Why Is Drake Bell Now In Mexico?

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Drake Bell in Quiet on Set

Drake Bell is a popular topic currently, with many wondering why the former child star is now in Mexico.

As part of the new Max documentary Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, former child star Drake Bell addressed the abuse he suffered from dialogue coach Brian Peck (no relation to Josh Peck) and executive Dan Schneider.

This led to an even darker time in his life as he pleaded guilty to multiple child endangerment charges in 2021, with the Drake & Josh star still reeling from his own abuse-infused past.

[ Is Dan Schneider In Jail? Arrest Likelihood & Misconduct Accusations Explained ]

Drake Bell's Mexico Residency Explained

Drake Bell
Drake Bell

In 2019, former Drake & Josh star Drake Bell was believed to have moved from the United States to Mexico, noting that he would go by the name Drake Campana (Campana translating to "Bell" in Spanish). He also began posting primarily in Spanish on his Instagram page, which included a picture of his Mexican ID card.

He also posted on X (formerly Twitter) in November 2019 that he would only be tweeting exclusively in Spanish:

"my social networks will now only be in Spanish, no more English"

Since that time, Bell has become quite popular on the Spanish music scene, releasing an album entirely in Spanish called Sesiones en Casa (translated to Home Sessions). His single "Going Away" debuted on top of the iTunes Charts in April 2023, and he has toured almost exclusively in Mexico rather than in his home country.

Some of his Instagram posts include a celebration of Mexican Independence Day, ads for his music tour, and even Spanish memes.

Whether this re-focus on Mexico is a physical move or a branding one, many speculate that this may have been the result of allegations from his ex-girlfriend, Melissa Lingafelt, detailed verbal and physical abuse she suffered when they were together.

Lingafelt posted a TikTok video (which has since been deleted) explaining how "abuse is something that all women have to go through:"

"First, 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 I went through. It wasn’t until recently that I actually realized that abuse is something that all women have to go through." 

She noted how the abuse started about a year into their relationship, calling it "the worst type of verbal abuse you could ever imagine" and noting that she had photographic evidence of what happened:

"When I started dating Drake, I was 16. I was home-schooled, I moved in with him, I was singing. 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. It then turned into physical — hitting, throwing, everything. At the pinnacle of it, he drug me down the stairs of our house in Los Feliz. My face hit every step on the way down. I have photos of this."

She explained not wanting to "get into the underage girls thing," saying she was scared to do so even though she would be open to discussing it.

Bell's representative gave a statement from Bell to Variety following those allegations, saying the claims were false and that they "both called each other terrible names" when they broke up:

“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 claimed Lingafelt had asked him "to provide her with financial support during a tough time" shortly after their breakup, explaining that he was looking into legal options to fight that battle:

"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."

While many believe the allegations were his reason for moving to Mexico, that move happened in November 2019 while the allegations came out in August 2020. Therefore, it is unlikely that the two events are directly correlated.

Bell, however, has denied that he has moved to Mexico at all. In a response video on Instagram following the verdict of his trial for charges of child endangerment, Bell clarified how he has never moved to Mexico and never been a resident.

The actor also recently restated this, telling Mexican outlet Hola that he currently resides in Los Angeles, but he would "love to live in" Mexico:

“I would love to live in Mexico. The States right now, especially Los Angeles, where I live, it’s just not the same as they used to be. Whenever I am out here and have to go home, I get depressed. I get sad, just waiting for the next time I can return here..."

The full reasoning behind Bell's branding move to Mexico is unclear, but his appearance in the Quiet on Set documentary marks one of his first major public appearances over the last few years.

Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV is now streaming on Max.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.