If you've spend a lot of time on the Internet, you have certainly come across one of Youtube's most adored families. The question is ‘Who were these individuals before they rose to fame’ or even better, ‘Who are Roman and Brittney when the camera is not rolling’?
Atwood's Near-Death Experience
Born on the 28th of May 1983, Roman Atwood was raised in Millersport, Ohio, by his parents Susan and Curtis, or as he likes to call them, “the most supportive people in the world.” Along with his brother Dale, Roman grew up in a happy home. Yet, this didn’t prevent them from being reckless teens.
Roman was a pretty reckless teen, with little sense of responsibility. More precisely, he had a near-death experience at the age of 16. Atwood has stated in one of his tweets, “I was diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning at age 16. I had an 80% chance of death.”
He Couldn't Fit In
Roman has always been one of the creative, intelligent, and free-spirited kids. And maybe that’s the reason why he was unable to find himself as part of the classroom or relate to his studies. Or as he put it, “I didn’t need to learn about World War II to make these [stupid] videos.”
Back in the day, his parents and teachers felt that Roman was wasting his time. More precisely, they didn’t believe that he could make it in the competitive film industry. Even so, he dreamt of being behind a camera ever since he was a boy, recalling, “I saved like $300 and bought my first camera”.
People Said He Would Never Amount to Anything
Before Atwood rose to fame, it felt like everyone was against him. Because of his lazy attitude towards school activities, his teachers openly told him that he would never to amount to anything. Ironically, they believed that he would end up living on his parents’ couch. What an irony!
Roman was always determined to film and he believed in his dream. So, he started shooting and editing sketch comedy clips, along with his friends. “I actually learned to make videos so I could edit them,” said Roman. He used the camera he had saved up for and fell inlove with every aspect of film.
The Battle Between Goals and Education
While his peers were studying, Roman was falling more inlove with film, “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.”
Roman continued to develop his passion for film, as well as a little romance with fellow student, Shanna Reilly. Considering she was his first love, Atwood was convinced that they would spend their life together. As graduation came closer, they looked forward to their future.
18 and Pregnant
Roman’s teachers tried to convince him to apply for college. However, no one could get through to him. Instead, Atwood decided to marry his childhood sweetheart right after graduation. Although he was only 18-years-old, he and Shanna were all loved up, enjoyed their new relationship.
Well, at least until reality hit, and Shanna suddenly fell pregnant. At this point, Roman knew he needed to get his act together and provide for his upcoming baby. So, he took a job at his father’s company, Atwood Rope. This marked the beginning of a difficult time in Atwood’s life.
Roman Hit an All-Time Low
Due to the unexpected turn of events, Roman was unable to pursue his passion for film. Not doing what he loved most broke his spirit more and more everyday. “I used to tear up and cry at this factory because I wasn’t making these videos. It was that passionate to me”.
Roman refused to give up. So, he used any chance he got to shoot a clip with his friends, as well as commercials around Columbus, including the Nerd Herd. This was a slapstick-comedy DVD he and his brother Dale worked on. But sadly, the project never really took off.
A Glimpse of Hope
Finally, a friend of Roman invited him to LA to work on an upcoming film. At the time, Atwood was convinced this was his big break, the one opportunity that would open up a promising future. So, Roman quickly packed and bid farewell to his wife Shanna and baby Noah.
However, the project was far from what Roman thought. When he arrived on set, he learned that it was “this little low-budget thing, not a movie at all.” Of course, he was disappointed, and the thought of coming home made him feel like even more of a failure.
"I Got So Down on Myself That I Was Making the Worst Decisions"
Just when he thought that things couldn’t get worse, Roman went through yet another heartbreak. When he came back from LA, he found out his wife of 7 years was cheating on him with one of his colleagues. As he recalls, “It was the worst, most devastating time in my life.”
He and Shanna got divorced, leaving Roman as a young, single dad with nothing but failures behind his name. 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.”
He Had Nothing Left to Lose
Losing everything ultimately gave Roman the boost he needed. “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 Roman would learn, the world of vlogging and film can be pretty competitive. “I remember putting up my first video on YouTube,” recalled Roman. Back when he was in high school, YouTube wasn’t even a thing. So, he figured that he would try it out and hope for the best.
Just 12 Loyal Subscribers
His first video certainly didn’t get the attention that Roman expected. To be more specific, he earned approximately ten views in 24 hours. “So, I put up my first video, and I couldn’t understand why it didn’t go viral,” said Roman. But he never gave up and continued posting one video per week.
“Sometimes, I would even do a bonus video for my 12 loyal subscribers,” he joked. However, Roman refused to give up, and after a year, his channel gathered over 40k subscribers. Back then, this was a huge achievement for him. He thought this was as big as he'd get.
The Prank that Changed the Game
Roman finally got his big break 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 tricked streetwalkers into thinking that he was publicly taking a bathroom break.
In the beginning, he was quite skeptical about posting this video. “I held on to that video for a week; I was too nervous to post it,” Roman admitted. But when he finally decided to go for it, Roman received over 2 million views in one week, and 200k subscribers to his channel.
Brittney Had a Troubled Past
Things finally started to look up for Roman. Apart from seeing progress with his videos, Atwood also found himself a new romance. The aspiring vlogger had put his love life on hold, especially after his drama with Shanna. However, everything changed when a young Brittney Smith came along.
Brittney Smith was born on the 16th of February in 1991. She grew up in Ohio, but unfortunately, her childhood wasn't as cheerful as Roman’s. You see, when she was very young, her father remarried after divorcing Brittney's mother. Of course, this was difficult for her.
Two Worlds Collide
Brittney went through life feeling lost and confused. She was misunderstood and expressed her sadness through her goth style. After she graduated, she got a job as a dental assistant. Life seemed pretty boring, but little did she know, love was waiting for her.
At the time, Brittney was 18 years old and unaware that she was about to meet her soulmate very soon. But as fate would have it, she stumbled upon Roman at the wedding of her sister, Veronica. Atwood was the best man and although they had quite an age gap, he and Brittney got along instantly.
They had No Money
Brittney and Roman started to date, and his fans got to know her through her appearances in his videos. “Our lives have changed so much compared to when we met,” said Roman. You see, at the time, money was pretty tight. For their first date, Atwood remembers picking Brittney up in his white work van.
Even though he and Brittney were drunk on love, Roman’s vlogging career wasn’t bringing in any money. “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.”
Young and Broke
“Brittney and I were really broke, we didn’t have any money,” recalled Roman. But even during difficult times, the two never questioned their love for each other. So, Atwood got her a promise ring that cost about $300. “I don’t even remember if I got a loan. I remember it being really hard to buy.”
Money became even more of a problem when Brittney fell pregnant with Kane, Roman's second child. Atwood knew he was going to have to start bringing home the bacon. “The struggle was real,” he remembers. “It was time to figure this out.”
Baby Number 2
Brittney moved in with Roman, who was already living with his son, Noah. She quit her job at the dentist to be a full-time mom. So, the pressure to provide was becoming heavier for Atwood. Luckily, the aspiring vlogger discovered a pattern that helped figure out how to make money from his passion.
The pee-prank video had millions of views, while his other clips of comedy sketches only had a few thousand. “I couldn’t even post a sketch video without them saying, “I didn’t sign up for that! You suck! Post a prank!” So, Atwood knew he needed to give the pranksters what they wanted.
Roman embarked on a new project and created a 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 were also featured, but fans were mostly interested in the funny practical jokes.
Finally, Roman had established a solid relationship with his subscribers. He knew what they wanted, and they just couldn't seem to get enough of his pranks. Roman recalled, “My YouTube stuff started to climb like it started to take off after two and a half years of nothing. Like failure, after failure.”
How Do You Plea?
Roman finally felt like he was getting closer to achieving his dream. He continually posted prank videos, along with his girlfriend and two sons. He recalled, “It all came down to just doing what I love to do.” He just wanted to make people laugh, all while being genuinely himself.
One of the most notable dates for Roman was in 2013 when he hit 1 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. But it wasn't always fun and games. To be more specific, Roman got arrested and charged for disorderly conduct and inducing panic, together with his prankster pals, Vitaly and Dennis, while recording a video.
The Crime vs. The Time
For the prank, Roman and his friends purchased an ATM machine and filled it with fake money. The pranksters then pretended to rob the ATM in plain sight. The prank was executed too well, because people saw this and instantly called the police.
After getting released on bail and a few court dates, the charges were dropped. However, more trouble would follow when Atwood's success became too big to ignore. In 2015, Roman was back in the courtroom, only this time, for an issue a lot more sensitive than a prank.
As mentioned before, Roman loved to include his son Noah in his YouTube videos. Well, at least until his ex-wife decided to put a stop to it. Apparently, she didn’t like seeing Noah in Roman’s clips and the idea of him making money from their son didn't sit well.
Shanna took Atwood to court, so he had to stop featuring his son on his YouTube channel. However, fans quickly noticed Noah's absence, so they began a protest with the trending #FreeMyNinjaNoah. Roman won the case and his boy's big comeback came in the video titled, “My son Noah is Back!”
You've Been Served
Roman and his fans were happy to have Noah. “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, along with their brand, Smile More. But sadly, this wasn't the end of his legal troubles.
Roman founded the brand Smile More back in 2013, and thanks to his growing fanbase, business was booming. The line had a range of merchandise, with Brittney leading the team. However, another lawsuit almost caused them to lose it all.
Yet Another Lawsuit
The problem regarding the Smile More brand arose when another company began using an identical trademark. They claimed that it was their original creation, underestimating Atwood’s hard work. The lawsuit got messy and went on for about 3 years.
It wasn’t until 2018 when Roman posted a video to update his fans that they “officially won” the court case. He added, “I’m a pretty goofy guy, and I want to make people smile. I started a clothing line called ‘Smile More’ because that is what people need to do.”
A $300 Promise
Atwood continued to live out his dream, and just when he thought things couldn’t get any better, he and Brittney welcomed their second child together, Cora Atwood, marking a truly special time for the family. Business was good and finally, Roman wanted to fulfill one more dream of his.
It was finally time to buy Brittney an engagement ring, one that would replace the $300 promise ring. In a vlog Roman bragged, “She has no idea. When she wakes up, I am asking her to marry me.” Roman welcomed his fans into their special journey, and recorded his proposal to his girlfriend of 9 and a half years.
Making it Big
As expected, Roman prepared for a fantastic proposal on a beach in China. And Brittney was absolutely thrilled! She said, “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!”
Brittney and Roman wanted a small gathering, only with their family and closest friends. They gathered their loved ones and had a small ceremony on a beautiful beach in Maui. Thus The Atwood Fam was born and their channel raked in over 15 million subscribers.
Roman’s Net Worth
Their big fame, brought in some big money, and the Atwoods were making a fortune 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.
YouTube pays an average of $2-$5 per 1000 monetized views, according to Nail Buzz. So, Roman's steady average of approximately 400,000 hits every day, lead him to an estimated earning of about $2,000 per day, solely from ads. This made his vlog one of the most successful channels on the platform.
Likes for Money
Apart from YouTube, Roman has also developed a massive following of more than 4.8 million followers on Instagram. And Brittney wasn't far behind. She also gathered an audience of around 2.8 million followers. So, many brands were eager to work with this internet- famous family.
Many of the Atwoods’ fans have said that they love this YouTube family because Brittney and Roman have stayed humble and genuine. Regardless of how much money they made, they were still relatable. However, there have been occasions when Brittney’s intentions have come into question.
Can Brittney be Trusted?
Many fans have accused Brittney of being a ‘gold-digger’ and that she’s only with Roman because of his fame and fortune. But, the Atwoods’ loyal fans were quick to jump to her defense, saying that Brittney was with him long before he had anything.
Being in the spotlight comes with a lot of negativity, but the Atwoods did their best to look past it. It all came down to one thing, they knew that family was the most important part. Sadly, more heartbreak was on the way when a tragic incident shook the Atwoods.
A Devastating Loss
On the 30th of May 2019, Roman revealed that his mother, Susan Anne Christman, passed away. She had an accident on a scooter and after hitting her head, “She immediately lost all vitals” according to Roman’s tweet. Of course, this tragedy broke Roman's heart.
He also added, “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 They Get Divorced?
The fans expected Roman to disappear for a while, but certainly not to that extent. The Atwood family would post on Instagram once in a while, but it was far less than their previous social media activity. Time went by, and fans began to wonder, 'Is there something else going on in the family?'
When the Atwoods pulled away from their YouTube channel, each of their fans went into full detective mode. More precisely, they overwhelmed the Internet with numerous theories, including ‘Is there going to be another lawsuit’ and ‘Are Brittney and Roman getting divorced.’
We Will Never Recover
With all this speculation, the family knew that they had to set the record straight. So, Roman broke the silence with the vlog ‘We Will Never Recover’ on the 18th of August, 2020. During the video, he disregarded all theories and said that they are keeping matters to themselves, to which he added, “We have to wait until the story can be told.”
“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” said Roman. Fans began to worry. Luckily, the family posted another video a few days later.
After their disappearance, it was great to hear some good news. More precisely, the family filmed a vlog titled ‘We Can’t Hide This Anymore’ to announce the arrival of their third child. Of course, their fans were beyond thrilled for the loveable family.
Even more, the couple decided to reveal the sex of the baby once he/she is born. Considering it was the first time for Brittney and Roman to keep the gender a secret, the fans couldn’t be more excited for the arrival of the addition to the Atwood family.
Years after, we are sure that Roman’s teachers regret ever underestimating him. Considering his hilarious, as well as relatable family, Roman continues to climb the ladder of success. His journey has also inspired people worldwide to pursue their passion, no matter how crazy it may seem.
Roman said, “That’s why I started a business called Smile More. 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 it, that advice isn't half bad.