Tragic Details About Drake From Drake And Josh

The following article contains references to suicide, drug use, child abuse, and allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence.

In the early 2000s, "The Amanda Show" was truly innovative for its time. A sketch show that relied entirely on the comedic chops of children, the hit Nickelodeon series thereby made a star out of its skilled titular comedian, Amanda Bynes. In addition to the formidable talent of Bynes, who proved herself an expert impersonator, she was all the while supported by her co-star, Drake Bell. Playing everyone from hilarious teen gangster Tony Pajamas to the oft-memed Totally Kyle, Bell was indeed the perfect match for the multi-talented leading lady, even if he was not subject to the same plaudits. And much like his co-star, Bell has found himself faced with overwhelming hardship and controversy since the show's end.

What always endeared fans towards Bell in those innocent Nick days was his boy-next-door charm; he was, as Lisa Simpson would put it, a non-threatening boy. He continued with this shtick on "Drake and Josh," where he teamed up with his "Amanda Show" bud, Josh Peck. Now with an eponymous show, Bell swiftly turned into a household name thanks to the hugely popular buddy sitcom. But as is sadly all too often the case with many a child actor, the glittering stardom waned; soon enough, Bell would find himself faced with financial turmoil and legal woes.

In more recent years, Bell has dominated headlines for all the wrong reasons. He may have dreamed of being a rock god or sitcom hero, but we never thought that it'd be so simple. These are the tragic details about Drake Bell from "Drake and Josh."

Drake Bell's mom was a heroin addict

Drake Bell is the son of Robin Dodson, a pro pool player who has won the World Championships. While she may be a pool hall of famer now, Dodson's life was previously blighted by tragedy, which in turn affected her children. After divorcing her first husband, with whom she had a son, she married Robert Bell, and they welcomed son Drake in 1986. However, this marriage also ended in divorce: when Drake was just 5 years old, his parents parted ways, per the Los Angeles Times

Speaking with "No Jumper" in 2018, Bell admitted that his interest in acting was born from his parents' divorce, as he entertained his jaded elders with Jerry Lewis impressions. In an interview with the Grammys, he poignantly revealed that he didn't get to spend much time with his mom when he was growing up, since she was always too busy with work. But this wasn't the only struggle that the Bell family faced.

Dodson has been open about her issues with heroin addiction. As detailed by the Los Angeles Times, she was thrust into a "hard-core heroin environment" and was arrested on multiple occasions. However, she found God and got clean, swapping drugs for religious devotion. Accordingly, her turbulent past led to her developing immense empathy for children with emotional difficulties. "My heart is with troubled kids. I can say, 'I know where you're coming from' and mean it," Dodson told WCF Courier. Tragically, her famous son would prove to be one of those troubled kids.

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

His ex-girlfriend Stevie Ryan died

According to E!, Drake Bell dated YouTuber Stevie Ryan from 2005 to 2006. Ryan was best known for her VH1 series "Stevie TV," in which she rose to fame and developed a loyal fanbase by exhibiting her rib-tickling take on celeb impersonations, parodying everyone from Justin Bieber to Kim Kardashian. Tragically, Ryan died by suicide in 2017, aged just 33. 

Bell was devastated by his ex-girlfriend's death. Upon hearing the tragic news, he posted a series of stream-of-consciousness tweets expressing his heartache. "No no no!!!! I can NOT BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING!!!!" he wrote. "Please wake me from this nightmare @StevieRyan I loved you and will forever miss you!" In another tweet, he said that the news had "crushed" his heart. Speaking with People, Bell confessed that he was in disbelief following the death of his former flame. Reflecting on their brief but apparently loving relationship, he heaped heavy praise on Ryan's impression skills and fashion sense, gushing, "She had the coolest style of any girl I'd ever met. She had it."

Following the tragedy, an inquest found that Ryan's partner at the time of her death, nurse Gerald Baltz, may have played a role in her suicide. Per the Los Angeles Times, Baltz had reportedly been prescribing Ryan psychiatric drugs, with the California Board of Registered Nursing branding the pair's relationship inappropriate. Just three months into their dalliance, Ryan was dead. Subsequently, Baltz's nursing license was revoked in 2022.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Drake Bell was in a horrific accident

In 2005, while hot off the ongoing success of "Drake and Josh," Drake Bell was almost killed in a terrifying car crash. According to the New York Post, he was driving along the Pacific Coast Highway when he was involved in a head-on collision with a Mercedes. It is believed that the driver of the Mercedes had dozed off at the wheel. Per E!, Bell suffered a "fractured neck, a broken jaw, facial lacerations requiring 70 stitches and several knocked-out teeth." Accordingly, he had to undergo facial reconstructive surgery.

Bell recalled that fateful day, which resembled something out of a horror film, in a 2006 chat with People. "I'm spitting teeth out of my mouth. ... I broke my jaw in three places," he revealed. "A whole part fell into my mouth! I could stick my tongue out this scar. ... It was like another mouth."

In an interview with Artisan News Service, he said that his jaw was wired shut for three months and he was unable to eat solid foods. "I couldn't really walk anywhere, do anything. I was on medication. ... It was all just a horrible, horrible time," he said, noting that he feared whether he would be the same person afterwards. Bell also revealed that the accident inspired him to start writing songs again. With a new lease on life following his recovery, surviving the injuries led to him injecting newfound positivity into his music. "Stop and smell the flowers, 'cause it can all just be taken away like that," the "I Know" singer mused.

Transitioning from acting to music, he struggled to sell records

On both "The Amanda Show" and "Drake and Josh," it was not uncommon for Drake Bell to grab his guitar and start performing rock songs at any given opportunity. So it came as little surprise when Bell decided to make the transition from acting to music. With hordes of teenage fans, it was apparently difficult for "Drake and Josh" devotees to witness the sitcom star shredding with his Beatles-infused brand of pop-rock. 

Speaking with Gibson, Bell suggested that drawing in a young demographic accustomed to autotune and lip-syncing may have been responsible for his lack of success as a musician. Accordingly, he admitted to being more than a little disappointed that his album sales had been poor. While Bell's 2006 sophomore album "It's Only Time" sold tens of thousands of copies, his follow-up "Ready Steady Go!" was far less successful. "But you know how record companies are: 'Oh, the record didn't hit No. 1 in its first week. It's over, folks... .' The digital downloads are out of control, though," he lamented to Gibson. "That's just the way it is now: Kids download singles; they don't always buy records." 

Bell's waning stardom culminated in a heated display at one of his concerts in 2017. Performing at Northwest School of the Arts, high schoolers began throwing balls onstage, per TMZ. Bell got royally peeved and launched a full-scale tirade against the youngsters: he began throwing the balls back at the crowd, yelling, "Stop the music right now. ... If you want us to go, we'll go."

Facing bankruptcy, he lost his house

In 2014, Drake Bell was a mere 27 years old, yet he was on the verge of losing everything. Per TMZ, he had no choice but to file for bankruptcy, having earned a meager $14,099 the previous year. He also owed a significant amount of dough in unpaid back taxes. On the brink of total financial ruin, he faced foreclosure on his house. As a result, he had to sell his Los Feliz pad for around $1.5 million, despite having bought it in 2007 for over $2 million, per Dirt. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the home was confiscated by Union Bank, who put the property up for sale.

These monetary problems marked a particular low point in Bell's life and career. The year he lost his home, Bell gave an interview with BuzzFeed in which he roused the ire of an entire generation of Beliebers, deeming Canadian pop star Justin Bieber as "repulsive" (he previously called for JBiebs to be deported). What's more, in the bizarre interview, Bell set his scathing sights on Ariana Grande stans, labeling the songstress "a billionaire before she's been an artist." Yikes. "You have to work to be able to appreciate what you have. ... What work did she ever have to do in her life?" he continued. 

As for his bankruptcy, "The Amanda Show" alum claimed that he wasn't too perturbed by his financial ruin, declaring that he would soon bounce back as long as he was devoted to his craft. But Bell did not, in fact, bounce back.

A wrist injury changed his life

It seems that Drake Bell is somewhat accident prone. As if being almost killed in a car crash wasn't enough, he was faced with another life-altering injury in 2015 when he broke his wrist after he dove into the bottom of a swimming pool, per TMZ. After undergoing surgery, doctors told him to expect the worst when it came to picking up his beloved guitar. Divulging details of the catastrophic injury on Instagram (via the Daily Mail), he conceded, "Doctors say I will most likely never play guitar again." The devastated musician, along with sharing a graphic snap of the gruesome gash, added, "It's over."

Though this prediction turned out to be false — Bell did indeed play guitar again — things would never be the same. The accident left him plucking strings in a way that's totally alien to him. "I'm playing completely differently and it's a bummer," he told Viva Glam later that year. "I'm still recovering. I'm playing but I'm completely learning a new way of playing."

Speaking with The Observer, Bell admitted that the accident had affected his mobility and thus his shredding skills. "I'm really limited; I'm not rocking yet," he lamented. Indeed, he wouldn't make another album until five years later, when he released "The Lost Album," though even that was comprised of songs Bell had written a decade earlier, as he explained to Forbes.

Drake Bell was charged with two DUIs

The fickle nature of Hollywood means that numerous former child actors have found themselves facing personal strife. Unfortunately, Drake Bell is no exception: the actor-musician has had a number of run-ins with the law. While his onscreen escapades were the basis for much comedy mischief on "Drake and Josh," his criminality is no laughing matter away from Nickelodeon. 

In 2009, a then 23-year-old Bell was convicted of driving under the influence in San Diego, per TMZ. He was once again arrested under suspicion of a DUI in 2016. Per the Los Angeles Times, Bell was initially stopped by police due to dangerous driving, as he was spotted speeding and maneuvering his vehicle erratically. After being pulled over, the cops could smell alcohol on the actor-turned-rocker, and he subsequently failed a breathalyzer test. TMZ reports that he was sentenced to 96 days in jail and four years' probation, since the crime was his second offense.

Eventually, Bell was spared having to wait in a cell for months. After less than two days, he was released from jail due to good behavior. His onscreen alter ego Drake Parker may always find a way, but for Bell, this unfortunately wouldn't be the end of his legal troubles.

He pled guilty to child endangerment

In 2021, fans were shocked when Drake Bell — a seemingly innocuous Nickelodeon figure — was arrested for endangering a child at a concert. The incident dated back to 2017, when Bell embarked on a relationship with a 15-year-old girl he'd met online a few years earlier. In addition to accusations of sexual assault, a police spokesperson told BuzzFeed, "The investigation also revealed that months leading up to the concert, Bell sent the victim inappropriate social media messages." Bell pled guilty and received two years of probation, per AP News, saying, "My conduct was wrong. I'm sorry the victim was harmed. It was not my intention."

In the aftermath, Bell's ex-girlfriend, Melissa Lingafelt, alleged to The Daily Beast that she had seen him grooming underage girls first-hand. "I saw really questionable, crazy s*** on his computer," she claimed. Perhaps what makes this all the more worrying is that Bell previously appeared to admit to being problematic with women via comments about his womanizing, arguably sexist "Drake and Josh" persona. "The character on the show is pretty much me," he once told Star Pulse, while he later seemingly reveled in Drake Parker's mistreatment of women, namely the character's nonchalance toward the importance of consent, in an interview with Billboard: "There's episodes where I literally make out with a girl, and then I look at the girl next to her, shrug my shoulders and start making out with her."

USA Today argued that Bell's conviction was reflective of family-friendly stars exploiting their virtuous status as a means of gaining access to vulnerable women and girls.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Drake Bell was accused of abusing his ex-girlfriend

In addition to corroborating allegations of Drake Bell's predatory behavior, his ex, Melissa Lingafelt, has claimed that he violently abused her. In a since-deleted 2020 TikTok video, Lingafelt claimed that a 20-year-old Bell preyed on her when she was just 16 years old. "Imagine the worst type of verbal abuse you could ever imagine, and that was what I got," she said, before going into graphic detail regarding the physical abuse Bell allegedly inflicted upon her on a regular basis.

After posting the video, Lingafelt was contacted by several other young women — including one whose friend was just 15 when she allegedly began a relationship with Bell — who claimed that he groomed and abused them. As The Daily Beast reports, a number of women accused Bell of both physical and sexual assault, with one TikTok user claiming that she was in eighth grade when he allegedly raped her. Lingafelt told the outlet that she felt horrified by the barrage of successive abuse claims. She also went into further detail regarding the alleged domestic violence, claiming that Bell once used hot water in an attempt to burn her after she supposedly spent too long shopping.

In a statement to Variety, Bell vehemently denied ever being an abuser. "As our relationship ended — more than a decade ago — we, unfortunately, both called each other terrible names, as often happens when couples are breaking up. But that is it," he said, going on to suggest that his ex was motivated by greed or a need for attention.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The bitter end of Drake and Josh's bromance

Unlike the onscreen duo, the IRL Drake and Josh didn't find a way. In fact, they're now frenemies as opposed to BFFs. News of the dissolution of their bromance began in 2017, when Drake Bell revealed that Josh Peck didn't invite him to his wedding. As reported by Teen Vogue, Bell wrote a series of (since-deleted) tweets, in which he lambasted his former pal. "When you're not invited to the wedding the message is clear... True colors have come out today... Ties are officially cut. I'll miss you brotha," Bell wrote. 

Later, he clarified his tweets in an interview with Digital Spy. Although he admitted to being hurt, Bell said Peck assured him that the wedding snub was merely the result of miscommunication between the groom and his bride-to-be. However, despite the duo appearing to reconcile at that year's MTV VMAs, it would appear that the rejection was a little more than that. Appearing on "BFFs Podcast" in March 2022, Peck admitted that he wants nothing to do with Bell. "I didn't invite him to my wedding 'cause I hadn't really talked to him in many, many years," he confessed. "Cut to — I'm getting married that night and I see these text messages from him, like, cursing me out. ... And it's delusional because I'm like, 'Bro, we worked at Coffee Bean when we were 16. I'm sorry, I'm 31 now. I might've lost your number.'" Ouch.

Subsequently, Bell's wife — yes, Drake is married — called out Peck in a now-deleted Instagram Story (via ET), branding the former child star "a f***ing liar."