In 2009, Pawn Stars premiered its very first season on the History Channel. Who would have thought that it would be such a big hit? Even though things are going well for the show, not everything is going right for one of the stars on the show. Is Chumlee okay?
The Star Of The Show
Based in Las Vegas, the show simply would not be this funny if it was not for this one cast member of the show. Chumlee, whose real name is Austin Lee Russell, is always a riot. This happens thanks to his great comedic timing, funny antics, and awesome jokes.
Not The Best Student In High School
Let us take a look at the younger years of his life. This Nevada native was not a very good student back then. In reality, he was not someone you would consider an academically-inclined child.
He Never Graduated
When he was still in high school, he often paid other students to work on his homework for him. After some time in school, he knew that it was not for him and dropped out. We doubt others were surprised.
The Story Behind It
It was not only his academic issues that made school tough for him. His nickname was another thing he had to deal with. Chumlee might sound harmless, but the truth is that it was not made out of goodwill.
Cute Nickname But Cruel Intentions
Do you know cartoons from the ‘60s? If you do, maybe you have seen Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales. On the show, there was a fat walrus called Chumley. It’s who they named Chumlee after!
Friends From Childhood
The good thing is that he did not have to deal with it on his own. There was a childhood friend of his who stayed by his side no matter what: Corey Harrison. Together, they now star in a show of their own.
A Friendship With Employment Benefits
In the past, the two young men liked to pass the time by hanging out at Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. Rick Harrison, Corey’s father, was the owner. Chumlee started working at the shop by the time he was 21.
Not What He Expected
When you work at a pawn shop, there is a need to be precise about certain things. However, the truth is that it often involves menial work more than anything else. In reality, this is not at all a fabulous career.
Five Short Years Later
It was 5 years after he started to work at Gold & Silver that the show finally went up on air. It seems like he started to like his job much better now that they were cameras ready to capture his every move.
Can’t Help It
It was a good thing that the show was a huge hit! In fact, each new season was even more popular than the one that came before it. Chumlee became known for his penchant for cracking jokes.
Not The Best Buys
He was interested in rap, video games, pinball, and sneakers. You can easily tell this just by watching the show because he often targeted things like that. Even though they are indeed interesting objects, they did not always translate to good financial business decisions.
Making Many Mistakes
Aside from that, Chumlee was prone to making various silly mistakes. They say that this is not just for the cameras as this also happened before Pawn Stars was even a thing. Do you want an example? There was once when he rested a stand-up bass against a shelf. It fell and shattered. It cost them $20,000!
Popularity For His Mishaps
These mishaps are the reason the other members of the cast like to poke fun at him. You will be able to see why when you watch Pawn Stars. Things like this happen regularly on the show. Some might even say that this is the reason Chumlee is a favorite among followers of the show.
Quite The Popular Guy
He received so much attention at the beginning of the show that he needed to hire the services of a bodyguard. This was the case when the team did public appearances. This proves that he made it big!
Enjoying The Fame
He actually quite liked the attention they gave him, at least in the beginning. He worked with a personal assistant to make a brand of personalized merch. Soon enough, the other stars decided to do this too.
Despite the fact that they did the same thing, Chumlee was the person who made the biggest sales. We are not surprised to hear this since he is the most popular cast member. He also invested in his very own candy business on the Vegas strip.
Quite The Private Person
He is not at all the sort of person who would boast about how much money he has in his bank account. However, we do know that he made $155k after selling his Gold & Silver shares to Rick Harrison in 2010.
Surprisingly Business Minded
Why did he do such a thing? Well, Chumlee actually wanted to focus more on his merchandise line. Even though many people know him for his bumbling ways, he is actually full of business sense.
Time To Make A Change
Aside from this, Chumlee also began to show an interest in self-improvement. It all begun after a tragedy happened in his life, just two weeks before Pawn Stars went on the air. Let us find out what happened to his father back then.
A Healthier Lifestyle
In 2009, Chumlee’s father died after a battle with pancreatic cancer. We all know that Chumlee did not have a very healthy lifestyle. After his father died, he decided that it was time to change his lifestyle.
The Mind And Soul
There were a number of things that he did to achieve such a goal. Not only did he exercise daily and eat healthier, but he also practiced yoga and went to the gym. He is a huge meditation and mindfulness fan as well. These things are good for the mind and soul.
Taking The Necessary Steps
He had a solid plan when it comes to achieving his goal. He hit the gym almost every day, chugged fruit smoothies each morning, and removed red meat from his diet. Are you ready to see the result?
Chumlee went through an intense health plan, and we are very glad to hear that all of it paid off in the end. Perhaps you should also do the same thing if you want to take good care of yourself.
Healthy And Happy
From 2012 to 2013, he managed to pull off such an incredible transformation. Can you believe it? We think it is nothing short of impressive that he did this in such a short period of time!
A Major Change
Do you want us to be specific about the amount of weight he shed? Chumlee managed to lose 75 pounds! We are happy to report that he does not just look healthier. He also looks much happier!
Turning His Life Around
Do you want to hear what Chumlee liked best about losing extra pounds? It is not that he could now fit into his old shirts. The answer is that he could finally go on the hovercraft, which he has long dreamt of.
Around this time, he began to go out with Tanya Hyjazi. She is a chef at the STACK Restaurant & Bar at the Mirage Casino. Aren’t you happy that the two of them found happiness in one another? Aside from living a healthier life, he has also been strengthening his life relationships.
Finally, the time came for Chumlee to finally propose! Can you imagine how happy that day must have been for both of them? They first celebrated the good news at the Royal Hawaiian Resort. They also celebrated with their friends at the Andiamo Italian Steakhouse.
The Whole Gang
The party was attended by the closest friends and family members of the couple. Of course, there was no way Rick and Harrison, his good friends and Pawn Stars co-stars, would be absent during the event.
Where Things Went Wrong
It sounds like everything was going right for him, so what could have possibly gone wrong? As big of a shock it might have been, the first red flag came to light in March 2016.
All Charges Were Dropped
That was the time that he was considered a suspect in a sexual assault case. Even worse, the victim was also an employee at the shop. Yikes. However, it was dropped later on because of insufficient evidence.
Just The Beginning
Even though it was a relief to hear that, this was not the last and only time he found himself in hot water. It turns out that Chumlee would get into more trouble not long after this happened.
The Results Of A Police Raid
It happened because they raided the house that he was living in. They found nothing helpful to the case they were looking into, but they did find a number of things that should not have been there…
Illegal Substances Abound
Are you ready to hear what the police found in his house? They discovered a gun, marijuana, and crystal meth there. The police had more than enough reason to take a closer look at Chumlee.
Even More Incriminating Things
After this, the police returned to conduct a second raid. They found more contraband items there. They actually saw 11 firearms! This should be fine if they were registered. Unfortunately, 7 of these were not.
That was not all, sadly. They turned up more drugs in his belongings. Not just that, but the police also found evidence of cocaine use! Of course, they had no choice but to apprehend Chumlee.
At The Very Least
A couple of months after this, Chumlee was dealing with 20 different felony counts. Uh-oh. While it is not really the best thing ever, we bet he was glad they did not find substantial evidence.
The good thing is that they did not have any reason to believe that he used the firearms for illegal matters. Why is that? For one thing, he would have in more trouble if that was the case.
Justice Being Served
What was the verdict of the case? Well, Chumlee pleaded guilty to unlawful weapons possession, drug possession, and attempted misdemeanor. He did this to avoid serving prison time. He was only placed on probation for a year.
The Worst Is Behind Him
If he behaves properly in this period of time, the only thing that will appear on his record would be the charge of attempted misdemeanor. Aside from that, they also made him take mandatory counseling.
A Rough Patch
From the way things look, Chumlee might finally get things back on track. Still, there was a chance that this scandal would ruin his career. We are glad to report that it did not seem to impact it negatively!
A Hard Year
At the end of the year 2016, Chumlee finally talked about everything that he was going through at the time. At long last, Chumlee acknowledged that he had quite a rough time during that year.
Thanking His Supporters
Chumlee also took the opportunity to talk about how thankful he was for the support of his fans during such a difficult period. If it were not for them, he said that he would not have gotten through that.
Chumlee took to Instagram to post this photo. The caption read, “I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to all my amazing fans that come and see me daily at @chums_candy – Thank you all for all the amazing love you show me”.
The Fate Of Pawn Stars
Let us see what happened to our favorite show, Pawn Stars. Around that time, the grapevine had plenty of things to say about its status. The fans just wanted to know if it was going to be renewed or canceled.
Back To Normal
You do not have to worry about the reality TV series because it is here to stay. Chumlee fans, rejoice! He is still on the cast. Hopefully, everything will return to normal soon because his probation is almost over.
We bet you would be interested to hear that did go on a hiatus from Pawn Stars when he was dealing with legal matters. He chose to use that time as an opportunity to improve himself as much as possible.
Aside from that, Pawn Stars is doing better than okay. It recently celebrated the 500th episode of the show! Here was what Chumlee said about it on Instagram: “Come celebrate our 500th episode Monday night on History [channel]. This is something we could not have done without you!!!! Thank you!!!”.
Thanks To Chumlee
We really doubt that Pawn Stars would be this successful if it were not for his presence. A lot of people became fans after seeing Chumlee’s humor and personality. We cannot blame them for that at all!
Did you know that there are several spinoffs of the show launched by the History Channel? Here are 9 such shows: Pawn Queens, Harcore Pawn: Chicago, Pawn Stars Australia, Counting Cars, Pawn Stars UK, Pawn Stars: Pumped Up, Cajun Pawn Stars, Pawnography, and Hardcore Pawn.
Money, Money, Money
Aren’t you glad to hear that our favorite reality TV star is doing very well? He has earned a lot of money with his businesses, appearances, and contract on the show. He was able to afford this Las Vegas mansion worth $1.5 million! The pool itself looks like it is worth the money he paid for it.
Back And Better Than Ever
We can only hope that he can return to his happy old self in no time at all. The reality TV star has made a lot of errors over the years. However, we are sure that he has learned from all his mistakes in the past.
A Stable Life
These days, Chumlee makes sure to improve himself in any way possible. Do you think his improvement happened thanks to his dog and wife? We all know that stability is useful for moments like that.
If you want to see Chumlee some more, all you have to do is watch Pawn Stars. Apart from the show, he is also busy with his businesses. There is no doubt that he will go on to do more things in the future.
You might not be aware of this, but “Pawn Stars” is actually the number-two most-watched reality show in North America! “Jersey Shore” used to be in the number one spot, followed by “Pawn Stars” and it still stands strong in second place.
Had To Hire New Employees
As it turns out, the fan-favorites of “Pawn Stars” can’t actually serve as real employees behind the counter anymore. Why? Because of strict privacy laws. Seeing as they became so famous, fans and tourists are always coming into the store to take pictures of them, which puts the privacy of whoever is at the counter at risk.
PBS did a special on the pawnshop, causing the business to soar, of course. Rick started to consider the idea of doing a reality show after this. At first, HBO expressed interest and developed a pilot as well, but their focus was on the negative aspects of the shop. As one would expect, the employees didn’t want that kind of show to air. The show ended up with The History Channel but took off in a completely different direction.
They Hired Help
Since their rise to fame, Corey and Chumlee hired their very own personal assistants. Corey once said, “I do a lot of desert racing. My assistant empties out the septic tank of the trailer when I go! It’s a little weird asking somebody to do that for you.” At least he’s being honest about the work!
Seeing as Corey and Chumlee have been friends for so long, Corey has plenty of embarrassing stories about his buddy. One of them goes into more detail about the bass incident. What happened from Corey’s point of view was that after a customer came in to pawn a stand-up bass, Chumlee leaned it against a shelf and walked away. Accidentally, the bass fell and shattered to pieces. Chumlee put the pieces in a box with the pawn number written on it. When the man came to pick it up, he opened the box and saw the remains of the bass. Naturally, “He started freaking out,” Corey said. “He pawned it for $700, and it ended up costing us $20,000 because it was rare.” Chumlee was so embarrassed by this he had no explanation to give.
Other Business Ventures
If you’re a fan of “Pawn Stars”, you might know about Rick and the fact that he’s always been an ambitious entrepreneur. At one point, he even purchased a Quizno’s Sub franchise! Corey and Chumlee ran the shop together, but eventually, it didn’t work out. The team is now hilariously known for their love of Subway sandwiches.
Adam, Corey’s brother, used to work at the pawnshop as well, only it didn’t last very long. He wasn’t interested in appearing on the show. Not to mention, he didn’t want to dedicate his entire career to working at the pawnshop. Now he works as a plumber for his full-time career, so I wouldn’t plan to see him too much.
The stars of the show are known for doing silly and sometimes downright questionable things on-screen. Chumlee did one of the most dangerous things on the show; he tested out a blunderbuss, an old type of gun. He said, “A flame shot out, and I did get burned up my arm.” We hope he learned a lesson from this experience!
Originally, the hit TV show was meant to have a different name! “Pawn Stars” was initially signed on to be titled “Pawning History”, until an employee at the production company suggested the title of the show to what we know it as today. In our opinion, “Pawn Stars” is much better.
“Pawn Stars” isn’t only popular in the United States. In fact, it has become an internationally-adored TV show now. Currently, it’s airing in dozens of countries all around the world, including countries like Singapore and Serbia. In Germany, the show is called “Die Drei vom Pfandhaus”, which translates to, “The Three of the Pawnshop”.
Various Tastes In Entertainment
Chumlee has a wide array of TV shows he absolutely cannot live without. He never misses the newest episodes of “Broadwalk Empire”, “Sons of Anarchy” and “Breaking Bad”. On the other hand, Rick has a completely different outlook on the way he wants to spend his free time. Instead of sitting in front of a TV, he would rather be reading. “Television is so mind-numbing to me,” he boldly stated, for someone who stars on a TV show himself.
Bon Jovi Loves Them
It’s not every day that you become a big enough celebrity that Bon Jovi and his family request to meet you! Jon Bon Jovi once requested to meet the famous “Pawn Stars” crew backstage at one of his concerts. They went to the meet and greet for the band since Bon Jovi’s kids are huge fans of the show. Chumlee said, “He gave us front row tickets. That was pretty cool. When does Bon Jovi personally invite you to his show?”
No Longer Welcome In Public
Ever since the show aired on television, Rick mentioned that he often gets kicked out from plenty of garage sales and swap meets because people are worried he’ll catch onto something that’s worth a lot of money. That, or he’ll find the skills to negotiate prices down as low as possible. He said that as soon as people recognize him, they usually take away the items he has his eye on.
Chumlee Loves Shoes
Aside from his candy shop and working at the pawnshop, Chumlee has another side hobby. It’s nothing you’d expect of him, really. Chumlee absolutely loves collecting shoes. In fact, he owns over 200 pairs of shoes, and his collection just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
The Show Impedes On Business
While shooting an episode, the cast of the show needs to close down the store, and a lot of the time they end up losing a lot of business due to these delays. Not only does filming the show get in the way of interacting with customers and making business sales, but thanks to the high popularity of the series combined with the amounts of tourists and fans visiting Las Vegas, most of the people that go into the pawnshop aren’t there to actually buy or sell anything. They’re only there in hopes of meeting the stars.