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How Ben Collins Became “Top Gear”’s ‘The Stig’?

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“Top Gear” is a staple when it comes to car-centered TV shows, for many reasons. Unlike many shows of its genre, “Top Gear” stood out for its uncomplicated but enthralling take on the automotive industry, doing everything from tests, experiments, and races, to prove a point or simply having fun behind the wheel.

While “Top Gear” was never safe from criticism, due to its hosts’ controversial comments and jokes, there was always a character in the show who stood out for its stunts and accomplishments instead of what it had to say. That unforgettable character is The Sig, whose anonymous and mysterious identity made his amazing TV stunts even more incredible and memorable.

Now that a long time has passed and The Stig’s identity is already acknowledged as Ben Collins, many questions about the character remain unanswered even for the most loyal “Top Gear”s fans. So how did Ben Collins become The Stig? What happened to the character, and why is he no longer in the show? Stay here to discover all!

How Did Ben Collins Become The Stig?

Between performing incredible stunts on screen, masterfully racing, and showing off how things needed to be done in the show, it’s really not surprising that The Stig became a staple in “Top Gear” for the longest time.

While The Stig was eventually outed as Ben Collins in 2010, it wasn’t until an interview with VINwiki in 2023 that he revealed how he got the role as the white-suited character. It all goes back to around 2003, when Ben was taking his already accomplished racing driver career to the next level by getting some TV roles, even despite his shyness and skepticism about fame.

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For a long time, Ben wasn’t very successful at being cast in anything, but an audition with “Top Gear” changed his life forever. As Ben recalled in the interview, he was tasked by producer Andy Wilman to perform numerous timed laps at a track, and was pretty content with his job, but once he got out of the car he noticed that Wilman didn’t seem impressed at all by his speed.

Despite thinking he had lost that chance, one month later Ben was called back by the show to take the role of The Stig, starting from the third season of “Top Gear”. The rest was history.

Why Was He Fired?

Even though The Stig’s behind-the-wheel skills were a big reason for people to love him, keeping his secret identity behind the white suit and helmet was key to making the character so iconic. It was also the perfect job for the shy Ben Collins, who despite appearing in “Top Gear” as himself from time to time, was more comfortable under The Stig persona.

It all worked smoothly for years, with Ben keeping his secret identity well-guarded, until in January 2009, The Telegraph ran a story which revealed the truth to the world. While the article based its proofs merely on the claims of people who had allegedly discovered that Ben was The Stig, it was enough to get the word around. Following that one incident, other British newspapers such as The Sunday Times ran similar stories which supported The Telegraph’s claims.

The situation hit rock bottom when in August 2010, the BBC failed to file a secret injunction to prevent the release of “The Man in The White Suit”, a book written by Ben in his effort to reveal his identity as The Stig. At that point, Ben and “Top Gear”s relationship had already been broken, due to the media uproar caused by the case even before the book’s release.

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Was The Stig Taken Out Of The Show?

Some of the arguments expressed by BBC during their failed injunction case against Ben Collins’ book included that it went against his confidentiality contract, which was thought that way to supposedly prevent viewers from losing interest in the character, once it was no longer anonymous.

After the word about his book got around, the BBC and “Top Gear” not only had good reasons to fire Ben from “Top Gear”, but also to doubt whether it was wise to keep The Stig persona as a recurring character in the show. As host Jeremy Clarkson affirmed during a 2010 interview with The Guardian, he felt ‘hurt’ about Ben’s choice to out himself as The Stig, but was also convinced that the show would find a way out of the controversy: ‘Trust me, we have many, many thousands of people queueing up to be whatever it is we create’, he said.

In the following months, Clarkson and his fellow “Top Gear” hosts talked about the situation, both in the show and in interviews, at times referring to The Stig’s leave as treason. Nevertheless, by the time a new season premiered in early 2011, “Top Gear” had a new Stig whose identity has never been revealed to this day, ensuring the continuity of the character in the show.

What Did Ben Collins Do After The Show?

Even though he was fired from “Top Gear” in 2010, Ben Collins surprisingly made a couple of appearances as himself in the show afterwards, all of them for specials such as “50 Years of Bond Cars” and “USA Road Trip”.

As well, Ben Collins used his fame as the former Stig to appear in several TV shows, such as “Fifth Gear” in 2010, “The Classic Car Show” in 2015, and “Jay Leno’s Garage” in more recent times.

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Nonetheless, Ben found even more massive success working in Hollywood, getting roles as a stunt driver in the movies “No Time to Die” and “Skyfall” in the James Bond franchise, along with others such as “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”, and “Wonder Woman 1984”.

Ben has also done very well as an author, hitting his first jackpot with the release of his book “The Man In The White Suit”. As he proudly admitted in an interview with “This Is Money in 2023, that first book earned him years’ worth of “Top Gear”s salary in just a couple of weeks, though that wasn’t enough to compete with his salary when he was a James Bond double in several movies.

What Is He Doing Now?

Ben Collins’ outing as The Stig might not have been the easiest experience, but it was enough to set his path in the entertainment industry as a stunt driver. There’s also his career as a race driver, which took him to the top spots of several important competitions such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Complete British Touring Car Championship.

These days, Ben is focused both on racing and creating content for his YouTube channel Ben Collins Drives, which he describes as a ‘follow-on’ from his time in “Top Gear”. The channel is more than just him driving though, as it showcases his adventures and interactions with lots of automotive and race experts, effectively turning his content into everything that true gearheads want to see.

Going back to his time as an unsure and shy Stig, to becoming worldwide famous in motorsports and other entertainment industry stints, there’s no doubt that Ben Collins has built a formidable career.

As the Managing Editor at The Legit, I direct a dynamic team dedicated to creating rich content that profiles the lives and accomplishments of influential figures. My commitment to detail and storytelling drives the production of biographies that truly engage our audience. I manage all aspects of the editorial process, from conducting thorough research to crafting vivid narratives, all while ensuring the accuracy and quality of our work. At The Legit, our goal is to offer our readers comprehensive profiles that provide deep insights into the realms of business, entertainment, and more. Through diligent research and engaging storytelling, we highlight the exceptional journeys and achievements of those who both inspire and intrigue us.

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What happened to Constance Nunes from Gotham Garage?

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Constance Nunes received world attention upon first landing in public view on 14 September 2018, when the initial episode of the now globally famous Netflix reality TV series “Car Masters: Rust to Riches” aired. It was a walk in the park for her to grab everyone’s attention right off the bat, being a woman in an entirely male-dominated industry, who on top of that, can stand her ground quite well.

Nunes actually commands respect from her co-workers at Gotham Garage, not just through her daily work, but also due to an extensive and enviable history in the automobile industry. This makes her a very memorable character in Netflix’s production, massively increasing the audience through the sheer power of curiosity, as well as attracting female viewers.

Who is Constance Nunes?

Born on 17 November 1989, in Los Angeles, California USA, Nunes is of Portuguese descent. Her father, an amateur racer and seasoned mechanic, played a significant role in sparking her interest in cars. Following in his steps, she began working on vehicles at a very tender age, which led her to develop a passion for all things automotive.

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While building her resume in the automobile industry, Nunes also ventured into fashion modeling, using her physical appearance to heighten the prestige of numerous car shows. She has an impressive modeling portfolio, having done photoshoots for prestigious companies such as Jockey, Wrangler, Javanan Magazine, Feral Cosmetics, and Jlux Label. Nunes doesn’t shy away from showcasing her body to her followers, frequently posting bits and pieces of her photoshoots on her Instagram page.

Nunes’ first and foremost passion, however, is working on cars. She spends most of her time restoring and upgrading vehicles, dedicating the limited time she has for other projects to her modeling career and television projects. She boasts years of experience in the industry, having started in the trade by helping out her mechanic and race car-driving father when she was young.

She expanded her knowledge by doing personal projects, and working on a vast array of vehicles way outside of her comfort zone at the time. Thanks to her persistent will to improve, it became a given that she would be featured in a high-rated TV series such as “Car Masters: Rust to Riches.”

Apart from having worked in the service department of top car manufacturers, Nunes also builds both luxury and race cars for specialty shops. Viewers of the show know that Constance performs all sorts of car work for Gotham Garage, yet many are unaware that she collaborates with numerous southern California brands too, including Classics, Charlie’s Corvettes, and CARS Etc.

Other special jobs and clients that Nunes found herself engaged with include 4 Wheel Parts, Nitto Tires, and VP Racing Fuels, whereas she also collaborated with Audi as a vehicular specialist. The aforementioned makes it easy to conclude that she’s actually more involved with the car industry than most men seen around her on television.

Constance owns a 1964 Ford Mustang, which she bought at the age of 16; she calls it Babystang, having poured countless hours into making the vehicle one of the most recognizable out there, and, more importantly, perfectly to her taste.

The car was originally Wimbledon White, but she wanted to ensure that the modification consisted of 1964 parts. Dedicated fans know that Constance boasts the straight-six engine, which operates effortlessly, as her best-loved part of the build, though it’s been murmured that she wants to upgrade it to a 302 V8.

In addition to her work in the automotive industry, Nunes has done stunt work in Hollywood films such as “Bring it On” and “Dodgeball.” She also has a significant social media following, with her debut in “Car Masters: Rust to Riches” helping to catapult her public pages to hundreds of thousands of followers.

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Tumultuous romance

In spite of being deemed highly attractive and sought-after by many admirers, Nunes has had only one known relationship thus far, with fellow autophile and amateur race car driver Jared Toller.

Born on 5 November 1990, and so her junior by a year, Toler crossed paths with Nunes in 2011 at a party thrown by a mutual friend, where he instantly experienced a deep attraction for the reality TV star. He found his way into a conversation with her, and one thing led to another.

They dated for the next eight years, deepening their bond through numerous shared interests, as fans believe his attraction for her grew tenfold upon witnessing her expertise with automotive industry endeavors. Their love culminated in a private wedding ceremony in Piru, California, on 9 February 2019, attended only by friends and family.

However, the initially celebrated union proved to be short-lived, due to to-this-day barely understood differences, since both Jared and Constance keep to themselves on the matter. They divorced as early as 2020, at which point Nunes opened up on Instagram about the various difficulties she had been experiencing outside of the relationship by that point.

A reality superstar’s trials and tribulations

On 17 November 2020 the world learned of Constance’s difficult daily struggles, including supporting her father and best friend in battling esophageal cancer. She emphasized in the post that her dad has been in convalescence, and would likely recover fully in the coming months.

Aside from characterizing her life as ‘really hard,’ Nunes made no other statements as to what the reason for her divorce may be, which left many devoted fans’ heads spinning. She also explained that, in spite of having loving friends and family, she had been feeling lost and alone for quite some time, describing herself as more disconnected than ever before.

On top of that, Nunes herself thought she had esophageal cancer over the summer of 2020, leading her in and out of numerous hospitals so as to obtain a proper diagnosis. This worry was exacerbated by the fact that she had been suffering various alleged injustices at her various jobs, citing a ‘hostile work environment’ as a source of additional stress.

Apparently, Constance and her family were targeted by certain individuals on the internet, coming to experience cyber stalking and serious threats. She attributes this issue to men feeling threatened by her in the industry, although the real reason may never be known.

To top everything off, she also contracted COVID-19 somewhere along the way. Her youth and physical fitness should’ve made the virus easy to deal with, but this doesn’t seem to have been the case, as she admitted suffering a great deal from the illness. Knowing the worst of COVID-19 symptoms, it’s very likely that Nunes experienced lung pain throughout extensive coughing, as well as damaged senses of taste and smell possibly for weeks on end.

At the end of the Instagram post, Constance emphasized how all of these factors combined to put her through a living hell, but that even the worst of the worst can be used to learn and grow as a person, which she says has helped her become a much stronger individual.

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Gotham Garage

In the realm of reality television, few shows have captured the hearts of car enthusiasts quite like “Car Masters: Rust to Riches.” This Netflix original series has been a high-octane ride from the get-go, offering viewers a unique blend of automotive wizardry and compelling human drama.

The show revolves around the crew from Gotham Garage, a team of skilled mechanics and artists who have built a number of props for movie studios and television shows over the years. Led by Mark Towle, the group breathes new life into classic cars, giving them modern makeovers in an attempt to raise their value, and ultimately earn the company large profits.

Each episode takes up one unique project, with the crew working their magic on a variety of vehicles, from 1964 Ford Thunderbirds to Volkswagen Bugs. A large number of personal issues are strewn throughout the group’s efforts to create never-before-seen masterpieces, involving professional rivalries and childish grudges, altogether making for prime television.

The series has had its share of iconic moments. For instance, in the first season, the experienced crew of the Gotham Garage undertakes an attempt at converting a 1964 Ford Thunderbird into a so-called ‘rocket car’, all the while giving a smart car the treatment reserved for monster trucks. In another episode, the team gets to rearranging the parts of a 1970 Chevy C-10 Fleetside so as to upgrade and then trade it for the rather costly car body of a 1939 Zephyr.

Despite the show’s popularity, there have been some concerns about its authenticity, due to the insufficient coverage of the restoration process. For example, it’s been alleged that Shawn Pilot, the crew’s negotiator, might just be following lines in a script throughout the many dealings, as he has somewhat of an acting career in his pre-Gotham Garage resume.

Obviously, the most glaring inconsistency with reality is the prospect of a well-established female fashion model getting dirty with intricate and hard-to-handle machinery, while building a rather complex vehicle from scratch. While Nunes’ presence may not seem as credible at first, anyone who has watched the show enough to see her debate or work on vehicles has thus far been made aware that the model’s knowledge on the matter is beyond extensive.

All things considered, these concerns haven’t dampened the enthusiasm of the show’s loyal fan base, who continue to tune in for the awe-inspiring renovations and the behind-the-scenes look at the world of car restoration.

In essence, “Car Masters: Rust to Riches” is more than just a car show – it’s a testament to the power of creativity, teamwork, and sheer mechanical genius. It’s about taking something old and forgotten and turning it into something new and extraordinary, which in turn brings significant profits. Ultimately, at the heart of it all, there’s a group of passionate individuals who, episode after episode, remind the world that with the right tools, skills, and a bit of elbow grease, anything is possible.

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Constance’s constant: What the future holds

In spite of the worldwide audience’s mixed feelings regarding Nunes’ expertise, as well as the constant pressure of having to prove herself due to being the weaker sex, as of mid-2023, she’s continuing her professional endeavors with renewed determination.

The first example of this can be seen in her Instagram profile description, in which she clearly stated ‘5 seasons on CAR MASTERS @netflix,’ meaning she is most definitely set to appear in the fifth installment of the series starting 26 July 2023. Thanks to this knowledge, fans around the globe can feel safe in knowing that their favorite female lead mechanic is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Unrelated to the glamour of high-profile mechanics in front of Netflix’s cameras, Nunes owns and operates her own CARSbyConstance shop in Wildomar, California, whose website offers several memorabilia featuring her likeness in front of prestigious vehicles, such as her favorite Babystang.

While she’s set to continue appearing in Netflix’s hit reality TV series, nonetheless Nunes has various other sources of income to fall back on, which leads many to believe that she will remain relevant in the industry for the foreseeable future.

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She began June 2023 by cementing her media presence, and bolstering her relationship with the fans, doing a series of meet-and-greets at Pitsmo Beach, California, where she engages in lengthy poster signing for her endless waves of admirers.

As for her beloved Babystang, it seems to be constantly undergoing upgrades, as its ‘mother’ is never quite satisfied with the final result. Understandably, the automotive industry makes significant leaps every year, and Nunes simply refuses to leave her signature car behind the competition.

She uses the vehicle to go to every single event that involves the presence of her fans, allowing many to also see the car inside out, and become acquainted with her most prized possession. With such strong dedication to keeping her fans engaged year-round, Constance’s popularity has remained consistently on the rise since 2018.

In June 2023, she has just over 1.2 million followers on Instagram, with tens of thousands of likes on every single post. With this in mind, her continued presence in “Car Masters: Rust to Riches” doesn’t seem necessary for Nunes to maintain significant popularity, having her name permanently etched in the ever-bending metal of the automotive industry.

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How Cornelia Marie Survived a Fire, a Lawsuit, and a Pandemic

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Cornelia Marie is one of the most recognized commercial fishing vessels used in the freezing Alaskan waters, because of its participation in the hit reality television series, “Deadliest Catch,” aired on Discovery Channel. It was under the command of Captain Phil Harris for many years until he died in 2010. Aside from the immense danger F/V Cornelia Marie encountered during the crabbing season, it also underwent a series of misfortunes such as a potential fire accident and a government shutdown due to the pandemic along with being mentioned in lawsuits and scandals. It was nothing short of a miracle that it stayed afloat despite the many incidents that could have sunk the fishing vessel literally and figuratively many times in the past two decades. A recent scandal may change the shipping vessel’s luck, and fans believe that they may never see it again on TV.

The Origins of F/V Cornelia Marie

Contrary to what newer “Deadliest Catch” fans believed, the F/V Cornelia Marie wasn’t named after Captain Phil Harris’ first wife, even if the fishing vessel would be forever identified with him. There was a real-life Cornelia Marie, a native Alaskan married to Ralph Collins who was in the commercial fishing business. Sometime in 1989, the couple invested in a $1.5 million-worth 106-foot crabbing boat, which they had built by known shipbuilder Elmo Horton in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. It was powered by twin Mitsubishi engines with 630 horsepower, and could hold 25,800 gallons of fuel. Ralph named it as such to pay tribute to his wife who deserved it as she was the one handling the accounts books of their fishing business.

His initial plans for the F/V Cornelia Marie were to sail to Seattle by going to the Gulf of Mexico and then passing through the Panama Canal up to the West Coast. However, the US invaded Panama to topple its dictator, Manuel Noriega, and for military reasons, the Panama Canal was closed that one night in December of 1989. It resumed operations the next day, but the fishing vessel was stuck there for a little over a week, and by the time it reached Seattle, the crabbing season was well underway. Ralph became its temporary captain as there wasn’t any time to find a new one, however, staying at sea for long periods of time wasn’t good for their young family, so they looked for someone they could trust at the helm of the boat. They found Phil Harris, and when they offered him a quarter stake of ownership as well as a chance to run a newly-built state-of-the-art boat, he was stupefied. Ralph said that he had seen others easily walk away to better offers, so he made sure that the new captain would be a part owner of the boat to persuade him to stay as long as possible.

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Cornelia Marie and Phil Harris

When Captain Phil Harris was hired to command F/V Cornelia Marie at the end of 1990, the owners didn’t realize that he lacked a formal technical engineering education. They only knew that he was knowledgeable about it, and that he had this in-your-face confidence, and Phil was smart enough to hire the most competent engineer he could find to help him run the boat. Most of what he knew was from experience and gut instinct. He was astute enough to learn every single piece of gadget or equipment inside the boat, so it was uncanny that he would know, even before his crew or engineer did, if something was wrong with the ship just by its sound. During the early years, Ralph would sometimes be the skipper of the boat when in halibut season, but when it was time for crab hunting, Phil took the wheel.

Scariest moments in F/V Cornelia Marie

Accidents do happen, but everything is scarier if one is in the middle of a wide ocean. It reminded everyone in the crab fleet of the hazardous aspect of their profession, but Phil would often tell his sons, ‘You can’t take it personally or it will drive you insane.’ However, his son said that one couldn’t help but take it personally, especially if dead bodies were floating around!

Swept overboard

Those who hadn’t been onboard a crab fishing vessel in the Bering Seas couldn’t relate to the type of risk that the fishermen faced. Phil knew that his sons should accept it if they wanted to continue in this profession. One time, a deckhand was swept overboard, and it took about five minutes for the rest of the crew to realize that he was gone. However, with the kind of waves that they encountered, no one could find him and all they could see was empty waters around the boat. It was the reason why Captain Phil would constantly observe from the wheelhouse window just to check if everyone was where they were supposed to be.

Confronted gigantic waves head on

Another scary moment Phil had aboard Cornelia Marie was when he was about to hand over the wheelhouse to his relief skipper, and they were confronted by a huge wave. They both saw it but there was nothing they could do. It popped open the glass window, so gallons and gallons of water entered and even knocked down the lights. It wasn’t Phil’s first time to experience it, because he was still in his teens working for his father when a similar thing happened. He had learned not to panic, so he just took on a hammer and boarded up the window with plywood. The fishing vessel had encountered these kinds of waves for many years, and while it was dangerous, it had become a normal occurrence for him. However, Phil never thought they would face a gigantic wave that they estimated to be over 100 feet high. As he knew it was coming, he made sure that it wouldn’t hit the boat on its side, so he collided with it head-on. The crew described it as if they were in a car driving on a steep mountain road going up to the peak but with no road at the other side so it was like falling off a cliff. Cornelia Marie fell loudly and broke the boat’s two solid heavy steel rudders.

Oil leakage in the engine room

During the 11th season of “Deadliest Catch,” Josh Harris took over as co-Captain of F/V Cornelia Marie, along with his father’s long-time buddy, Engineer Casey McManus. One of the things a captain wouldn’t want to hear from the radio was that there was a fire somewhere in the boat, specifically coming from the engine bay. It smelled of smoke and fire down there, but Josh immediately checked it out and saw that there was oil spillage in the room. They all knew it was a dangerous moment and so the fishing stopped so they could all focus on the problem. The oil line blew, and fire could easily flare up if it wasn’t fixed immediately. In these situations, the technical know-how and experience of co-Captain Casey McManus came into play. Josh said, ‘This is the reason why I’m not a full-fledged captain because of situations like these. I don’t even know what’s going on down there.’ Flames were averted, and they didn’t need to make an emergency stop in their crabbing operation to return to town.

Crabbing shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic

One would think that the crab fishing industry wouldn’t be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, considering it would involve being in the vast waters of the Bering Sea off Alaska. Each year, the industry would depend on the annual surveys conducted by the government as they advocated sustainable fisheries management in Alaska. These surveys were the cornerstone of how the industry would proceed annually, on what limitations the fishermen would have in their harvest. Unfortunately, due to uncertainties brought about by the pandemic, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in May 2020 reported that they’d canceled certain surveys. As a result, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game made an historic announcement that the red king crab fishery would be closed for the 2021-2022 season – the F/V Cornelia Marie captains then made the necessary adjustments to their fishing activities. The danger just went up many notches, as they hunted for other species in the sea, but they didn’t have any choice since their livelihood was at stake.

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Fishing operation expenses soared higher

The operating expenses for Cornelia Marie went up just like most of the other fishing boats in the Bering Sea. It was hard flying in due to flight regulations, plus getting crew members to join was another matter, since most people were afraid of contracting the virus; they needed to pay up to 10 times the usual rate so they could get crew. It was even harder with restrictions on getting in and out of processing plants. To make it easier for Josh Harris, he reached out to Shane, who was Phil Harris’ son from his first relationship. Josh idolized his older brother and was grateful Shane agreed to help them out.

Golden King Crab fishing at a deeper and more dangerous level

With red crab fishing out of the equation, co-Captains Josh and Casey sailed out to hunt for golden king crabs as an alternative source of income, or else file for bankruptcy. To get these species, they needed to use 10 shots of the line instead of the regular two lines that they used for red crabs. What they normally did in red crab fishing was dangerous enough, but golden king crab fishing was harder, as they needed to place the pots out in the water 10 times deeper, such a complicated process that took a long time to do. One golden king crab pot set-up was equal to having to set up seven red crab pots. The whole crew wasn’t ready for it, and they all found it creepy and tiring.

Cornelia Marie and Time Bandit joined forces

If putting down the crab pots in the deep water was extremely exhausting, hauling them up was even more so, and quite tricky as well. As a result, they lost some of them so they needed to do it differently. Since they were all quite new to this type of fishing, the Cornelia Marie crew asked for help from another fishing vessel, the Time Bandit. Its captain, Jonathan Hillstrand, was cool enough to give them a hand. The captains of both vessels came up with a plan, which seemed great on paper, but Josh Harris said, ‘To be quite honest with you, I didn’t quite understand what Jonathan and Casey had going on.’ He said that they had all witnessed crazier things in their boats, but the plan worked out wonderfully without anyone getting hurt or ending up in a body bag. The funny thing was that the production crew of “Deadliest Catch” asked them if they could do it again at a slower pace, but they all said no, as it was just a one-time deal. The co-Captains even told them there was no way they could slow it down – it was as if telling them to jump out of a car at 60 miles per hour.

The scandals and lawsuits surrounding the Harris Brothers

The F/V Cornelia Marie had always been associated with the late Phil Harris, so any controversial news that came out about his sons, the fishing vessel was always mentioned. Also, both his sons, Josh and Jake, worked in the fishing boat after he passed away. The legendary captain might have been wild during his heyday, but he had never been in serious scandals that involved law enforcement.

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Jake Harris was in and out of jail

Growing up in a dysfunctional home and without a great role model, Phil’s younger son Jake turned to alcohol and drugs to cope with his problems. Just a week after his father died in 2010, Jake was arrested for driving under the influence. He crashed Phil’s BMW 3 series into another car, after driving erratically and with a suspended license, so spent a night in jail before he was bailed out.

The second time he was arrested was in 2017 for drug possession and theft. He ditched the married woman he was having an affair with after spending the night in a hotel, which wouldn’t have been a problem if he hadn’t taken her car. When the police caught up with him, they found illegal drugs on him such as meth and Xanax. He failed to attend the subsequent hearing, and so the judge issued an arrest warrant.

His run-ins with the law didn’t stop there, as Jake was involved in a police chase after he refused to present his ID when he was confronted by park rangers in a state park. He looked unkempt and out of it that when he bolted out, and they chased after him; apparently, he had heroin with him along with a stolen firearm. He was arrested and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. He was also required to install an ignition interlock mechanism in whatever car he was to drive after completing his jail sentence. After he was out of prison, it didn’t take long for him to be re-arrested for DUI.

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Josh Harris was fired from “Deadliest Catch”

Cornelia Marie’s absence in the latest season of “Deadliest Catch” sparked curiosity among fans, as most of them wanted to see Josh Harris continue the legacy of their father. Some of them thought that the boat’s absence might have something to do with the younger Harris, because he was the one who was always in trouble, so fans were shocked when it was reported that Josh Harris was fired from the reality TV series. Several speculations surfaced, but nobody was prepared for the exact reason why his services were terminated. Apparently, a report came out in September 2022 that one of the favorite captains from “Deadliest Catch” was a pedophile.

The reports said that Josh Harris was embroiled in a sexual abuse case dating back to 1998. At that time he was around 15 years old, and it was the mother of the girl who reported the abuse to the police. The entertainment site, Factz, wrote, ‘Josh Harris digitally, vaginally and orally raped a 4-year-old girl 7/14/1998.’ He was able to commit the nefarious act because the victim was a neighbor, and the daughter of a deckhand. While semen was found on the scene during the investigation, Josh wasn’t arrested immediately since DNA processing wasn’t that advanced yet. It took the investigators quite a while to make a case against him. As a minor, Josh was initially put into house confinement under the watchful eyes of his father and stepmother, and charged with Fourth Degree Assault and Communicating with a Minor for Immoral Purposes. He was imprisoned for nine months, and was ordered to undergo a psychological sexual examination.

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Discovery Channel was one of the last people to know about it, but once it came to light, they quietly cut ties with Josh Harris and removed the spin-off series in which he featured back in 2022 from the menu program of its streaming service.

The F/V Cornelia Marie survived all the misfortunes and challenges that came its way in the past, but many people believed that this incident might figuratively bury the fishing vessel at the bottom of the sea, never to resurface.

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How rich are Ben and Erin Napier? Health Update

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Whether they’re renovating an old house or a whole town, it’s always a pleasure to see Ben and Erin Napier on our TV screens. Ever since the launch of their show “Home Town”, the couple has been bringing houses back to life all around Laurel, Mississippi by combining their love for antique styles with modernity.

While Erin and Ben have gained hearts everywhere due to their light-hearted personalities, sweet love story, and family, they’re also admirable for their work, the stable business they’ve built through it, and all the hardships they’ve faced to get where they are today.

So where are the Napiers now and how did they get there? Stay here to learn more about Ben and Erin’s whereabouts, including their net worth, fame, their story, and current shows.

How Rich Are They?

Erin and Ben Napier have become widely popular for their sense of style and charisma on screen. That being said, the couple has gained more than only fame and followers, but also led them to amass a net worth of $5 million combined, according to online reports.

This fortune partially comes from their career on TV, which includes their brand show “Home Town” and its spin-offs “Home Town Takeover” and “Ben’s Workshop”, on top of landing some tremendous advertising deals thanks to it, as seen on their social media.

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Nonetheless, a huge part of their fortune comes from their several active businesses, including the well-known retailer Laurel Mercantile, the furniture and tools maker Scotsman Co and Scotsman Manufacturing. All of these companies were opened years after the Napiers’ rise to fame, as before that Erin and Ben owned the now-disappeared wedding and event boutique Lucky Luxe. As well, Ben was a church minister before becoming a TV personality.

All in all, Ben and Erin had done an excellent job at not only becoming one of the most well-known house renovators on TV, but also at earning  a modest fortune doing what they love.

What Are Their Businesses About?

Although we know Erin and Ben Napier for their work as house renovators, they do more than that when cameras are off. For a start, Laurel Mercantile is a retailer of lifestyle and decorative items, opened in 2016 by the Napiers in Laurel. The company is a renewal of the original Laurel Mercantile, which opened in 1901 to serve as one of the biggest goods suppliers in town, before its closure in 1930.

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The couple also owns Scotsman Co, a woodwork and manufacturer where Ben turns his love for woodwork into authentic pieces of usable furniture, and other home items. The name is in honor of Ben’s Scottish heritage, and has turned into an international sensation thanks to its features in “Home Town” and its spin-offs.

Scotsman Co sells its items online and at Scotsman General Store, located next to Laurel Mercantile’s second store location opened in 2018.

Last but not least, Ben and Erin are the proud owners of Scotsman Manufacturing, which produces most of the items sold through Laurel Mercantile. Founding a manufacturing company is a step forward in accomplishing Erin and Ben’s goal of selling American-made products only.

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Health Update

It’s no secret that Erin and Ben Napier have gone through their fair share of hardships, especially when it comes to health. For several years into their marriage, Ben and Erin had been unable to welcome any children due to health issues on her side, resulting from a perforated appendix.

Nonetheless, that seems to be a thing of the past now, as the couple happily welcomed two daughters after Erin was completely cured of her illness. As well, Erin underwent throat surgery in late 2022, but has recovered just fine from it, and seems to be significantly well in most health-related aspects these days.

On his part, Ben doesn’t have any long-lasting and serious health problems as far as is known, though in April 2023 he suffered a shoulder injury which left him confined to bed for a while.

According to Erin, Ben had some problems involving his rotator cuff, bone spur, and cartilage, though further details about whatever happened to him weren’t revealed outside of the fact he had to undergo weeks of therapy and use a sling. Even so, Ben appeared content in the pics posted by his wife, as she and their daughters were taking care of him while he was confined to home during his recovery.

What Is Erin Napier’s Illness About?

While the Napiers aren’t extremely secretive about their personal issues, Erin’s now-cured illness is one of those topics that the couple rarely talks about.

As it happened, from the age of 19, Erin experienced intense abdominal physical pain and fever, a condition which significantly worsened as time passed. Despite seeing several doctors, no one was able to give her clear answers for years, leaving Erin with the terrible uncertainty of not knowing what was going on with her.

It wasn’t until she underwent exploratory surgery in 2014 that doctors found out that Erin was suffering from a perforated appendix, which healed itself by spreading tissue all over her organs. Doctors had been unable to find out she was suffering from this condition due to how rare it was, but it was finally time for Erin to turn the page of this chapter of her life after so many years.

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While Erin’s pain was gone along with her appendix, the situation resulted in some mental health issues for Erin, such as having ‘extreme fear’ and ‘preoccupation with sickness’, as she confessed on Instagram in 2022: ‘My brain, without my permission, sets off on a fight or flight mission to save my life, when my life is not in any danger at all’, she wrote.

Despite the many problems caused by long-lasting health issues, Erin’s overcome them all.

Children

Even though she recovered well from her perforated appendix removal in 2014, Erin was told that the possibility of becoming pregnant was an unlikely one. Regarding her feelings at the time, she told People: ‘Not knowing is always the biggest hurdle for me to overcome. I like to have proof, and we had no proof that I would be able to have kids.’

Given all of Erin’s problems conceiving and the health-related hardships she faced, it was a big surprise for her and Ben to find out she was pregnant with their first child on 2017’s Mother’s Day. Although some small bits of their journey to become parents can be seen in “Home Town” second season, the couple kept the news about their first baby low key for several months, until finally making the big announcement in October that year.

 

In January 2018, the pair happily welcomed their daughter Helen, who was named in honor of Erin’s grandmother. Nonetheless, the surprises weren’t over for the Napiers, as the news of having a second baby was also unexpected, only finding out about it when Erin started developing sudden allergies. Their second daughter named Mae was born in May 2021, and was another happy addition into the family.

What Is Going On With The Napiers?

A lot has been going for the Napiers in recent times – early in 2022, they released the third show of their franchise entitled “Home Town Kickstarter”, which focused on renovations in six towns around the US, looking to preserve the historical value of those buildings and bring them to new life. As if that wasn’t enough, the Napiers also starred in the two online-exclusive series “Talkin’ Shop” and “Erin’spired”, and in April 2023, the pair celebrated “Home Town”s reaching the 100th episode milestone.

The Napiers’ happiness also extends to their private life, as they’ve also recently finished renovations of their second home on the outskirts of their hometown Laurel. As they showed during a sixth season episode of “Home Town” aired in December 2022, they bought the 1930s house in mid-2021, but a lot of changes were needed to turn it into the family’s dream house, including the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, and study, but in the end, they made it all happen.

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As the couple told Southern Living, their new house on the outskirts allows them a lot of peaceful times, and serves as a weekend escape for the family, who felt that their primary home in the center of Laurel was becoming a little too small for their family of four.

All in all, despite all the health issues the Napiers have faced in the past years, these days they seem to be having lots of great times by just enjoying their TV success, and their businesses, always putting their family above everything else.

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