Drake Bell addresses how he's 'healing,' previous allegations against him and more

The actor says sharing his story has been a "freeing experience."

April 4, 2024, 5:38 PM

Drake Bell says sharing his story in the recent docuseries "Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of TV" has been a "freeing experience."

In an April 2 interview with Amanda Hirsch of the "Not Skinny But Not Fat" podcast, Bell opened up about the Investigation Discovery docuseries, in which he revealed that he had been sexually abused by former dialogue coach Brian Peck when he was a young Nickelodeon star.

Peck was arrested in 2003 and charged with 11 counts including "lewd acts with a child" and sexual abuse of a minor. He pleaded guilty to two of the counts and was sentenced to 16 months in prison, and was also ordered to register as a sex offender.

In Tuesday's interview, Bell said that along with therapy, opening up about his experience years ago has helped him move forward.

"I'm able to start processing and dealing with things that I've kept inside for so many years," he said.

On past allegations: 'Very regretful'

PHOTO: Drake Bell attends the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards, March 14, 2019, in Los Angeles.
Drake Bell attends the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards, March 14, 2019, in Los Angeles.
Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

In the docuseries, Bell said that the abuse he experienced put him on a path of self-destruction, including drinking and substance abuse. In recent years, Bell has had two convictions for driving under the influence and was charged in 2021 with "attempted endangering children" and "disseminating matter harmful to juveniles," according to court documents.

Bell initially pleaded not guilty to the child endangerment charges but later switched to a guilty plea and was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service. In a video Bell shared on Instagram in September that same year, he said that he agreed to a plea deal because he felt it "was the best way to get this over quickly and for everyone involved to move on."

In the podcast this week, Bell addressed the 2021 convictions and said he is "very regretful."

"I made a lot of decisions in my life that I shouldn't have made and hurt a lot of people," Bell said.

"I responded on some DMs and was incredibly irresponsible and got myself into conversations that I shouldn't have had," Bell added.

Bell claimed that when he learned the age of the person with whom he was messaging, he "cut communication" and "was doing everything I could to kind of keep my distance."

"I did have these conversations and so I took responsibility for that and ended up pleading guilty because I mean, just financially, I was just devastated, and I just had a son, and I didn't want to put my family through all of this anymore," Bell said in the podcast. "So I ended up going through the process the way that I did and very regretful."

Support from Josh Peck

PHOTO: Josh Peck and Drake Bell on "Grandfathered," 2015.
Josh Peck and Drake Bell on "Grandfathered," 2015.
Jordin Althaus/Disney via Getty Images

Since opening up about his story in the docuseries, Bell has shared the support he's received from his family, friends and his former "Drake & Josh" co-star, Josh Peck, who played Bell's stepbrother on the show. (Josh Peck is not related to Brian Peck.)

"I appreciate that he reached out to me privately and you know, didn't go straight to the media, because he was there with me and saw what I was going through," Bell said, explaining he didn't think Peck "knew the specifics" of what happened, but that "there were people who worked on the show that knew."

"He just knew how sensitive this was for me and after, of course, watching the documentary, he learned of so much that I had gone through that I think that he was just so sensitive and made sure to reach out to me privately," Bell added.

In a statement Josh Peck shared on Instagram last week, the actor said that he supported "the survivors who were brave enough to share their stories of emotional and physical abuse on Nickelodeon sets with the world."

"Children should be protected," he said. "Reliving this publicly is incredibly difficult but I hope it can bring healing for the victims and their families as well as necessary change to our industry."

In a statement, Nickelodeon said it was "dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma [Bell] has endured, and we commend and support the strength required to come forward."

The television network also responded to claims of hostile workplace environments made in the documentary and told ABC News that while it "cannot corroborate or negate allegations of behaviors from productions decades ago, Nickelodeon as a matter of policy investigates all formal complaints as part our commitment to fostering a safe and professional workplace environment free of harassment or other kinds of inappropriate conduct," adding that it has "adopted numerous safeguards over the years to help ensure we are living up to own high standards and the expectations of our audience."


PHOTO: Drake Bell attends the Thirst Project's Inaugural Legacy Summit held, July 20, 2019, in Malibu, Calif.
Drake Bell attends the Thirst Project's Inaugural Legacy Summit held, July 20, 2019, in Malibu, Calif.
Michael Tran/Getty Images

Moving forward, Bell, who is also a father, says that he is focused on his son and "correcting a lot of the mistakes that I've made and taking responsibility for decisions."

"There's so much healing that needs to happen with my family and my relationships that I have to keep," said Bell, who also talked about his relationship with his father.

In the docuseries, Bell explained how Brian Peck created a wedge in his relationship with his dad, who helped Bell get into acting.

"I think he takes a lot of responsibility and feels like what happened is his fault and he didn't do enough, but at the same time and the way that -- how calculated Brian was at what he was doing -- you can't lay any blame on him or anybody but who is responsible for it," Bell said.

Bell said that the docuseries was "cathartic and helpful" for his dad to "get something off his chest." Bell said he and his dad now have a "great relationship" and that they "talk everyday."

The actor and musician said that he also has a great relationship with his mom and is also "thankful" for the support of his ex-wife, the mother of his son.

"I don't know what I would do if I didn't have her," he said. "I have to take a lot of responsibility for the pain that I caused. But she's such an incredible mom and she sacrificed so much in our relationship to keep my career going, to keep the family stable, to be an incredible mom."

Bell, who has also struggled with sobriety, said that he is almost a year sober. He said he was previously almost seven years sober before relapsing.

"It's a day by day thing," he said, adding that the support of family and friends helps ground him.