This past December, Emma once again spent the holidays with Tucker’s family in coastal Maine, just like he sang about in “neverletyougo” a year ago. (“Brought you to my family, yeah, my mama said it’s definite.”) She loves playing card games with his family and going to “weird bars” with his home friends. An only child, his siblings are the ones she never had. The state was a point of connection for them early on. She grew up spending summers in Port Clyde, more north up the coast. “I was so excited to meet a Maine man,” she tells me. They love L.L.Bean.
They hang with Emma’s folks when they’re back on the west coast. Her father, whom they both call CP (which is short for his Instagram handle, ChamberlainPaintings; his real name is Michael and he is a prolific oil-painter of peaceful Northern California sceneries), is teaching Tucker how to surf and play guitar.
“Her dad is my fucking boy,” he says.
She counters: “Honestly, my mom is your fucking boy.”
While Emma has made a living off sharing the gnarly details of her life for years, she’s been historically private about the particulars of her romantic life. Zits and tonsil stones and IBS have always been fair game for content, but love—or the respectfully, I think about you sexually of it all—has not. Plus, for a long time, her YouTube persona has been sort of a long-term ode to being alone.
“The difference is I’ve grown up on the internet,” she says. “I started as a teenager and I think a lot of times people still kind of feel like I am a teenager, which is understandable. But I’m an adult now and this—it’s real stuff.”
For Tucker—who had never watched one of Emma’s videos until they started talking, after which he watched all of them—the persona’s never mattered much. When he first messaged her on Instagram, he says, “it was a dark time and I was very much like, ‘Fuck it.’”
“I got a DM from her the next day and I was blown away. I freaked out, called all my friends, and I was like, ‘Do you know who Emma Chamberlain is?!’ None of them knew who she was,” he laughs. “It’s not really our world, my friends’ and mine back home. Now she’s best friends with my friends when we go home, they talk, they ask her for girl advice and everything. It’s beautiful. It’s like everything I wanted.”
Eileen Cartter is a GQ staff writer.
Photographs by Zamar Velez
Styled by Rachael Wang
Hair by Laura Polko at PRTNRS MGMT
Makeup by Jaime Diaz at RARE CREATIVES
Grooming by Jenna Nelson at The Wall Group
Tailoring by Yelena Travkina
Produced by Peter McClafferty