Drake Bell has weathered multiple arrests, abuse allegations and more since his introduction into the spotlight as a child star.
Bell rose to stardom after scoring several TV roles when he was younger. He made a name for himself following his time at Nickelodeon, which included hit projects such as All That, Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly, Victorious and the Fairly Odd Parents film trilogy.
The musician continued to lend his voice over the years to various animated shows and video games. Bell also appeared in many films including L.A. Slasher, American Satan and Cover Versions.
In August 2020, Bell’s personal life made headlines when his ex-girlfriend Melissa Lingafelt accused him of abuse.
“First off I’d like to start out by saying I don’t really care if anyone believes me, as this is my story and my life and something that I went through. It wasn’t until recently that I actually realized that abuse isn’t something that all women have to go through,” she said in a series of TikTok videos.
In the lengthy social media uploads, Lingafelt recalled dating Bell from 2006 to 2009. (She said she was 16 and Bell was 20 when they began their romantic relationship.)
“I was homeschooled, I moved in with him, I was singing,” she continued. “It wasn’t until about a year [into the relationship] when the verbal abuse started. And when I say verbal abuse, imagine the worst type of verbal abuse you could ever imagine, and that was what I got. It then turned into physical — hitting, throwing, everything. At the pinnacle of it, he drug [sic] me down the stairs of our house in Los Feliz, [California]. My face hit every step on the way down. I have photos of this.”
The Splash contestant denied Lingafelt’s allegations, telling Variety that same month, “I never abused my ex-girlfriend or did so many of the other things Melissa falsely claimed on her TikTok video. 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 continued, “Clearly, Melissa still felt close enough to me just last year that she was comfortable reaching out to ask me to provide her with financial support during a tough time (which I did). I do not know if today’s behavior is some kind of misguided quest for more money or attention. But I cannot and will not allow these offensive and defamatory allegations to go unchallenged and I am reviewing my legal options.”
Bell later pleaded guilty to two criminal counts of attempted child endangerment charges and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. In June 2021, the Sam & Cat alum was charged and he initially pleaded not guilty. He changed his plea to guilty for an alleged incident that took place in December 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio, where he had a performance.
“Bell violated his duty of care and, in doing so, created a risk of harm to the victim,” Tyler Sinclair, spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, said in a statement at the pretrial hearing. “The investigation also revealed that months leading up to the concert, Bell sent the victim inappropriate social media messages.”
The California native was sentenced to two years of probation one month later. “I just want to say today that I accept this claim because my conduct was wrong,” he said at the time. “I’m sorry that the victim was harmed in any way, but that was obviously not my intention. I take this matter very seriously, and again I just want to apologize to her and anyone else who may have been affected by my actions.”
Us Weekly confirmed that Bell was ordered to 200 hours of community service in addition to probation. He can’t have any contact with his victim and he ultimately did not have to register as a sex offender.
Amid his legal issues, Bell revealed that he previously married Janet Von Schmeling after five years of dating and that they secretly welcomed a child in 2021. Bell and Schmeling ultimately parted ways in 2023 before he was reported missing.
In April 2023, the Daytona Beach Police Department confirmed they were searching for the “endangered” actor. Bell was located hours after news of his disappearance made headlines.
Scroll through the gallery below to revisit Bell’s ups and downs through the years.