The Rise and Fall of Hilarious YouTube Sensation Jenna Marbles
| LAST UPDATE 11/15/2022
Jenna Mourey spent over a decade becoming an international YouTube star, but everything drastically changed when a past video surfaced and came back to haunt her. She learned firsthand that life in the spotlight revealed a little more than she intended.
Meet Jenna Mourey, born September 15, 1986, in Rochester, NY. She grew up like any other kid in town but wanted to get out as soon as she could. In the years to come, she'd experience more than she ever imagined possible.
Jenna attended Brighton High School, but back then, she wasn't the class clown that she later became. Instead, she actually got bullied by her classmates. "I was relatively quiet," recalled Mourey. Jenna wanted to rewrite her story, so she opted for her first big move, to be away from her family and on her own in the big city...
Her First Move
Jenna decided to pack up everything she owned and head to Boston, MA. Once she got there, she began to attend college at Suffolk University, where she received a BA in Psychology. "I came out of my shell in college," said Jenna. She was starting to navigate her way around adulthood.
After finishing her first degree, Mourey realized that she was pretty good at school. So, she decided to attend Boston University and earned a Master's Degree in Sport Psychology and Counseling. As she got these life experiences under her belt, real-world necessities kicked in. So, she picked up several odd jobs to make ends meet.
Finally, Jenna was making it on her own. The constant feeling of being tired, overworked, and underpaid aside; when she looked in the mirror, she felt successful. For the first time, she was truly independent. But, this freedom came with many challenges and growing pains.
Mourey lived with 3 roommates in Cambridge, MA, and paid upwards of $800 per month in rent. This was part of the reason she had to work so many jobs to afford her bills. After all, she was living away from home for the first time and didn't necessarily have the deepest of pockets at that time of her life.
The Struggle was Real
But, Jenna found several ways to make an income to afford the life she was building for herself. She worked part-time as a bartender, at a tanning salon, a go-go dancing club, and even started blogging. However, over time Mourey began to burn herself out and knew it was time for a change.
The young woman grew tired of the strenuous schedule she had between all of these jobs and finishing up her degree. So, Jenna decided to begin working for something where she could put her thoughts onto a platform. Thus, Mourey entered an exciting period...
Finally Found her Niche
Jenna started working for Barstool Sport's female-oriented site, StoolLaLa, in 2010. She wrote for the magazine for about a year and grew to like having access to a platform where she got to express her mind. Potentially, in her subconscious, the magazine was a way for Mourey to get comfortable with people knowing her name.
Now that she had a taste of what that felt like – to have people want to listen to and read what she was writing – Jenna wanted more. She wanted to expand, but she didn't want to stop working at Barstool, and at the same time, didn't know if writing for the publication was the right path for her.
Blogging Took Off
On the other hand, Jenna had a knack for blogging. She had fun doing it and was able to express herself openly. But, she wanted to connect with more people. So, she decided to lean into the new trend of YouTube and make her own channel.
While much stayed the same in terms of what the point of having a platform was, per her mom's request, Mourey made one change first. She continued to post casual content, but this time, it wasn't coming from Jenna Mourey... It was coming from Jenna Marbles.
The Birth of Jenna Marbles
Marbles quickly became Jenna's pseudonym instead of using her legal last name. Her mom was a bit worried about future employers seeing her daughter's content online and possibly prohibiting or hindering her from being hired. But, where did the name Marbles come from?
As it turned out, before her skyrocket to fame came to be, Jenna had gotten a pet chihuahua named Mr. Marbles years back. And, he was so cute that Jenna picked it up herself and became Jenna Marbles! With her mom happy, Jenna entered the world of YouTube.
She Went Viral
On February 16, 2010, Jenna's life changed forever. After posting some random content, she had uploaded a video titled "How To Trick People Into Thinking You're Good Looking." And, it seemed that thousands of people wanted to hear her tips and tricks because...
Within one week, Jenna's video reached people far and wide and racked up over 5.3M views! Shocked with how much of a jump this was career-wise from her days as a bartender, Marbles realized this could be her big break. And, by September 2011, she gained 1M subscribers, proving that she was indeed, correct.
In the News
The way Jenna interacted with followers of her channel was as if she was talking to a friend. And, when it came to giving advice, Marbles didn't hold back. Her next widely trending video was "How To Avoid Talking To People You Don't Want To Talk To." It became so popular that even news outlets were talking about it!
The New York Times and ABC News took interest in the star-bound YouTuber and quoted an important line from Jenna's video. "I'm sick and tired of guys thinking that just because I showed up at a club or a dance or a bar, that I want to have their genitalia touching my backside," she declared. And many people appreciated the honesty.
New Videos Every Wednesday
By the end of 2011, Marbles hit 2M subscribers, but she was far from done! New ideas swarmed in her mind, and her subscribers were eating it up. Jenna began to use her channel as a digital journal, where she spoke freely and shared updates of her life with her fans.
She posted new videos each Wednesday about topics, from adopting new dogs to giving real-world advice. Although she was growing famous, Jenna described herself as a "Maker of the YouTube videos on the internet machine." As it turned out, Marbles' content was so widely relatable that by the end of 2012, she hit 5M subscribers!
World, Meet Julien
In 2013, Marbles introduced a new guest to her channel, and her followers immediately tried to figure out the nature of their relationship. Enter: Julien Solomita, who appeared in a funny video where he and Jenna use a photobooth filter to warp their faces and try to make the other laugh. The chemistry was abundant.
Fans immediately took to the comment section to speculate that Jenna and Julien were dating. However, Jenna introduced him as "A friend." With this huge mystery added to the undeniable comedy that came with her videos, the channel soon reached 9.4M views and counting.
More Curious Appearances
Julien began appearing in more and more videos with Jenna, both at home and traveling the world. In no time, fans realized they were right all along – Jenna and Julien were dating! And, followers of the channel quickly became invested in their budding relationship.
Solomita soon became a regular feature of Jenna's videos. Even through the screen, fans could tell the couple was in love and having fun together. From prank videos to day trips, YouTube challenges, food videos, and more, the pair shared themselves with the world, and Jenna benefited greatly from it.
1 Billion Clicks
By the end of 2013, Jenna hit 12M subscribers, and nearly the whole world knew her name. In fact, when the New York Times featured her, the publication made sure of it. Marbles quickly became known worldwide as The Woman With 1 Billion Clicks: Jenna Marbles.
Jenna had reached an incredible 1,699,106,395 views on her channel, and her following had grown to a whopping 20.1M subscribers! But while some were falling in love with her personality, others had been rubbed the wrong way by some of her actions. And, they didn't hold back from telling their side of the story...
She Made an Enemy
"She told People magazine she fell into making YouTubes. Actually, no, you were working at a tanning salon, and I hired you. That's how you started," said Barstool Sports' Dave Portnoy, Jenna's former employer. "She thanked me once...I hired her and taught her everything about what she's doing now," he told NBC News.
Jenna didn't respond to requests for comment. This could've been due to ending on seemingly bad terms with Portnoy. Or that she wasn't used to being serious amidst all of her comical videos. Nevertheless, fans didn't blame her for staying silent and instead became full of excitement about a milestone Jenna was about to reach.
#5 on YouTube
Fast-forward a few months to mid-2013, and Jenna Marbles had more than 1.2B views on her channel and a subscriber base of nearly 10M! She posted videos of "Jenna's Ratchet Salon," gluing hundreds of small mirrors to her face to make herself into a disco ball, dying her hair, YouTube challenges, life updates, and more.
According to NBC News, Marbles had grown to become the 5th most-subscribed channel across all of YouTube! This was a massive accomplishment for the internet personality, as she had made it to a point in life where she was finally proud of herself. In addition, before long, viewers began to see Julien appear in more content.
Jenna & Julien Podcast
Not only was Solomita in several of Jenna's hilarious videos throughout the years, but their relationship and business adventures soon grew to include the weekly Jenna & Julien podcast! And, it grew to be so popular that it gained up to 922,000 subscribers at its height. Within each episode, they discussed many topics...
This included sports, culture, conspiracy theories, and growing up in today's world. They even featured special guests on their show, including fellow YouTuber Shane Dawson. The podcast followed the weekly shenanigans of Julien and Jenna and gave fans an inner look into their relationship and lives.
Small & Big Screen Adventures
But, this podcast was just the beginning of Jenna's entertainment industry adventures. In fact, she landed a few gigs that helped other niche communities learn her name. She played Eve in the Epic Rap Battles of History TV episode, "Adam and Eve," and even made an appearance on another show, Ridiculousness.
And in 2015, Jenna teamed up with Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox of the YouTube channel SMOSH to create SMOSH: The Movie. Their channel had over 30 million subscribers at the time and launched Marbles onto the big screen. But, this was only a stepping stone for Jenna, as she was far from finished on her rise to fame.
Marbles Made History
Later on, in 2015, Jenna and the men of SMOSH made history just before their movie premiered. With the guys, Marbles became the first-ever YouTube personality to have their own wax figure displayed at the iconic Madame Tussauds. She announced the big news via sharing a selfie online, which quickly spread throughout the web.
Marbles was in shock over the big news. "I'm so beyond honored and excited...This is probably the coolest thing that has ever happened I'm just so completely floored by this and thank you so much @nycwax," Jenna gushed on Instagram. As she skyrocketed to fame, Jenna gained tons of traction as a becoming-well-known internet star.
With her YouTube channel and relationship thriving, fans from all over the world watching her videos, and successes at nearly every turn, Jenna was finally living the happy and successful life she always dreamt of. So, when she turned 30-years-old, she decided to drop some knowledge on her subscribers. Her biggest messages were...
Buy a bath mat for your shower/bath, never go on an all-carrots diet, and most of all, allow your heart to drive your life. On top of all of this, Jenna made a major move, both in her relationship and literally! In 2018, Mourey announced that she and Julien had purchased a multi-million-dollar home together in California.
A $2.85 Million Purchase
The couple had taken their relationship to the next level by moving in together. And, not into any old apartment or house, but a $2.85M home in Sherman Oaks! Jenna and Julien debuted their new digs in a YouTube video where they gave a small house tour and showed off the 5,093-square-foot space.
Even though it was just the two of them at the time, their home had a whopping 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, a huge master bedroom, loads of living space, and sat at the end of a quiet California cul-de-sac. By the looks of it, Jenna had certainly made it big after living in her cramped Cambridge apartment.
A Star is Born
After spending millions on the house, Jenna kept up the trend. In fact, around that time, a video of Marbles teaching her pups how to swim reached more than 10M views, while a video of her messing around with a green screen warranted upwards of 14M. There was no denying she was getting a knack for the whole content creator thing.
In September 2019, Jenna's channel hit 30M subscribers and about 3.3B video views. At this point in time, she had risen through the ranks to become the 8th most popular channel operated by a woman on YouTube! With her internet success, a loving boyfriend, dogs, and countless video ideas, Jenna was doing well for herself...
"More Money than I Need, Ever"
Per Celebrity Net Worth, Jenna's net worth comes from combining her earnings from YouTube, Twitch, merchandise sales, and other ventures such as the dog toy line she created called Kermie Worm & Mr. Marbles. All of this plus her CA home led Mourey to make "More money than I need, ever," as she explained to the New York Times.
Jenna's net worth is estimated to be about $8M. Finally, Mourey had enough money in her account to live more than comfortably. But soon after reaching this accomplishment, an incident ruffled her feathers and drew attention to something fans had missed in the past. Thus it came time for Jenna to own up to her mistakes.
Jenna Made a Mistake
Despite winning awards such as the Viral Superstar Young Hollywood Award and YouTube Ensemble Shorty Award in her past, the well-known and widely loved YouTuber made a huge mistake. And, she got called out for it, loudly. She explained the situation in a video released in late June 2020...
Jenna's fans received an apology video where she repented for previously uploading a video that included racially insensitive content. The accusation was related to an old video in which she sported an extra-dark tan while pretending to be Nicki Minaj. This was a huge no-no. It happened years back, but many were less forgiving.
Taking a Hiatus
In the 11-minute upload, Jenna stated it was never her intention to hurt or offend anyone and that she would be taking an indefinite hiatus from her channel. In addition, she made "Almost all of my old content" private because "I don't want someone to watch something and feel hurt or offended now for any reason, at all."
"I'm unbelievably sorry...I wish it wasn't part of my past," Jenna said with tears in her eyes. "I think I'm just going to move on from this channel, for now. I don't know if that's forever...I want to make sure that the things that I've put into the world aren't hurting anyone," she continued. So many fans were devastated.
"I've definitely done things in the past that weren't great. I'm not completely unproblematic. I've tried my best to grow up," Jenna said in her apology. Referencing the Minaj video, she noted, "It was not my intention to do blackface... but all that matters is that people were offended, and it hurt them."
As many fans remember, in the video, Jenna donned a pink wig and skintight outfit while joking that Minaj had different personalities. At one point, she was seen with a dark face mask or dark paint on her face. In retrospect, Marbles admitted, "It's not cool. It's not cute. It's not okay."
“For Now I Just Can’t Exist on This Channel"
Jenna knew that she had to own up to the mistakes she made in her past. "For now, I just can't exist on this channel. I want to hold myself accountable, and it's painful to do it. I'm ashamed of things I've done and said in my past. But, it's important," she said. It became clear that Mourey was incredibly disappointed in herself.
Mourey told the New York Times she was "Crucified" by some fans for her previous offensive content. "I don't always know what's right and what's wrong, but the truth is I'm just trying my best," reassured Jenna. The day after her video, Julien announced that their shared Twitch would also be taking an indefinite hiatus as well.
Did She Cancel Herself?
Jenna wanted to show her devoted fanbase that she understood the severity of her mistake. So, after her heartfelt apology, she canceled herself from the internet before "Cancel Culture" could do it for her. "Canceling" is when public figures get thrust out of social or professional circles owing to something that they said or did.
While some commented things like "Hold social influencers accountable...Do not let people get away with problematic things just because they're famous or rich." Others praised Jenna's reaction as taking responsibility for past mistakes. "We're at a time where we are purging ourselves of anything and everything toxic," said a user.
Julien Came Back Online
On July 6th Julien returned to streaming on the couple's Twitch channel. He announced on behalf of both himself and Jenna that the channel would be transitioning to be operated solely under his name. At the time, Mourey wished to remain out of the spotlight, and suddenly, the channel changed from "JennaJulien" to "Julien."
With tons of support coming from the couple's fanbase, Julien tweeted: "I feel so lucky to have had the experiences over the past nearly 6 years on twitch.tv/jennajulien. It's incredibly bittersweet knowing I'll never go live under that name again. I will forever cherish these memories. Thank u so much for being a part of them."
The End of Joint Ventures
At this point, Jenna had removed herself from YouTube, Twitch, social media, and next came the Jenna & Julien podcast. In the last episode that her voice was heard in, she said, "Maybe someday in the future Julien and I can do something else...For now, the podcast is goodbye..."
The 6-minute long final episode closed with a note from Jenna. "The longer we sit here, the more messy it's gonna get. But, just the biggest, most heartfelt thank you to anyone who has ever listened to our podcast." She then reassured fans that she was focused on learning how to best support herself and learn from her mistakes.
Jenna's Last Video
The last video uploaded on Jenna's channel was posted in June 2020 and currently sits at 4.6M views. Since then, the comments flooded with fans leaving notes for the former YouTube star. "We miss you Jenna. You will always remain one of the most iconic people who graced this platform with her beautiful presence," said WINTER.
And a heartfelt, "Even though I didn't want you to leave, I'm glad you did because your own well-being is more important than entertaining a bunch of strangers. Love you, Jenna, just know that you're well-loved," from YouTube user Candace Orenge. But, despite the kindness of fans, Jenna still hasn't replied to any comments...
A Huge Announcement
In fact, not a word had been shared about Jenna until Julien made a huge announcement in February 2021. Although Jenna has yet to comment on the big news, Solomita announced on his now-solo-operated Twitch channel that he asked Jenna to marry him, 8 long years after they started dating...
"A little while ago—this is so weird—I asked Jenna to marry me, and she said yes. So, we are engaged," exclaimed Julien! And when asked why he decided to propose now, he said, "I just woke up and wanted to be married to her." Sounds like this duo has agreed to take on hell and high water together for the long run.
Julien Has Jenna's Back
Since their engagement, Jenna and Julien have lived a pretty quiet life, despite Solomita maintaining his social media platforms. Although some are happy that Jenna is lying low, other fans are certainly comforted to know that she's probably close by when her fiancé is on screen.
Loyal followers haven't given up hope that Jenna will forgive herself and be able to move on and grow from her past mistakes. But also be able to focus on the amazing things happening in her life with Julien. Based on their equally eccentric personalities, we can imagine that their future union will be the ultimate wedding!
In Fan's Hearts
Jenna's fans still comment on her social accounts in hopes that she will see them and come back to her platforms. They tell her that they miss her antics and ask when she's coming back. "Miss you so much! You're probably in such a healthier place right now! Hope you're doing well and taking care of yourself," said one user.
As of this writing, fans still comment new things on Jenna's post for Julien's birthday back in April 2020. "You don't owe us the gift of your humor, nor do you have to share your life…but let it be known that you are a light on the internet, and we all miss your shine," said an Instagram user.
A Look Back In Time
Many fans are still dreaming of the day that Jenna makes her internet resurfacing, but until then, they'll have to settle for second best - rewatching all of her old videos and clinging to the achievements she added to her resume throughout her decade on YouTube - before the unfortunate incident occurred...
Since her Minaj video resurfaced, Jenna has been viewed in a rather negative light, but many fans still celebrate her wins despite that. And although she isn't uploading any new content, that doesn't mean she hasn't seen her fair share of success along the road.
YouTuber Turned Producer
Back when Jenna's YouTubing abilities were skyrocketing in 2016, she gained new followers daily and created content that had the masses in tears from laughing so hard. So, when an opportunity came her way to expand her resume and wallet, Mourey said yes! With that, she soon became an Executive Director.
That's right! Did you know that Jenna helped produce 2016's Maximum Ride, a film based on the James Patterson novels? As it turned out, this was yet another skill Mourey had in her back pocket. And, thanks to her work, she was able to pocket additional funds that helped her reach her $8M net worth.
She Won A Shorty
The next year came around, and there was no denying that Marbles had figured out the whole internet personality thing like a true professional. She had grown such a massive following at that point in time that at the 9th annual Shorty Awards, Jenna won!
The hilarious YouTuber received a Shorty Award for YouTuber of the Year, and she wasn't alone either! Her then-boyfriend-now-fiancé, Julien, also won a Shorty for Vlogger of the Year at the ceremony. Talk about a power couple who knew how to win over fan's hearts even then! But profits from Jenna's projects weren't done yet...
Kermie Worm & Mr. Marbles
Over the years, Jenna adopted 4 dogs that made many appearances on her channel. Mr. Marbles, mentioned earlier as the namesake of her pseudonym was the eldest pooch. Then came Kermit, Peach, and finally, Bunny. Due to her deep-seated love for the 4-legged fur babies, Mourey decided to get them even more involved with her work...
Jenna created 'Kermie Worm & Mr. Marbles,' a dog toy line that was designed after her two oldest pets. This was another venture Marbles began for the fun of it but actually turned out to be widely successful with sales across the U.S.! This added some dough to her pocket, but since her YouTube leave, Amazon.com sales stopped.
Now, Jenna didn't have to remove 'Kermie Worm & Mr. Marbles' from Amazon. However, we can imagine that she did it as part of her taking responsibility for her harmful actions. Nevertheless, Mourey is focusing inward on her mental health and healing. And thankfully, she has her doting and supportive fiancé by her side.
Despite all of her many accomplishments, Mourey has been pretty hard on herself throughout the past year. From removing herself from YouTube to staying basically silent on all other socials throughout 2020, she has stood strong in showing viewers she understands that she made mistakes and is now taking time to heal from them.
Some Baby Steps
Above everything else, one prior message from Mourey rang clear, "I don't want to hurt anyone, I don't want to offend anyone. I just want to have a good time, and I'm not having a good time." We sincerely hope that since her hiatus from YouTube began, she's been able to put in the self-work to get back to being her best self.
In the meantime, fans of Jenna Marbles from all across the globe have spent their time rewatching old videos in hopes that a page refresh will bring them new content one day soon. Until then, admirers will just have to wait as patiently as possible to see and hear an update from the YouTube icon...
So, what's next for the former YouTuber and current vlogger? Well, Jenna remains out of the spotlight to this day and still has yet to publicly comment on her engagement to Julien. But, we can imagine that she's over the moon about now being able to call her boyfriend of 8 years her doting fiance.
Much of their fan base may feel worried about Jenna, but many remember her most recent form of reaching out. On the last episode of the Jenna & Julien podcast, she reassured, "I'm doing okay, I'm getting help, and I'm just being a person right now." So, until the next time she surfaces, we'll be wishing her well in her journey.