‘She felt she had made a gay best friend!’ - Jim Chapman on meeting Tanya Burr at Norwich student party
- Credit: supplied
YouTube vlogger and Norfolk celeb Jim Chapman is so famous that when he returns to Norwich, it is hard for him (and his equally well-known girlfriend, and now wife, Tanya Burr) to go out without being mobbed by fans.
But things were quite different when he and Tanya met in Norwich while they were still teenagers.
'She went to a party of one of my best friends, who she had a crush on. She turned up really early, well, on time, because she didn't know how student parties worked. I recognised her because we'd been to the same 6th form. We got chatting and I felt like I was flirting outrageously. She felt she had made a new gay best friend!'
Eleven years on they are married, with a miniature daschund. And he says they would love to have children one day, but promised: 'I'm not going to make them the centre of attention on my channel. They didn't ask for that. They might not want to be famous, when they're seven, or 27.
'We are a very normal couple. We just have very odd jobs.'
Talking about his return visits to our Fine City, he continued: 'In Norwich it gets a bit hectic. London is fine. I get stopped often and people want a photo and that's okay. It's part of my job.'
Although he happily admits to being an over-sharer he is clear that his online life is his job, not his entire existence.
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'It is me you see on the videos, but me at work.
'I like my channel to be somewhere people can come and feel really happy. They get home from work or school. I don't want to burden them with my problems.
His first book is as funny and charming as the videos but he addresses much deeper issues too. In a section called 'Some people aren't bad, they just do bad things' he talks, for the first time and with great insight, about the impact of his birth father's violence and manipulation, The following chapter, 'Make memories,' shares the devastation of losing his beloved stepfather to cancer.
Family is hugely important to Jim.
'In terms of my job everything is in London but when the time is right I would move back home because everybody I love is there. My mum and brother and sisters and their children all live in Norwich.'
All three of his siblings are internet stars too, his sisters as make-up artists Pixiwoo and his brother as one half of personal trainers The Lean Machines.
'My Mum is our biggest fan. On Twitter all she does is retweet everything me and my siblings do. When I first started to do it she didn't understand it at all,' said Jim. A few years back they even persuaded her to have a go. 'It was Modern and Mature, fashion for the older lady, and it was completely adorable!' said Jim.