Why did Drake Bell and Melissa Lingafelt break up? She accused him of physical, verbal abuse
Their relationship is particularly noteworthy as Lingafelt herself was much younger when they started dating in August 2006
CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OHIO: Jared Drake Bell of 'Drake and Josh' fame was arrested by the Cleveland Division of Police on June 3 and is now charged with disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and attempted child endangerment. The 34-year-old actor allegedly engaged in inappropriate sexual conversations with an underage victim. His ex-girlfriend Melissa Lingafelt had spoken about his alleged verbal and physical abuse.
In August 2020, in a confessional video on TikTok, Melissa Lingafelt wrote, "This is my truth. I hope this message reaches young girls, and that no one has to go through what I did. #2020survivor."
On June 3, 2021, Bell appeared in court and entered a not-guilty plea to the charges. He was freed on a $2,500 personal bond and an agreement to have no contact with the alleged victim. A pretrial hearing is reportedly scheduled for June 23 over Zoom.
Tyler Sinclair, a public information officer with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, reportedly revealed that the "15-year-old victim, who had established a relationship with Bell several years prior, attended his concert in December 2017. While there, Bell violated his duty of care and, in doing so, created a risk of harm to the victim." Bell was 31 at the time of the alleged incident, which reportedly occurred at a nightclub in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2017.
Bell's alleged misadventures were previously brought to light by his ex-girlfriend Melissa Lingafelt, who records music under the name Jimi Ono. Their relationship is particularly noteworthy as Lingafelt herself was much younger when they started dating in August 2006. Three years later in February 2009, they had broken up.
In August 2020, she shared a video on TikTok talking about the abuse she had to face at the hands of Bell. She narrates her account against a backdrop of their photos together. When they started dating Lingafelt was just 16-years-old.
"First off, I would like to start out with 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. When I started dating Drake I was 16, I was homeschooled, I moved in with him, I was singing. It wasn’t until about a year when the verbal abuse started. When I say 'verbal abuse,' I mean 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 [dragged] me down the stairs of our house in Los Feliz. My face hit every step on the way down. I have photos of this. I don’t even want to get into the underage girls thing. I mean, I will, but I’m scared," Lingafelt said.
'Alcoholic, abusive Drake Bell'
In another TikTok video just before this one, Lingafelt wrote, "Think you can hurt my feelings? I lived with and dated an alcoholic, abusive Drake Bell from 16–19." Following this, Lingafelt took to share more messages from women and perhaps even young girls, she claims, got in touch with her to share their stories and encounters with Drake Bell.
One accused Bell of statutory rape, saying, "I met Drake in early 2007 when I was 16. He was dating you at the time. Didn’t stop him from f**king my 15-year-old friend - who was a virgin. I believe you. And I am so sorry for what you endured. And what my friend endured. Because that was statutory rape." There was another account that accused him of sleeping with a 15-year-old when he was 20.
When Bell replied to the allegations, he denied ever doing anything. He told People that he "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," Bell said. "But that is it."