More Than A ‘Pawn Star’: The Untold Truth About Corey ‘Big Hoss’ Harrison


As Pawn Stars grew in popularity, so did the fame of the four men. As with any reality series, each character plays a “role.” There’s always the funny guy, the wise one, the lovable one, and, of course, the villain. But, is this the men’s true identity off cameras? Corey is depicted as a strict and straightforward man, hoping to live up to his father’s reputation. However, there is much more to Corey Harrison than is shown on TV.

His Father Didn’t Want Him To Work In The Shop

The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop was opened by Corey’s grandfather in 1989. Corey’s father, Rick, eventually inherited the shop. As it is a family business, Corey always knew he would be joining the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop one day.

However, despite the family link, Rick did not want Corey to work there. During an interview at History Con 2017, Corey said “From the time I was a kid, I knew what I was going to do. What’s even funnier is that my dad and my grandfather didn’t want me to work at the pawn shop, but I was dead set on it.”

Has A Large Net Worth

In 2009, “Pawn Stars” debuted. The Harrison family and their shop were quickly launched into fame. At the time, the store was owned solely by Corey’s grandfather and father. However, Corey has proved himself over the years and now has part ownership of the shop.

Along with earnings from pawning, Harrison also released a book in 2011, titled “License to Pawn: Deals, Steals and Life at the Gold and Silver.” Through the shop, his book, and several other business ventures, Corey has amassed a fortune of $5 million.

Had Lap Band Surgery

A few years ago, Corey Harrison’s doctor prescribed him preventative diabetes medication. After Harrison learned he was in the stages of pre-diabetes, he knew he had to make a change.

He told People magazine, “I literally drove straight from the doctor to the lap-band center and had the surgery almost immediately. Back then, the surgery was too expensive for my bank account, so I had to pay with four credit cards, but it was something I had to do – I was not going to get diabetes!”

Lost Over 190 Pounds

At the time of his lap band surgery, Corey weighed about 400 pounds. Within the first few weeks after the surgery, he dropped 50 pounds. He changed his eating and exercise habits. The weight continued to drop.

Three years after his surgery, he had lost a total of 192 pounds. “I can only have four to five ounces of food in my stomach,” he told ABC News. “When you only have that much space in there, you don’t want to fill it up with crap.”

No Longer Works Behind The Counter

Corey Harrison has been working the shop since he was nine years old. However, with the reality series came fame. Corey, along with his father, grandfather, and good friend, Chumlee, no longer work behind the counter at the store.

Corey shows up to the shop a few times a week to check on the store’s 80 employees. That said, if you step in on any random day, do not expect to see the reality star walking between the aisles.

Chumlee Wouldn’t Have Been Hired If It Wasn’t For Corey

Chumlee is portrayed on the show as a loving, but “simple” guy. Therefore, he most likely would not have been hired to work at the pawn shop if it wasn’t for Corey. Chumlee and Corey have been best friends since they were kids.

So, when Chumlee needed a job, Corey helped him out. Luckily, their friendship is documented in the series for everyone to see, as Chumlee adds lots of comedic relief. Talk about really standing by your friend in need.

His Uncle Is In A Violent Biker Gang

In 2014, “The Old Man,” Richard Harrison, unknowingly helped a violent motorcycle gang beat criminal charges. The Old Man was asked to host a party for the biker gang Vagos. He agreed, as Corey’s uncle, Joseph, is a long-time member of the gang.

The gang asked Richard to host their annual party as they knew it would bring in lots of donation money for raffles. However, after the party, Richard learned the money went towards paying lawyers for members of the gang that committed crimes. Corey’s Uncle, Joseph, is known to have a long rap sheet.

Busted In A Bar Brawl

In 2011, Corey was arrested on charges of battery and obstruction. Corey was at a local bar in Big Bear, California, when he got a little too intoxicated. According to a spokesperson for the San Bernadino Police Department,

“He [Corey] got into a verbal argument, and the security guard saw it escalating. A deputy was in the area and was flagged down by security.” Corey then pushed the security guard and the deputy. He was quickly taken to jail. However, he was apologetic the following morning.

Married & Divorced His High School Sweetheart

In 2009, Corey married his college sweetheart, Charlene. The two lived happily for a few years. Due to the fame of “Pawn Stars,” Charlene was able to quit her job in retail, and the couple enjoyed some of the finer things in life.

Unfortunately, the marriage ended in divorce. They officially separated in 2015. Soon after his divorce, he began dating a woman named Roxy Gonzalez. Roxy and Corey also eventually split. This was hard on him, but he’d eventually get over it.

Sued By His Previous Agent

In 2012, all three Harrison men along with Chumlee were sued by their ex-manager, Wayne Jefferies. Jefferies claimed that the 4 men fired Jefferies after his bad response to the spinoff show “Cajun Pawn Stars.”

Jefferies also claimed that History Channel executives worked with other agents to lure the men away from Jefferies. On the suit, Rick told Fox News,“The more money you make, the more times people sue you. People are always going to…eventually go to sue you for something.” The charges were eventually dismissed.

Fined For Trashing A Campsite

Rick and Corey were fined $1,000, in 2012, after leaving a campsite covered in trash. According to TMZ, the campsite in Glamis, California was littered with several bags of trash. Authorities knew the Pawn Stars were responsible as they had also created a mess earlier in the weekend.

However, Corey proclaimed his innocence and told TMZ, “We left the campground before our buddies did and they were to clean it up and apparently didn’t follow through. ” They were very disappointed in their friends.

He Has No Problem Firing People

Through working in the family business for many years, Corey feels one lesson he has learned is how to deal with people. This includes both customers and employees. Corey told Philstar Global,

“When I fire [employees], I just look at them, and I say, ‘You’re fired.’ I don’t prolong it. I can do with mistakes, but I can’t deal with stupidity.” We’d say that this is a very nice way of looking at things. He would make a very reasonable boss.

He Has A Personal Assistant

As Corey is no longer just a pawn shop owner, but rather a famous pawn shop owner, it should come as no surprise that he has a personal assistant. His assistant helps him run menial tasks, so he does not have to go out in public.

Harrison was also once quoted as saying that he takes his assistant with him everywhere and he once asked him to clean his trailer’s septic tank. Corey felt a little weird doing asking. However, that is the assistant’s job.

His Step-Mother Has A Dark Past

Corey’s father, Rick, remarried in 2013. This was both Rick’s and his new wife, Deanna’s, third marriage. Unfortunately, Deanna came with some baggage. In September 2009, Deanna’s ex-husband was arrested for forcible sexual abuse and dealing in materials harmful to a minor.

Although he admitted to his crimes in court, he made bail and was never put behind bars. Rick is very protective of Deanna and hopes to see her ex behind bars soon. I think most pweople would want to see such a guy behind bars.

He Knows He Is Portrayed As “The Villain”

In 2017, Corey sat down with Philstar Global and was asked about his contribution to the longevity of the show. Corey responded “There has to be the bad guy, the villain, the kind of mean one. For a lovable guy, you have my dad. For the super smart guy, everybody loves the old man.”

However, despite his reputation on the show, he believes he is a good guy and a good boss. He added, “I’ve never had an employee quit on me. They love their jobs.” Like with most reality TV, he needs to put on an act dfor the cameras.

Many Of The Episodes Are Staged

Despite what many people believe, most of the episodes of “Pawn Stars” are staged. As the show has become so popular, thousands of people visit the shop each day. Many of these people are not there to sell or buy anything but are just fans.

Therefore, when someone does bring something valuable in, the cameras may not be rolling at that second and, furthermore, Corey and his family may not be there. So, the seller will be asked to come back the following day. People waiting in line are randomly chosen as extras and asked to sign a waiver.

He Has Bought Fake Items

The Pawn Stars never know what is going to come through the doors of their store. However, when something valuable does come in, they don’t want to miss it. Unfortunately, there are people out there willing to lie to make some money. Big Hoss has been duped a few times.

During an interview with When In Manila, he said “You know, you just live and learn. That’s kinda how it works. You don’t have a pawnbroker school where they teach you that. It’s all trial and error. As many as big scores that I’ve gotten, I’ve been burned a lot, too.”

Sometimes He Wishes He Wasn’t Famous

Corey penned an article for the Las Vegas Sun, in 2012. At the time, the show had only been on for a few years. However, the Pawn Stars’ fame quickly skyrocketed. This meant that his whole life was changing right before his eyes.

Discussing his newfound glory, Corey wrote, “You do crave normalcy. Sittin’ on the couch watchin’ the game and getting excused from an appearance are things I look forward to. Just bein’ me, the same old Corey as always.”

Jumped Off A Motorcycle At 40 MPH

In 2014, Corey Harrison was on his way to his birthday party, when tragedy struck. He was riding his motorcycle when the bottom fender mount suddenly broke off the bike. His bike was sent into a tailspin at 40 mph.

Harrison had two options: jump off the bike or ride into oncoming traffic. He chose to jump off the bike. Other than a broken arm, he did not sustain any serious injuries. Thankfully, he lived to see a lot more episodes of the show.

Owns A Beauty Bar

Corey comes off as pretty tough and masculine on the show. Therefore, it may surprise you to find out that Harrison is a co-owner of a beauty bar in Vegas. In 2014, he purchased the bar with Darin Feinstein on Fremont Street.

At night, the bar hosts live music of a variety of genres. During the day the bar offers nail services such as manicures and pedicures along with specialty cocktail drinks. This totally doesn’t look like something that he’d be into.

Began Working At The Shop At 9

Corey watched his grandfather and father run the pawn shop since he was a young child. As they were (and still are) his role models, young Corey was eager to get into the shop. He began working there at the young age of 9.

His first job was polishing jewelry. Ultimately, his early entrance into the business helped him become the proud owner and savvy businessman he is today. It goes without question that this man has one heck of a work ethic.

Why He Thinks ‘Pawn Stars’ Is So Successful

“Pawn Stars” is one of the highest rated shows on television. But, why is it so successful? Corey obviously “blames” the viewers. He is very humbled by the large fan base. However, he also believes that the show is relatable to viewers.

“The reason the show has been so successful, everybody has that one thing that might be worth the money,” Corey said to Phillstar Global. “It could be something they bought in a garage sale, or grandma left them with. Parents also like the show because we train the kids into learning history.”

Sold His Home For $2.39 Million

In 2016, Corey put his Las Vegas home up for sale for $2.39 million. The seven-bedroom, six-bathroom home sat on more than an acre of land. The home, which Corey bought for $1 million, had been renovated over the years.

Some of Corey renovations included an updated kitchen, oversized master suite with soaking tub, a basement with a full bar, and custom swimming pool with waterslide and waterfall. This sounds like a vacation, not a regular home.

Remarried In 2017

Since his divorce from his first wife, Charlene, in 2015, Corey has done a good job of keeping his private life under wraps. However, in July 2017, he announced via Twitter that he had married his girlfriend, Kiki Nejo.

Although the exact date of their wedding is unknown, one thing is for sure that Corey is very proud to have Kiki by his side. He shows his proudness and affection for her on his Instagram often. In his shoes, who wouldn’t do so.

Enjoys Doing Charity Work

There are some things that Corey does not enjoy about being famous and this isn;t hard to see. Suddenly you can’t go to cafes or sit in a park and catch a breeze. However, he also thinks it has its perks. In an article he wrote for the Las Vegas Sun, he said:

“It [fame] gives me the chance to support charities that are important to my friends and to support my friends, in general, which is one of the best things about fame.” He is often seen supporting various charity events in the Las Vegas area.

Celebrities Ask For His Autograph

The average American isn’t the only one who watches “Pawn Stars.” Celebs enjoy the show too. Corey told Metro that celebrities come into the shop once or twice a week. Some of the stars that have visited include Steve Carrell, Dave Chapelle, Jon Bon Jovi and Ron White.

Furthermore, he said sometimes the celebrities ask him for his autograph. He also said the store sees so many stars that he “had to set a policy with the employees not to bother the celebrities.”

Has An Odd Handshake From Being Overweight

Although Corey has lost a ton of weight, there is something that stuck with him from his heavier days: his handshake. For most of his adult life, Corey had to keep his elbow very high, when shaking hands, to avoid his stomach.

His body has been unable to forget the motion and fans often times ask why he has such an odd handshake. Chumlee eventually told everyone on Twitter why. This surely got a lot of laughs from the fan and it got them to pay attention to his handshake.

Arrested For Relieving Himself In Public

In 2014, Corey was on a sponsored motorcycle ride when he decided to stop at a bar in Missouri. Witnesses say he got very intoxicated. When this happens, a lot of us are bound to do something very stupid.

According to People, while at the bar, Corey “dropped his pants and urinated on a barstool. Harrison then threw a barstool across the room and was escorted out of the bar for his unruly behavior.” He later apologized for his behavior.

Spent $10,000 On Fireworks

When you make tons of money, it easy to spend it on things you do not need. In this case, Corey did not need the fireworks. However, he wanted to have a memorable 4th of July celebration with his good friend, Chumlee.

The two spent $10,000 on fireworks and planned to set them off in the Las Vegas desert. According to TMZ, along with their firework display, the two were planning “to have a contest against each other to see who can shoot the shop’s bowling ball mortar cannon the farthest.”

You Can Bring Him Home For Only $20

The “Pawn Stars” have certainly learned to capitalize on the series fame.  Let’s face it, once you get a taste of a good life, you want more. Along with buying and selling pawned items, the guys also sell branded merchandise. One of those items is a 7-inch tall bobblehead.

If you would like Corey to sit on top of your bedroom dresser, you can do so for only $20. All the other men have also been transformed into bobbleheads if you prefer Rick or even Chumlee. These are actually quite a big hit.

Best Friend Has Also Seen Some Legal Troubles

It is no secret that Corey is best friends with Chumlee. They have been good friends since they were young. Unfortunately, both Corey and Chumlee have gotten into trouble with the law. In 2016, Chumlee was arrested after police found multiple guns and drugs in his home.

There were also rumors that Chumlee had sexually assaulted a co-worker. On Chumlee’s arrest, Corey wrote on his Instagram “Do not believe everything you hear. There are always three sides to a story, Yours, Theirs and the truth…”

He Has A Favorite Expert

The “Pawn Stars” do not know everything and they sometimes need to call in an expert to help appraise the items that come into the store. When asked who was his favorite expert is by When In Manila, Corey responded:

“Jesse is one of my best friends so it’s fun having him down in the shop and hanging out with him. But if I actually didn’t know anything about something, it’s gotta be the Beard of Knowledge. He kinda knows everything.”

Argues Often With His Dad

Despite seeing how the business runs since he has a child, sometimes Rick has a problem with the way Corey handles things around the shop. Corey told PhilStar Global that he and his father still argue often.

“We argue a lot, but there is Corey’s way in,” he said. “The worst thing that we argue about was lunch orders. (Laughs) I learn a lot from my dad and my grandpa, but I do things in a completely different way. They taught me how to run the business.”

Used To Run A Sub Shop

Rick Harrison has always considered himself an entrepreneur. He was always looking ahead to the next big thing. One time he even invested in a Quizno’s franchise.

However, as he was busy with the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, Corey and Chumlee ran the store. Interesting fact as there is so much Subway placement on the show.

Believes His Brother Is Jealous Of Him

Corey Harrison actually has a brother named Adam. This fact surprises many people as he is rarely seen on the show. This is because Adam chose to pursue a different career outside of pawn brokerage.

He is a plumber. When asked if his brother is envious of Corey’s fame, Corey said: “I think there has to be some type of jealousy.”

He Is An International Star

Corey’s fame spreads beyond the United States, as “Pawn Stars” is broadcasted in several different countries across the globe. All 4 of the men have traveled overseas to appear at fan conventions as well as hold meet and greets.

Some countries which Corey has traveled to include the Philippines, Buenos Aires, and Argentina. His most recent trip was to “History Con” in the Philipines in August 2017.

A Fistfight Was Corey & Chumlee’s First Encounter

Although their stories vary slightly, Corey and Chumlee’s friendship started with a fistfight. Corey believes that Chumlee pushed him off his rollerblades and down his hill due to a case of mistaken identity.

However, Chumlee says it was an innocent prank. No matter which story is the truth, the following day, an angry Corey approached Chumlee and a fistfight ensued. Chumlee says Corey won due to his size.

But They Soon Became Best Friends

Despite the fistfight, each boy moved on but soon found themselves back together again. However, it wasn’t to fight but to hang out with a mutual friend. During this encounter, no punches were exchanged, but exactly the opposite.

They realized how much they had in common and from that day forward they remained best friends.

Tried Working Other Jobs

During an interview with Las Vegas Weekly, Corey was asked if he even had a choice to work elsewhere. He responded, “I was an electrician for a while, I was a construction worker for a while.

I actually worked in a sawmill for a while. But this has always been home…It always felt right working here. Everywhere else it just didn’t really seem to do it for me.”

One Of His Most Memorable Purchases

A few years ago, Corey was working the night window at the pawn shop, when a man approached. He had a Super Bowl ring he wanted to pawn. The man was actually former Patriot’s player, Brock Williams. Corey offered him $10,000.

However, Williams only wanted $2,500. Corey was sure Williams would be back in the following days to retrieve his ring. However, he never showed. Therefore, a few months later the ring officially became the property of the shop.

His Father Is A High School Dropout

With the wealth of knowledge Rick has, it is hard to believe that he never even received his high school degree. According to a post on the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop blog, Rick dropped out of school in 10th grade to sell fake Gucci bags.

He would make an upwards of $2,000 per day. However, he is naturally smart and Corey says that his father even buys texts books from the University of Las Vegas library to read for pleasure.

The Show Hurts Business

When production crews are filming in the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, the shop becomes temporarily closed to the public. Filming an episode normally happens five times a day, five days a week.

Shop manager, Travis Benton, said to the Las Vegas Journal-Review, “sales can suffer because of the show.” Benton also claims that only one out of 100 people who visit the store actually are there to sell or buy items.

His Career Inspired A Broadway-Style Show

“Pawn Stars” popularity is clear as, since its inception, its ratings have been out of this world. Therefore, when one theatre producer was looking for a new show idea, he turned to “Pawn Stars.”

He created a Broadway-style Vegas show that, like the series, revolved around the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop as well as the series stars, including Corey and the Old Man (who was turned into a puppet). Unfortunately, the show didn’t see much success and closed shortly after it opened.

Has Another Childhood Friend At The Shop

When you are the son (and grandson) of the owners of any business, it is fair to say that you can pull some strings within the business. Corey definitely pulled the family card when he asked Chumlee to be hired. However, that isn’t the only time.

His friend since he was 11-years-old, Travis Benton, is the store’s general manager. “Benton went to work at the shop in 2005 and moved into management as the behind-the-scenes show, launched in 2009, gained national exposure,” reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The Most Bizarre Item Ever Brought Into The Shop

Corey, his father, and his grandfather have certainly seen some strange items come through the doors of the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. However, there is one item that was brought in that is more bizarre than any other.

When asked about memorable and strange items, in an interview with Star-Telegram, Rick said, “Seven human skulls in a duffel bag come to mind The guy bought them in an auction from a dental school. Apparently, dental schools use plastic skulls now, but they used to use the real things.” Rick did not to buy the skulls.

His Dad Can Be Tough As A Boss

Although it helps to have your Dad as your boss (i.e., getting friends a job), it also has its downsides. Corey could not agree more with one of the series-opening line “family comes first.” However, when it comes, intermingling work and family things can be tough.

“I’m lucky enough to work with my father and grandfather every day, so we get to be like best friends,” Corey told When In Manila. “But if I made a mistake, compare it to a random employee making a mistake at work, he wouldn’t be getting a phone call at home.”

His Home Was Burglarized In 2017

In February 2017, Corey’s sister and her two children were spending time at Corey’s home. His sister, Jen (pictured), was alone, upstairs, with her children when she heard a noise downstairs. She went down to see what it was.

She encountered men wearing bandanas and holding guns. She quickly ran back upstairs and called the cops. Luckily, no one was hurt, and the robbers were unable to steal much.

Unexpected Firing

Olivia Black used to be a regular on “Pawn Stars.” But, in 2012, she was unexpectedly released from the series despite being a good co-worker to Corey and others as well as a fan favorite. The History Channel never actually released why she was fired.

However, many believe it is due to the surfacing of some previous risque photos she took. Rick reached out to Olivia to let her know she was always welcome back at the shop as she was only released from the show.

The Deal That Keeps On Giving

One day a man entered the shop trying to sell his 200 pounds of silver. The guys quickly jumped on the deal and paid the man $111,000. But, they knew this deal was worth it was they could do a lot with the silver.

Today, the silver is melted down and turned into custom-minted coins that features the Old Mans’s face. Each coin is sold for $70. Therefore, the Stars will make their money back and more.

How He Spots A Fake

Of course, Corey has been duped by people selling fake merchandise. He isn’t perfect. However, he has developed ways to spot a fake. He says it’s all in the details. He gave an example to Philstar Global.

“You look for the way something is built. You see a Prada bag and you look at the stitching at the back,” he said. “If it’s a fake one, then they make it really cheap. If it’s a real Prada bag and I will look at it, I will count every single stitch and make sure they are exact distance apart.”

How To Tell If A Diamond Is Fake

Corey has looked at more than a few diamonds since he began working at the shop. He has divulged how exactly how you can tell if a stone is a cubic zirconia or if it is a real diamond.

He suggests you inspect the stone through a loupe (the magnifying tool all jewelers use) and to keep both your eyes open during inspection. “You want to look for imperfections in the stone,” he said on a video for the History Channel. “There are very few perfect diamonds out there.”

His Second Split

It was announced over the news that Big Hoss and Kiki are now filing for divorce. It isn’t the best time, seeing that Kiki is currently expecting to give birth to his child in October. He left the following statement,

“Karina and I love each other very much. With our competing work schedules, we just weren’t able to make the marriage work but remain good friends and want only the best for each other.”