Drake & Josh’s Dark Secret That Exposed an Alleged Child Predator

From the outside, Drake Bell and Josh Peck looked like they were living charmed lives. Nobody knew that behind the scenes, Peck struggled with substance abuse and Bell was grooming young fans.

Drake & Josh was one of the most popular children’s shows of the early 2000s. Starring Drake Bell and Josh Peck, and including a young Miranda Cosgrove, the sitcom was one of Nickelodeon’s most successful projects from that time.

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It was easy for young fans to believe that Drake and Josh were friends behind the scenes like they were on camera, and their private lives mimicked the idealized lives lived out by their characters. The truth, when it finally came out, left fans disillusioned and upset.

It all started with another Nickelodeon show. The Amanda Show, starring Amanda Bynes, was a live variety show that ran from October 1999 to September 2002. Drake Bell also starred on the show, and Josh Peck was featured.

After The Amanda Show, showrunner Dan Schneider decided that Bell and Peck had good chemistry on-screen and should have their own show. Pulling others from The Amanda Show cast, Drake & Josh began production.

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Drake & Josh was a sitcom that capitalized on the different strengths of its stars. Drake Bell played Drake Parker, an aspiring musician and ladies’ man. He’s the step-brother of Josh Peck’s Josh Nichols, an overweight, clumsy, and hilarious kid. The show featured Bell’s music and Peck’s physical comedy.

Whether it was on the small screen or in the pages of teen magazines, many fans of Drake & Joshassumed that the lives of its leads were as idyllic as the lives of the characters they played. And according to Drake Bell, he had a great time making the show. It wasn’t until 2022 that the public found out that, behind the scenes, Josh Peck was battling his weight and a drug addiction during the filming of Drake & Josh.

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Leading up to The Amanda Show and Drake & Josh, Peck’s life was far from perfect. He has never met his father, leading to a lifelong search for role models and validation. He was often teased by his classmates for his weight and social awkwardness.

Peck began doing stand-up comedy at the age of eight, and his talent only grew from there. But his comedy was hiding very real issues that we was going to have to grapple with.

“I was always looking for something outside to fix my insides,” Peck told PEOPLE, referring to his drug abuse and overeating. “But eventually I realized that whether my life was beyond my wildest dreams or a total mess, it didn’t change the temperature of what was going on in my mind. I knew that nothing in the outside world would make me feel whole.”

When Peck married his fiancée Paige O’Brien in 2017, he famously didn’t invite Drake Bell to the wedding. This was the person Peck had looked up to for years, and he didn’t warrant an invite. Bell took to Twitter to air his grievances, tweeting, “When you’re not invited to the wedding the message is clear. True colors have come out today. Message is loud and clear. Ties are officially cut. I’ll miss you brotha.” Fans began attacking Peck. Some went so far as to yell at him in the street for not inviting his “brother” to his wedding.

In July 2021, Drake Bell pled guilty to attempted endangering children, a felony, and disseminating harmful materials to juveniles, a misdemeanor, after a young woman came forward and accused him of predatory and abusive behavior. The 19-year-old, whose name was not disclosed to the press, alleges that Bell began grooming her when she was 12. At age 15, she attended one of Bell’s concerts, after which he sexually assaulted her.

Bell managed to get away without serving jail time, instead facing 2 years on probation and 200 hours of community service. Peck continued to distance himself from Bell, reiterating that the two were not close.

While things crumbled around Bell, Peck’s life was also about to change – for the better.

The News That Changed Josh Peck’s Life Forever

Adult Josh Peck smiling at the camera in black shirt.

In 2018, Peck and O’Brien announced that they were expecting their first child. The couple chose to not know the baby’s sex – leaving Peck to worry about what was to come.

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