Eminem Hired A Body Double Nicknamed 'Partial Mathers' To Keep His Privacy — He Went On To Be A Rocket Scientist

So that explains the whole "won't the real Slim Shady please stand up" thing!

Eminem against a background of his CDs Kathy Hutchins, kraft74/Shutterstock.com

Rapper Eminem's "Slim Shady" persona was a mainstay of his 2000s era, immortalized in a song and video that asked who exactly was "the real Slim Shady." 

But it seems like that question may have extended into real-life, too.

So much so that the double he hired to impersonate him in videos, Ryan Shepard, ended up impersonating him in day-to-day life, too.

Shepard sadly passed away earlier this month in an accident, but the tragedy has brought his fascinating story back to people's attention online.


And it turns out he was far more than just a music video actor with an uncanny likeness to one of the biggest rappers of all time.

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Who was 'Partial Mathers,' Eminem's body double?

In the early 2000s, Eminem, born Marshall Mathers, hired a man as his video double, but he soon became his real-life double too, attending parties for him and gaining the nickname "Partial Mathers."


'Partial Mathers,' whose real name was Ryan Shepard, was hired to pose as Eminem at events.

Most coverage of Eminem's body double seems to have been scrubbed from the internet—some fans believe by Em himself.

But old message board posts are full of references to Shepard from the early 2000s.

One claims that Shepard, who was initially known as "Particles," was first hired in 2003 by Eminem because he was afraid his rapid rise to fame put him in danger.


After first being spotted as an actor in Eminem's "Superman" video, Shepard was soon rumored to be attending club appearances in Eminem's stead.

And soon he'd taken on the new nickname "Partial Mathers," a reference to how closely he resembled Eminem, even down to reproductions of his tattoos.

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'Partial Mathers' was hired so the real Slim Shady could keep his privacy.

In a 2017 Rapper Emerg McVay from the group Bionic Jive talked about touring with Eminem on 2000's "Anger Management Tour," and confirmed the details of Shepard's job as Eminem's double.

Eminem joined the tour following the smash success of his third album "The Marshall Mathers LP."

Eminem's second album "The Slim Shady LP," his major-label debut, had been a success, but "The Marshall Mathers LP" made him a household name.

It produced some of Eminem's biggest hits like "The Real Slim Shady," "The Way I Am" and "Stan"—the origin of the slang term to "stan" a celebrity, by the way. 


McVay described what it was like at the time to tour with Eminem, as well as the guy he hired to impersonate him.

"The dude had a body double on tour!" McVay told Ramses Ja and Rock Knowledge of Nashville's hip hop station 101.1 The Beat back in 2017. 

"His name was Ryan, and we used to call him 'Partial Mathers'," McVay said, going on to describe how it was Shepard's job to replicate "everything Eminem wore at any time of the day."

"Ryan was the dude who would go to the after-parties," McVay explained, saying that "everyone was so star-struck because they'd swear it was him."

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Shepard was so convincing he may have even fooled this writer, too—back in the day.

I waited on a guy at my Los Angeles restaurant job who I thought was obviously Eminem.

It was right after "8 Mile" had become a hit—and won an Oscar for "Lose Yourself," no less—and I did think it was strange that Eminem would just walk into a random restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard.

But celebrities came into the place all the time, and this guy had the exact same tattoos, clothes, and face as the rapper—it had to be him!

But when we started chatting about Eminem's native Detroit, the vicinity of which I also grew up, he was weirdly uninformed about the city—which seemed downright bizarre for someone who repped the place so hard.


Now, of course, it all makes sense—and I guess I owe $50 to my former coworker, who bet me that I would one day find out that absolutely was not Eminem.

It may have taken 20 years, but you win, Robert.

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Ryan Shepard went on to work for Elon Musk's SpaceX.

Shepard soon moved on from being Eminem's double to an impressive career in both entertainment and engineering, including at Elon Musk's rocket and spacecraft company SpaceX.

According to Shepard's LinkedIn resume—which includes his time as Em's body double—Shepard went on to be part of the famous Disney College Program.


After interning there, Shepard then worked for Disney as a mechanical engineer, working on animatronic characters at EPCOT and Shanghai Disneyland.

He then went on to work in literal rocket science, joining SpaceX as an engineer before eventually going on to open his own robotics business, RS Robotics.

Sadly, Shepard's life was cut short earlier this month in an automobile accident. 

But the fascinating story of his life and career, not to mention his work on-camera in Eminem's videos, ensure he won't soon be forgotten.


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.