Since he was twelve years old, Kel Mitchell’s been known for playing the funny guy. Many confuse his real life with make-believe. They think he’s lived carefree, void of trial and far from pain. He smiles in almost every picture (a trait especially scarce in most men) and it’s easy to find people who consider him a positive example (not as easy for most of today’s celebrities). However, after listening to Kel describe his suicidal attempt, past struggles with drug and alcohol use, and details about his divorce, it became clear there was a time when nothing was funny about his life.
The Big Screen
Most people recognize Kel from Nickelodeon’s “All That,” its spin-off “Keenan & Kel” or the major motion picture “Good Burger.” “Dance Fu,” which he wrote, produced and starred in, is his latest film. After his Nickelodeon days, but before “Dance Fu,” Kel experienced his most trying times. He says, “The marriage was destroyed, the jobs were not where I wanted them to be, I wasn’t where I wanted to be at that particular age and it was one of those things where you want to take yourself out.”
Battling feelings of failure and lost in the seduction of fame, suicidal thoughts frequently bombarded Kel’s mind. He shared with me a particular time he attempted suicide. Hazed from drugs and alcohol, frustrated by a nearly-dead career, a failed marriage and pent up emotional pain he says, “I was in a hotel in Canada and I ended up on top of the hotel, off the balcony, about to jump and just take my life.” Two seconds from jumping, he said something told him to get down, run to the bathroom and lock the door. Real life episodes of his life, like this, helped him realize what he thought suicide could solve, was actually found in the love of God.
A New Man
Three years into a totally submitted relationship with God through Jesus Christ, Kel reflects on the past only to reverence God’s saving grace. It’s one thing about his life that isn’t a laughing matter. So he makes sure to spread the love of God and actively minister to the community that His love is the solution to every problem. In return, God has rebuilt his personal life and renewed his love-life.
Engaged to be Married
Ironically, the number three is more than the number of years he’s been in love with God. It’s also the number of months until he marries the other love of his life, Asia Lee. Indebted to Christ, Kel purposely allows his commitment with God to spill over into his relationship with Asia. He says they’ve never had sex and don’t plan on it until they get married. By abstaining from explicit media, praying, reading the Bible together and balancing each other out through their personal relationships with God, Kel hopes both his relationship with God and Asia display a healthy example of love for others.
Everything to Do With God
Believing love and relationships have everything to do with God, Kel says, “Loving God first will give you the desires of your heart, He will give you the person you’ve been looking for.” He believes romance has its place too. Referencing Biblical stories, Kel says, “I’ve learned about being more of a romantic person just by reading the Bible. It’s a certain type of love Jesus had that’s very romantic and can help you in your relationship.” It’s only because he’s overcome in God that Kel’s able to offer such true encouragement, wisdom and instruction. Behind Kel’s laughter, there’s certainly a love-life story worth knowing.