Drake Bell: Where is the Former Nickelodeon Child Star Now?

If there’s one thing absolutely nobody can deny, it’s that Drake Bell is arguably one of the most infamous former Nickelodeon child actors of the early 2000s thanks to ‘Drake and Josh.’ We actually say infamous because his extensive mental health struggles, substance abuse, as well as allegations of verbal, sexual, and physical abuse have never really been a secret. Though it wasn’t until ID’s ‘Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV’ premiered that it came to light most of his issues sadly stem from the fact he was exploited by dialogue coach Brian Peck when he was just 15.

Who is Drake Bell?

Although born on June 27, 1986, in Newport Beach as the youngest of five to former professional billiards player Robin Dodson and then-constructio n worker Joe Bell, Drake sadly didn’t have a content childhood. This is owing to his parents separating when he was merely 5, driving his father to subsequently find different ways in order to really emotionally connect with his little-massive brood. That’s when Joe realized his son was funny, talented in public speaking, and had insurmountable confidence while impersonating television characters or playing the string guitar.

Thus began Drake’s journey in the world of entertainment, with his father Joe initially proudly serving as his manager too — the former once said, “I was five, and my dad kind of said, ‘Hey, you wanna be an actor?’ and I said, ‘Sure,’ that kind of thing, you know? I was kind of put into it by my dad but, you know, good. I really love it.” Little did they know he’d soon land not only several commercial gigs but also some high-quality original productions such as a 1994 episode of ‘Home Improvement,’ the 1996 film ‘Jerry Maguire,’ and stints in a 1998 episode of ‘Seinfeld’ titled ‘The Frogger.’

Then came Drake’s full-fledged step into children’s television programming through Nickolodean’s ‘The Amanda Show’ plus ‘All That,’ which paved the way for him to secure ‘Drake & Josh.’ However, by this point in 2004, he’d parted ways with his father following some alleged careful manipulation by actor, dialogue coach, filmmaker, and narrator Brian Peck before rekindling the same. It turns out this industry professional had wormed his way into every aspect of this teen’s life until he could get his wary father out of the way to get as much quality alone time with the actor as possible.

In fact, according to the aforementioned original, Joe had actually explicitly warned Robin never to let Drake be alone with Brian due to some of the behavior he’d witnessed, yet the latter still managed to convince her to let him be responsible for all audition runs. As if that’s not enough, the adult also got this actor to stay over at his Los Angeles residence often nights, which is when the assaults eventually began and progressed to unimaginable extremes. “I was sleeping on the couch where I would usually sleep,” then 15-year-old Drake said in the docuseries, recalling the first time Brian touched him. “…I woke up, and he was sexually assaulting me.”

Drake added, “I froze and was in complete shock and had no idea what to do or how to react, and I have no idea how to get out of this situation,” meaning it lasted until Brian was satisfied. The 41-year-old was then apparently very apologetic, saying he’d never take such liberties again, but he did, right until the teen’s girlfriend’s loving mother recognized what was going on. After all, by that point, he was admittedly in a spiral of internal problems while still trying his best to enjoy his high-rising success through ‘Drake & Josh’ as well as his slow yet steady growth in the music industry.

“[Brian had] figured out how to convince my mom and everyone around to – – anytime I would have an audition or anytime I needed to work on dialogue or anything, I somehow ended up back at Brian’s house and it just got worse and worse and worse and worse,” Drake asserted in the show. “I was just trapped. I had no way out. The abuse was extensive and it got pretty brutal. I don’t know how to elaborate on that… Why don’t you think of the worst stuff that someone could do to somebody as a sexual assault, and then it’ll answer your question. I don’t know how else to put it.”

Drake Bell is Closing the Chapter of His Past and Moving On Now

While Brian was arrested in August 2003 on 11 charges of child sexual assault, it wasn’t until October 2004 that he was sentenced to a lenient 16 months with an order to register as a sex offender. However, the worst part for Drake was the support his abuser had; he had 41 individuals testify about his character to the judge via letters, most of whom were former coworkers or other big names in the business. “His entire side of the courtroom was full [on sentencing day],” he candidly, frustratingly expressed in the original. “There were definitely some recognizable faces on his side of the room.”

Drake also said, “I was hoping that the outcome would be that he goes to jail, he is there for a while, and that he would never be able to work with kids again, which would in turn pretty much mean that you’re not gonna work in Hollywood because very few productions don’t have a least one kid on the set. That’s not what happened at all.” As for this continued actor-musician’s personal standing, before opening up in ‘Quiet on Set,’ he’d only ever revealed the entire truth to his therapists, who were helping him deal with not just this trauma but also its aftereffects.

It was in 2010 that Drake was arrested for the first time for driving under the influence in San Diego a year prior, and then he was arrested for the same charge again in 2015 in Glendale. He was subsequently sentenced to four days in jail, handed down four years of probation, plus ordered to attend an alcohol program upon pleading guilty in connection with the latter. Yet, his issues were far from over as August 2020 brought around his former girlfriend Melissa Lingafelt’s accusations of him verbally and physically abusing her during their 3-year relationship in the late 2000s.

Then, a year later, in June 2021, Drake was arrested in Cleveland, Ohio, on charges relating to “attempted endangering [of] children/minors and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.” This stemmed from him having misbehaved with a 15-year-old fan when he was 31 by sending her explicit “social media messages” for “months” before actually meeting her at one of his 2017 concerts. He ultimately pled guilty to both counts, resulting in him getting sentenced to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service on July 12, 2021 — he maintains the only time he was inappropriate was over text, which is why he pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility accordingly too. Coming to Drake’s exact current situation, well, it looks like this father of one is gearing up to release new music soon, and we honestly can’t wait for the same.

Read More: Brian Peck: Where is the Convicted Child Sex Offender Now?