HE’S the YouTube superstar whose cheery, upbeat videos have won him 2.5 million subscribers.
Jim Chapman’s legions of loyal fans lap up his on-trend fashion hauls, exotic holiday diaries and cooking tips. Over the past seven years, his videos have been watched 180 million times in total.
But there are some things the handsome 29-year-old, who lives in a plush £2 million West London pad with his beauty vlogger wife Tanya Burr, 28, has been keen to keep private – until now.
Jim has penned a new book, 147 Things, where, amongst random facts from Google and comical musings, he poignantly reveals for the first time his stepfather’s tragic cancer battle, his relationship with his estranged dad and his anxiety struggles.
“The way I see it, it’s kind of a user’s guide to getting through life,” he exclusively told The Sun Online. “It’s full of little facts I find really interesting; they kind of give me a perspective on life when things get tough. Also, there’s stuff in there that is a lot more meaningful.”
Jim wrote the book in nine months. It is all his own work – none of it is ghost written – and many of the chapters read like diary entries. “It’s an idea that’s been lingering for a while and needed to come out of me,” he said.
He discusses his occasionally violent father John who (before Jim was born) served time for armed robbery. He recalls a time when, aged six, he heard his dad beat up his mum, Judy.
“I refuse to believe my father was a bad man,” he writes. “I just don’t think he was very well equipped to deal with life’s problems and so he tended to do bad things.”
Jim lost touch with his father after his parents’ divorced. When John died a couple of months ago, he decided not to attend the funeral.
The book is attributed to his stepfather Brian, who his mum began dating when he was 14. He died on February 22 after battling cancer.
Revealing why he has been so candid about the “utterly heartbreaking” time, he said: “I just had to. Not that I had to for him, but I just felt like it needed to happen. I just felt like it had to come out of me.”
He added: “It was quite hard to articulate. It was such a big moment and it’s so utterly heartbreaking. Even now, six months on, it still hits me hard sometimes.
“It was a really weird day when he passed away. It was difficult. You have all your family around you but you’re sort of all on your own grief. It was nice to be able to get out my feelings.”
Jim admits he likes to keep his YouTube channel “easy-breezy” so he’s not unloading his problems on his fans. And, there are some laugh-out-loud lighter moments in the book.
A post shared by Jim Chapman (@jimchapman) on Sep 6, 2017 at 11:59am PDT
A post shared by Jim Chapman (@jimchapman) on Oct 4, 2017 at 12:13am PDT
He talks breezily about waxing his testicles, his first kiss and his wife talking in her sleep. “I don’t think she knows about that yet,” he joked. “She hasn’t read it yet.”
But there are some topics he draws the line at. His sex life is off- limits and he chose not to broadcast his wedding, which took place exclusive celebrity haunt Babington House in September 2015.
“The difference between someone like me and a traditional celebrity is my audience genuinely know me. It’s like I’m talking to friends,” he said. “But I do have a line. A lot of stuff with me and my wife is quite quiet.
“We didn’t share our wedding because our friends are social media stars and, before you know it, everyone could be on the internet and not enjoying the moment. We had a no social media rule so all my friends and family could be together.”
Jim is part of a YouTube dynasty. He is the younger brother of two make-up bloggers PixiWoo, the twin brother of John, who runs LeanMachines, and is friends with Zoella and Alfie Deyes.
But what makes him standout from the saturated YouTube landscape? “I get asked this all the time. I have no idea,” he joked. “Although my life is abnormal, I’m just a normal guy.
“Honestly, I think a lot of it is right place right time. When I first started it was a very different game, not many people were doing it and perhaps I was the best of a bad bunch.”
Jim is incredibly modest. His fame have been compared to that of The Beatles and One Direction. His net worth, earned from advertising revenue and brand endorsements, is estimated to be at £2 million.
BREAKING NEWS! Not only is #147things the best book to have ever been written, it also has lots of great doodles too! Everything you wish to know about pre-orders and book signings can be found in my bio. GO GET ONE!
A post shared by Jim Chapman (@jimchapman) on Sep 22, 2017 at 5:55am PDT
A post shared by Jim Chapman (@jimchapman) on Aug 6, 2017 at 10:10am PDT
Jim admits he struggled with fame at first and found the hysteria around him “quite scary”.
Doing this job is a really anti-social way of being social,” he said. “You sit in front of a camera on your own and you happen to reach millions of people. It doesn’t necessarily encourage you to be outgoing.”
He recalls the first time he was stopped in the street by a fan. He didn’t know what to so just “stared at them”. He called his wife who gave him some tips. “I learned through necessity to be less shy,” he said.
Jim says the book was an appropriate way to discuss his family life and anxiety struggles. He admits he also sees a therapist. “I’ve never mentioned them in my content before but I felt in the book it was a chance to be more articulate about it,” he said.
“I went back to those chapters, actually the chapter about Brian I got out in one go the day after he passed away. The other ones I went back to a few times and really thought how to word things. You don’t get to do that with a video, you just blurt it out.”
A post shared by Jim Chapman (@jimchapman) on Jul 5, 2017 at 7:33am PDT
Jim says he overthinks things and struggles to have digital downtime. “Sometimes it’s great, thinking about the origins of life, other times I work myself into a frenzy,” he said.
There has been times when he’s “burned out”. To relax he watches Netflix, visits family in his home town of Norfolk, hits the gym and goes to the cinema on his own. Fortunately, his audience are older now so he doesn’t get mobbed.
Jim is focused on the future and diversifying his career. He has modelled (walking for Dolce & Gabbana in Milan), has a fashion column in GQ and has presented documentaries for BBC3.
“There will be a point when I do stop doing the YouTube stuff,” he said. “I can’t see myself doing it when I’m 60. There will be a point when I make my last video. I’m producing less content than I was last year or the year before, but I still love it.”
147 Things: A hilariously brilliant guide to this thing called life by Jim Chapman is out tomorrow
MOST READ IN FABULOUS
‘they choose what you wear’
Former contestant reveals what really goes on behind the scenes on The Chase