the show aired. This lady that works with me said to feed the sea turtles. I just wanna enjoy the clear, blue water. I'm just gonna relax and enjoy the vacation with my husband."

Because the show was filmed back in March and didn't air until Monday night, Lovett had to be secretive about what happened and whether she won anything or not. Even from her own family.

"It was so hard. Everyone wanted to know how I did after the taping," said Lovett. "It was fun, that's all I could tell them. My momma asked, 'What did you win? I'm your mother.'

"I said, 'I know you're my mother, but I can't tell you.'"

Lovett filled in the blanks to the puzzle "It's warm and sunny year round" to win the trip to Barbados, but she wasn't done there. She also correctly answered all three of the toss-ups, "Romance and adventure," "Knitted sweater" and "Letting your hair down" to get her money number up.

"That was really special because even if you don't win, you get a $1,000 consolation prize," she said. "Winning was great, and I kept saying to myself, 'Don't let me go on the air and not win anything.'"

Lovett's son Ty, mother Barbara Young and father Joe Young all still live in Hamlet and have watched Crystal watch "Wheel of Fortune" her whole life.

"I always watch "Wheel," she joked. "I play if on the computer. My son says I'm cheating when I play on the computer."

No cheating was necessary, however, Monday night for Lovett.