The Untold Truth Of Social Media Star Chris Olsen

Chris Olsen is one of the many influencers who launched a career during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people were stuck at home and spending exorbitant amounts of time on the Internet. While he started as part of a team, a very public breakup forced him to rebrand as a solo creator. Since then, Olsen's star has only risen, thanks to his creative content, lovable personality, and willingness to share intimate parts of himself. It doesn't hurt that he is also easy on the eyes (he was voted People's "Sexiest Guy on TikTok" in 2020) or that he has cultivated a close friendship with a famous pop star who loves to film content with him.

While Olsen's bread-and-butter is TikTok — his secondary account has nearly 4 million followers, while his main account has more than triple that — he has utilized his popularity to try his hand at other roles besides social media influencer. During the COVID pandemic, he interviewed Dr. Fauci for the White House's "Made to Save" campaign. He's also served as a host or correspondent for several events including the 2022 Oscars Red Carpet Experience. 

An awards show staple with a flamboyant sense of style, Olsen is hard to miss when there is a camera anywhere nearby. And with his thriving coffee business and budding acting career, don't expect him to disappear anytime soon. As we wait to see what Olsen does next, we're exploring the untold truth of the social media star. 

He left for boarding school at a rough time in his life

Chris Olsen grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, a wealthy D.C. suburb with just over 10,000 inhabitants. His dad worked in government and his mother worked in law, which provided him with the best opportunities money could buy. Olsen first attended an all-boys school, but found it became an increasingly uncomfortable place after he came out of the closet. "I had my first experience with a guy during the summer between seventh and eighth grade," he told E! News. "When I went back to school, I told people I was bi, which I think was like a soft launch of sorts of my queer experience." After he started to feel isolated due to his sexuality, Olsen decided to make the move to an arts-focused boarding school in Massachusetts.

Olsen had been into theater for years already, so it seemed like a good move. But the transfer ended up happening during a supremely difficult time in his life. The same year Olsen left home, his parents divorced and his mother went to a treatment center to tackle an addiction. "That's when I got diagnosed [for anxiety and depression] and put on medication," he told Forbes. "So from age 15 to, honestly, until I went to treatment myself it was just a learning experience. You're trying to figure out how to feel more like yourself again, or even find yourself at that point."

He got sober at 19

A handful of years after Chris Olsen's mother went to rehab, he also entered a treatment center for addiction. His excessive drinking began when he was in high school. "I was very active, very quickly in my addiction from ages 17 to 19," he said in a TikTok video. "By the end, I couldn't go to sleep sober. I was drinking alone a lot of the time, and when I got to the rehab, they told me I was close to liver failure. At 19." Olsen was encouraged to seek professional help after an intervention by his family and friends. He checked into a treatment center with other patients around the same age.

The influencer spent a year at the rehab facility, where he was forced to confront the darkest parts of himself. He told Forbes this was a period of "concentrated self-exploration," but has also detailed the tough love approach of the center. For instance, Olsen explained In a TikTok video, the first exercise he had to do upon arrival was to share his 10 most shameful secrets with a group of strangers. There were also strict rules he had to obey and harsh punishment for things like being untidy or acting out. "If you threatened to leave at any point, you were forced to carry around your packed bags with you everywhere you went for at least two weeks," he explained.

He is a classically trained singer, actor, and dancer

While plenty of influencers take a stab at the performing arts, most take the opportunity simply because it's afforded to them. For Chris Olsen, performing was a childhood dream and something he trained for throughout his life. Olsen went to theater camp for seven years as a child and spent most of high school at a boarding school for the performing arts. After graduation, Olsen enrolled at the Boston Conservatory, where he trained in acting, singing, and dancing. Olsen graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theater, but was considering quitting performing before he found TikTok as an outlet, he told Timid Magazine.

Olsen is mostly known for his social media presence, but he's out grinding for acting opportunities too. In 2022, he appeared in an episode of "The Book of Queer," and in 2024 landed a small role in the "Mean Girls" movie musical. According to his IMDb, Olsen also has two projects in the pipeline: the TV series "Broken Dreams" and the feature film "1660 Vine." The latter is a musical — featuring choreography by Paula Abdul — that stars Olsen as one of a handful of creators vying for social media fame. "He is slightly ruthless, very selfish, and will do whatever it takes to succeed, which proves to cause some issues throughout the story. I will say it was very fun to play someone slightly villainous," Olsen told Timid Magazine.

He got TikTok famous through couple videos with an ex

Chris Olsen rose to fame on TikTok, but he didn't do it alone. The content creator first gained notice alongside his then-boyfriend Ian Paget, and their relatable dynamic charmed the Internet during a tough time in the world. Olsen was 22 when he started dating Paget, who was nine years his senior. They first made contact after Olsen "liked" an Instagram photo of Paget, which led to an in-person meeting at WorldPride in June 2019, held in New York City that year. Some more online flirting finally prompted an actual date during one of Olsen's visits to New York. The long-distance lovebirds were only dating for seven months before the COVID-19 lockdown forced them to start cohabitating. When Paget moved to Los Angeles, Olsen followed.

The couple started to document their days, and it wasn't long before they became full-on TikTok sensations. "There wasn't anything elevated or unreachable about us, except for the fact that Ian would say some ridiculous crazy things that people love to hear," Olsen said in an interview with Paper. "But I think you could see yourself in either me or Ian. And I think people found a lot of comfort in that during the pandemic." After conquering TikTok, the couple extended their reach to YouTube, posting everything from Q&As to reaction videos to their coming out stories on their "Chris & Ian" channel.

Public pressure caused his breakup from Ian Paget

With their newfound Internet stardom, Chris Olsen and Ian Paget should have been on cloud nine. But while most social media influencers can deal with some internet hate, the negativity lobbed at Olsen and Paget took a heavy toll on their relationship. They also felt a lot of pressure from fans, who became heavily invested in their relationship's success, Olsen told Paper. "Very early on, people were like, 'I sense a breakup coming,' and then others were like, 'If you two ever break up, I'm never going to believe in love,'" he said. "That really lodged this idea in the back of my head that it would be really stressful to share any issues we did have with people, considering they're already picking apart things when we're not having issues."

The pressure and the scrutiny ultimately led the pair to break up, which they announced in an emotional January 2022 YouTube video, where Olsen appeared to be holding back tears. Olsen has since said he regrets sharing so much with the public, and that the public interference was just as much to blame for the split as the speediness of their cohabitation or the challenges of working together. "I've learned that moving forward, I'll want to keep [my relationships] a little private. Because it's very jarring to have your first long-term relationship trend on Twitter when you break up. Like, that's not normal!," he told Buzzfeed.

He shares his therapy sessions with followers

Since the break-up, Ian Paget has done a good job at maintaining an audience, but it's Chris Olsen who has catapulted to even higher heights. Olsen — who has 12.7 million TikTok followers on his main account, and 1.8 million followers on Instagram — found multiple ways to attract viewers as he rebranded himself as a solo act. One of his methods has been an openness about living with a mental health condition, showing a level of vulnerability rarely displayed by a famous influencer. "It's something I was always interested to share early on, because I feel my anxiety tells me that it's actually impossible to hide, so it's also important to share that as well. I need to be able to share how I'm feeling authentically and not try to hide that," he told Paper.

Olsen is so committed to mental health awareness and being open with his audience that he even has a series where he films his own therapy sessions. While he does not share sessions that are too deep or too boring, the influencer has no problem sharing personal insecurities and issues if it encourages others to seek help. Even other creators have been inspired. "Chari D'Amelio came up to me at an event and said my therapy videos were the reason she got back into therapy, because she had had a tough time with a therapist before but seeing mine helped her get back into it," Olsen told Forbes.

His famous coffee series led him to create a coffee company

Chris Olsen is known for his therapy videos, but equally well known for his coffee obsession. "I think I started drinking coffee every day in college, but I don't really remember doing it before that. Regardless, once it began, I never stopped. Now, having two per day is an absolute necessity and source of joy," he explained to Timid Magazine. Olsen's obsession led to a quirky TikTok series where he delivers coffee to big-name celebrities, which started after he posted a video of himself buying a coffee in New York and delivering it to his father in Washington, D.C. He repeated that model with others in his life and eventually moved up to celebrities such as Drew Barrymore, Austin Butler, and even Vice President Kamala Harris.

The coffee videos have garnered over 154 million views on TikTok, and they have become one of Olsen's calling cards. The influencer quickly decided to get into the java business to further cement coffee as a part of his brand, founding the company Flight Fuel in early 2023. The brand features three blends and three concentrates, all named after big airports and packaged in vintage-style wrapping meant to resemble Pan-Am airlines from the 1960s. "Coffee has been a part of my content but also a huge part of my life. I just wanted to dive in and start working on something that felt very true and authentic to me," he told Billboard.

He is great friends with singer Meghan Trainor

Chris Olsen is on the radar of a lot of famous people today, but his first celebrity follower was pop star Meghan Trainor. And once the two met, their friendship progressed quickly, with Trainor soon asking Olsen to be a guest on the podcast she co-hosts with her brother and husband. "We did the podcast together, and then we made some TikToks, and then we were like, 'Should we continue doing this, making TikToks together?'" Olsen said in an E! News interview. "And you know, she wanted us to kind of work together in that way rather than just have it be this one-time thing." Trainor's hubby, "Spy Kids" star Daryl Sabara also gets in on the fun a lot of the time, and his impression of Olsen is pure comic gold.

Olsen and Trainor have become besties, but their TikTok collabs are so solid that some have speculated that the popstar hired Olsen to help her with social media, which both stars have denied. While they now have a business arrangement, their relationship is much more than just a work contract. Olsen has vacationed with Trainor's family and has been known to accompany her to talk show interviews. "It ended up just being this perfect match where we felt like we had known each other forever," Olsen told Rolling Stone. "Connecting with Meghan is one of the best things that has happened."

He has collaborated with Head & Shoulder, Tinder, Panera, and others

Chris Olsen has no shortage of income streams, but there is no doubt that he is making major bank from his collaborations. Forget the brands that work with any influencer with a pulse — Olsen is scoring gigs with much higher-profile companies. Take his ongoing relationship with Head & Shoulders, for instance. Olsen has been filming paid videos for the brand since his early days making content alongside Ian Paget, and the brand stuck with him as he built up his solo persona. "I struggled with dandruff when I was in middle school into high school. It's something I've gone in and out of throughout my whole life. When we came together to talk about working on something, it felt super organic," Olsen told Buzzfeed in 2023.

Plenty of other brands have employed Olsen to produce marketing content, and his management company CAA has helped him score ongoing partnerships with huge companies like Tinder, Reebok, and Panera — the latter of which capitalized on Olsen's reputation as a coffee lover to hawk their own brew. HomeChef, e.l.f. Cosmetics, and Crocs are some of Olsen's other brand deals. "When brands come to me and ask to work with me, a lot of their initial thought is, 'We want that chaotic energy you always bring!'" Olsen told Elite Daily. "I am not very chaotic in my day-to-day life! I'm pretty kept to myself."

He splits his time between New York and Los Angeles

Chris Olsen stayed in Los Angeles even after his breakup with Ian Paget — which makes sense, since it is the entertainment capital of the U.S., and where the vast majority of influencers live — but it was never Olsen's original goal to be a Los Angeles resident. "It was always the plan to move to New York after college, so getting a place there was something I needed to do at some point in my life. I just feel so fortunate!," he told British GQ. "I also love spending time in New York because I was a theatre student so being around theatre and Broadway means so much to me. It's such an unbelievable dream."

Olsen now considers himself bi-coastal, traveling back and forth between Los Angeles and New York City as he sees fit. When he's at his place in West Hollywood, Olsen has said he spends much of his time hanging out at home or outside. His life in New York — where he lives in Brooklyn — is much more bustling, but the creator tries to keep some things consistent no matter where he is. A former fitness trainer who likes to be active, Olsen starts each morning with a walk no matter which coast he is on at the time.

He is a big music fan and a major Swiftie

He might be best friends with Meghan Trainor, but Chris Olsen still freaks out over other pop stars. Memorably, he once held up a "Daddy?" sign at a Harry Styles concert, which grabbed the singer's attention and was caught on film. "I have it framed in my apartment. It used to be above my bed, but I felt like that was a little weird to have a sign that says 'Daddy?' there," he explained to British GQ. "So now, I have it just framed sitting against a wall for when I need to remember that it happened and that I had a nice conversation with Harry Styles in the Forum in L.A." For as much as he is a Harry stan, Olsen seems to be even more diehard for another star: Taylor Swift.

There is no shortage of famous Swift fans — it seems like half of the entertainment industry attended at least one stop on the Eras tour. Olsen is, however, as committed a Swiftie as one can find. He flew to Argentina to catch a Buenos Aires show because he thought there was going to be a big announcement (there wasn't). A few months later, he did the same thing for a show in Japan. "It was like the best moment of my life hearing the 'All Too Well' outro while snow is falling down in the Tokyo dome," he told The Hollywood Reporter.