Ruby Franke, once a well-known face on YouTube as the head of the 8 Passengers family vlog, has a rather troubling story. She and her husband, Kevin Franke, used to show their daily family life to a massive audience on the internet, along with their six kids.
But in 2023, things took a dark turn. Ruby Franke, along with her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt, the creator of the parent counseling service ConneXions, faced arrest on suspicion of harming children. This shocking news came after a long period of people criticizing how she raised her kids and whether they were safe and well taken care of.
In this piece, we’ll dive into Ruby Franke’s life story, her online career, how much money she’s made, and the big scandal that’s put her in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Ruby Franke Wikipedia Profile
|Date of Birth||January 18, 1982|
|Age||41 years old (as of 2023)|
|Place of Birth||Utah, United States|
|Occupation||Former YouTuber & Social Media Influencer|
|Parents||Former YouTuber and Social Media Influencer|
|Education||Utah State University|
|Height||5 ft 5 in or 165 cm|
|Weight||57 kg or 125.5 lbs|
|Net Worth||Estimated $500,000 (as of 2022)|
|Arrested On||August 30, 2023|
|Charges||Two counts of aggravated child abuse|
Early Life and Education
Ruby Franke was born on January 18, 1982, right in the heart of Utah, in the United States. Her parents go by the names Chad and Jennifer Griffiths, and she’s got four siblings who go by Beau Griffiths, Bonnie Hoellein, Ellie Mecham, and Julie Deru.
Interestingly, all of her brothers and sisters have made a name for themselves on YouTube, running their very own family vlogging channels.
Ruby’s upbringing took place in a Mormon household, where the family followed the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
She decided to pursue her education at Utah State University, a place where she crossed paths with her future spouse, Kevin Franke, a man in the world of business.
The couple decided to tie the knot in 2003 and their love story has since been blessed with six children: Shari (born in 2004), Chad (born in 2006), Abby (born in 2007), Julie (born in 2009), Russell (born in 2011), and Eve (born in 2014).
Ruby Franke started her YouTube channel, 8 Passengers, in January 2015. Her husband, Kevin Franke, helped with the videos too. They named the channel after their family car which had eight seats. They became popular by sharing videos about their daily life and adventures as a family. Some of their most-watched videos were about their baby escaping from a crib, health questions, and their kids’ first kisses. They also collaborated with other famous family vloggers like The Ohana Adventure, The Bucket List Family, and Studio C.
At its best, 8 Passengers had around 2.5 million subscribers and over one billion views. They made a good amount of money from YouTube ads, estimated at about $14.9K to $238.7K per month and $178.8K to $2.9M per year. Ruby Franke had other ways of making money too, like sponsorships, selling merchandise, and writing books. She published two books about her family’s life in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, she and her friend Lauren Jones started a podcast called “The Mom Voice.”
According to information online, Ruby Franke’s net worth in 2022 was estimated to be about $500,000. But this might have changed a lot after she got in trouble and deleted her YouTube channel.
Ruby Franke comes from parents named Jennifer and Chad Griffiths, and they all belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has four brothers and sisters, all of whom are famous YouTubers with their own family vlogging channels. Let me introduce them:
- Beau Griffiths, the youngest among them, shares his life on the channel “Beau’s Life” with his wife Emily and their adorable son Oliver.
- Bonnie Hoellein, the second eldest sister, runs the channel “Bonnie Hoellein” with her husband Joel. Their lively family includes four children: Lincoln, Cody, Boston, and Olivia.
- Ellie Mecham, the third oldest sister, and her husband Jared manage the channel “Ellie and Jared.” Their family is composed of four boys: Jackson, Calvin, Tommy, and Porter.
- Julie Deru, the fourth oldest sister, collaborates with her husband Landon on the channel “The Deru Crew Vlogs.” Their family consists of four children: Emma, Cooper, Porter, and Lucy.
These siblings, including Ruby Franke, were raised in Utah and shared a strong bond. They often worked together on their YouTube content and supported each other’s projects. However, there has been a recent development regarding Ruby Franke. In August 2023, she faced legal troubles related to child abuse charges.
Following this incident, her siblings have distanced themselves from her, and they haven’t made any public statements about the situation. The only exception is Bonnie Hoellein, who posted a simple message on Instagram expressing her love for Ruby with a heart emoji.
Marriage, Husband & Kids
Ruby Franke, a former YouTuber, was once married to Kevin Franke, a businessman and former associate professor at Brigham Young University. They share six children: Shari Franke, Chad Franke, Abby Franke, Julie Franke, Russell Franke, and Eve Franke. They used to operate a well-liked family vlogging channel known as 8 Passengers, boasting approximately 2.5 million subscribers and over one billion views.
However, a tragic turn of events unfolded in August 2023 when Ruby Franke and her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, founder of ConneXions parent counseling service, were arrested on suspicion of committing two counts of aggravated child abuse. The arrest came about after a courageous child managed to escape from Hildebrandt’s residence and sought help from a neighbor. Shockingly, this child was found with duct tape on their wrists and ankles, severely undernourished and emaciated. Another child in the same home was discovered in a similar dire state.
Subsequently, both suffering children received medical attention, and the Department of Child and Family Services took custody of four other minors from the household. Law enforcement officials revealed that Ruby Franke had recently posted a YouTube video filmed within the house shortly before her arrest, which clearly depicted her presence in the home and her knowledge of the abuse, malnutrition, and neglect. This video, along with the entire 8 Passengers channel, was subsequently removed from YouTube.
Ruby Franke’s journey on YouTube was far from smooth sailing. She found herself in hot water due to her choices in parenting, which raised eyebrows among both her audience and critics. Many regarded her methods as severe, abusive, or neglectful. Some notable incidents that triggered outrage included:
- She punished her son Chad by making him sleep on a bean bag in the family room for seven months, as a consequence for playing a prank on his younger brother.
- Ruby took away her daughter Abby’s bedroom door, citing concerns about privacy.
- Leaving her son Russell behind at a park while she took the rest of the family to a movie.
- She made her daughter Eve cry by telling her that Santa Claus wouldn’t deliver any presents if she didn’t behave.
- Without his consent, she gave away her son Chad’s pet lizard.
- She sent Chad to a wilderness therapy camp for troubled teens without explaining the reasons behind it.
These incidents led to concerned viewers launching petitions to report her channel to Child Protective Services (CPS) and YouTube, citing violations of child safety policies. Some even claimed to have contacted CPS, alleging that investigations were underway. Ruby Franke vehemently denied any wrongdoing, standing by her parenting style, which she claimed was rooted in love and discipline. She also labeled her critics as haters or trolls who didn’t comprehend her family’s situation.
In August 2023, the controversy surrounding Ruby Franke’s parenting took a dark and disturbing turn. She, along with her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt, the founder of ConneXions parent counseling service, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of aggravated child abuse. The arrest was triggered by a child who escaped from a window at Hildebrandt’s residence in Ivins, Utah, seeking help.
The child sought refuge at a neighbor’s house, requesting food and water. The neighbors were alarmed to notice that the child had duct tape on their ankles and wrists. They promptly alerted the police, who discovered another malnourished child with similar wounds in the same residence. Both children were rushed to the hospital for medical attention, and the Department of Child and Family Services took four minors into protective custody. A search warrant uncovered evidence consistent with the children’s injuries.
According to Fox 13, the children were none other than Ruby Franke’s sons Chad and Russell, who had been staying at Hildebrandt’s house as part of a parenting program for several months. It was also reported that Ruby Franke had uploaded a YouTube video from the same house shortly before the arrest, which suggested her presence in the home and awareness of the abuse, malnourishment, and neglect. However, the video was later removed from YouTube, along with the entire 8 Passengers channel.
Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt were arrested and detained without bail at the Washington County Jail. They now face charges of two counts of aggravated child abuse, a second-degree felony carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each count. Additionally, they may face civil lawsuits from the victims and their families.
Current Status and Future Prospects
On September 1, 2023, Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt are still locked up, waiting for their day in court. The exact date for their trial hasn’t been revealed yet. Ruby Franke’s husband, Kevin Franke, has kept quiet about the whole situation. He’s looking after their four other kids who aren’t part of the accusations. Ruby Franke’s brothers and sisters haven’t said much either, except for her sister Bonnie Hoellein, who put up a puzzling message on Instagram, saying “I love you” with a heart emoji.
Ruby Franke’s arrest has hit hard on her old fans and supporters. They’d followed her family’s journey for years. Some folks feel sorry for her and wish for her to recover, while others are mad about what she did and want justice for her kids. Many are questioning YouTube’s role too. They wonder how the platform let her family’s problems go on for so long and even made money from it. Right now, Ruby Franke’s future isn’t clear. She’s facing serious criminal charges that could land her in prison for a long time and take away her kids forever. She’s also lost her YouTube fame and income. She might have to pay big fines and make amends to her victims and their families. And she might need professional help for her mental health and parenting troubles.
Ruby Franke used to be a big deal on YouTube, but she crashed and burned because of how she treated her kids. Her story shows how fame, money, and power can mess up a person’s life.
Ruby’s net worth is estimated to be around $500,000 as at the time of writing this post.