A mother who spent 21 years on active duty now works for her 24-year-old son who is raking in millions as a top YouTube star after a childhood partially spent moving between U.S. Army installations.
Sue Donaldson now manages finances for her son, Jimmy, who has amassed over 107 million YouTube subscribers for his videos of elaborate stunts, challenges, and giveaways under the name “MrBeast.” While not many details of Sue Donaldson’s service have been shared publicly, she and her son have described the road from military life to internet superstardom in a Rolling Stone profile and episode of “Beyond the Spotlight.”
She told the magazine she served as a prison warden in Mannheim, Germany, and was later stationed at Fort Leavenworth, an Army installation in Kansas. But that wasn’t all.
“We lived in three different locations in the southern U.S. before he [Jimmy] was seven,” she said. “There were no cousins, no aunts, no uncles. It was really just us.”
She worked 12-hour days on active duty, often leaving her children to babysitters, Rolling Stone reported.
While she told the magazine her son “thinks it’s pretty badass that his mom ran a prison,” she credited that workload and her frequent moving for her son’s introversion, which he overcame through bombastic stunt videos that would become his YouTube calling card.
A first-generation college student, Sue Donaldson initially pushed her son toward higher education, but his success began to pay off in 2017. That’s when her son recorded himself handing his mom $100,000 in what he described as the “proudest day of my life.”
“That was his way of saying, ‘Thanks, mom,’” she said on “Beyond the Spotlight.” “Thanks, mom for all that you did for me. Thanks for all that you did growing up, and, here, I want you to be part of my success.”