The History Channel first started airing Pawn Stars in 2009. Since then, it has only gained more and more fans! However, it seems like things have been a little rough for one of the stars on the show. What exactly is going on in Chumlee’s personal and public affairs?
The Star Of The Show
Based in Las Vegas, the show owes its incredible success to funny members of the cast. Among them, we have to thank Austin Lee “Chumlee” Russell! This guy is full of life and knows how to make everyone laugh when the cameras are rolling or not.
Not The Best Student In High School
Before we can dig even deeper into this story, you should first know that he did not have the smoothest childhood ever. To be specific, Chumlee was not a very good student. He did not really do well in school.
He Never Graduated
When he was still in high school, he often just paid other students to finish his homework for him! We bet no one who knew him back then was surprised to hear when he finally decided to just drop out.
The Story Behind It
There was more to the story than just that, however. Let us take a closer look at his nickname. Even though it might sound like a cute name, they did not start calling him that to pay him a compliment.
Cute Nickname But Cruel Intentions
The truth is that they started to call him this as a reference to a character from a ‘60s cartoon called Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales. The stout walrus below was called Chumley. Ouch. That must have hurt!
Friends From Childhood
We are glad to hear that he at least had a friend that he could always rely on ever since he was a kid. We are, of course, talking about Corey Harrison! The two ended up joining the set of Pawn Stars side by side, of course.
A Friendship With Employment Benefits
When they were younger, they spent a lot of time at the store owned by Corey’s father Rick. There were perks to the friendship between them! When Chumlee was 21 years old, he managed to find employment by working at the shop!
Not What He Expected
Even though the job comes with certain tasks that require precision, the bulk of the job is simply menial work. It is not going to be the first thing you think of when you are asked to imagine a glamorous job!
Five Short Years Later
Chumlee landed himself a sweet gig five years after his employment at Gold & Silver began. He found himself on the small screen with everyone else on the team! It looks like he enjoys working with the cameras on him.
Can’t Help It
The show started to earn more fame and success as the show got renewed again and again. He became known for providing comic relief. He was the one who likes to crack jokes and make people laugh!
Not The Best Buys
His interests include pinball, sneakers, rap, and video games. Often times, he targeted objects that had to do with these things. Even though we agree that he turns up some fascinating stuff, they do not always translate to smart financial decisions.’
Making Many Mistakes
He became known for his tendency to make silly mistakes on the show. Apparently, this was nothing new! He did this before they even filmed the show. Once, he left a stand-up bass standing against a shelf. It then fell and shattered into pieces. It cost the shop a jaw-dropping amount of $20,000.
Popularity For His Mishaps
The other cast members enjoy teasing him for mistakes like that. If you watch Pawn Stars, perhaps you have noticed just how often moments like that happen on the show. On the bright side, it sure seems like fans love him all the more for it.
Quite The Popular Guy
Did you know that he apparently got so much attention that he needed to get a bodyguard in the beginning? They were there when the cast appeared in public. This is definitely a sign that Chumlee has made it big. Sweet!
Enjoying The Fame
Initially, he liked being the center of attention. He even had a personal assistant with whom he started his very own line of personalized merch. The other cast members decided to follow in his footsteps too!
However, the rest had not seen as much success with the merchandise as he did. This is enough indication that he was truly the most popular among them. He also opened his own candy shop on the Vegas strip.
Quite The Private Person
However, he was not really the kind of person who talks about how much money he makes. What we do know is that he got $155k when he ended up selling half of his Gold & Silver shares to Rick back in 2010.
Surprisingly Business Minded
He made this decision because he wanted to focus on his merch. It seems like he is not entirely a bumbler no matter how he might seem on the show. He clearly has business sense!
Time To Make A Change
That was not the only change he made in his life. Chumlee also began to show an interest in self-improvement. Only two weeks before the show went on air, his dad passed away after combating pancreatic cancer. He died at the age of 54. Russell was not healthy whatsoever, so he decided to turn his life around for the better by improving his diet and exercise regimen.
Taking The Necessary Steps
He actually had a great plan on how to go about this task. He started going to the gym six days out of seven, gulping down fruit smoothies in the morning, and avoiding red meat. Let us see the results!
The intense health plan led to a jaw-dropping transformation. If you want to start living a healthier life, it might be a good idea to do the same thing. After all, he underwent a huge change after some time!
Healthy And Happy
His unbelievable transformation happened between 2012 and 2013. Yes, he lost that much weight in that amount of time! To be specific, he shed 75 pounds overall. We are happy to see that he does not only look healthier but also seems happier!
Turning His Life Around
This has given him the opportunity to finally hop aboard the hovercraft he wanted! He used to be too heavy for it. He also started to date Tanya Hyjazi then. She works as a chef at the STACK Restaurant & Bar at the Mirage Casino.
Just recently, the two of them got engaged. He asked her the question at last and gave her a nice big ring. The two celebrated at The Royal Hawaiian Resort. They also celebrated with their pals in the Andiamo Italian Steakhouse in Las Vegas.
Where Things Went Wrong
Now that we know these things, it might come as a shock to hear that things started to fall apart for him. Apparently, the first sign of trouble occurred in March of 2016. What happened?
All Charges Were Dropped
That was when he was considered as a suspect in a sexual assault investigation! What’s worse is that the charges had been filed by another shop employee. In the end, it was dropped for insufficient evidence.
Just The Beginning
Even though it could have gone worse for him, this was not the last of his problems with the law. It almost feels like he could not stay out trouble. Why? Well, he ended up getting charged again!
The Results Of A Police Raid
This time, they raided his home and found certain objects in his home. It led to more problems! While the authorities did not see anything related to the case, they did find a number of other things there.
Illegal Substances Abound
They discovered a gun, marijuana, and crystal meth in the house! You can imagine why these things would raise some red flags for the police officers. They now knew to keep an eye on the TV personality.
Even More Incriminating Things
They conducted another raid of the house and found more contraband items in there. In particular, they found 11 firearms on the property. This would not be an issue if they were all registered, but they were not.
Aside from this, they found drugs again and some evidence of cocaine use. We are sure that you can guess what happened after this. That’s right, they decided that there was nothing to do but to arrest him.
At The Very Least
After a couple of months, Chumlee was facing 20 different felony counts. Wow. Even though it is not really a consolation prize, they did not find evidence that he used the firearms for anything illegal. If that had been otherwise, he was going to be in even more hot water!
Justice Being Served
He decided to plead guilty to drug possession, unlawful weapons possession, and drug possession. Chumlee did this so that he can get out of spending time in prison. He also received a probation period of one year.
The Worst Is Behind Him
If he finishes the period without breaking any of the rules, the misdemeanor charge is the only thing that will appear on his record. Apart from that, he also needs to go to counseling, which isn’t such a bad deal. Let’s hope he behaves during his time!
Thanking His Supporters
Did you think the scandal would end his career? We’ll have you know that the answer to this is a resounding ‘no’. During a follow-up interview at the end of 2016, he said that it had been a rough year for him. However, he still expressed how thankful he was for the support of his fans during that time.
He posted this photo on Instagram and wrote this in the caption: “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. Come see me this weekend”.
The Fate Of Pawn Stars
But what was next for Pawn Stars? In those days, there had been plenty of speculation surrounding the show. Was it going to get renewed or discontinued? Everyone wanted to know the answer to this.
Back To Normal
We bet you would be glad to hear that the reality TV show is still on the air right now. Moreover, Chumlee has not gone anywhere. We just hope that things return to normal for him soon enough. The probation is about to end, after all.
Back And Better Than Ever
Hopefully, Chumlee will soon be as happy as he used to be. Even though the reality TV star went down the wrong path, it looks he is now stronger than ever. We just hope he truly learned from his mistake and has no plans of repeating them!