Undeniably, Jesse James has been a big name in the genre of car flipping shows for many years. By appearing in popular productions such as “Monster Garage” and “Motorcycle Mania”, James rapidly became a reference in the reality show industry of the 2000s.
However, while his businesses and creativity as a bike builder speak for themselves, the truth is that Jesse’s many personal and professional scandals have shadowed his career in more than one way, to the point when his appearances on TV were very scarce for almost a decade.
So whatever happened to Jesse James? Did he retire entirely from the entertainment world? Or did he eventually return to TV? Stay with us to know the whereabouts of the famous and equally controversial host of “Monster Garage”!
Where Is Jesse Now?
It’s been over a decade since “Monster Garage” was canceled by Discovery in 2006 and we’re sure you’ve been missing seeing Jesse James on TV all along.
Although he’s appeared in other shows, his many personal and professional scandals eventually resulted in him taking a prolonged hiatus from the entertainment world, leading us to think that there wasn’t any hope of seeing him on our TV screens ever again.
However, in early 2020 the unexpected happened, when TLC announced Jesse and the show were finally returning after 14 years off air. While the reboot was unfortunately delayed for almost a year due to the COVID pandemic restrictions later that year, the show’s sixth season ultimately premiered in early 2021 on Discovery+.
Even if it’s unknown if a season renewal is in the works, to date Jesse remains busy with his two active businesses, West Coast Choppers and Jesse James Firearms Unlimited, both based in Texas. While other aspects of Jesse’s life are unknown in detail, his social media makes it apparent that he’s doing well.
His Businesses Nowadays
Nowadays, Jesse James is owner of two businesses located in Austin, Texas. The oldest one is West Coast Choppers, which was established in 2013 is a revival of his first business with the same name.
Though the company specializes in designing and building custom bikes, the truth is that a huge part of its fame it’s owed to its merchandise brand, which sells everything from clothes to accessories for men, women and children, and beverages. The business’ trademark Maltese cross logo was a boom in the early 2000s, gaining West Coast Choppers popularity as more than a bike shop but as a brand. Though that same fame remains valid to these days, other categories such as culinary products and items of underwear have been incorporated into the shop in recent years.
Jesse James Firearms Unlimited is Jesse’s more recently-established business. It started in 2013 when James introduced the Colt 1911 pistol and the rifle AR-15 style as his company’s leading products.
Nowadays, the business sells a wider variety of 1911 models, such as the Cisco and G Master, which are customized and designed to fit customer’s personal tastes, in addition to selling clothing for its more dedicated fans.
All in all, the success of Jesse’s entrepreneurships seems to be unstoppable.
What Other Businesses He had?
Jesse James might have only two active businesses nowadays, but several years ago his life was quite different. His original West Coast Choppers shop had its humble beginnings in 1992, when he opened his first shop’s location in his mother’s garage.
The business eventually grew, and he went on to open a bigger and more popular location in Long Beach, where West Coast Choppers produced customizing parts and around 15 choppers per year, with an approximate value of $150,000 as Today.com reported. Nonetheless, while the bikes were the shop’s main attraction for several years, in the early 2000s its merchandise brand boomed thanks to the wide variety of celebrity and sports stars customers who West Coast Choppers had at the time.
James also founded the lifestyle magazine Garage, along with the brand Jesse’s Girl clothing, though both projects were short-lived. In 2006, his restaurant Cisco Burger opened in Long Beach, only a walk away from West Coast Chopper. However, while the business seemed to be doing well for a long time, in 2010 the business closed as sales apparently went downhill after Jesse faced a huge backlash resulting from his personal scandals. Another Cisco Burger location opened in late 2010 in Austin, Texas, but it eventually closed too
Career On TV
Jesse James’ TV debut was in the 1999 documentary “Modern Marvels”, though his real rise to fame came a year later with Discovery’s “Motorcycle Mania”, a documentary film focused on West Coast Choppers, and how his business intertwined with his everyday life.
“Motorcycle Mania” turned out so successful, that it gained Jesse several appearances in productions such as “The Screen Savers” and “Steel Dreams”, before the premiere of his own series “Monster Garage” in 2003.
The show consisted in challenging teams to design, build and fabricate the most outrageous monster autos out of common ones, all in one week and with a limited budget.
Though Jesse’s expertise as a metal builder was made evident through “Monster Garage”, appearing in series such as “Monster Nation” and “Metal Church” allowed his audience a deeper insight into his creativity and talents as a steelworker.
While Jesse had his fair share of escapades as a producer of his own shows such as “Jesse James Is A Dead Man”, he also appeared in the non-bike-related reality competition “Celebrity Apprentice”, in which he successfully completed 11 tasks before being fired one episode away from the grand finale. Other brief but memorable appearances were in “Street Customs” and “American Chopper”.
It’s not always easy to exactly identify how rich a reality TV star is. As the genre is known for keeping its stars’ finances in secrecy, details such as salaries and off-screen sponsorships often remain a mystery.
However, Jesse James is notably more than just a reality star. Although his popularity comes mostly from his decades-long career on TV, his celebrity status notably resulted from his involvement with several Hollywood and music stars, his lifestyle, scandals and nationwide entrepreneurships.
Though it’s difficult to determine what his salary from “Monster Garage” is, we can estimate Jesse James’ net worth at close to $50 million to date, most of it coming from his successful business West Coast Choppers.
Is Jessi Single?
Jesse James is indeed single nowadays, though it’s not that long since he was married. In 2013 he tied the knot with the professional racer Alexis DeJoria, whom he met a couple of years prior. Throughout their marriage, Jesse and Alexis teamed up for her drag races until she took some time away from racing in 2017.
Jesse James, who earned fame and fortune as the founder of West Coast Choppers and host of the TV show "Monster Garage,"…
However, Jesse wasn’t there for her return to the tracks for the Funny Car championship, as in early 2020 he announced his marriage with Alexis had come to an end: ‘our lives were just headed in different directions, creating a distance that was insurmountable’ he wrote on an Instagram post.
Though Jesse’s note hinted they had divorced on good terms, the Daily Mail later reported the split was caused by his infidelity. Allegedly, Jesse had repeatedly cheated on his former wife with several women since the start of their relationship, leading to the pair’s short-lived separation and eventual reconciliation in early 2019, only for the relationship to definitely end on that year’s Christmas Eve when Jesse reportedly ran Alexis and her daughter Bella out of the family’s house. Neither Jesse or Alexis addressed these rumors, though.
Nowadays Jesse is in a long-term relationship with the former adult industry actress Bonnie Rotten.
While the media makes Jesse James’ marriage with Alexis DeJoria sound distressing, this isn’t the first time he has faced controversy regarding his romantic relationships.
Jesse’s first marriage was to Karla James in 1991, and they welcomed children Chandler and Jesse Jr. Though not a lot is revealed about Karla, it’s known the couple divorced in 2002, and soon after he married Janine Lindemulder, a dancer, model and adult industry actress.
Their marriage was plagued by accusations of infidelity on his part, and physical abuse on hers. As TMZ reported in 2010, their 2004 divorce documents attested their excruciating time together, as she apparently repeatedly punched him, bludgeoned ‘him in the back of the head with a flowerpot’ and ‘tried to run him over with her car’.
Following an apparent physical altercation on her side in 2003 when she was seven months pregnant, Jesse filed a restraining order against Janine, definitely putting an end to their relationship less than a year into their marriage.
The pair’s daughter Sunny was born in 2004, the same year the couple’s divorce was finalized. In 2008 Janine was jailed for tax evasion, leaving the guardianship of Sunny to Jesse.
Marriage To Sandra Bullock
Although Jesse James’ marriage to Janine Lindemulder was scandalous, it doesn’t compare to how his marriage to actress Sandra Bullock was closely followed by the media.
Sandra and Jesse met in 2004 when she arranged for her grandson to tour “Monster Garage” studio. Despite its inconspicuous beginnings, the pair’s relationship advanced at a fast pace, and in July 2005 they tied the knot in a ceremony in California closed to the media.
As it’s obvious, Jesse and Sandra’s relationship was always under the scrutiny of the public despite their efforts to keep it private. As it’s known, Sandra was compromised with her role of a stepmother to Jesse’s children, welcoming them with open arms: ‘I have my family, and it’s the family that some higher power put in my path. I feel really lucky’, she told People in 2007.
However, the marriage bliss came to an end in 2010 when multiple allegations of infidelity on his part came to light. He confirmed the veracity of said accusations through a public statement in which he apologized to Sandra and their kids, though the backlash he received was so huge that Entertainment Weekly labeled him as “the most hated man in America”.
In March 2010 Jesse entered rehab to allegedly ‘save his marriage’, but Bullock filed for divorce a month later.
Other than his actual failed marriages, Jesse James also faced a tough legal battle against his ex-wife Janine Lindemulder, for the custody of their daughter Sunny.
The issue started in December 2008 when Janine was sentenced to six months in prison for tax evasion, leaving the custody of their five-year-old daughter Sunny to her then ex-husband Jesse. Following her release from prison, Jesse opposed wholeheartedly Janine’s intentions on regaining Sunny’s guardianship.
Jesse’s then-wife Sandra Bullock was involved at some point with the issue, even releasing a statement affirming her commitment to being a good step-mother to the girl even led her to stop her professional projects due to Janine’s arrest.
However, Sandra was left out of the litigation by James, who stated in court that his only interest was the ‘safety, welfare and best interests of his daughter’. While Janine fought hard to recover Sunny’s custody, she ultimately lost the legal battle in 2010 and was only granted weekly visitation rights.
While those times were surely tough for everyone, it’s a different story for the family nowadays. In January 2022 Sunny celebrated her 18th birthday and as seen on her father’s Instagram, she’s working to become a tattoo artist.
Unbeknownst to many, Jesse James faced some serious legal issues in the early years of his career. In 2007, he was accused of violating California’s laws on clean air as his business’ customized choppers surpassed the state’s hydrocarbons limits, resulting in a fine of $271,250.
The following year Jesse was sued for $422,680 by Michael Jones, a former customer of West Coast Choppers who commissioned a custom Cadillac by Jesse and paid $270,000 in advance, only for the car not being finished after two years. Though it’s unclear what said case’s resolution was, a couple of months later Jesse was sued again for unpaid fees by his former lawyer.
In 2010 Jesse was sued for the third time, but now by Fortune Fashions Industries, which accused him of stealing its manpower and work after a failed collaboration between the company and West Coast Choppers. The case was ultimately resolved in Jesse’s favor.
Will “Monster Garage” Be Canceled Again?
Nowadays, “Monster Garage”s fans are happy that the show has been rebooted, but many wonder what the show’s in for in the near future.
While it’s still early to assure anything, judging by the positive response the show received from viewers, it’s likely that “Monster Garage” won’t be abandoned for long. For the time being, we have Jesse’s social media to keep us updated with his personal and professional endeavors and that’s enough to keep us entertained, as we hopefully wait for “Monster Garage”s eventual comeback.