When Anthony Padilla chose to leave his incredibly successful YouTube channel Smosh, the first person he told was his partner-in-crime Ian Hecox.
“He invited me over to his house and I was like, something feels weird … I kinda felt like it was coming,” Hecox told INSTANT Thursday in an exclusive on-camera interview backstage at Vidcon. “Then he dropped it and I was, like, ‘Yeah. I knew it. I knew that’s what it was.’ “
Padilla and Hecox, both 29, discussed their split — which comes after over a decade of working together on their sketch comedy — in a YouTube video posted on their channel June 14.
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“I just need to do what’s best for me and that for me right now for me is to focus on creating stuff as an independent creator on my own channel,” Padilla said in the video.
“It was an elephant in my mind for over a year, like slowly admitting to myself that it was the right choice to make,” Padilla told INSTANT earlier this month in an exclusive interview. “There were so many little things where it was, like, ‘Eh. It’s probably about time.’ And then finally there were just a few small things that I was, like, ‘Yeah. It’s about time. This isn’t making the happiest it can be.”
“It wasn’t so much of a shock because Anthony and I talk about anything and so I kind of knew it was coming,” Hecox said Thursday. “I was, like, ‘Yeah. That’s what I thought it was. Alright … Let’s figure out what we could do to make this separation work because it’s like we’re parents getting a divorce.”
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Padilla has admitted it was “so hard” leaving his channel with Hecox, which has 22.7 million subscribers.
“We started Smosh almost 12 years ago and even before that it was a website that I’d made for me and my friends to hang out on and talk to each other after school before social media was a thing,” he told INSTANT. “It’s been this baby of mine that I’ve fathered for so long and it’s really, really tough to walk away from all that.”
“I’m proud to have created something that kind of lives on. It has a legacy with or without me,” he continued. “I helped create a brand that still exists. I’m proud of how many people it’s employed and how many people are working there right now and just really proud to have created something that so many people know and have identified with.