Early life, family, educational background
Animal enthusiast and YouTuber Taylor Nicole Dean was born on 25 March 1997, in San Antonio, Texas USA, to Jennifer and Matt Dean. Like her daughter, Jennifer too is a vlogger, although she doesn’t have as many subscribers; Taylor’s parents’ previous occupations are unknown. Taylor grew-up in Miami, Florida, along with her two brothers – their ages are unknown, but we do know that one of them is named Justin.
Taylor is famous for uploading videos to her self-titled YouTube channel. She educates almost two million subscribers on how to care for animals such as geckos, seahorses and hedgehogs. She shares a powerful bond with her mother, who has been supportive throughout Taylor’s career and personal struggles.
Taylor experienced some health issues when she was young. When she was three years old, her appendix burst while she was in surgery, actually a welcomed miracle as she would have died if her appendix exploded and couldn’t have been immediately removed. When she was a bit older, she developed problems with her eyes that resulted in her gsuffering migraines and other symptoms when she was around fluorescent lights.
She attended O’Conner High School and Texas Connections Academy until her health worsened – she had to be home-schooled and online from the fifth grade, as she could no longer attend classes. In a documentary with Vice, she said that her teachers didn’t believe she was sick, as she looked physically healthy. ‘They didn’t know what was wrong with me, and at first I had a lot of chronic illnesses that were undiagnosed, and they figured out I had Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.’
The syndrome is a rare connective tissue disorder; symptoms include loose joints and joint pain, stretchy velvety skin, and abnormal scar formation. Taylor further spoke about her condition in a video: ‘My life is a constant struggle with medical problems.’ adding that Ehlers-Danlos syndrome means that she can easily suffer dislocations – ‘I can hurt my body, I can get myself hurt.’ Once, Taylor thought she had a cold, so she went to the doctor, who diagnosed her with a shattered clavicle; her dad interjected, ‘It was hard to socialize you.’
Taylor said that doing online schooling lead to her becoming lonely, as nobody wanted to be friends with her, ‘… I was the weird kid, and that’s how I ended up on the internet.’ explaining that this is where she has made all her friends, and it’s vital as it is the only way she got to experience everyday teenage things.
NEW HAIR GOT ME FEELIN LIKE A COOL CARTOON CHARACTER pic.twitter.com/0H7dgRHJu8
— taylor nicole dean (@taylorndean) December 10, 2020
Following high school, Taylor completed a double major in Biology and Psychology at the University of Florida, and has also studied disabilities in society, and geography.
To help with her health struggles, Taylor turned to the internet. She said that she had never heard of PetTubers before; she just began making YouTube videos in which she spoke about her pets. Her YouTube success is considered a happy accident – in 2014, a photo of her hedgehog, Nala went viral, and in a 2016 interview with the San Antonio Express-News, Taylor said that Nala, ‘… really connected with people, and I want to continue to do that.’ She further spoke about the start of her YouTube career in her interview with Vice, ‘I decided to try and make a video to link to people that told me they were getting a hedgehog because of me. After that original video with Nala, it just kept going, and now I’m here.’
In an interview with New York Magazine, Taylor shared that she also wanted to use her channel to warn people against adopting exotic pets. She told them that when the film “Finding Dory” was about to be released, it made her very nervous, ‘… I knew a bunch of kids were going to want to buy a blue tang, which is what Dory was…’ explaining that the fish is very challenging to care for.
Her instructional video ‘blew up,’ and it was then that she decided to quit her job at PetCo and pursue a full-time career as a YouTuber. The decision felt smart and natural as she began making more money through her videos than shehads at her job at the pet store. After surpassing a million subscribers, she got a manager and several sponsorships, with companies paying her to speak about their products on her channel.
Taylor’s first video was published on 29 July 2015, entitled “Life From a Hedgehog’s Eyes,” and was followed by a video of her showing off her personal petting zoo. Her third video, “Feeding All Of My Animals,” showed her night routine of feeding her pets and cleaning their cages – uploaded on 19 January 2016, and very quickly raked in thousands of views and became an instant hit.
As of 2020, Taylor’s channel has almost two million subscribers who have lovingly given her the title of ‘Pettube Queen.’ She has previously stated that her major inspiration is the late Australian television personality and animal expert Steve Irwin.
Her second channel, “Taylor Dean Vlogs,” has over 150,000 subscribers, although she has not been uploading videos to that channel consistently, currently amounting to just nine.
Not much is known about Taylor’s personal life (especially her dating history) prior to her YouTube career. However, she did mention that she had dated a fellow PetCo employee, whom she sometimes helped out financially. It appears that the two parted ways at the same time that she left her job there. She was reportedly single for two years until 2017, when she began dating Jonny Craig, the former Slaves lead singer.
Drug Problem and Ex-Boyfriend Jonny Craig
Taylor’s drug problems began when she attended her first party, which happened to be with other YouTubers. She recalled the event in the Vice interview, ‘Someone offered me a tiny, tiny bump of cocaine… so I was like, ‘Alright, okay, whatever, I’ll try it,’ and the next day, I was just obsessing about it.’ As her cocaine addiction grew, she found out that her boyfriend, Jonny, was using heroin.
To better understand the troubles Taylor found herself in, we have to take a look at the influence her boyfriend caused. Jonathan ‘Jonny’ Monroe Craig was born in Canada on 26 March 1986, making him 11 years her senior. He was in a relationship with his child’s mother when he met Taylor, but he chose to leave his girlfriend so that he could date Taylor instead. There were several rumors about him getting into legal trouble, such as damaging property and being arrested for disorderly conduct. His problem with drugs became public knowledge when his ex-girlfriend posted a video of him using them; he had the video taken down as soon as he found out about it, but people already saw it and were talking. He addressed his fans regarding the video, claiming that he was no longer using drugs and had been clean for a long time already.
However, his statement didn’t hold for very long, as he was soon accused of not only drug usage, but also sexual misconduct more than once. In 2019, Slaves’ band manager forced Jonny to quit; his career hasn’t recovered.
When Taylor spoke about his contribution to her addiction, she said, ‘The problem with me is that I always wanted to be accepted… I was pretty much ready to jump onto anyone who looked at me…’ She was a fan of his music, and they met online; she said that due to him being older, his addiction was more severe than hers, and he had more access to drugs. He began by bringing opiates to her house, and with his help, she would experiment with them, although she kept telling herself ‘… it’s not a problem.’
In her Vice interview, she recalled a particularly low point – Jonny arrived home and told her he was going to take a bath; she noticed that he took a tub of ice-cream with him to the bathroom and thought it was odd.
She eventually went into the bathroom and found a burnt spoon, which caused her to have a breakdown. Jonny then begged her to try cocaine with him. Her increasing drug addiction lead to her channel taking a considerable dive, ‘I’m finally able to say that it was my relationship,’ admitting that the neglect started when Jonny moved from prescription drugs to heroin, which she also used. Evidently, she blames her addiction on Jonny as she described him as ‘this dude that kept shooting me up.’
Taylor’s popularity meant that her drug addiction became public knowledge, and people either no longer liked her, or they continued to support her and even sent hate mail to Jonny; they too felt that her addiction was his fault. Taylor also called him abusive, and claimed that he cheated on her.
According to TheRecoveryVillage.com, Taylor believed that she was okay with only using cocaine occasionally, and she would not become addicted. She would use the drug whenever she attended a party, but could never give it up, just as Jonny was never able to give up opiates. She always believed addiction was a choice until it became her reality. A month after using heroin for the first time, she developed full-body hives that lasted for a whole week, but that was not enough to stop her. Taylor struggled with letting go of her addiction, so she booked herself into rehab where she was given Suboxone to stop her from using heroin.
Unfortunately, she relapsed after rehab, with subscribers knowing that she was using again because track marks were visible on her arms, but she turned her life around again and embraced the road to recovery.
The instigator was when her assistant sent photos to Jennifer of Taylor’s bathroom, full of dirty needles; Jennifer took Taylor to a rehab center where she remained until sobriety. There, she focused on her recovery and broke up with Jonny so she could stay sober. When she left rehab, she moved back in with her parents, and continued rehabilitation by joining an intensive outpatient treatment program that spanned over 10 hours a week. She updated her fans, and let them know that she hoped to return to making videos again soon.
In an Instagram post on 18 July 2020, she reported that she was back in rehab following another relapse, and had almost lost her leg due to sepsis. Taylor stayed in rehab until 7 August 2020.
Drama with Caring for her Animals
Taylor faced several animal cruelty and neglect accusations in August 2019. After she spoke out about her relapse, she said that she felt ready to return to YouTube, and speak about what occurred while she was away and why she was acting strangely.
She informed her fans that Cheese, her cowfish, had sadly passed away, saying that she didn’t know how he died, but according to some viewers, his tank was not only too small for him but he was kept in poor conditions. Taylor said that she ordered an autopsy, but people said she will probably blame Cheese’s death on the breeder like she usually does, or on the veterinarian.
wearing nothing but a heart monitor, having horrible webcam quality, and making a 2010 myspace style edit = fashion ????
critics are raving! pic.twitter.com/jF7sDx67Mf
— taylor nicole dean (@taylorndean) December 6, 2020
Before Cheese’s passing, her pet lionfish, Zazu, died. Once again, she claimed that she didn’t know why, but he was ill at the time of his passing.
In a rather gruesome and unfortunate series of events, Taylor ‘cooked’ three of her animals to death. According to her, she was asleep while the heating pads malfunctioned in the crocodile skink enclosure and the Pacman frog tank, which resulted in the animals heating up and essentially being cooked alive. What seems off about her statement is that she was apparently asleep for 12 hours, and once she awoke she didn’t check up on them for another few hours. Some people argue that crocodile skinks prefer cool environments, and since Taylor lives in Texas, the heating pads are not a necessity.
Something also taken note of was the odd shape of her Pacman frog’s head, which lead to the suspicion that he was malnourished. She was reportedly looking for new crocodile skinks before even announcing the previous death.
Seven months after checking out of rehab and breaking up with Jonny, Taylor has opened up about her relapse, and said that animals were the only things that made her feel okay and that she has a purpose, but that is ‘’NOT right and NOT okay and is one of the reasons I rehomed 12 of them when I got to rehab.’ She added that none of her animals were harmed over the duration of her addiction or her recovery, ‘… I never got into the animal hobby just for YouTube views, nor do I neglect animals.’
Taylor’s hobbies, favorite things, and interesting facts
When she is not spending time with or caring for her pets, Taylor enjoys traveling, swimming, and spending time with family.
She has to keep a healthy, gluten-free diet due to her Celiac disease. She discussed the disease and diet in a video entitled, “I’VE BEEN SICK ALL MY LIFE? (Why I Post Inconsistently)” in the video, she also shared that her mother follows the same diet.
Taylor has blue eyes and brown hair, although she likes to dye it various shades, including red, blonde and blue. She is 5ft 5in (1.65m) tall and weighs 135lbs (62kgs). She has a lot of tattoos, including a dagger with lyrics from “Nightmare” by Halsey, reading, ‘stared in a mirror and punched it to shatters, collected the pieces and picked out a dagger.’ In 2019, she got two more tattoos, which were meant to hide her bruises; one is an ornament, and the other a crocodile.
Net worth and salary
As of late 2020, Taylor’s net worth is estimated at over $2 million, made by regularly uploading YouTube videos about pet care.