Reality TV star Chumlee, real name, Austin Lee Russell is best known as the cast member of Pawn Stars which has aired on the History Channel since July 2009. The show is centered on Gold & Silver Pawn Shop where Chumlee spent most if his childhood and subsequently began working at the age of 21. The shop is owned by Rick Harrison, the father of Chumlee’s best friend Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison.
Chumlee, born on September 5, 1982, became a fan favorite of the show and ultimately the breakout star. Pawn Stars was by 2011 the highest rated show on the History Channel. Though often referred to by other stars on the show as a village idiot, as a result of his perceived incompetence, Chumlee often jumps to his own defense by touting his ability to expertly handle pinball machines.
Chumlee parlayed his success in the show into a lucrative business empire. His company deals in novelty items including his personally designed T-shirts. Thanks to his popularity, Chumlee shifts more merchandise than any other pawn star on the show.
Chumlee Death, What Happened To Him?
In 2014 rumors began to swirl that Chumlee was dead, but it has since been confirmed to be a hoax, joining the list of celebrity death hoaxes.
The rumors had it that Chumlee who was once overweight, weighing 320 pounds died of a heart attack. Chumlee wasted no time in debunking the rumors via his Twitter account.
He posted “May we live long, Rich forever.”
May we live long, Rich forever.
— Austin Russell (@chumlee_) March 12, 2014
His boss Rick also went ahead to debunk the news in a post that read; “Breaking news: CHUMLEE IS ALIVE & WELL! He is actually filming today but we all really appreciate everyone’s concern!”
Breaking news: CHUMLEE IS ALIVE & WELL! He is actually filming today but we all really appreciate everyone’s concern!
— Rick Harrison (@GoldSilverPawn) March 12, 2014
In another post, he wrote; “@chumlee_ is ALIVE & WELL! He is 101 lbs down & in the best health of his life! Thanks for your concern! He is filming today at GS Pawn.”
As of this writing, Chumlee is still very much alive. In May 2017, he expanded his business empire by adding a candy shop. However, his personal life hasn’t been without troubles. He had run-ins with the law in March 2016 stemming from a sexual assault allegation.
After his home was raided, police found Chumlee in possession of illegal firearms including handguns, shotgun, MP5 and other kinds of riffles. Drugs were also found including methamphetamine and Xanax. Chumlee was immediately brought into custody but released the following day.
Charged with 20 felony counts, he pleaded guilty and escaped jail time. He was sentenced to 3 years probation and was advised to undergo counseling. However, the sexual assault charges against him were dropped.
Chumlee reportedly earns at least $25,000 per episode of Pawn Stars. He earns even more from his businesses. In 2010, his boss Rick bought half of his novelty business for $155,000. Chumlee’s net worth is estimated to be $5 million.
Worth millions of dollars, Chumlee is able to afford the finest things in life, including his infamous Las Vegas house that hosted many wild parties. In July 2017 the 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms mansion hit the market with the asking price of $1.8 million.
Before listing the property, it underwent some major refurbishment, Las Vegas Sun reported. Chum had paid $1.1 million for the house in 2012.
Chumlee has been in a long-term relationship with Tanya Hyjazi who is of Lebanese descent. She works as a chef at the Stack Restaurant and Bar in Las Vegas. Her culinary skills came in handy when Chumlee needed to shed some weight.
He met Tanya in 2013 and during her birthday party that year he took her out on a date at D Hotel.
Chumlee gifted his bae with a cake that was shaped like an LV bowling bag. Their relationship threw attention when Tanya got a boob job which Chumlee paid for.
Speaking to Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2013, Chumlee explained that Tanya wanted to pay for the boob job herself but that she works so hard to make ends meet and it would be better off if he paid for it as he can afford the money by just 2 hours work.
Some sources claim that Chumlee and Tanya have long been married.