Since Pawn Stars premiered in 2009 on the History channel, it has only become more and more popular. Recently though, things have not been great for one of the show’s stars, both in his public and personal affairs. What is going on with Chumlee?
The Star Of The Show
The show is based in Las Vegas, and owes its continued success to the hilarious cast members, most notably Austin Lee Russell aka Chumlee. This full of life guy sure knows how to turn on his comedic personality during filming.
Not The Best Student In High School
Before we go into details, you should know that the Nevada native did not have a particularly easy time during his younger years. In particular, he was not an academically-inclined kid.
He Never Graduated
When he was a high school student, he tended to pay other students to accomplish the homework for him. We are willing to bet that it did not come as a shock to anyone when they heard he decided to drop out.
The Story Behind It
Aside from his academic difficulties, there is also the matter of his nickname. Although Chumlee may sound cute to our ears, Russell did not receive the moniker for flattering reasons.
Cute Nickname But Cruel Intentions
People started calling him that as a reference to a character from Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, a cartoon from the ‘60s. Chumley was the name of the stout walrus on the show. Ouch, that’s got to hurt.
Friends From Childhood
It was a good thing that Russell had a good friend from childhood that he could always rely on. We are talking about none other than Corey Harrison, who ended up becoming his co-star on Pawn Stars later in life.
A Friendship With Employment Benefits
They used to hang out at Gold & Silver Pawn Shop owned by Rick, Corey’s father. There were certain benefits that came with their friendship. Among other things, Chumlee began working there full time when he was 21 years old.
Not What He Expected
Although working at a pawn shop requires a certain precision, there is no denying that it mostly involves doing menial work. It is certainly not the first thing that would come to people’s mind when they think of a glamorous career.
Five Short Years Later
Despite this, Chumlee found himself in front of the camera and on the small screen five years after he began working at Gold & Silver. We have a feeling he preferred working on TV much more than working at the pawnshop.
Can’t Help It
As the show earned more success and fame with each passing season, Chumlee often fell into the comic relief kind of role. He was the guy always cracking jokes and making his co-stars, and viewers, laugh.
Not The Best Buys
His interest in video games, rap, sneakers, and pinball often showed in the items that he liked to target. Although we would agree that they can be very fascinating objects, they did not translate to good financial decisions for the business. Oops.
Making Many Mistakes
Chumlee was prone to making quite a number of silly mistakes, though this allegedly also happened before the show even started filming. He once placed a client’s stand-up bass against a shelf. Much to everyone’s horror, it fell and broke into pieces. Apparently, it could have been worth an eye-popping $20,000!
Popularity For His Mishaps
The rest of the cast members liked to tease him for mishaps like that one. If you ever watch the show, you will be able to see that this dynamic is a consistent trend on Pawn Stars. It was also what made Russell a fan favorite among their viewers.
Quite The Popular Guy
Apparently, he earned so much attention in the beginning that he had to bring a bodyguard when the whole team made public appearances. Whoa. That is all the proof we need that he has made it big!
Enjoying The Fame
In the beginning, Chumlee felt good about all the attention he was receiving. Together with his personal assistant, he even launched his own line of personalized merchandise. True enough, the other cast members did the same thing.
However, the important thing here is that none of them ever sold as much as Chumlee did. This is what it’s like when you are the most popular member of the team! More recently, he also opened a candy shop on the Vegas strip!
Quite The Private Person
However, Chumlee was not exactly the type to talk about how much he earns. Despite this, it is public knowledge that he received $155,000 when he sold half of his shares in Gold & Silver to Rick Harrison back in 2010.
Surprisingly Business Minded
He did this to direct his attention on selling merchandise. Clearly, his bumbler reputation is not entirely true. After all, the man obviously has a shred of business sense!
Time To Make A Change
Aside from this, Russell also started to show interest in improving himself in other ways. Only two weeks before Pawn Stars went on air, something happened to Chumlee’s father that would change life as he knew it.
A Healthier Lifestyle
Back in 2009, he succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 54. As we could all see, Russell was not exactly the fittest person. His father’s tragic death motivated him to eat better, exercise more, and live a healthier lifestyle.
The Mind And Soul
Chumlee began eating healthier and added exercise into his daily routine. He mainly gets his blood flowing by hitting the gym and by practicing yoga. He is also a big fan of mindfulness and meditation, which is therapy for the mind and soul.
Taking The Necessary Steps
Chumlee had a solid plan on how to achieve this goal. He began dropping by the gym six days in a week, drinking fruit smoothies in the morning, and cutting out red meat from his diet. You won’t believe the results…
This intense health plan resulted in an impressive transformation. It might be time to follow in his footsteps if you are considering taking better care of yourself!
Healthy And Happy
Chumlee’s impressive metamorphosis took place between the years 2012 and 2013. He was able to drop a lot of weight. You won’t believe the results…We were shocked ourselves!
A Major Change
If you want us to be specific, he lost 75 pounds! We’re glad to say he looks not only healthier but also happier! Don’t you agree? It seems this major adjustment really turned Chumlee’s life around.
Turning His Life Around
Perhaps the most exciting thing for Chum after his weight loss was not that he could fit into old clothes, but something completely different. At last, he could finally ride the hovercraft he was formerly too heavy to go on! This was a major feat for the star.
He also began dating his long-term girlfriend Tanya Hyjazi. She is working as a chef at the STACK Restaurant & Bar at the Mirage Casino. Good going, Chumlee! It seems he is not only changing his eating habits but also building and strengthening new relationships!
The couple recently got engaged when Chumlee popped the question and put a big ring on Tanya’s finger! They celebrated at The Royal Hawaiian Resort in Waikiki and then back with friends in Las Vegas at the Andiamo Italian Steakhouse.
The Whole Gang
The beautiful couple was surrounded by their family and friends during the celebration. This included Chumlee’s Pawn Stars co-stars and good friends, Corey Harrison and his father Rick Harrison.
Where Things Went Wrong
With all of these in mind, who would ever have thought that things were about to go wrong for Chumlee? The first sign of trouble happened in March 2016. What could it be?
All Charges Were Dropped
This was the time he was listed as a suspect in an investigation about sexual assault. The charges had been made by another employee of the shop. Although it was eventually dropped thanks to insufficient evidence.
Just The Beginning
Although this case did end well for Chumlee, this would not be the last of his legal troubles. It seemed that Chumlee couldn’t stay out of hot water since he was charged once again…
The Results Of A Police Raid
This time around the investigation involved raiding his home, which resulted in more problems. The authorities did not find anything valuable regarding the case at hand, but they discovered other things in his possession.
Illegal Substances Abound
The authorities found crystal meth, marijuana, and a gun in his home. To say the least, these things provided the police enough reason to keep an eye on the reality television star.
Even More Incriminating Things
When the police conducted a second raid, even more contraband items turned up! To be specific, they discovered 11 firearms. There would have been no problem here if all of them were registered. Alas, only four were.
Aside from that, the police also found more drugs and even evidence suggesting cocaine use. It does not take a genius to figure out what happened next. As you might have guessed, he was arrested.
At The Very Least
After several months, our beloved Chumlee found himself facing 20 separate felony counts. Yikes. It is not much of a consolation, but at the very least the court did not find any substantial evidence.
The firearms they found in Chumlee’s possession were not being used for any illegal matter. It would have been much worse for the television personality otherwise. At least one thing went well for Chum!
Justice Being Served
In the end, Chumlee pled guilty to attempted misdemeanor, drug possession, and unlawful weapons possession. He did this to avoid getting any prison time. He has been placed on probation for one year.
The Worst Is Behind Him
If Chumlee behaves properly during this period, only the misdemeanor charge will show up on his record. Aside from this, he also has to attend counseling, though that sounds fair enough to us.
A Rough Patch
It sounds like he’s on his way out of a streak of bad luck. Do you think this scandal will be the end of his career? The answer seems to be ‘no’, but ultimately, only time will tell.
A Hard Year
In a follow-up interview at the end of 2016, Chumlee opened about to fans about what he was dealing with. The reality TV star acknowledged how rough the year had been for him.
Thanking His Supporters
More importantly, Chumlee expressed his gratitude to his fans for their support in such a trying time. Without their kind, uplifting messages of support, he isn’t sure he would have gottent through it at all.
He also took to Instagram and posted this photo with 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”.
The Fate Of Pawn Stars
But what happened to Pawn Stars? At the time, there had been lots of speculation about the status of the show. Was it going to get discontinued or renewed?
Back To Normal
We are glad to say, and much to the relief of fans, the reality television series continued airing! And yes, Chumlee is still involved. Let us hope that things will go back to normal for him in no time! His probation is due to end soon, after all.
We will have you know, however, that when Chumlee was in trouble with the law, he took a hiatus from Pawn Stars. During this time, the 36-year-old focused on improving himself, both physically and mentally. We think this was the best he could have done for himself!
The show itself, is also doing amazing! Pawn Stars recently celebrated their 500th episode! Chumlee posted this photo on his Instagram with the 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
The success of Pawn Stars would not have been possible without Chumlee. His lively personality and kind heart are one of the main reasons viewers keep coming back for more!
Since the show was doing so well, the History channel decided to try a few spin-offs. Today there are around 9! They include, Cajun Pawn Stars, Pawnography, Counting Cars, Pawn Stars: Pumped Up, Pawn Stars UK, Hardcore Pawn, Pawn Queens, Pawn Stars Australia and Harcore Pawn: Chicago.
Money, Money, Money
It’s safe to say that Chumlee is doing quite well for himself. With his role on the show, his side businesses and the many appearances he makes, this guy sure rakes in the cash! We’d love to spend a day at his $1.5 million Las Vegas mansion. That pool is to-die-for!
Back And Better Than Ever
We hope that Chumlee is back to his happy ol’ self soon! It seems that the reality TV star went down a bad path, but is back and stronger than ever. We hope he is able to learn from his mistakes and makes sure they never happen again!
A Stable Life
As for right now, Chum continues to focus on bettering himself day in and day out. He has a very stable home life with his wife and their adorable dog. As we all know, stability is key!
Chumlee is still a member of the Pawn Stars cast, and he seems to be getting involved in new business ventures every month! For now, keep your eyes peeled, this guy is doing great things!