One was a successful Viner and the other a Muscial.ly star, but when Cole LaBrant and Savannah Soutas joined forces, they became a genuine internet super couple. As of this writing, they’re best known for the Cole&Sav YouTube channel, where they share their day-to-day lives with over 8 million subscribers. The good-looking Christian couple has been on a real roll in recent years, thanks in no small part to their super-cute daughter, Everleigh.
Everleigh is a YouTube star in her own right. Her channel (Everleigh Opens Toys) has over 2 million subs, and her most popular video (her take on the Squishy Food Vs Real Food Challenge) has been viewed more than 45 million times — more than any video on her parents’ channel. Sav gave birth to a second daughter in late 2018 and she’ll no doubt have her own channel up and running as soon as she’s humanly able — little Posie already has more Instagram followers than most of us could ever dream of getting.
The LaBrant family is well on its way to becoming a social media dynasty, but are these super smiley YouTubers really as perfect as they appear? Every family has issues, and it appears that the LaBrants are actually no different. From dark pasts to allegations of intolerance, this is the untold truth of Cole and Sav.
Dem White Boyz
Cole LaBrant’s road to fame and fortune began with Dem White Boyz, an online comedy troupe that he founded with his two best friends, Baylor Barnes and John Stephen Grice (above left and center). The Alabama teens made their first video together in 2013, entering a Vine competition out of sheer boredom. « We were all spending the night at John Stephen’s house, we see a dance contest, » LaBrant told filmmaker Zachary Fu. « It’s all girls entering the Vine contest, and we’re like, ‘This is so dumb … how funny would it be if we entered it, guys?' » They did just that, and the response changed LaBrant’s life forever.
« After one week we had 100,000 followers, » LaBrant recalled. « We did it as a complete joke, we really thought that it was gonna go nowhere, that it was just our fifteen seconds of fame with a couple of videos. We weren’t trying to get social media famous — we honestly didn’t even know that it was a possibility or that it was a thing. » Before long the boys were on a flight to Hollywood to meet their legions of teenage fans, but the appeal of internet stardom soon began to wear off for Barnes and Grice. In 2015, LaBrant’s two BFFs allowed him to « rebrand » their various socials under his name, and the rest is history.
Hackers almost ruined Cole
With his two friends out of the picture, LaBrant continued to develop his own personal brand online, putting the days of Dem White Boyz behind him. Everything was going smoothly until the Vine star was targeted by hackers, who almost ruined his career before it really got going. « They deleted all my pictures, » LaBrant told Zachary Fu. « I lost 100,000 followers in less than a week. It was just so humbling to see that, everything that I’d worked for for about two years, just to see it all crumble. And it’s like, all this could literally be gone at any second. »
LaBrant was locked out of all his social media accounts for a full week. When he managed to regain control of them, he decided that it was time to start being more truthful with his content while he still had the platform. The future YouTube star decided to distance himself from his « twerking Vine boy » past and started talking about God. « It was a hard transition, because we didn’t start out proclaiming the gospel, » he said. « Making the transition from being a secular social media person to a Christian social media person, it was tough. Because people knew you for dancing, or making funny videos, and now you’re talking about Jesus. »
Sav was a teen mom
They may look alike with their piercing blue eyes and flowing blonde locks, but Cole LaBrant isn’t actually Everleigh’s biological father. Before the famous Viner was on the scene, Savannah Soutas was in an on-and-off relationship with a guy called Tommy Smith, who got her pregnant when they were both still teenagers. « Everleigh was born when her dad and I were 19, we are now both 23, » Sav said during her 2016 interview with Taudrey. « We are young parents and I wouldn’t change that for the world! »
Sav grew up modeling and she wanted her daughter to be just as comfortable in front of the camera. It turned out that Everleigh wasn’t just comfortable on camera — she was an absolute natural. « Everleigh has modeled since she was 8-months old and has a fashion blog with her best friend, Ava, » Sav said. The kids had around 320,000 Instagram followers at the time, but as of this writing, their posts are seen by over 1.2 million people. They’re just as popular over on YouTube, where their channel (the adorably named ForEverAndForAva) broke the million subscriber mark with just 100 uploads.
Sav admitted she was fake in her Musical.ly videos
She seemed like a woman on top of the world when she spoke to Taudrey in 2016, but Savannah Soutas would later admit that she was actually deeply unhappy at the time, despite being one of the biggest stars on Musical.ly. She was actually the top muser on the entire platform in May 2016, but according to Influencer Marketing Hub, Sav wasn’t the real draw. « To a large extent, her immense popularity is due to her including Everleigh in her short Musical.ly videos. »
Being upstaged by her daughter wasn’t what was making her unhappy, however. According to Sav, it was the behavior of Everleigh’s father that was getting her so down. « I acted happy in the videos Everleigh and I made on Musical.ly, but overall there wasn’t a lot of joy in my life, » Sav revealed in her and Cole’s joint book, Our Surprising Love Story (via People). « My family saw how miserable I was. My mom told me she was always praying for me to leave him and had her friends praying as well. I know she was also asking God to send a decent, godly guy into my life. » Before long, Cole LaBrant filled that space.
She was hurt ‘again and again’ by Everleigh’s dad
Though she admitted she no longer had strong emotions about her failed relationship with Everleigh’s dad, because she’s « told the story so many times, » Savannah Soutas detailed the touchy topic again during a March 2018 Q&A video. She said that her relationship with Tommy Smith had been « toxic » and she claimed that he cheated on her while she was pregnant with Everleigh. She took him back for the sake of their daughter, but she claimed that it happened again when Everleigh was three years old. « By then I had already given it, like, four years, so I was done being cheated on and walked all over, » Sav said.
Halfway through the Q&A video Cole stopped to remind viewers that he and Sav had just finished writing a « really juicy » book, and he really wasn’t kidding. Sav went into more detail than ever before in 2018’s Our Surprising Love Story, revealing that she bought Smith’s supposed lies more than once. « He’d show up and swear to me that he was done with all of that and that he’d changed and everything was going to be different, » Sav wrote (via People). « And I’d believe him, only to get hurt again. And again. And again. »
Is Everleigh’s biological dad still in the picture?
Given everything that her ex reportedly put her through, you wouldn’t blame Savannah Soutas for wanting to sever ties with Everleigh’s dad for good. But Tommy Smith still sees his daughter weekly and is by all accounts a caring father to her. « We always want him in her life, » Cole LaBrant said. « He loves her to death, he’s a great dad to her, he loves her… He’s doing a great job just maintaining that friendship. » The YouTuber revealed that Everleigh calls them both dad and painted a picture of peaceful co-parenting, but is that really the case?
Discussions about Cole and Sav’s treatment of Everleigh’s dad often pop up in comments sections on social media. Smith has over 35,000 followers on Instagram, most of them people who want an extra dose of Everleigh, who features regularly. « Always two sides to every story, » Smith’s Insta biography used to read, which didn’t go unnoticed by critics of the YouTube power couple. Cole was called out by one Twitter user in 2018 when he appeared to copy a photograph that Everleigh had taken with her dad, recreating it almost exactly. « I think that’s really s****y, » the poster said.
Sav has some daddy issues of her own
Savannah Soutas dished the dirt on her own love life in her and Cole’s book, but she also discussed her mother and father’s failed marriage. The YouTube star revealed that her parents’ marriage crumbled after her dad was unfaithful, and their subsequent divorce was really hard for her to accept growing up. « Especially as a teenage girl I think it’s so important to have your dad in your life if you can, » Sav told People while promoting the book. « I think that definitely made me kind of go down a darker path. »
It took a little while, but with Cole’s help she was able to get back on the right path, and at the end of it she found that a shared experience had made her relationship with her mother even stronger. « Not choosing the right guy and also just being cheated on by [my] boyfriend, I think it helped me understand how hurt my mom was [when she was] cheated on, » Sav said. « We were both there for each other and understood each other’s situations. »
Cole got turned down by Selena Gomez
Before he met Savannah Soutas, Cole LaBrant had a real thing for Selena Gomez. In 2014, he tweeted the Disney kid-turned pop star to ask if she’d be his date to his upcoming high school prom. Unfortunately, she never replied, but that didn’t stop the Viner from pursuing her. He tagged Gomez in another tweet, explaining that he was « Absolutely in love with [her] and her heart for the Lord. »
After being ignored for a second time, Cole decided to up the ante. A photo of Cole down on one knee inside a heart drawn in the sand appeared online, a teaser of what was to come. The Vine star’s Hail Mary was a video in which he mimed to a number of Selena Gomez songs (and, inexplicably, some Taylor Swift ones, too) while begging her to be his date to prom. « It was the first YouTube video I had ever posted, I had no idea if she’d ever see it, » Cole explained in a 2016 YouTube video detailing the whole thing.
The reaction the video got meant that there was simply no way Gomez could avoid it. People peppered the singer’s Instagram with comments about it and outlets like Teen Vogue and Billboard even shared it. Cole’s hopes reached their peak when Gomez finally reached out to him — sort of — by having « someone in her team » tell him that « she was too busy. »
Did they exploit Everleigh to get famous?
The fact that Everleigh seems to be one of their channel’s biggest draws has led many people to question whether or not Cole and Sav Labrant are exploiting their super-cute child for views. The couple’s wedding video has more than 32 million views, but many asked why they decided to use the words « vows to 4 year old daughter » in the title. Yahoo! loved the fact that Cole had prepared special vows for Everleigh (« I promise to always love you little girl, and I promise that I’ll always love your mummy, » he said), but critics of the couple say this was just one of the many ways they’ve exploited Everleigh to get more famous.
« It was never about the tiny ring he bought Savannah’s daughter when he proposed to Sav, » Odyssey contributor Olivia Brown said during an in-depth critique of Cole. « It was about the hearts you would steal and the tears people who had never met you would shed after you shared it on every social media platform numerous times. You used your marriage as a medium to boost your views and win over fans. You used a four year old for popularity. » Ouch.
That awkward virgin tweet
YouTubers aren’t usually that familiar with the concept of oversharing, and it turns out Cole LaBrant is completely oblivious to it. After he and Savannah Soutas tied the knot in July 2017 they did what most newlyweds do and went on a relaxing honeymoon, but what most couples don’t do is let the whole world know they just had sex. The staunch Christian decided to share the fact that he and Sav had consummated their marriage (« No longer a virgin #MarriageRocks, » he said in a now-deleted tweet) and was roundly roasted for it.
« This tweet was for attention, nothing else, » one Twitter user said. « People have sex yes but the world doesn’t have to hear about it. » Fellow Christian Brandon Gilliland spoke out against Cole’s tweet, claiming it was « not a good move » to be so public about losing his virginity. « The statement just simply flaunts something that is a given and needs to be kept private, » he said.
It wasn’t long before another Cole and Sav-themed think piece popped up on Odyssey, with contributor Maddie Blanz examining the obsession over the couple. « Ever since the virginity tweet, young girls are obsessing over LaBrant and his cute love for Savannah and her daughter, tweeting their wedding photos with captions like, ‘Don’t marry him unless he cries like this when you walk down the aisle,' » Blanz wrote. « Ah, to be so naive. »
Is Cole homophobic?
Cole LaBrant and his mom Sheri LaBrant took part in season 28 of The Amazing Race, coming in second place and just missing out on the million dollar prize. In a 2016 student profile posted on Troy University’s YouTube channel, the social media star said that « Disney, TLC, MTV and a few other networks » were looking into making a reality show featuring Cole and his family, but nothing ever came of it. In a world where controversial tweets can get you fired from you job in Hollywood, that might have been for the best.
Cole preaches open mindedness, but some of his comments have been construed as being homophobic. One tweet in particular led to a number of people calling the Christian YouTuber out. « There’s a big difference between ‘love’ and ‘support,' » he wrote in 2015. « You can love the sinner without supporting the sin. » When he appeared on The Amazing Race the following year, these comments were discussed at length online. Some called him a bigot while others defended him, but Cole claims to « love all gays. »
They were accused of faking a wildfire evacuation for views
Cole and Sav LaBrant aren’t the most controversial YouTubers on the platform, but they sure caught some serious heat in 2018 when they appeared to fake a wildfire evacuation. In the offending video, they claimed that they were being forced to abandon their California home because of the Holy Fire raging nearby, which destroyed over 10,000 acres. Cole and a pregnant Sav got into a car with Everleigh and left for San Francisco, but they were soon outed by neighbors, who confirmed that no evacuation notices were issued for their Orange County neighborhood.
« I just think it’s really sad that they would exploit a situation that’s as serious as a fire that so many people were evacuated from just so they could get more likes or more hits on their channel, » one unimpressed resident told Fox 11. The YouTubers tried to contain the damage by changing the video’s thumbnail and title, but not before What’s Trending could grab some stills as evidence. The original title of « A giant fire makes us evacuate our house » was altered to read « We left our house because of fires in California. » There’s nothing wrong with vlogging such an event if it’s safe to do so, but making the whole thing up just isn’t cool.
They came under fire for a cruel prank on Everleigh
The ruckus over Cole and Sav’s sketchy wildfire vlog had pretty much died down by the time spring arrived in 2019, but a whole new controversy was just around the corner. The YouTubers decided to play an April Fool’s Day prank on Savannah’s first born daughter, and it backfired massively. Everleigh was left in tears after her parents told her that they were getting rid of the family’s teacup Pomeranian, Carl. « We feel like we can’t take good enough care of him at our house, » Sav told her daughter in the now-deleted prank vid (via NBC News). « He needs someone to take him outside more often. » When subscribers saw the super-popular 6 year old in clear distress, they took to social media to vent.
« I don’t get angry at much online, but this crosses the line, » one Twitter user fumed. « What kind of sick parent tells their … kid they’re giving away the dog as an April Fool’s prank, let alone posts it online for millions on the internet to see? » Many of those who took issue with Cole and Sav’s prank were parents themselves. One outraged mother said that she refused to let her daughter watch Cole and Sav’s channel because they use their children like accessories. « They also have this pseudo-Christian thing going which is a shield for them to use to avoid backlash for how much they use kids as a prop, » the angry mom tweeted.
Viewers have called for Child Protective Services to look into Cole and Sav
The backlash over Cole and Sav’s ill-conceived prank on Everleigh intensified when the story started getting picked up by the press. Being targeted by haters is nothing new for the LaBrants (a couple months before they posted the April Fool’s video they revealed that somebody had been harassing them with bogus takeout orders), but when their puppy prank made national headlines they started getting trolled like never before. In an apology video meant to address the spike in negative comments, the couple begged the offenders to stop saying nasty things about them, chiefly because Everleigh had started learning to read.
Speaking directly to those who suggested that Everleigh might need to seek some therapy because of the prank, Cole said that all the mean comments about him favoring his biological daughter, Posie, were more likely to cause the girl problems down the line. According to Savannah, most of their subscribers were being totally cool about the prank, but a vocal minority would not let it go. « There’s that 10 percent right now that’s just like, almost sending us death threats, » she said. « Like, crazy mean comments that are actually really getting to us as parents. Usually we don’t let the comments get to us … but this time it’s a bit more extreme. » The mother-of-two also had some stern words for the people who wanted « child protective services » to get involved, especially those who questioned their Christian faith.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter called Cole out on Twitter
You would think that Cole LaBrant would have been keen to keep a low profile following the backlash to his and Savannah’s controversial April Fool’s video, but the Christian vlogger was back in the headlines just weeks later when a video he posted to Twitter caused uproar. The trouble started when Cole shared a clip of his adopted cousin Truman LaBrant (who apparently goes by the nickname « Peanut ») getting down on his hands and knees and offering himself up as a human footstool so his female playmates could reach the swings. « We all need to be more like Peanut, » Cole said in the now-deleted tweet (via BuzzFeed News), praising the boy for his chivalry. An unidentified woman can be heard calling the child a « sweet boy » off camera, but the fact that Truman is black made the video an uncomfortable watch for a number of Twitter users.
Minister and activist Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., was among the many people who called Cole out for failing to see how the video could be offensive. « When many of us see your video, we are reminded of the dehumanization of our ancestors, » she tweeted at the YouTuber. « This dehumanization of Black people still exists in many forms today, so the video you shared isn’t cute to us. It’s not cute for a Black boy to be a stool. » Cole refused to comment when approached by the press.