Inside Criss Angel's Life Today

Las Vegas is arguably best known for three things: casinos, fine dining, and entertainment. Over the years, the world's biggest names have snagged lucrative residencies in Sin City. From pop icons like Celine Dion and Cher to fan-favorites from "America's Got Talent" (looking at you, Jabbawockeez) and even A-list magicians. The latter includes Criss Angel who first shot to fame back in 2005 with "Criss Angel Mindfreak." The show made him a household name, and a millionaire, before going off the air in 2010. After that, Angel turned his energy and focus to his Vegas career, but largely disappeared from the spotlight. One of the last times he made major headlines was in March 2017 due to a failed straitjacket stunt. Angel was performing the infamous trick when TMZ reports he lost consciousness and was rushed to the emergency room. Luckily, he didn't suffer any injuries and picked up his performances the following night.

The fact that Angel has been spending less time in the public eye doesn't mean he hasn't been busy, though. He's gone through a lot of highs in recent years, including a slew of new career opportunities, as well as lows. His son's serious health struggles have recently taken precedent and he's repeatedly shared emotional updates with fans. Let's peek inside Criss Angel's life today.

Criss Angel had a rough start in Vegas but conquered it

Playing off the on-air success of A&E's "Criss Angel Mindfreak," Criss Angel teamed up with Cirque du Soleil to launch "Criss Angel: Believe" at Las Vegas' Luxor hotel in 2008. However, translating his talents into a live show proved challenging. In fact, the initial response was anything but flattering. The Las Vegas Sun proclaimed that the production's "fatal flaw" was that "there's just no wonder in it" and "shockingly little magic." They criticized it for having "no shock, no awe, precious little surprise, even." The Los Angeles Times wasn't any more forgiving. Concluding that Angel lacked "a compelling live-stage presence," they wrote that his "personality simply disappears for long stretches of the show."

Even so, the illusionist had signed a 10-year deal with Cirque du Soleil, so he kept going. It wasn't until 2016 that the show was rebranded and updated, becoming "Mindfreak Live!" This time around, the Las Vegas Sun praised Angel, writing that after he "assumed a central creative role in his partnership with Cirque du Soleil," it turned into a "visually dazzling and sonically powerful production." This allowed the magician to end things on a high note in October 2018 after 4,000 performances. He wasn't gone long, however. Having hit his stride, Angel returned to the Strip in January 2019 with "Criss Angel MINDFREAK" at Planet Hollywood. The 90-minute show calls itself a "groundbreaking production that integrates the most sophisticated and cutting-edge technology." Las Vegas Review-Journal agreed, dubbing it "a spectacle of sight and sound."

Criss Angel took Broadway by storm

As recounted in a statement given to Playbill, Criss Angel first launched "Mindfreak" back "in 2001 in the heart of Times Square" and in 2019, he returned "home" to take Broadway by storm. Calling it "a dream come true," Angel treated NYC audiences to a new show called "Criss Angel Raw — The Mindfreak Unplugged." It took over the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre for a five-day run, per Deadline, and delivered a new, "completely different" take on his Las Vegas experience. Speaking with the outlet, Angel explained that unlike the over-the-top theatricals of his Sin City production, this show was "intimate and reveals a different side of me — while of course still blowing your mind!"

The magician also teased "a revolutionary closing illusion — 18 years in the making and the most spectacular ever seen on Broadway" — and he delivered. Unlike early reviews of his Vegas show, which left much to be desired, the scaled back version pleased critics. Greek Reporter called it "captivating" and "spectacular" and praised Angel for being "witty, clever and just a phenomenal live performer." Meanwhile, The New York Times was critical of "some bits [which] didn't work for a Broadway house, like his close-up routines," but it couldn't deny the fact that "Mr. Angel seemed to genuinely like his audience." And, more importantly, "they genuinely liked him back."

Criss Angel quietly started a family

One of Criss Angel's greatest tricks was perhaps keeping his family under wraps. In October 2015, TMZ learned that he had secretly married Australian singer-songwriter Shaunyl Benson "right after Valentine's Day" and that they had welcomed a son named Johnny Crisstopher in 2014. The news broke after Angel had to cancel his Las Vegas shows due to, as he tweeted, "a family emergency" which forced him to fly to Australia. Per Today, it was later revealed that his 20-month-old son had been diagnosed with leukemia. Interestingly, just three weeks earlier, Angel denied even having a girlfriend during an interview with Cleveland's "Rover's Morning Glory" radio show. "My professional life I can manage brilliantly, my personal life is a freaking disaster," he stated, sharing he's just too "obsessed with working" to have a family.

In the years since, Angel has been much more transparent about his personal life. In January 2019, he announced the birth of son Xristos Yanni on Instagram, writing that "the most beautiful magic of all" is "life." Jump to July 2021 and Benson revealed she was expecting their third child. Taking to Instagram, she wrote that her pregnancy was "absolutely unexpected" and quipped, "Thanks to you, tequila!" The pair suffered another health scare when daughter Illusia Angelina was born in November 2021 at just 35 weeks. Benson shared that she had to be taken into the NICU and asked fans "for all your prayers." A few weeks later, Angel checked in with fans to say their bundle of joy was doing "fantastic."

His young son received a heartbreaking diagnosis

Criss Angel and his wife, Shaunyl Benson, received heartbreaking news in October 2015 when their 20-month-old son, Johnny Crisstopher, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. According to, the disease occurs when "bone marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell)." Speaking with People, Angel said he "felt helpless" after learning of the diagnosis and added, "My son is supposed to outlive me. I'd rather it be me that was sick."

Choosing to keep fans up-to-date on Johnny's battle, the magician posted a photo to Twitter from his son's "4th day chemo" — the beginning of a long journey to recovery. What followed was "over three years" of treatment before Johnny reached remission. However, in December 2019, Angel broke the devastating news to TMZ that Johnny, who was now five, "had a relapse" and was "going back into the hospital." It wasn't until January 2022 that the devoted father was able to share some great news on Instagram: After 1,095 chemotherapy sessions, Johnny was officially in remission. Speaking with Extra, Angel said watching his child live with the illness was heart-wrenching but reasoned, "It was 95% curable, but unfortunately somebody had to make up the 5% and that's why he had a relapse."

Criss Angel wants to raise millions for pediatric cancer

Criss Angel is on a mission to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer. Since Johnny Crisstopher's heartbreaking leukemia diagnosis, Angel has been organizing fundraisers, contributing to various charities, and even filming a documentary about his son's arduous journey. Called "1095," the 14-minute film was released in January 2022 and the magician has called it "the most important" thing he's ever done. In addition to his family's personal story, it features general facts, like that "one child every two minutes is diagnosed with cancer." In the doc, Angel explains he's striving to "be a voice for these kids," help "families that are going through the toughest time of their life," and raise "hundreds of millions of dollars,"

He's so devoted to the cause, it's become his life's mission. As he told "1095" viewers, he'd "rather people remember me for my work that I did with kids than my work that I did as a magician." Speaking about "1095" with Extra, Angel encouraged everyone to "watch it and share it," saying, "I don't need anybody to give a penny." He just wants to "persuade [...] the powers that be at the government" that pediatric cancer needs "more funding." The illusionist has also launched Johnny Crisstopher Children's Charitable Foundation, which is on a mission to "raise awareness of pediatric cancer and provide funds for research, treatment, and — ultimately — a cure." Angel is adamant that "unlike many other non-profit charities," 100% of donations go towards the valiant cause.

He wants to conquer Las Vegas with another show

Since the start of 2019, Criss Angel has been treating Las Vegas audiences to his signature magic in "Criss Angel MINDFREAK." Now, it seems one successful show just isn't enough for the famed illusionist. Teaming up with Franco Dragone, Angel spent much of 2021 working on a second Vegas production titled "AMYSTIKA — The Secret Revealed." Dragone, who calls himself one of the "world's most sought-after artistic directors," is no stranger to crafting shows for Sin City and has spearheaded iconic productions like Cirque du Soleil's "O" and Celine Dion's "A New Day". Angel wanted to tap into that expertise and told Las Vegas Magazine that their collaboration turned out to be "absolutely beautiful."

The new show, which debuts in March 2022, is being called an "immersive and interactive MINDFREAK prequel." As Angel explained to Las Vegas Magazine, it's the first time "in Las Vegas history where you have two shows you have to see to get the complete experience and understand the entire concept." Calling it "very interactive" and "a visual feast," he teased that its story is about "how I became who I am, not literally but much more symbolic." Angel also said he hopes audiences walk away "realizing anything is possible." According to its official description, AMYSTIKA will achieve just that by combining "euphoric, stunning illusions, one-of-a-kind special effects, jaw-dropping stunts and much more."

Magic sure pays well

Being a full-time magician isn't only a sweet gig, it's a lucrative one. Just ask Criss Angel. Since exploding into the mainstream in 2005 with A&E's "Criss Angel Mindfreak," Angel has starred in Spike TV's "Criss Angel BeLIEve" (which ran for one season in 2013) and built a successful business that's no illusion. According to Celebrity Net Worth, to date, he's reportedly amassed a net worth of $50 million thanks to his work on the small screen and, as his bio proudly boasts, his "best-selling books, top-grossing retail products, music CDs," and more.

Among his most impressive money-making endeavors have been his various live shows in Las Vegas. In 2010, Angel's Sin City production reportedly brought in a whopping $150 million. Meanwhile, in 2018, Forbes ranked him among the world's highest-paid magic acts. The outlet learned he earned $16 million that year, which was $1.5 million more than the year before. That placed him in third, right behind David Copperfield who brought in $61 million and Penn & Teller who earned $30 million. Looking at his overall earnings results in an even more impressive number. In 2016, Bloomberg learned that Angel reportedly made $70 million in a single year thanks to a combination of "millions of dollars from television, including foreign rights; road show versions of his act; magic kits and other merchandise; and sponsorships." That's some serious money magic.