Lisa Turtle is sadly unrecognizable now

Though she's sadly unrecognizable today, Lark Voorhies used to be a household name — at least to the kids in the house, that is — when she played fashion-forward teen Lisa Turtle on the '80s and '90s sitcom, Saved by the Bell. But after a few more years of small TV roles and a few feature films, she faded into obscurity.

In 2012, Voorhies resurfaced in an interview on The Yo Show, where she not only looked completely different, but her mannerisms and speech also suggested some drastic changes had occured. Following the interview, Voorhies became a tabloid staple for all the wrong reasons: more bizarre behavior, a failed marriage, and constant denials about her increasingly questionable mental health — but her career was effectively stalled from that point.

So, how did Voorhies go from being one of television's Saturday morning sweethearts to someone the public barely recognized? Keep reading to find out more.

About that 'Yo Show' interview

When Lark Voorhies returned to the national spotlight for a strange interview on The Yo Show, her skin and voice looked and sounded radically different from her days as Lisa Turtle on Saved by the Bell, and we're not just talking about the normal changes a person goes through from their teenage years into adulthood.

Though the quality of the above video isn't the greatest, it's clear that at the very least, Voorhies had made some interesting changes to her makeup regimen. Fans also questioned whether she'd had work done, as her nose and eyes looked drastically different. Then there's the issue of her speech and articulation, which in the most generous terms, could be described as eccentric.

For example, when asked about her favorite Saved by the Bell episode, Voorhies says, "Uh, let's see. There were a lot of them with Hayley Mills [who played Miss Bliss], I will say that, and uh, us kids got a brush up as to her fame, and uh, it was wonderful working with her." It sounded like the kind of disassociated speech pattern typically seen in someone struggling with a personality disorder, and as it turned out, there may be a very good reason for that.

Her mental health has come into question

After Lark Voorhies' Yo Show interview went viral, her mother, Tricia, told People that her daughter was suffering from bipolar disorder. "I care deeply about my daughter and I want her to resume her life," said Tricia, who reportedly lives with her daughter. Tricia also hinted at further issues that Lark my have, saying, "There are things that have traumatized her," although she declined to elaborate.

Lark adamantly denied her mother's claims both to People and in a subsequent interview that was equal parts concerning and bizarre. "It is a small, uh, opinionata [sic] that is getting blown thoroughly out of proportion," Lark told Entertainment Tonight (via Radar Online) in her odd parlance. "I have no stating reasons why anyone should worry about me. I mean, clearly I am a very strong, top-of-the-line, always riding to it personage," she continued.

Two years later, Lark fielded questions from Entertainment Tonight about her alleged mental illness, and her mother's accusation that she'd been "off her medication." The actress said, "I've always been healthy, one hundred percent stable." Although she did add, "I had a sweep with textbook clinical depression in remove of my first marriage, but that is basically all it's been."

Her books mirror her public behavior

With Lark Voorhies' unfortunate status as a tabloid fixture, outlets began digging into her life, looking for other signs of strange behavior. The now-defunct Gawker turned up a treasure trove of such evidence when it uncovered two books published by Voorhies, titled Reciprocity (2010) and True Light: A, superior, take, unto, the, premier, haloing, of, tenuation. Readily, available, True Light, provides, resource, into, time's, motifed, and, vestuved, authenticate, revelation (2011).

As the title of the latter book clearly suggests, the contents within contained pages upon pages of rambling, grammatically incorrect sentences that did not appear to be conceived by a cogent mind. "For, ages, we have learned, to, search, for, the, truth, about, life," Voorhies writes. "The, truth, in, regard, to, the, opolous, insight. Facts, ascertaned [sic], according, to, the, willing, advance, of, theme, and, time. Fames, tolled, apart, from, steads."

Aside from the confounding comma use, the incoherence of the text alone sends up all kinds of red flags. Voorhies published a third and mercifully final book in 2011, titled Trek of the Chesire, which replicated her comma-saturated and perplexing prose.

She skipped Jimmy Fallon's Saved by the Bell reunion

For years, Jimmy Fallon tried to reunite the cast of Saved by the Bell for a skit on The Tonight Show. That finally happened in February 2015, only it was missing two key ingredients: Lisa Turtle and Screech. Dustin Diamond, who played Screech, told Fox 2 Now that he wasn't invited. Lark Voorhies, as you can probably guess, gave a more confusing excuse.

Speaking with E! News, a rep for Voorhies said, "Lark would have loved to be part of the Jimmy Fallon skit (as she is a big fan of the show), however due to an intense work schedule she was not available." 

A quick peek at Voorhies' IMDb page shows that at the time of her rep's statement about her "intense work schedule," Voorhies hadn't logged an acting credit in three years. Of course, we're not suggesting anyone was lying here, we're just curious what exactly it was Voorhies was so intensely working on, especially in light of the fact that she's been teasing a Saved by the Bell reunion for years.

But she constantly talks about Saved by the Bell reunions

In virtually every interview with Lark Voorhies, the question of a Saved by the Bell reunion comes up. It's not a surprise given the popularity and cult status of the show, but in light of the fact that Voorhies — for whatever reason — didn't show up for Jimmy Fallon's mini-reunion, it's odd how enthusiastic she's been about it over the years.

For example, in 2016, Voorhies talked to paparazzi about the Fallon reunion and the possibility of the cast reuniting again. "It could very possibly be," she said. "Everybody has been rooting and cheering for the reunion and we have demo skit at a very hot moment, so it could very well build."

In 2017, Voorhies was asked about a reunion again by GossTV, to which she replied, "I think at some point, the world will call for it again and we'll all be here." We'd be lying if we said we weren't fascinated by all things Saved by the Bell here at Nicki Swift, and we sincerely hope that if a full-blown reunion occurs, Voorhies will be a positive part of it.

She married a former gang member

In April 2015, Lark Voorhies married her third husband, music producer Jimmy Green. Drama unfolded shortly thereafter when Voorhies' mother filed a restraining order against Green because she was "constantly afraid that the Defendant [Green] will cause her physical harm and this has caused severe stress on her every day since April 2015," according to court documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight.

The documents also alleged that Green, who was living with Voorhies in her mother's home, had gang affiliations and was taking advantage of her daughter. The couple ultimately went on television to defend against Tricia's many allegations. "We're selectively together for all the right reasons," Voorhies told Entertainment Tonight in July 2015. She also described her marriage to Green as "the powerful uniting of active productive purpose."

Green told the tabloid show, "We're the same as any other couple out there that's in love, trying to accomplish business together, and it's not a scam and no way to get money." Unfortunately, that admittedly lackluster description of their devotion would prove prophetic.

It didn't last

Amid scandalous rumors by TMZ that Jimmy Green was trying to sell a lewd video of the couple to "the highest bidder," Lark Voorhies filed for divorce just six months after saying "I do." In a statement to People, she said, "There were irreconcilable differences that we could not overcome. I wish him the best and look forward to moving on with my life." She also said that she was "not aware of nor have I consented to" the kind of recording TMZ had previously reported.

Voorhies' mother also spoke with the magazine, saying, "[Lark and Jimmy] can remain friends, but it's best they sever their marriage ties. Lark is ready to move forward with her life and wishes him well with his life."

Though the breakup of the short marriage seemed amicable enough, seven months later, a since-deleted post insulting Green appeared on what may or may not have been Voorhies' Instagram account (More on that confusion in a minute). According to Entertainment Tonight, the post alleged Green was broke, in violation of a restraining order, had lost a job at Taco Bell, and that his manhood smelled "like corn chips." Voorhies denied writing those remarks, claiming that her Instagram had been hacked, which has been a frequent excuse for several bizarre posts that have appeared on her alleged social media accounts. Which leads us to…

Social media has been a problem

In addition to the rant about her ex, Lark Voorhies has come under fire for several other scandalous Instagram posts, including one in which she claimed that she has lupus, and a series in which she attacked Bill Cosby and claimed that she is "not black."

After coming under scrutiny for the posts, Voorhies once again claimed that her Instagram account had been hacked. According to Hip Hop Wired, who published screenshots of the since-deleted Cosby and "not black" posts, Voorhies even went so far as to write "I am not on Instagram! Thanks! LV" on one of the posts, which is an obvious contradiction in and of itself.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Voorhies followed all of this up by issuing a statement to People, claiming, "I do not have an Instagram account nor have I ever had one," which was seemingly contradicted by this tweet from Voorhies' verified Twitter account that directs fans to her "only official Instagram account."    

At this point, it's impossible to know what's true. Voorhies, as of this writing, still has just the one verified social media account: her Twitter. As for the confusion over her alleged Instagram accounts, it's just another indicator that she may be battling some serious personal issues.

What's up with her music career?

In an interview with MaximoTV, Voorhies once again offered up some claims that are hard to verify. In speaking about her musical ambitions, she said that she had already finished her first album, Jewel Box, and was working on a second, Eternity Coming. She also said, "We do have an opera as well in between." While those albums — and opera — very well could be sitting in her home or at a recording studio somewhere, it appears the only music Voorhies ever released to the public were two singles, "Roll with Me" and "Saturday."

Both songs can be streamed on Reverb Nation as well as found on YouTube here and here. "I've been singing since I was 13," Voorhies told MaximoTV. "And I've had numerous recordings along that line, so we've been doing it a long time."

Of course, as is the case with much of what Voorhies says, it's tough to sort out what's real and what isn't in terms of her music. And while she may be sadly unrecognizable now in both appearance and demeanor from her glory days as Lisa Turtle, it's good to know that her creative passion is intact. Hopefully, with the proper help from professionals, Voorhies can enjoy a comeback to the spotlight that she clearly still craves.