Former Nickelodeon star Drake Bell has denied allegations that he abused ex-girlfriend Melissa Lingafelt and has questioned whether the singer is embarking on a “misguided quest for more money or attention.”
Lingafelt, Bell’s ex-girlfriend who performs under the name Jimi Ono, said that the “Drake & Josh” star verbally and physically abused her while they were dating for about two and a half years, beginning in 2006.
“It wasn’t until recently that I actually realized that abuse isn’t something that all women have to go through,” Lingafelt said in a TikTok video posted Wednesday.
“When I started dating Drake, I was 16, I was homeschooled. I moved in with him, I was singing,” she continued. “It wasn’t until about a year 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.”
Lingafelt said that the abuse turned physical and accused the actor of hitting and throwing: “At the pinnacle of it, he drug [sic] me down the stairs of our house on 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 showed several photographs of them together and flipped through photo albums and other images while speaking in the video. She did not show images of the alleged abuse. She also alluded to other underage misconduct.
In a statement to People, Bell, 34, said he never abused his ex-girlfriend “or did so many of the other things Melissa falsely claimed on her TikTok video.” The actor said that his relationship with Lingafelt 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, also questioning whether she was seeking money. He said he would explore legal options.
“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),” Bell added.
Representatives for Bell did not immediately respond to The Times’ requests for comment.
Lingafelt said in her original TikTok that she doesn’t really care if anyone believes her. On Instagram stories late Wednesday, she asserted that “nobody wants attention from abuse.”
Lingafelt’s missive prompted more women to come forward. She shared additional screenshots of conversations with other alleged victims, some of whom claimed they were underage at the time, who said they dated Bell and experienced abusive behavior.
In subsequent TikTok videos, Lingafelt screenshotted and shared more anonymous allegations made through Instagram direct message.
Two additional former partners — an ex-girlfriend from high school and actress Paydin Layne LoPachin — also alleged Bell abused them.
Bell was arrested and spent a night in jail in 2016 after pleading no contest to driving under the influence in Glendale within 10 years of another DUI conviction.