An estimated average of 7.7m viewers watched musician Pete Bennett win Big Brother, overnight ratings suggest.
The 24-year-old, who has Tourette's syndrome, said he was "absolutely at the end of my tether in life" until he found fame on the Channel 4 show.
He went "bananas" before "a huge visit from my mate in heaven" - a friend who had died - had changed his outlook.
He beat Welsh lifeguard Glyn Wise and self-styled "ghetto girl" Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace to the £100,000 prize.
"Last year I went mad, a bit bananas," Pete said.
"I was completely, absolutely at the end of my tether in life, and all that.
"I had a huge visit from my mate in heaven. He came down and he showed me a huge spiral."
He went on: "Where I was, was hell. He showed me the only way to remember who I was was to go up the spiral.
"On the way I had got to go into Big Brother and win, and that's the only way."
He added that every part of his personality had "clicked back into place" during the series.
Asked if it being a contestant had been tough, he said "it was alright".
"It was up and down. If I was stressed out, I would twitch a lot," referring to the spasms and frequent swearing caused by his condition.
He had said previously that he would spend his prize money paying off his mother's mortgage.
She raised him as a single parent and provided one of the most emotional moments of the 13-week series when she sent Pete a letter expressing her pride in him.
Runner-up Glyn Wise admitted that being on Big Brother had completely changed his view of life as an 18-year-old in the Welsh town of Blaenau Ffestiniog.
"I just wanted everything to be Welsh but now I want to see the world and different people and everything like that."
On leaving the house he was told that he had secured a place at the University of Wales in Bangor.
He was given his exam results along with a message from the most senior politician in Wales, First Minister Rhodri Morgan, who described him as an "inspiration for other young people in Wales".
Glyn said he was now looking forward to university, adding that his ambition to be a teacher remained.
"I still want to teach Welsh to people who don't speak it so they can fit in more," he said.
Meanwhile an eviction interview with Nikki Grahame - the model who came in fifth place - had to be abandoned when she appeared unable to talk.
She left the house for the second time, having been voted back in a week ago in a twist which is being investigated by premium phone line watchdog Icstis.
It received complaints from viewers who said they had already paid to remove her for good, and therefore she should not have been involved in a further vote involving premium rate calls.
On Friday, Nikki - a model who has now been signed up as a presenter by E4 - was booed by sections of the crowd and appeared stunned by their reaction.
Programme presenter Davina McCall ended the interview when a dumbstruck Nikki asked if she could "just go and sit over there" with other housemates.