This week, fans were caught off guard to learn that Drake Bell has changed his name, moved to Mexico and released Spanish-language pop music that is wildly popular there. Bell is now known as "Drake Campana," and Campana is the Spanish word for "bell." For the most part, fans were floored that it took them so long to notice the shift.
Bell has not kept his move to Mexico a secret, yet many fans learned about it for the first time this week when his social media posts went viral. Visiting his profiles for the first time in a while, fans were greeted with mostly Spanish-language content, often comprised of tongue-in-cheek jokes about his past as a Nickelodeon star. Judging by Bell's Instagram posts, he has been in Mexico for about a year now and is quickly gaining momentum there. He even legally changed his last name to "Campana" in May of 2019.
It literally only gets worse ... these are his story highlights pic.twitter.com/Hn1I0DPsHk— Joel (@jxbarriga) November 19, 2020
Fans may have thought Bell was joking when he began posting memes about his desire to move to Mexico, believing it was part of the common joke about leaving the U.S. for political reasons. However, Bell followed through, and he never explained any more specific reasons why. Many fans speculated that it was because Bell's celebrity status was particularly high in Mexico.
Others believe that the move was more about Bell fleeing unwanted attention in the U.S. than chasing fame in Mexico. According to a PEOPLE report, Bell's ex-girlfriend, Melissa Lingafelt, accused Bell of verbal and physical abuse in August of 2020. Lingafelt posted her story on TikTok, but when reporters reached out, Bell denied her accusations.
"[I] never abused my ex-girlfriend or did so many of the other things Melissa falsely claimed on her TikTok video," he said.
Bell and Lingafelt reportedly dated from 2006 to 2008, and little is known about their time together. There have been no reports about any legal battles between the two, so the alleged abuse may have been between them at the time, with no intercession.
Now 34 years old, Bell was a Nickelodeon star of the late 1990s and early 2000s, with roles on The Amanda Show, then Drake & Josh. He also starred in the live-action Fairly OddParents movies, all while making pop music that he co-wrote and performed — often for his shows.