Former Nickelodeon teen star Kel Mitchell has revealed his newfound relationship with Jesus Christ saved him from a dangerous life of drug and alcohol abuse and depression following the crash of his six-year marriage.
In a candid post shared on his personal blog, Mitchell revealed that his downward spiral started after the massively successful "Kenan & Kel" series came to a close in 2000. While both Mitchell and his co-star Kenan Thompson tried out for Saturday Night Live in 2003, only Thompson was hired on as a cast member. Thus, while Thompson remained in the spotlight, Mitchell all but disappeared, leading many to wonder what had happened to him.
In his blog post, Mitchell, now 37, revealed that while he did not die - as many speculated - he became consumed with severe depression, sin and suicidal thoughts, which were compounded by his divorce from Tyisha Hampton in 2004.
"I have been through so many ups and downs in my life," Mitchell wrote. "Suicidal, divorce, drug and alcohol usage, deep in sin, dealing with the lost of [loved] ones to gang violence, debt, hurt, pain, vanity, lust, heartbreak, feeling LOST looking for answers. I have seen, felt and been in all types of sin and have been done wrong by others."
Mitchell, who grew up in Chicago as a pastor's grandson, said that in an effort to ease his pain, he decided to return to church.
"I was trying to figure it all out on my own. But what I needed to do was turn to Him," he told People Magazine in a separate interview. "Once I found that clarity with Christ, I knew everything would work out... I enjoy living this life. I don't let things frustrate or worry me anymore. I don't do that because I have peace in my heart. I have God."
Mitchell eventually became the stage manager at a non-denominational Christian church in Los Angeles while he continued his acting career, and eventually married rapper Asia Lee In 2012.
"Let go of your past, be a new creature in Christ!" Mitchell encourages readers of his testimony. "I did! I let him in and Life is GOOD now, my eyes have been opened. I have always known God but now I have a true understanding of who he is and why I am here, and why God has kept me safe, and sinful ways are no longer around me because I am surrounded with the love of Jesus, and I have allowed him to make the decisions in my life. I study the word, I worship his name with praying and song."
Today, the actor stars in the network's new series "Game Shakers," which airs on Saturday nights on Nickelodeon and also tours as a standup comedian and motivational speaker. Mitchell also recently told reporters that he and Thompson are considering a comeback following the success of the Good Burger skit that aired on the Tonight Show in September.
"When sorrow [tries] to come knocking, I know I have my God that will destroy sorrow in its tracks," Mitchell wrote. "People always gossip about a new diet they found and lay out a plan so you can do it. Well, I want to gossip about the Word of God and tell you how it saved me, feels good and it works! If you are what you eat, then I am eating SPIRIT FOOD daily. I'm YOUNG FLY AND SAVED!"
The actor encourages readers to surrender their lives to Christ and recite the "sinner's prayer." He also urges those who find Christ to get baptized, tell somebody about their new faith, spend time with God in prayer and in Scripture, spend time in fellowship with other followers of Christ and go to church.
"God's WORD is your LIGHT, when everything seems dark in your life. PLEASE let the Holy Ghost in so you can let God lead you in the right direction and avoid making and getting in the wrong type of situations and attracting the wrong type of people that will tempt you to make wrong choices," he wrote.
"If you are ready to admit your need for a clean slate in life, the God of second chances is waiting to give it to you."