Singer-actor Drake Bell is denying allegations by a former girlfriend that he abused her while they were living together in the 2000s.
Melissa Lingafelt, 30, who sings and posts on social media under the stage name Jimi Ono, on Wednesday accused the former star of Nickelodeon's "Drake & Josh" of both verbal and physical abuse, saying in a TikTok video: "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 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."
The 2006 Miss North Carolina Teen USA pageant winner, who went on to be first runner-up to Miss Teen USA, went on to say, "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," a Los Angeles neighborhood. "My face hit every step on the way down." She added, "I don't even want to get into the underage girls thing. I mean, I will, but I'm scared."
A representative for Bell, 34, said in a statement to Variety, "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."
Bell noted, "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."
Lingafelt also wrote on TikTok: "Think you can hurt my feelings? I lived with and dated an alcoholic, abusive Drake Bell from 16-19." Bell was convicted of driving under influence in 2010 and 2016.
Lingafelt later posted images of what she said were text conversations with other women accusing Bell of abusive behavior, including Gillian Leos, who said she and Bell dated in the early to mid-2000s, and Paydin Layne LoPachin, who Bell dated and attended industry ceremonies with after he and Lingafelt broke up.
In tweets, Lingafelt promised that "evidence is coming, not that I even need to prove the rest of this. Both of his exes came out and made statements." She responded to one skeptic: "Who wants attention from abuse? You think I really wanna be known as the girl that got beat up by drake bell?"