Richard Tyler Blevins, also known by his online alias Ninja, is an Internet personality who rose to fame thanks to his gamer skills primarily shared on Twitch.
According to Twitch Metrics, Ninja, 28, is the most followed person on that platform, which is a live-streaming video service owned by Amazon.
“I don’t play with female gamers."
Although some people might find it surprising, Ninja is married to a 26-year-old woman named Jessica Goch, also known under the tag Jghosty. Just as her husband, Jessica rose to fame through online gaming.
Their love story is one of a kind. Back in 2010, Jessica was studying at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and was dating another man who also loved playing videogames and invited her to a “Halo” tournament in Lacrosse, a place that was almost four hours away from the university.
The pair broke up about a week before the competition, and she didn’t want to go, but her ex-boyfriend urged her to support him despite they were no longer together and she accepted.
Thankfully, she met Tyler there, who almost didn’t go to the tournament due to a heavy snowstorm. However, the professional gamer was dating another girl, and Jessica didn’t want to be disrespectful, so nothing happened at that point.
Three years after that, Jghosty and Ninja reconnected through Twitter and, after chatting for a while, they arranged everything to meet each other through a bet.
"Since he's a Lions fan and I'm a Packers fan, we had a bet: If the Lions won, I'd go visit him, but if the Packers beat the Lions, he'd have to come visit me first. The Packers won, so he came to visit me at college, and we started dating right away," revealed Jessica.
As time passed by, their relationship grew stronger, and in 2017, they finally took the most significant step in their love story so far: they got married.
Not only Jessica is Tyler’s wife but also his manager. She is the one who takes care of calls and e-mails, their two dogs, the groceries, and many more aspects of their lives.
When their relationship began, Ninja used to stream all day, which was unhealthy for them. Thankfully, they came up with a schedule. Every day, both of them take a four-hour break from their responsibilities at 4 pm, something that Jessica considers “good for our relationship” and “good for him.”
As for her expectations for Ninja’s career, Jessica said:
"We want him known in Hollywood. We want him known in the world of sports. We want him as a household name, so we're trying to move him from just gaming to everywhere."
During an interview Tyler had with Polygon, he pointed out that he doesn’t like to play with female gamers. While several people considered that his decision was sexist and didn’t help women who have been trying to make their way in the gaming industry, the truth is entirely different.
“If I have one conversation with one female streamer where we’re playing with one another, and even if there’s a hint of flirting, that is going to be taken and going to be put on every single video and be clickbait forever,” Ninja explained.
Being an important member of the YouTube and Twitch culture, Tyler knew that even the simplest joke or comment during one of his streams could be misinterpreted and eventually lead people to think that he and the hypothetical female gamer are flirting.
Ninja also pointed out that Jessica did not influence his decision as it was his way to say: “I love our relationship” and “I’m not even gonna put you through that” [sic].
Even though he intended to take care of his relationship, several people, especially female gamers, took to Twitter to share their discomfort with Ninja’s decision, who is one of the most prominent “Fortnite” streamers in the world.
A Twitch partner said that Tyler’s choice affected women in an industry that was already divisive, while a second user pointed out that it strengthened the gender division in the streaming service. However, he quickly responded to the backlash.
“While I understand some people have implied my views mean I have something against playing with women, I want to make clear the issue I’m addressing is online harassment, and my attempt to minimize it from our life,” he said.
After naming some female gamers, he finished:
“I look forward to the opportunity to meet and play with all kinds of Fortnite players in future tournaments and events.”
Even though Tyler made a lot of headlines with his decision of not playing with female gamers, there was something else that earned him some backlash. In Late 2018, he reported a player named IcyFive because he thought he had gotten stream sniped.
Stream sniping refers to cheating in a multiplayer game by watching the streaming of another person to know where the enemies are and, in some cases, anticipate their moves.
Soon after IcyFive noted that he didn’t cheat, Ninja said that he was wrong and even apologized, but also asked him to stop “playing the victim” and “stop milking it.”
At the moment, Ninja has more than 22 million subscribers on YouTube, which places him 31st in the top YouTubers in the US, reported Social Blade.