In 2009, the History Channel introduced Pawn Stars. It has since become one of the most famous shows on the network. However, a star of the show is not faring so well. Let us see what happened to Chumlee.
The Star Of The Show
Based in Las Vegas, the show would not be this successful without its awesome stars. We want you to focus on Chumlee, whose real name is Austin Lee Russell. This is one funny guy that everyone loves!
Not The Best Student In High School
Before we take further into his current situation, let us do a background check on him. Chumlee had a hard time when he was younger. For one thing, he did not really do great in school.
He Never Graduated
As a matter of fact, he used to pay the other students to finish his homework when he was in high school. He dropped out before he could graduate. Something tells us this came as a shock to his peers.
The Story Behind It
There was more to the story than academic hardships, however. Let us take a look at the story behind his nickname. It might sound adorable, but they did not call him that for a nice reason.
Cute Nickname But Cruel Intentions
It began as a reference to a 1960s cartoon show known as Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales. On the show, there was a character called Chumley. To clear up the confusion, he was a fat walrus.
Friends From Childhood
There is no need to worry since he had a pal he could always count on. Without a doubt, Corey Harrison was always ready to support him no matter what. The two of them now star on Pawn Stars together.
A Friendship With Employment Benefits
In those days, the two of them liked to hang out at Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, the business ran by Corey’s dad Rick. At the age of 21, Chumlee started working there as a fulltime employee.
Not What He Expected
It is true that one needs to have a certain precision in order to work at a pawn shop. However, there is no denying that it is mostly menial work. It is really not a glamorous career.
Five Short Years Later
Chumlee did not have to wait long for more excitement in his life. Five years after he began to work there, the cameras started rolling! We bet that the show made him like his job even more.
Can’t Help It
The show began to be even more successful and famous with every season that they made. Chumlee soon became known as the comic relief. This must not be hard since he always liked to make jokes!
Not The Best Buys
You only need to watch the show to figure out that he likes rap, sneakers, pinball, and video games. This is because he often targeted those things! Sadly, they are not always the best for the business.
Making Many Mistakes
If you watch the show, you will see that he makes many silly mistakes. It happened before the cameras got there. There was a time when he placed a $20,000 bass against a shelf. It then fell and broke. Oops.
Popularity For His Mishaps
His fellow cast members enjoy teasing him for these little mishaps. You only need to watch Pawn Stars to see that this is a regular occurrence! Some might say this was even what made him a fan favorite.
Quite The Popular Guy
Chumlee started to get a lot of attention when the show was only starting out. He got so overwhelmed by it that he even got a bodyguard to come with them during the times they made public appearances.
Enjoying The Fame
He did enjoy the attention he was given. Together with his personal assistant, he created his very own merch line. The other cast members decided to do the same thing after they saw how successful it was.
Even though they did their best, they could not do better than Chumlee. After all, he is the most famous person on the team! Aside from this, he launched his very own candy shop in Las Vegas as well.
Quite The Private Person
Chumlee is not at all the sort of person who would discuss the state of his finances. However, it is not a secret that he sold half of his shares in Gold & Silver to Rick in 2010. He received $155k for this.
Surprisingly Business Minded
Let us find out why he decided to do this. It turns out that he wanted to channel his focus on his merch side business. Even though he is a bumbler, he does have a lot of business sense.
Time To Make A Change
This was not the only change he made in his life. As a matter of fact, he started to turn over a new leaf when something happened two weeks before Pawn Stars made its debut on the small screen.
A Healthier Lifestyle
In 2009, Chumlee’s father died of pancreatic cancer at 54 years old. It was not a secret that he was not a healthy person. The passing of his father proved to be the motivation he needed to change this.
The Mind And Soul
He began to eat healthier food and committed to a regular exercise routine. He went to the gym often and practiced yoga s well. He was a fan of meditation and mindfulness on top of these things.
Taking The Necessary Steps
He had a pretty solid plan in order to achieve his goal. For one thing, he dropped by the gym six times each week. He also drank fruit smoothies and stopped eating red meat. It is time to see if it worked.
His efforts paid off in the paid. He underwent an unbelievable transformation that is going to impress you without a doubt. Perhaps you will feel inclined to live a healthier life after you see the result!
Healthy And Happy
He went through this metamorphosis sometime between 2012 and 2013. You would not believe how much weight he managed to lose in such a time frame. We were shocked by the results, so get ready!
A Major Change
Do you want to hear just how much weight he lost in that time? He actually lost 75 pounds. It is true that he looks healthier, but dare we say that he looks happier on that of that?
Turning His Life Around
For normal people, the best part of losing some weight is finally wearing old clothes. Chumlee was not a regular person. For him, there was nothing more exciting than finally riding a hovercraft! Good job.
It was also around this time that he began to see Tanya Hyjazi. She is a chef at the STACK Restaurant & Bar. Aren’t you glad to hear that Chumlee was now a healthier man? He is also a happier one at that.
They also got engaged later on. At last, he found the strength to ask for her hand in marriage. The two celebrated it. Once at the Royal Hawaiian Resort and then another at the Andiamo Italian Steakhouse.
The Whole Gang
At the event, the lovebirds were glad to be surrounded by their family and friends. There was no way the guestlist would be complete without the inclusion of his Pawn Stars costars Rick and Corey.
Where Things Went Wrong
Now that you know this, we are sure that you did not expect to hear that things would start going downhill for Chumlee. It all began in March 2016. Are you ready to hear about the first sign of trouble?
All Charges Were Dropped
Let us see what happened. It turns out that he was considered a suspect in a sexual assault case filed by another employee of the shop. Eventually, it was dropped thanks to the insufficient amount of evidence.
Just The Beginning
Even though he managed to escape that problem easily, it was not the last time he had to deal with legal issues. In fact, we would even say that he just could not stay away from those things!
The Results Of A Police Raid
The whole thing began when the police came to his house to raid it for another investigation. They failed to find anything that had to do with the original case but did see a couple of interesting things there.
Illegal Substances Abound
The police found a gun, crystal meth, and marijuana inside his house. Oops. We all know that these were contraband items. It gave them enough reason to take a closer look at the other parts of the house.
Even More Incriminating Things
During a second raid, they managed to find a couple of contraband items among his things. There were 11 firearms on his property. Can you guess how many were registered? Only 4 of them were.
The police saw some more drugs in the house and evidence to suggest cocaine use took place. Of course, the cops knew exactly what they had to do. It was just a matter of time before he was arrested.
At The Very Least
Only a couple months after this happened, Chumlee ended up in court with 20 felony counts to his name. It was not comforting to hear this, but we are glad that they did not find substantial evidence.
They have also come to the conclusion that he had not been using these things for illegal business. If it were otherwise, he would have been in even hotter water by then. We’re happy it was not the case.
Justice Being Served
In the end, he pleaded guilty to the charges of unlawful weapons possession, drug possession, and attempted misdemeanor. Many think that he chose to do this to avoid spending any time in prison. He got probation for a year as well.
The Worst Is Behind Him
If he behaves himself during that period of time, the misdemeanor charge is going to be the only thing that will show on his record. He only needed to go to counseling on top of this. Not bad, if you ask us.
A Rough Patch
We just hope that he is going to get out of this streak of misfortune in no time. The question now is if this will ruin his career. It does not seem to be the case, but things might change in the future.
A Hard Year
During an interview near the close of 2016, this reality TV star took the chance to finally acknowledge what he had been going through. Chumlee admitted that it was truly a difficult year for him.
Thanking His Supporters
Chumlee also took this opportunity to express just how thankful he was for the support that they gave him. He even said that he might not have made it through that without their supportive messages.
Take a look at this photo that he posted on his Instagram account. It said, “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
We are sure that you are curious about how well Pawn Stars had been doing back then. At that time, there were a lot of speculation about the fate of the reality TV show. Did it get canceled or not?
Back To Normal
We are happy to report that this reality TV show continues to air to this day. And yes, Chumlee is still on the cast, so there is no need to worry about that. We just hope that it will all go back to normal soon.
During the time he was in trouble with the law, Chumlee opted to take a hiatus from Pawn Stars. In those days, he did not want to do anything but improve himself both mentally and physically.
Pawn Stars is doing well, if you wanted to know. It celebrated its 500th episode fairly recently. Chumlee decided to post this on his Instagram with this caption: “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
There is no doubt in our minds that Pawn Stars would be this famous if there is no Chumlee on the team. He is a guy with a pleasant personality and a good heart. He is very easy to love!
The History Channel was so glad with the reception that the show got that it created a total of 9 spin-offs: Counting Cars, Pawn Stars: Pumped Up, Pawnography, Cajun Pawn Stars, Hardcore Pawn: Chicago, Pawn Queens, Hardcore Pawn, Pawn Stars UK, and Pawn Stars Australia.
Money, Money, Money
We bet that you have already figured out that Chumlee is very rich. He has earned a lot of money thanks to the show, his public appearances, and his businesses. His Las Vegas mansion cost him $1.5 million!
Back And Better Than Ever
Let us hope that Chumlee can return to his happy self once more. This reality TV star did go down a pretty bad path, but this is now in the past. We just hope that he does not make the same mistake again.
A Stable Life
These days, Chumlee likes to focus on improving himself as much as he possibly could. With a stable home life and his wife at his side, we are sure that this is much easier to achieve now.
Keep watching Pawn Stars if you want to see more of Chumlee. This guy is here to stay, ladies and gentlemen. Apart from that, he also tries new businesses every now and then. It’s good that he is doing better now!
Did you know “Pawn Stars” is the second most-watched reality show in the United States? “Jersey Shore” used to be in first place, with “Pawn Stars” right behind it in second. Now, “Pawn Stars” still stands strong at number two.
Had To Hire New Employees
The stars of the show aren’t actually allowed to work behind the counter anymore due to strict privacy laws. Since they’ve become as famous as they have, fans and tourists alike are always coming to the store to take pictures of them. This puts the privacy of whoever is at the pawn counter at risk.
Before the show was even created, PBS did a special on the pawnshop. Naturally, this made business soar. As a result, Rick began to pursue the idea of doing a reality show. HBO were the first to express interest in the idea, and they even developed a pilot. However, their focus was on the negative aspects of the shop which the employees weren’t keen on. The show ended up with The History Channel but took off in a completely different direction.
They Hired Help
Since their rise to stardom, Corey and Chumlee have hired their own personal assistants. Corey once stated, “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!
Because Corey and Chumlee have been friends for so long, Corey has plenty of embarrassing stories about his buddy. One of which goes into more detail about the infamous bass incident. What happened according to Corey 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 smashed to pieces. Chumlee put the pieces into a box with the pawn number written on it. When the customer returned to the store to pick it up, he understandably was very upset. “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 embarrassed by this and had no explanation to give.
Other Business Ventures
If you’re a fan of “Pawn Stars”, you might know that Rick was always an ambitious entrepreneur. At one point in time, he went on to purchase a Quizno’s Sub franchise! The shop was run by Corey and Chumlee, but eventually, it didn’t work out. Now, the team is hilariously famous 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 being on the show. He also didn’t want to dedicate his whole career to working in the shop. Nowadays, Adam works as a full-time plumber, so I wouldn’t plan to see much of him.
The stars of the show are known for doing silly and sometimes questionable things on-air. So far, the most dangerous thing Chumlee ever did was test out a blunderbuss. AKA a super old type of gun. He said, “A flame shot out, and I did get burned up my arm.” We hope this experience taught him a lesson!
The hit show was originally meant to be named something different! “Pawn Stars” was signed on to be titled “Pawning History”. That is until an employee at the production company suggested that they change the title of the show to what we know it to be now. In our opinion, “Pawn Stars” is much better.
“Pawn Stars” isn’t only popular in America. It’s also become an internationally-loved television show. Currently, it’s airing in dozens of different 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
When it comes to his favorite TV shows, Chumlee has a wide array of shows he can’t live without. He always makes sure not to miss the newest episodes of “Boardwalk Empire,” “Sons of Anarchy“ and “Breaking Bad.” Rick, on the other hand, has a different take on how he wants to spend his free time. Instead of sitting in front of the TV, he would rather be reading. “Television is so mind-numbing to me,” he boldly said, for someone who stars on a TV show himself.
Bon Jovi Loves Them
It isn’t every day that you become so famous that Bon Jovi and his family request to meet you! Jon Bon Jovi once requested for the “Pawn Stars” crew to meet him and his family backstage at one of his concerts. They went to the meet and greet since Bon Jovi’s children 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
Since the show went on-air, Rick said he often gets kicked out of a lot of garage sales and swap meets since people are worried he’ll catch onto something that’s worth a lot of money. Or that he’ll try to negotiate the prices down as low as possible. He said that as soon as people recognize him, they take away items he had his eye on.
Chumlee Loves Shoes
Aside from working at the pawnshop and at his candy shop, Chumlee has another hobby on the side you might not have known of. He absolutely loves collecting shoes. Currently, he owns over 200 pairs of shoes, with his collection growing every day.
The Show Impedes On Business
While the cast shoots an episode of the show, the store has to be closed. Often times, they lose out on a lot of business because of these delays. Not only does filming get in the way of interacting with customers and making sales, but due to the popularity of the series, a large number of fans and tourists visit Las Vegas. So, most of the people who go into the shop are not there to buy or sell, only to meet the stars of the show.
Since he decided to lead a more stable life, Chumlee has been more active on social media and showing his fans all his adventures. Here, he’s drinking from a fountain in Rome. He captioned the image, saying, “Drinking out of the Roma street fountains for the true local experience”.
Missing His Wife
Just like anyone else would, Chumlee couldn’t help but miss his wife when they were far away from each other. He wrote, “Missing my wife , it’s hard living apart, she is off preparing for our future going to school at USCB while I am in Las Vegas working and it’s the little things I miss like waking up next to her or have dinner together But knowing we get to spend the rest of our life’s together and have moments like this picture is enough to make me happy.”
It seems that Chumlee is now ready to take on the world! While visiting Rome, he must have taken plenty of pictures, but he only posted a few to his Instagram for his fans to see. Naturally, a witty caption had to accompany each photo, and for this one, he wrote, “When in Rome, do as the chum would do”.
Aside from traveling all over the world, Chumlee, of course, enjoys spending quality time with his lovely wife. The couple was out on the town when they snapped this adorable picture. When he posted it to Instagram, Chumlee wrote, “It’s not easy being the prettiest one in the relationship but my wife handles it well.”
As you can probably tell by those stares, the Pawn Stars guys aren’t ones for surprises. Because of that, behind the scenes, they know about almost every object that’s coming their way on the show. The producers are very involved in picking the items, on top of pretty much every other “spontaneous” moment.
Despite the fact that the cast knows what items are arriving ahead of time, they still come across some interesting stuff. Some of the weirdest things that have appeared onscreen include a bag of human skulls, a collection of old Japanese erotica, and a one-man submarine. That’s definitely more exotic that the normal pawn shop inventory!
Rick once bought a pair of diamond earrings for $40,000. However, he should have spent less time examining the jewels, and more time vetting the seller. It turns out that while the earrings were authentic, they were stolen. The thief spent all the cash by the time the police caught on, so Rick had to return the jewelry for free.
After several successful seasons, Rick made the choice to expand his business by opening Pawn Pizza, a shopping center made out of repurposed shipping containers. A good amount of tenants went under, but the mall was still open in 2018. Even Chumlee owned a candy store inside!
This may be hard to believe now. but Chumlee wasn’t originally meant to be on the show. The producers wanted to focus on the Harrison family, but then decided they needed a fourth cast member. As Chumlee was one of Corey’s oldest friends and a great source of comic relief, he emerged as the top candidate.
Back in 2014, the shop landed in some hot water after it bought an antique coin collection from Jennifer Beckman. They melted down its contents, only to find out that Beckman had stolen the coins from her uncle. He proceeded to sue Gold & Silver for $50,000, though they denied any wrongdoing in the matter.