Heartbreaking tragedy behind single gay dad's viral TikTok fame

José Rolón with his three children, Avery, Lilah and London.
José Rolón with his three children, Avery, Lilah and London. Photo: Instagram

A single gay dad, famous for his hilarious TikTok videos, has revealed that his children 'saved his life' after his husband tragically passed away in his sleep several years ago.

José Rolón, 44, or @nycgaydad as he's known on social media said he grew up dreaming about having a family as a child, but never thought it would happen.

"I grew up in a machismo household with a father who yelled at me to 'walk like a man and not like a faggot,'" he told TODAY Parents.

"If you had pulled me aside and said, 'One day you'll have a big, happy family,' I wouldn't have believed you."

The father-of-three posts funny videos of him and his children, often making fun of gay stereotypes. But despite his light-hearted internet persona, Rolón's past has been marked by difficulty.

In 2013, Rolón's husband Tim passed away when their son Avery was eight-months-old and their surrogate was 11 weeks pregnant with their twin girls, admitting he was 'terrified' to raise three children without the love of his life.

However, the New York based wedding planner says his children were the reason he didn't fall down a 'self-destructive' path after his husband's death.


"I wanted to share something with you that most of you may not realise which is my children, saved my life, I owe them," he said in a TikTok video. 

"Had Avery not been eight-months-old and the girls on their way when Tim passed away, I know for a fact I would've made decisions that would've been really self-destructive."

"So when I'm putting stuff out there and I'm being the parent that I'm being (and I'm far from perfect) but what I'm doing is I'm paying back a debt, a debt to my kids," he said.


MY TRUTH 🙏🏽 #parenting #lgbtqfamily #gaydads #gay #latinxfamily #fyp #singledad #dadsoftiktok

A post shared by José Rolón (@nycgaydad) on

Admitting that sometimes his social media fame makes him a little 'uncomfortable', Rolón says it's important people don't think he posts the clips of his family just for likes and comments.

"[Parenthood] motivates me and has me waking up every day feeling grateful that I am where I am, because of Avery, Lilah and London," the doting dad said.

"The love and support that you've given me on social media is incredible. Especially as a single dad it obviously helps."

Rolón says he wants LGBTQ youth to know that there's hope.

"I get messages from mums all the time that are like, 'My son is 13 and he's gay and really struggling. Thank you for showing him what's possible."