Jackie Siegel is a happily married mother of eight, pageant winner and multimillionaire who’s building the largest mansion in America, as seen in the acclaimed 2012 documentary The Queen of Versailles.
So why would she ever want to trade lives?
Siegel, 49, tells PEOPLE she agreed to go on Celebrity Wife Swap for the fun experience – and being paired with a former teen heartthrob, actor Jeremy London, 42, didn’t hurt.
Watch an exclusive clip of Wednesday’s episode, then keep reading for an exclusive Q&A with the Florida-based beauty.
What made you want to appear on Wife Swap? A lot of people wouldn’t trade your life for even a day!
Life is short. We must have fun and not take life too seriously. I have access to so much in my life, like flying where I want on our private jets, owning the Predators football team, being in our own private suite to having the craziness of raising eight children. It’s hard to outdo the stimulating everyday life that I have. So, when I was invited on Wife Swap, I thought it would be quite an amazing adventure! I had no idea where I was going or who I was going to live with for the week-long taping of the show. I was scared, but I wanted to do it. And my husband … he’s fun! He was excited about the Wife Swap as long as the new wife was beautiful. Of course, Wife Swap delivered!
A lot of women had a teenage crush on Jeremy London – what was it like being his "wife"?
When I saw the family picture and Jeremy London was in it, I was pleasantly surprised that it was the teenage heartthrob that I was paired up with for my husband! On the show, he was very tough on me during his wife’s rules: making me wear ugly overalls and no makeup, shoveling cow manure in my white and lynx fur coat, etc. But I was a trooper and discovered that he and his wife Juliet are truly amazing people, and I am so glad that we all became best friends in the end.
What most surprised you about the experience?
It was a complete life-changer. I enjoyed the experience and learned a lot, but most importantly you realize what really matters and it makes you miss what is important to you – your family, your husband, your children. At first it was very traumatizing. I had never been thrown into a situation like this one before! A farm! Really? I brought a bunch of furs and gowns with me … I totally packed wrong! Thank God I brought some Pucci rubber boots for the trekking through the cow pies!
How is Versailles coming along?
We are about two years away. It still seems so long away. My children are growing up faster than Versailles is being built. The function of a lot of the rooms in Versailles has changed with the needs of our family. For example, we no longer need a stage for puppet shows, so we are making it into a teenager hangout. And if you can believe this or not, I’ve decided to add on to Versailles. We are adding on a security guard house to have Versailles guarded with the best armed security and state-of-the-art surveillance. So, I guess that is a few more bedrooms and kitchens!
I’ve heard rumblings of a sequel to Queen of Versailles. Is another documentary or a series in the works?
Absolutely. We could not just end it there. We were blessed to have another chance and get back on our feet. My fans keep asking me what happened next and where we are now. I want to share it with everyone, but now after Wife Swap I’m focused on the Fireball Run. I’m racing to raise money to recover America’s missing children.
Celebrity Wife Swap airs Wednesdays (10 p.m. ET) on ABC.