Here's What These Huge YouTube Stars Are Doing Now

The following references domestic abuse allegations and addiction.

To many, Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn are internet pioneers. Some of the more recent legends of the world wide web, however, are the brave souls who started posting videos on YouTube before it was cool and lucrative. (Perhaps we should thank Jawed Karim, Steve Chen, and Chad Hurley, the creators of YouTube, but this isn't about them.) Founded in 2005, the platform gained popularity quickly, and within five years of its existence, loads of creators were uploading content on a regular basis, and they were becoming celebrities in their own right. These courageous people were simply making videos for fun, and the employment industry shifted when we learned there was serious money to be made YouTube.

Now, nearly two decades since its inception, thanks in part to these creators, YouTube is the second most-visited website in the world, topping Facebook and only trailing behind Google. The YouTube stars of the late aughts redefined what it means to be famous, proving that your location doesn't have to determine whether or not you become a celebrity if you don't want it to. And since the platform's been around for so long, we've lived to see some of our favorite creators resign, reappear, pivot, and more. While there are far too many to keep track of, we've kept tabs on some who were particularly buzz-worthy when YouTube was still considered a start-up. Let's take a trip down viral memory lane and see what these YouTube stars are doing today.

SkyDoesMinecraft put his YouTube channel up for sale

American YouTuber Adam Dahlberg rose to internet fame through his channel SkyDoesMinecraft. As the channel's title promised, Dahlberg's main form of content was videos of him playing the popular video game "Minecraft." Dahlberg amassed millions of subscribers, and millions of dollars, from his videos, and eventually, he parlayed into broader content types, changing his username to SkyDoesEverything to reflect his new ventures. While some unsubscribed from Dahlberg's channel after the name and content change, millions stayed faithful, keeping his subscriber count well above 11 million.

Like many chronically online people, Dahlberg received widespread backlash after a years-long career creating content. Unlike most, though, it had to do with his personal life, not something he had posted. In January 2022, Dahlberg's former partner uploaded an open letter to him on Twitter alleging she had suffered abuse at his hands. "Its time everyone knows the truth. Im tired of letting you get away with this," her tweet read. In the wake of this, Dahlberg put his YouTube channel up for sale on FameSwap, citing that the page had earned over $8 million and garnered over 4 billion views in its virtual tenure. The price for the page is only open to FameSwap account holders, but the site does note that no offers have been made. It is yet to be seen whether someone purchases the channel, but Dahlberg has not uploaded a new video since early 2022.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Jenna Marbles got married

Few female millennial YouTubers have had as widespread an impact on internet culture as Jenna Marbles. The content creator began her vlogging journey in 2010, and since then she's garnered millions of subscribers and billions of views. A strong argument could be made that she's one of the most influential YouTubers of all time, proving to a legion of followers, young women in particular, that in today's world, anybody can make a living doing just about anything, even tricking people into thinking you're good looking.

A dominant force on the platform for years, Marbles' exit from YouTube in 2020 was shocking to all and devastating to many. As she noted in a since-deleted video, Marbles was vilified for content she had posted back in 2011, much of it deemed racist by viewers. The YouTube star decided to part ways with the platform in the wake of the controversy. Per The New York Times, Marbles said in her video, "I am ashamed of things I have done and said in my past," and added, "We're at a time where we are purging ourselves of anything and everything toxic," sharing with fans that she'd be removing all insensitive content from her channel.

Fans haven't heard much from her since the debacle, but in 2022, Marbles' partner, Julien Solomita, shared on Instagram that he and the YouTube star got married. Not much else has been revealed about Marbles' current happenings, but we'll be monitoring the internet in hopes of updates.

Ricky Dillon plays games on Twitch

Ricky Dillion lived his life online for many years, building a successful YouTube channel in the process. Dillon, who posted a wide array of content, mostly focused on music, even collaborating with Snoop Dogg for a song and video. With over 3 million subscribers, Dillon was a YouTube favorite among many, and his slow exit from the platform made for some unhappy followers. After starting to post fewer and fewer videos, fans noticed Dillon's frequency on the platform petering. In January 2020, Dillon took to YouTube once again to address his lack of new content. The long and short of it, he sought a more financially stable line of work. 

"I don't want to get too deep into it but I had a lot of tax issues, and I wasn't doing too well financially. And in July, I made the decision to become a freelance editor," the YouTube star shared with fans. He added, "It's been the best decision I've made for myself in a long time. I'm the most stable and content in years ... I came to the point where I was like, 'I can't just do YouTube.' It's too risky, it's stressful, it's anxiety-inducing. So this summer I hit a really low point with my finances and was like, 'I need to do something else.'" Fans of Dillon can still find him online, though. Dillon now has an account on Twitch where he uploads videos of himself playing games.

FPSRussia hosts a podcast

Before YouTube was worth hundreds of billions and podcasters were signing multimillion-dollar contracts, creators like Kyle Myers, better known as FPSRussia, were churning out content for the masses through multiple media, and their multi-platform approach quickly accrued success in various industries. Myers was a prime example, amassing followers on both his YouTube channel and through his podcast. When Myers was first gaining popularity, as was the case for many early creators, traditional news outlets weren't tracking the progress of YouTube stars, but Myers's meteoric ascension was worth noting — the creator had gained 1 million followers in less than a year, per Tube Filter.

Much of Myers' YouTube content was centered around firearms, and he often included friends in his videos. In 2013, his business partner, Keith Ratliff, died by gunshot. Cops believed it was a homicide, but no one was arrested for his killing; conspiracies about his death circulated the internet. Myers subsequently stopped posting on YouTube for several months, returning again for about two years before halting production on content for the video platform altogether.

Though Myers is no longer active on YouTube, he still regularly uploads episodes of his podcast, "Painkiller Already." His podcast content mostly includes news updates.

Michelle Phan is creating online courses for creators

Many may see content creation as a dream job, a task that's low-stress and fun. Its allure is compounded by the potential to make millions and shift your career focus into more traditional business and entertainment ventures, as many have already. But few of us consider the negatives that come with content creation and the risks associated with the job. Michelle Phan is a paragon of both the potential upsides and downsides to earning a living online, proving that it isn't always what it seems.

Phan gained notoriety as a beauty influencer, posting videos of herself doing her makeup to her YouTube channel for her millions of subscribers to see. She used her success to co-found Ipsy, and from the outside, Phan's life was as perfect as her makeup. The makeup guru later started her own beauty line, EM Cosmetics, all the while regularly posting on YouTube, continually growing her brand. But in 2017, Phan seemingly fell off the face of the planet, no longer posting videos to YouTube. "I was burnt out. I was just tired. I accomplished everything I could ever want⁠ – even more so! I didn't come onto YouTube to become a star," she told The Cut of her sabbatical.

Phan eventually returned to YouTube and still posts sporadically. But as she shared with Glossy in September 2022, her career today is more focused on EM Cosmetics, as well as launching Summer School, an online course for content creators.

KevJumba makes music

YouTube handedly — and quickly — disrupted several established industries. While we have yet to see a YouTube star turn into an Oscar-winning actor, a handful have become decorated musicians. By the late 2000s, YouTube account holders like Justin Bieber were signing record deals and creating new career aspirations for musicians all over the world, hoping a manager would stumble upon their videos, too. While Bieber's success is still somewhat of an anomaly as far as YouTubers are concerned, others, like Kevin Wu, have also utilized the platform to launch a career in their chosen field.

Wu, who's better known as KevJumba, now simply goes by Kevin on YouTube. The creator started his channel in 2006, posting comedic videos to the platform on a regular basis, gaining nearly 1 million subscribers in the process. Wu eventually stopped posting to the site, but resumed in earnest to post videos of his original music. Wu has released multiple EPs, his most recent of which was dropped in 2022. And like many former and current YouTubers, Wu also has content available on Twitch. Every content creator's path looks a little different, but many of them have ended up with quite successful careers.

Erika Costell started her own companies

If the internet has proven anything, it's that any career is possible if you have enough people you don't know willing to watch you do it. For Erika Costell, that career is modeling. While Costell very well could have attained her chosen career without the help of the internet, she used YouTube as leverage and has earned ample success because of it. Costell's YouTube career began a little differently than most, though, as it wasn't necessarily something she set out to do on her own. Costell began dating popular YouTuber Jake Paul, and after gaining fans of her own, she started her eponymous channel.

Costell took a hiatus from the video site in the late 2010s. As she told Forbes, "I spent that year and eight months stepping back and figuring out how to say, 'Hey, this is Erika now. Yes, you've known her throughout the years but we've all grown up. I'm a grownup now. I did the YouTube thing.' I don't feel the need to constantly show people what I'm doing." And while she's still active on social media, now the bulk of Costell's career is dedicated to her various business ventures. "There are four companies which I own. Three of which have been announced publicly. My goal is, in two years when I'm thirty, to have seven revenue streams completely pumping. So, we're almost there," she said.

Shay Carl returned to YouTube

YouTube is somewhat of a revolving door. New content creators are always on the rise while veterans are making their ways out. But the great thing about YouTube is that it's always open for old creators to return, and several have reutilized the platform after taking both brief and extended breaks to re-evaluate their career trajectory, or, as was the case for Shay Carl, to reckon with some personal issues.

Carl, who's known for his channel SHAYTARDS, has long posted videos of his family to the website, and his popularity led him to film sponsored content, start a podcast, and even take a video with Matt Damon in 2013. But in 2017, Carl announced to his millions of subscribers that he'd be taking an extended break from the platform. "I wanna know what it's like to not be a YouTuber," he said. "The thing that we do of making a video and being so open with so many people is not ordinary, and it takes its toll," he continued, noting that he'd be off the platform for a year.

Carl did take his year-long hiatus, but while he was away, the star was also accused of cheating on his wife and shared he was struggling with alcoholism. The following year, Carl and his family returned to the platform, but noted their filming schedule wouldn't be as frequent as before.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Tyler Oakley still has a podcast

Tyler Oakley is so famous from YouTube, you might not even know that's where he got his start. Though he began posting videos to his own channel, Oakley grew to further fame through his work with Ellen DeGeneres. The former talk show host employed Oakley to star in his own web series via DeGeneres's show's YouTube platform, called "The Tyler Oakley Show," and career dominoes continued falling for the star. As DeGeneres said on her talk show, "You have such great energy, and everybody says that ... you are just infectious with your joy and happiness." Oakley also had the opportunity to meet both President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, further cementing his star status.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakley announced via his YouTube channel that he was stepping away from the platform for a while. "I've never really taken a break, and it is not time for me to take a break," he said. "I do not have an end in sight for when I will be back ... I'm gonna be focusing on some other stuff that I am actually really excited about," he added. Unlike some YouTubers, Oakley's break wasn't too long, and in 2022 he returned to the platform to update subscribers on his life since his break, noting that he's now on Twitch. Although he wasn't always available on YouTube, Oakley has been steadily uploading episodes of his podcast since it launched in 2014.

Joji released a hit song

Some things you can't ignore no matter how hard you try. And if you were on TikTok even once in 2022, that something was Joji's "Glimpse of Us." The song has over 1.5 billion views on the video-sharing platform, and its popularity earned it a spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song is the lead track on Joji's 2022 album "Smithereens," his third studio album, and it has over 733 million plays on Spotify. If that's not a hit song, we don't know what is.

But before Joji was releasing songs of the summer, he was posting content to YouTube under the name DizastaMusic. Joji's main characters on his channel were Pink Guy and Filthy Frank, and he garnered both millions of views and subscribers through his comedic work, eventually creating a new online home under a different channel name. But fans shouldn't be surprised by his shift to music. As Joji told Billboard, "I was always doing music on the side. I started both at the same time. Back then, to make up for that fact, I would still make music, but funny stuff – but now I get to do stuff that I want to hear."

If you were once a Pink Guy or Filthy Frank fan, you'll be disappointed to know that Joji hasn't uploaded any videos as either character in years, as his main focus now is music. But take solace in the fact that the TVFilthyFrank channel still exists.