The Untold Truth About the Atwood Family
| LAST UPDATE 08/09/2022
If you spend much time on the internet, then you've most likely come across one of YouTube's most loved families, the Atwoods. Roman and Brittney's sudden rise to fame left fans wondering, who were these internet stars before their celeb-status? Well, buckle up, because there's a lot that goes on when the camera's not rolling.
Roman's Near-Death Experience
Roman Atwood was born on the 28th of May, 1983, to, as he puts it, the "Most supportive people in the world." His parents, Susan and Curtis, raised their children in Millersport, Ohio, and although Roman and his brother, Dale, were typical reckless teens, they grew up in a happy home.
Roman loved getting up to no good. However, when he was 16-years-old, he almost took it too far. "Fun Fact," Atwood tweeted. "I was diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning at age 16. I had an 80% chance of death." However, luck was on his side and as you already know, he turned out just fine.
Young & Misunderstood
Roman was a creative and intelligent boy, but when it came to school- the classroom just wasn't for him. Like most creative and free-spirited kids, Roman couldn't relate to his studies. "I didn't need to learn about World War II to make these [stupid] videos," said Atwood.
His dream to be behind a camera started when he was just a boy. "I saved like $300 and bought my first camera," he recalled. However, his teachers, as well as his parents, felt that Roman was wasting his time dreaming about making it in the competitive film industry.
Roman's Teachers Said He Would Never Amount to Anything
The best irony of all is that for years, Roman's teachers told him that he would never amount to anything. His lazy attitude towards school, lead them to believe that Atwood's future looked a little something like living on his parents' couch for the rest of his life.
However, Roman never lost his passion for film. In junior high, he used his camera to shoot and edit sketch comedy clips with his friends. "I actually learned to make videos so I could edit them," said Roman. At that point, he had fully checked out emotionally when it came to school.
Goals vs. Education
While his fellow peers were studying for their history exams, Roman was falling more in love with editing films. "I love the creative control of editing. I started filming videos so I would have something to edit. The editor has all the power. I have taken some crappy videos and made them into goldmines with my editing skills," said Roman.
Along with his passion for film, Roman also found a little romance in his high school hallways. Shanna Reilly was his first love, and he believed that they would be together forever. As graduation came closer, Roman and Shanna looked forward to their future.
18 and Pregnant
Despite what teachers told him, Roman had no intention of going to college. Once he graduated from high school, he married his childhood sweetheart at the age of 18. He and Shanna were all loved up and enjoying the honeymoon phase of their relationship.
However, things escalated pretty quickly when Shanna suddenly fell pregnant with Noah. Roman knew he had to provide for his family and get his act together. So, he took on a job at his father's company, Atwood Rope. Although he was thrilled to be a dad to baby Noah, this started a truly difficult period in Roman's life.
Roman's All-Time Low
Roman spent his days in sadness, and not being able to do what he loved most broke his heart. "I used to tear up and cry at this factory because I wasn't making these videos. It was that passionate to me," recalled Roman. Despite his depression, he still tried to shoot little clips with his friends whenever he had the chance.
He refused to give up. Roman worked on several projects and commercials around Columbus. One of them being a slapstick-comedy DVD which he made with Dale and his friends. They called it the Nerd Herd, but the project never really took off. Sadly, things continued to go downhill for Roman.
Roman thought that he finally got his big break when a friend invited him to come to Los Angeles to work on a movie. He told his wife Shanna that this was the opportunity he had been waiting for. Finally, Atwood could see a silver lining. He packed his bags and bid farewell to his wife and Noah, in the hope of a bright future.
However, the project was far from what Roman had expected. When he arrived on set, he realized that it was "this little low-budget thing, not a movie at all." He was disappointed, and the thought of coming home made him feel like an utter failure.
"It Was the Worst, Most Devastating Time of My Life"
Things only continued to go downhill. When Roman got back home from Los Angeles, he learned that his wife of 7 years was cheating on him, with one of the guys that he'd worked with on his films. Roman's heart was broken. "It was the worst, most devastating time in my life," he recalled.
He and Shanna got divorced, leaving Roman as a young, single dad with his hopes and dreams in shambles. Atwood sunk into a deep depression. "I hated life," he said. "I got so down on myself that I was making the worst decisions you could make. It was just horrible."
Nothing Left to Lose
Losing everything gave Roman the push that he needed to make a change. "It got me to where I was motivated," he said. "I got so angry at life that I was gonna make these videos no matter what. I don't care if I go broke doing it, I got nothing now to lose. So, I started making these stupid videos."
But as you already know, the world of vlogging and film can be pretty tough. "I remember putting up my first video on YouTube," recalled Roman. Back when he was in high school, YouTube wasn't around. So, he figured that he would try his luck with the platform and hoped for the best.
12 Loyal Subscribers
"So, I put up my first video, and I couldn't understand why it didn't go viral," said Roman. He had about 10 views in 24 hours and just couldn't figure out why more users weren't watching his content. Regardless, he continued to post one video a week, in the hope that eventually, his big break would come.
"Sometimes, I would even do a bonus video for my 12 loyal subscribers," he joked. However, Roman persevered, and after a year, his channel gathered over 40k subscribers. He was pretty content with that number back then; In his eyes, 40k subscribers was quite an achievement.
The Prank That Changed Everything
Everything changed for Roman when he came up with the iconic idea of 'The Epic Pee Prank.' He filled a plastic bottle with water, poked a hole in the top of the lid, and fooled people into thinking that he was publicly going to the bathroom. Initially, Atwood wasn't too confident about this clip.
"I held on to that video for a week, I was too nervous to post it," admitted Roman. However, he built up the courage, and the video received over 2 million views in one week. At that point, Atwood had about 200k subscribers to his channel, and things were looking up.
Brittney's Troubled Past
Not only was Roman finally seeing a little progress with his videos, but some romance was also in store for the aspiring vlogger. Atwood had put his love life on hold for quite some time, but when Brittney Smith came along, everything would change.
Brittney Smith was born on the 16th of February in 1991. She grew up in Ohio, but sadly, her childhood was a little different from Roman's. You see, when Brittney was very young, her parents got divorced, and her father remarried. Understandably, this was extremely hard for her.
How Roman and Brittney Met
Brittney went through life feeling misunderstood. Like many of us, she too dabbled in the goth phase for some time during high school. After she graduated, she worked as a dental assistant. Life seemed pretty mundane, but little did she know, love was just around the corner.
At the end of 2008, Brittney's sister, Veronica, got married to Chase Gilroy, and can you guess who his best man was? The one and only, Roman Atwood. At the time, Brittney was 18-years-old, and Roman was 25. Despite their age gap and different stages of life, they couldn't ignore their undeniable chemistry.
When Money Was Tight
Brittney and Roman continued to date, and she made some appearances in his videos. "Our lives have changed so much compared to when we met," said Roman. For their first date, Atwood picked Brittney up in his white work van. You see, at the time, money was pretty tight.
Although they were all loved up, Roman's vlogging career wasn't exactly bringing in much cash. "I remember coming to my dad and saying 'Dad I made 58 cents on YouTube,' and he said, 'Well, it just goes to show you, you can't make money on YouTube."
Roman and Brittney Were Broke
"Brittney and I were really broke, we didn't have any money," recalled Roman. But even during hard times, Atwood knew that Brittney was the love of his life. So, he got her a promise ring that cost about $300. "I don't even remember if I got a loan," he said. "I remember it being really hard to buy."
Things became even more stressful when Brittney fell pregnant with Roman's second child, Kane. Atwood knew that making a few cents on YouTube wasn't going to be enough. "The struggle was real," recalled Roman. "It was time to figure this out."
Preparing for Baby Number 2
Brittney quit her job at the dentist's office and moved in with Roman, who was already living with his son Noah. He now had two kids to think about, and he needed to find a way to start making money from his passion. Luckily, Roman discovered a pattern that helped him crack the code.
His pee-prank video had millions of views, while his other clips of sketches didn't do as well. "I couldn't even post a sketch video without them saying, "I didn't sign up for that! You suck! Post a prank!" So, Roman knew what he had to do, and it was time to buckle down.
Failure After Failure
Roman decided to create a full-blown prank channel. In 2013, he started the account 'Roman Atwood Vlogs,' which was strictly devoted to pranks and his family's day-to-day life. Brittney and the kids made occasional appearances, but his subscribers were mainly interested in his hilarious jokes.
Once he gave his fans what they wanted, the world just couldn't seem to get enough of him. Finally, Roman's dreams were becoming a reality. "My YouTube stuff started to climb like it started to take off after two and a half years of nothing. Like failure, after failure," recalled Roman.
Roman Got Arrested
So, Roman continued to post videos of pranks, all while incorporating his girlfriend and two sons. "It all came down to just doing what I love to do," he said. Atwood loved making people laugh, and in 2013, Roman finally hit his 1 million subscriber mark.
Roman was great at pulling pranks, but it wasn't always smooth sailing. While recording one of his videos, he and his prankster pals, Vitaly and Dennis, were arrested by the Columbus Police Department. The charges? Disorderly conduct and inducing panic.
Paying the Price
For the prank, Roman and his friends bought an ATM machine and filled it with fake money. He and his friends then pretended to rob the ATM in broad daylight. The prank worked a little too well because as soon as people saw what was going on, they called the police.
Roman was then released on bail, and after several court dates, the charges were finally dropped. However, his success wasn't going unnoticed, especially by the people who weren't very fond of his lifestyle. In 2015, Atwood found himself in trouble with the law once again, but for something a little different.
Roman had been featuring his son Noah in many of his videos, and his ex-wife wasn't too happy about it. Shanna took Atwood to court to prevent her son from being in anymore of his clips. She didn't like the idea of Roman making money off of her son's appearances.
Roman's fans were quick to notice Noah's absence, and they weren't having any of it. After protesting and demanding his return with the trending #FreeMyNinjaNoah, Noah was finally allowed back on the YouTube channel. He made his big return in the clip, "My son Noah is Back!"
Roman was thrilled to have Noah back. "We have so many things planned and so many cool things we can finally do as a family," he said. His YouTube channel continued to grow, and Roman kept investing in their brand Smile More. But where there's smoke, there's fire, and more legal troubles were on the way.
Roman founded the brand Smile More back in 2013, and it exploded thanks to his sudden fame. The line had a range of merchandise, and Brittney ran the successful business. However, they almost lost it all when Roman was served with yet another lawsuit.
You've Been Served
Another company began using the Smile More trademark, and they claimed that Roman had stolen the idea from them. The lawsuit got pretty messy, so much so, that it became an ongoing case for over three years! However, in 2018, Roman posted a video to update his fans.
He announced that they "officially won," the court case and that he would continue to fight for his brand because it meant a lot more to him than just money. "I'm a pretty goofy guy, and I just want to make people smile," he said. "I started a clothing line called 'Smile More' because that is what people need to do."
Sealing the Deal
Atwood continued to chase after his passion, and just when Roman thought things couldn't get any better, he and Brittney welcomed their second child together, Cora Atwood. This marked a truly happy time for Atwood; Business was thriving, the family was healthy, but there was just one more promise he had to fulfill.
It was time to trade in Brittney's $300 promise ring for an engagement ring. "She has no idea. When she wakes up, I am asking her to marry me," said Roman. Sure enough, the vlogger proposed to his girlfriend of 9 and a half years, all while keeping his subscribers in the loop.
15 Million Subscribers
Roman proposed on a beautiful beach in China, and of course, Brittney couldn't have been happier. "Whaaattt, I have been with my soul mate for 9 ½ years, and he finally asked if I would be his wife! I can not explain how happy I am to become Brittney Atwood," she said.
The couple wanted to have a small, family wedding, and that's exactly what they did. After a beautiful ceremony on a scenic beach in Maui, The Atwood Family was officially born. Their YouTube channel was exploding and gathered over 15 million subscribers.
Roman's Net Worth
With big fame, usually comes big money, and the Atwoods were coining it with every vlog. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Roman has an estimated net worth of about $14.5 million! His pranks and adorable family have accumulated over 4.7 billion views.
According to Nail Buzz, YouTube generally pays an average of $2-$5 per 1000 monetized views. So, with Roman's steady average of about 400,000 hits every day, his estimated earnings are about $2,000 per day ($730,000 a year) just from YouTube ads, making this channel one of the most successful vlogs to date.
Likes for Money
Aside from YouTube, Roman has about 4.8 million followers on Instagram. His wife, Brittney, also has around 2.8 million followers, and these numbers just keep going up. As you can imagine, brands are eager to work with these internet stars for the massive exposure the partnership would guarantee.
Many of the Atwoods' fans have said that they love this YouTube family because regardless of how much money they have in the bank, Brittney and Roman have stayed humble and genuine. However, there have been times when Brittney's intentions have come into question.
Is Brittney Using Roman?
Many fans have accused Brittney of being a 'gold-digger' and that she's only with Roman because of his bank account. However, the Atwoods' loyal fans were quick to jump to her defense, saying that Brittney was with Roman long before he had any money at all.
Being in the spotlight comes with a lot of negativity, but the Atwoods tried their best to ignore it. At the end of the day, they knew that family was everything to them, and that was all that mattered. Sadly, more heartbreak was on the way when a tragic incident shook Roman to the core.
A Heartbreaking Loss
Just last year, on the 30th of May, Roman took to Twitter to announce some devastating news. His mother, Susan Anne Christman, passed away unexpectedly after falling off a scooter and hitting her head. "She immediately lost all vitals," Roman shared in a tweet.
He continued, "Please pray for my family and especially for my father. I've never been more in shock in my life. I'm numb and in complete disbelief. My heart is so heavy. We are all broken over here. Mom was everything to us. I need everyone to understand that I will be gone for a bit."
Did Brittney and Roman Get Divorced?
Sure enough, Roman and his family slowly started to disappear from social media. The Atwoods would randomly post pictures on Instagram, but not nearly as much as they used to. As time went on, fans started to wonder if something else was going on.
The Atwoods pulled away from the YouTube world as well, and everybody instantly went into detective mode. Hundreds of theories were posted asking, could it be another lawsuit? Are Brittney and Roman getting divorced? But with all the speculation, the Atwoods knew they had to set the record straight.
Breaking the Silence
Roman broke their silence on the 18th of August, 2020, with the vlog titled: We Will Never Recover. In the video, he said that none of the theories were correct, but that he and Brittney were keeping the matter to themselves. "We have to wait until the story can be told," he said.
He continued, "You guys want to know what's going on, and we just can't tell you - it's that simple. The truth is, at the end of the day, we're just normal people that have real-life situations that happen, just like you… this is something super serious." But before fans had any time to worry, they posted another video a few days later.
However, this clip brought forth some exciting news. In a video titled We Can't Hide This Anymore!, the Atwoods revealed that Brittney was pregnant with their third child. Since their little disappearance, their fans certainly appreciated the good news.
Brittney and Roman told YouTube that they would only know the sex of the baby once he or she is born. This is the first time they are keeping the gender a secret, and it's safe to say, their followers couldn't be more excited for them. After all, their kids have brought smiles to people all over the world.
As for this relatable and hilarious family, the future is looking pretty bright, and we're sure Roman's high school teachers would take back their words if they could. His incredible journey has inspired millions of people all over the world to never give up and to always stay positive.
"That's why I started a business called Smile More," said Roman. "It changes everything, even if you have to force it, look at yourself in the mirror and smile, its the greatest feeling in the world." Well, we have to admit, that's not the worst advice we've ever gotten from a vlogger.