Will Friedle, Rider Strong Reveal ‘Healing’ Talk With Drake Bell After Supporting His Abuser Brian Peck

Drake Bell‘s shocking revelations in Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV have led to some healing between fellow child stars.

After the Nickelodeon alum revealed the abuse he suffered at the hands of Brian Peck while he was a teenager, Will Friedle and Rider Strong opened up about their April conversation with Bell following their letters of support for Peck during his 2003 trial.

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“Talking to Drake was amazing … horrible … healing, for a number of reasons,” said Friedle on Thursday’s episode of the Pod Meets World podcast. “He started the conversation by saying to me, ‘Before you say a word, I want you to know I love you, and I forgive you.'”

Bell previously said he had the “most amazing conversation” with Strong in April, writing on X, “We are all healing together. I have nothing but love and forgiveness for him.”

Strong said the revelations shared on the ID docuseries were “just devastating,” adding: “The pain, hurting for Drake, and just feeling so full of regret and shame and then just start picking apart the lies … my brother called me immediately, we just sat there on the phone, [sharing stories]. I just fell into this hole. I still haven’t quite gotten out.

Drake Bell in <em>Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV</em> (2024). (YouTube @investigationdiscovery)
Drake Bell in Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV (2024). (YouTube @investigationdiscovery)

“Of course, moral clarity is just something that comes over time and distance,” added Strong. “There’s really no excuse — that I accepted Brian’s story, that I didn’t ask the questions or do research or investigate on my own. Or even that I was ever friends with that piece of shit to begin with, there was so much denial.”

After Bell named the Boy Meets World alums as two of the people who wrote letters in support of Peck, Friedle recalled sitting in the courtroom, admitting he “didn’t know who” Bell was at the time.

“I see a kid walk into the courtroom, and I’m like, ‘OK, I’ve been lied to.’ Automatically I know this,” said Friedle, claiming Peck told him the accuser was “almost 18” and that it was an isolated incident.

“It’s gonna be life-long processing for me,” he added. “I knew I had been lied to and manipulated by Brian, essentially from the courtroom, but I didn’t know how much until I saw the documentary. And then I really didn’t know how much until I spoke with Drake.”

Although Bell recalled that Friedle never apologized when they worked together on Ultimate Spider-Man 10 years later, Friedle said he never realized it was Bell he saw in the courtoom.

“We both talked about how happy we were that was the case because we had the best day working together,” he said. “All I wanted to do from the day in that courtroom was apologize to whoever was there. The idea that I found out later that he was standing in front of me, and I did not have that [chance] was nuts.”

Friedle added, “There comes a point where you have to look at yourself and go, ‘I have to be OK that I made a huge mistake, that I owe this person an enormous apology, that it’s not going to be enough, and I’m going to spend a ton of time apologizing to this person.’ But you have to use that to move on and become a better person yourself.”

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