Details About Hallmark's Alexa And Carlos PenaVega That Are So Tragic

Note: This article discusses an eating disorder and substance abuse.

There was a time when married couple Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega almost called it quits, but instead, the former child stars continued leaning on each other during some of their most trying times. However, before they wed, the Hallmark stars had endured misfortune and misery without having each other to turn to for comfort and support.

When Alexa and Carlos tied the knot in 2014, their union was the merging of two franchises that many Millenials and Zoomers remember fondly. Alexa appeared in the "Spy Kids" films while Carlos starred on Nickelodeon's "Big Time Rush" and performed as a member of the series' titular boy band. Alexa eventually decided to quit Hollywood, but she and Carlos have since appeared together in a handful of Hallmark Channel movies, including the 2023 romance "Never Too Late to Celebrate."

One of the challenges Alexa and Carlos faced while trying to balance work and their personal lives was their struggle to become first-time parents. "We tried to get pregnant for a good six months without luck. When it's not working, you think, 'Is there something wrong with me?'" Alexa told Fit Pregnancy and Baby. But she did eventually get pregnant; the PenaVegas welcomed their son Ocean PenaVega in 2016. Sadly, before Alexa got to experience the joy of motherhood, her difficulty conceiving took her back to a dark period in her life.

The awful reason Alexa PenaVega developed an eating disorder

The night Alexa PenaVega was eliminated from "Dancing with the Stars" in 2015, she had gathered up the courage to speak about her eating disorder for the first time. The actor opened up to her professional dance partner Mark Ballas about what made her obsess over her weight. She revealed that she was shooting a movie earlier in her career when her bosses developed an unhealthy fixation on her figure. "The producers kept telling me, 'You're too fat,'" she recalled, as recapped by E! News. Because of those cruel words, Alexa developed bulimia. It took her six years to recover from the eating disorder and she never could completely rid herself of her body image issues.

Alexa's horrible experience came back to haunt her when she was trying to conceive. Her doctor assured her that her struggle was unrelated to having an eating disorder for such a long time, but Alexa was still plagued with guilt. "I was worried that I wasn't getting pregnant because of some long-term damage from what I'd put my body through," she told Fit Pregnancy and Baby. While she was over the moon when she learned that she was expecting, she told People that there were downsides to being pregnant — her patience was rewarded with terrible morning sickness and exhaustion. "There were days when I just wanted to sleep all day long, and I did," she said.

If you need help with an eating disorder or know someone who does, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Carlos PenaVega's faith helped him at his lowest point

When some stars hit rock bottom, they find it insurmountably difficult to claw their way back out of that pit. According to Carlos PenaVega, he was once in danger of finding himself in this precarious position. "I was smoking a lot of weed," he recalled to Faithwire in 2023. "I was drinking and I was sleeping around." Carlos said his mental state eventually deteriorated to the point that he didn't want to leave his house. "I was just miserable," he said.

Carlos didn't give up on improving his condition. He sought help from a friend, who encouraged him to attend church with him. That same friend invited Carlos to join his Bible study group, which is where he met Alexa. However, Carlos confessed to The War Cry that he had actually hoped to reconnect with an ex-girlfriend who was also going to be there.

Faith became an integral part of Alexa and Carlos' lives as their relationship developed, but their shared religious beliefs have made it difficult for them to find acting projects they feel good about accepting. And it isn't just depictions of sex and drug use — the two vices Carlos struggled with — that they find offensive. "I can't tell you how many times I get onto a project and have to have the conversation of me saying there are certain phrases or profanity that I'm not comfortable with," Carlos told The War Cry.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The house fire the PenaVegas were lucky to survive

In a 2016 Facebook post, Alexa PenaVega recalled the frightening night the smoke detectors in her family's home failed to alert them that they were in mortal peril. "I woke up to the faint smell of smoke. I immediately knew something was wrong," she recalled. When she and Carlos PenaVega began frantically searching for the source of the smoke that was filling their home, they discovered that their outdoor barbecue had set the area around it ablaze. Alexa admitted that she had forgotten to turn it off, and she and Carlos also had no clue where they had stored their fire extinguishers. This meant they had to wait for help. "Four fire trucks later and a burned side of the house the reality of fire safety hit us hard!!!" she wrote. Alexa added that it was a stroke of luck that the fire hadn't been closer to their bedroom and that she had awoken without a smoke detector going off. "Most people die from smoke inhalation before the fire even reaches them," she pointed out.

Alexa and Carlos' lives were impacted by a fire again years later. The couple owned a home in Maui when deadly wildfires ravaged the island in 2023. While their home survived, the devastation around it left the couple shaken. "Our town that we live in, Lahaina, has completely burned to the ground and it's really hard to look at," Alexa said in an Instagram video.

Their son lost part of his finger

Alexa PenaVega believes that divine intervention played a role in her exit from Hollywood. "God pulled me out of that so I could learn how to be an awesome mom and an awesome wife," she told Fox News. But even a mom who feels like she has the Almighty backing her up doesn't possess the ability to keep her children safe from all harm. PenaVega learned that it's even possible for something as simple as closing a door to lead to an emergency room visit. "While getting the kids ready for bed I shut Kington's fingers in the hinge of the bathroom door," she wrote in a post on her Instagram Story (via Today). She added that Kingston lost the tip of a middle finger down to the top knuckle. In a later update, PenaVega revealed that it could not be reattached.

Alexa felt terrible about what happened, but it wasn't just "mom guilt" that she found herself struggling with as her son recovered. Her post about Kingston's injury also attracted the attention of mommy shamers. In an Instagram video, she said that some people had suggested that the only way the door could have hurt Kingston so badly was if she had angrily "slammed" it shut. "Social media can be really frustrating," she wrote. "I simply closed the door. That is literally what happened."

Alexa later claimed that Kingston was making a miraculous recovery that doesn't sound scientifically feasible. "His finger is growing back," she told Us Weekly.

Alexa PenaVega's traumatic pregnancy complications

Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega announced the happy news that they were expecting their fourth child in November 2023. However, their joy was tempered by some seriously scary pregnancy complications. In a March 2024 Instagram vlog, Alexa revealed that her ordeal began with horrific morning sickness and nausea that was making eating difficult. But things really took an alarming turn when she suddenly began bleeding heavily while she was cooking. In a second video, she compared the sensation to her water breaking. "There was so much blood," she said. Alexa bled for hours and was unable to schedule an ultrasound for three days. She feared she was possibly having a miscarriage but learned that she had a four-centimeter-long placental tear. Alexa had experienced a similar tear when pregnant with her third child, Rio, but it was far smaller.

Alexa was relieved to learn that her baby still had a heartbeat, but her nightmare wasn't over. In her next Instagram update, she was filming from the hospital. She said that she had started bleeding profusely again while using the toilet one night. "There was definitely this moment of, 'This is bad. This is not good,'" she recalled. Alexa had to call Carlos for help, and they rushed to the hospital. She remained there for five days after learning that her uterus had started separating from her placenta. "Every single day that I'm still pregnant here in this hospital is literally a miracle," she said.