Friday, March 18, 2022

Josh Peck Opens Up About His Past Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol

"What is really clear is that I overdo things," Josh Peck tells PEOPLE of his past addictions to food and drugs

He's been acting for over two decades, but Josh Peck, who first rose to fame on the hit Nickelodeon series Drake & Josh, doesn't revisit his past work.


"I don't even watch my new stuff," Peck, 35, told PEOPLE in this week's issue. The actor, who currently has a recurring role on How I Met Your Father, adds: "I don't watch anything!"

Understandably because for Peck, Hollywood life was often the setting for some very painful times in his life, including a public weight struggle and a years-long drug addiction that he details for the first time in his new memoir, Happy People Are Annoying.

"I was always looking for something outside to fix my insides," says Peck, who has been sober since 2008. "But eventually I realized that whether my life was beyond my wildest dreams or a total mess, it didn't change the temperature of what was going on in my mind. I knew that nothing in the outside world would make me feel whole."

Born and raised in New York City, Peck began performing stand-up comedy as an adolescent. He starred in the Nickelodeon Movies theatrical Snow Day in 2000 before a breakout role on Nickelodeon's The Amanda Show led to Drake & Josh.

"I spent most of my life dying to be typical but I grew up with a single mom, I was overweight and I was a musical theater kid who really had no social status," says Peck, who recalls being teased relentlessly because of his size. "Comedy was my natural defense mechanism."

But eventually, the actor, who weighed nearly 300 pounds at 15, (he recalls regularly eating large pizzas on his own) knew he had to make some healthy changes and after 18 months of diet and exercise, he dropped 127 pounds. But still, he wasn't satisfied.

"It became clear that once I lost the weight that I was the same head in a new body," Peck says. "What is really clear is that I overdo things. And then I discovered drugs and alcohol. And that became my next chapter. I used food and drugs to numb my feelings."


Experimenting with alcohol and drugs like cocaine as a teen into his early 20s provided an outlet for his private pain — and for insecurities stemming from childhood. "It was really a buffet," says Peck.

"I had this illusion of becoming more confident and attractive when I was partaking," he says. "I was trying to quiet that voice that woke me up every morning and told me I wasn't enough."

But eventually, due to his addiction, Peck found himself with a reputation in Hollywood for being "unstable and erratic," he recalls. "I had worked so hard for this thing and I was getting very close to losing it."

Josh Peck and Drake Bell | CREDIT: NICKELODEON

Peck joined a treatment program and got sober; a critically acclaimed role in The Wackness and then success in then-nascent social media outlets, including Vine and Instagram, followed.

"By walking through discomfort and by doing my best to break down the false identity I had for myself, I was able to get to the place that I was always seeking," says Peck. "I'm just trying to do good work that makes people happy."

Peck has been married to film editor Paige O'Brien since 2017 and they are parents to a 3-year-old son, Max.

He also has a newfound appreciation for the journey that brought him here.

"It took me a really long time to love the 15-year-old version of me," says Peck. "But now I understand how strong he was. And I feel like everything in my life set me up to find this chapter of health, peace and contentment."

In an except he shared of the book, Peck said the "first time I did drugs was because of a girl," not specifying who. He said the fifth time, he ingested "copious amounts liquor and bright-colored prescription pills" on a random weeknight and then was dangerously speeding down Coldwater Canyon in L.A. at 8 a.m.

"I had been living like this for a year now without much slowing down," he wrote. "Drugs and alcohol were like a water truck in the middle of a desert for me."

While this is the first time Peck really details addiction journey, his Grandfathered co-star and friend John Stamos credited Peck last year for helping him get sober. They were making their TV show, which aired from 2015 to 2016, when Stamos was arrested for DUI and entered treatment for alcoholism.

"Josh Peck was a big inspiration in my recovery," Stamos said. "Right around that time, I was going down the wrong path and I had to straighten out. And then, I’m on this show with this guy who was then in recovery for many, many years, playing my son. That part was meant to be. I wouldn’t be alive, if I hadn’t straightened up, and he was certainly part of it."

Stamos added, "I think I was meant to meet Josh Peck."

"I just wish I could teleport and tell 13-year-old, chubby Josh, that everything was going to work out," the Peck admitted in a 2021 interview with Esquire. According to Peck, the actor tried to find recognition outside of kid shows in other genres and projects, but for years, it was to no avail. While Peck said that comedic work was a consistent comfort zone, he often had troubles with self-esteem.

Happy People Are Annoying will be available on March 15.

Josh will be reuniting with his former Drake & Josh co-star Miranda Cosgrove in the upcoming second season of Paramount+'s iCarly revival, set to premiere on April 8.

From People:

Josh Peck Reveals in His Memoir That He 'Felt Better' When He Wore Spanx as a Teen

"I knew that a lot of people would be attached to that first image of me," Peck says of fans' reactions to his weight loss

In his new memoir, Happy People Are Annoying, Josh Peck is opening up about a secret undergarment he sported while filming his famed Nickelodeon comedy series, Drake and Josh.

"I'll never forget when the costume designer for the show took mercy on me after seeing me pull on my wardrobe for the hundredth time," writes Peck, 35, who struggled with his weight as a kid and weighed nearly 300 lbs. at age 15.

"She handed me what looked like a tank top but it was skin-colored and about two sizes too small. This angel of a costume designer had built me homemade SPANX."

Continues Peck in his memoir: "Wearing this magical tunic I no longer resembled a gigantic muffin and now looked more like an overstuffed bag of bread. It wasn't perfect, but it was better and I felt better. So I wore it, every day, for five years. I was wearing SPANX Men's, a corset, on national television, at 290 lbs., in five million homes, every Sunday night. Hollywood is glamorous as f---."

For more on Josh Peck, pick up a copy of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

And despite the upsides of starring on a hit show, Peck, who was teased as a kid, was deeply insecure.

"I knew I was introducing myself to the world in a body that I wasn't comfortable with," Peck, who played lovable straight-A student Josh Nichols on the hit series, tells PEOPLE. "I knew that a lot of people would be attached to that first image of me."

And even after he committed to a healthy diet and exercise plan, hoping to transform his body, Peck still felt unsatisfied.

"It became clear that once I lost the weight, I was the same head in a new body," Peck, who had yo-yo dieted for years, recalls. "And the majority of people were supportive. But there were certainly some who had grown up with the big funny guy. And it's almost as if I took that guy away from them."

In order to ultimately find happiness, "I had to walk through discomfort and show up for life," says Peck, who has been wed to film editor Paige O'Brien since 2017 and is dad to their son Max, 3. "And as a result of good living, it became a good life."

Happy People Are Annoying is available March 15.


Josh Peck finds light through struggles with fame, body image and more in new book l GMA - Good Morning America

The former Nickelodeon star reflects on his life in the spotlight in his new memoir, “Happy People Are Annoying.”


Josh Peck gets candid about weight loss, addiction and happiness in new memoir

The actor and Nickelodeon veteran discusses why "Happy People are Annoying" in an interview with TODAY.

Josh Peck has a lot to say in his new memoir, “Happy People are Annoying” — especially about fitting into the status quo.

Peck, who is a beloved Nickelodeon actor known for his roles on “Drake and Josh” and “The Amanda Show,” said he assumed growing up that happiness was something reserved for an “elite class,” like the quarterbacks, the attractive or the wealthy. 

“I assumed that I just didn’t receive the same manual to navigate life that everyone else got at birth,” Peck told TODAY's Joe Fryer. “So in writing this book, it was sort of about coming to terms with that idea, and what I had to face to find my own version of happiness and define it for myself.”

Growing up, Peck said he was exposed early on to the idea that “life’s not exactly a piece of cake all the time.” He is the son of a single mother, who he writes "has been sticking her middle finger up to societal norms since she was a kid."

In his memoir, Peck talks growing up overweight, which he calls "the singular, powerful and all-consuming memory" of his childhood. To TODAY, he talked about using comedy as a defense mechanism for growing up overweight, a skill that he “acquired out of necessity.”

"I’d walk into most rooms at that age and at my weight at a disadvantage, that people made a snap judgment about me that I was, you know, slothful or lacked willpower or something," Peck said. "And that it was incumbent on me to sort of not necessarily even stand out; I just wanted to be on the same level as everyone else."

Peck’s weight loss, especially between seasons three and four of “Drake and Josh,” caused widespread media attention. Peck said the public response was odd to navigate — there was a year and a half between seasons three and four, but to audiences, the weight loss felt like a “massive shift.”

“When I did lose the weight, there was certainly a small contingent that thought, ‘Oh, you were funnier when you were fat or you took away this guy who we loved and we’re not so sure if we love this new guy,’” Peck said, noting that the “majority” were supportive.

After the weight loss, Peck said he turned to a different coping mechanism — substances. Peck got sober when he was 21, and spoke candidly to TODAY about how his addiction ruined relationships and put his life in danger.

“I was also 18 and supremely stupid and looking to sow my wild oats and maybe make up for some lost time where I held my myself back feeling insecure in my body that when I sort of discovered drugs and alcohol it quickly satisfied that itch that had presented itself when I lost weight but didn’t have the same medicine,” Peck said. 

Peck, 35, is now a husband and a father to 3-year-old Max, who he says gives him “cosmic comeuppance” coming from a childhood where he never met his own father.  

“The truth is, we don’t always get the amends that we deserve from the people who have hurt us,” Peck said. “But sometimes we give ourselves that amends by not passing that trauma on to the next generation.”

When Peck was just 10 years old, he appeared on "The Rosie O’Donnell Show," where he wowed the audience with his quick wit and confidently told O’Donnell that he wanted to be an actor. Now, over two decades later, he’s still keeping that vision. 

He’s a series regular in spinoff series “How I Met Your Father,” and appeared alongside his former on-screen "Drake and Josh" sister Miranda Cosgrove in the "iCarly" reboot. He starred in Disney's "Turner & Hooch" last year. And though he says he finds happy people “annoying,” he confessed to TODAY that even he feels he’s “happy adjacent.”

“I’m less concerned with happy and I’m more into content,” Peck said. “And I’m more than content.”


Josh Peck Recalls Confronting Drake Bell, Asking Him to Apologize to His Wife at the VMAs Over Wedding Drama

Supporting his wife. Josh Peck didn’t publicly react to Drake Bell‘s comments about not being invited to his wedding — until now.

“I remember we were at the MTV Video Music Awards [in 2017] and I see him there and he sees me. I go up to him, and this might be the most Sopranos thing I have ever done, I looked at him and I go, ‘Go apologize to my wife right now,'” the How I Met Your Father star, 35, recalled during an episode of the “BFFs” podcast on Wednesday, March 16. “He made a beeline for my wife and I see him do a whole 5-minute performance of an apology.”

Peck and Bell, 35, skyrocketed to fame when they appeared on the Nickelodeon sitcom Drake & Josh in 2004. After filming wrapped on the series in 2007, the costars quietly drifted apart as they moved on to other projects.

In 2017, Bell made headlines when he questioned why he wasn’t invited to Peck’s wedding to Paige O’Brien. “True colors have come out today,” the musician wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “Message is loud and clear. Ties are officially cut. I’ll miss you brother.”

The New York native, for his part, recalled on Wednesday how his former costar reached out to him on his special day to address the issue. “I am getting married that night and I see these text messages from him like cursing me out and coming for me. On the night of my wedding,” Peck told cohosts Dave Portnoy, Josh Richards and Brianna Chickenfry. “It’s delusional because it is like, ‘Bro, it is like we worked at Coffee Bean together when we were 16. I am sorry that I am 31 now and I might have lost your number.'”

The YouTuber noted that Bell was “creating this narrative that just wasn’t true” and his partner suffered the consequences of that.

“It was just unfortunate the way it worked out. It was one of the few times in my life where I went blind and my emotions put me in that place,” Peck, who shares 3-year-old son Max with his wife, added. “The dirty little secret was that I knew that Drake and I didn’t stay in touch for ten years since we made the show. But no one needed to know that. I was happy to just die with that secret that we made this thing that people really loved but we weren’t that close.”

The Ultimate Spider-Man alum previously opened up about how his encounter with Peck at the VMAs allowed them to work out their differences.

“We ran into each other at the VMAs. It was cool because I had called him and we were talking about meeting up. And that’s always kind of nerve-racking. ‘What am I going to say? Where are we going to meet? The ride over?’ So I was really happy that it happened organically,” he exclusively told Us Weekly in September 2017. “And he just kind of walked up behind me and I was like, ‘Oh. We have to deal with this right now.’ And so we were able to talk and hash it out and it’s all good.”

At the time, Bell explained that he felt his reaction was “completely justifiable” due to the situation.

“It’s interesting, we’re actually closer than we’ve been in a while … It’s totally great. It’s all love. We’re brothers, man,” he added. “We’ve been working together for 18 years, maybe even longer now. So we’ve had our ups, we’ve had our downs, it’s like we’re real brothers. It’s kind of that sibling rivalry and sibling love and it’s the whole thing.”

Josh Peck Book Revelations: Weight Struggles, His Addiction and Drake Bell
Four years later, Bell was arraigned and charged with two criminal counts of attempted endangering children and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. The singer initially pleaded not guilty but later changed his plea during his pretrial hearing.

In response to the California native’s sentence of two years probation, Peck explained that he was just as shocked at the news.

“When Drake got into legal trouble, people ran to get my opinion. They thought I must have a take on this person I had spent so much time with, when in reality, it had been years since we’d talked and even longer since we’d seen each other,” he wrote in his memoir, Happy People Are Annoying, which was released earlier this month. “Which is why alongside everyone else who doesn’t know Drake, I was upset by the inexplicable events that unfolded in his life.”


From ET Canada:

Drake Bell’s Wife Janet Von Schmeling Calls Out Josh Peck

Josh Peck has been doing a major press tour for his new book Happy People Are Annoying and it looks like he annoyed someone along the way.

The candid memoir mentions Peck’s former “Drake & Josh” co-star, Drake Bell, quite often, and following his latest interview, the author received backlash from Bell’s wife Janet Von Schmeling.

This week, Peck appeared on the “BFFs” podcast where he touched on his 2017 VMAs reunion with Bell after he had upset his former co-star a few months prior by not inviting him to his wedding.

“I remember we were at the MTV Video Music Awards [in 2017] and I see him there and he sees me. I go up to him, and this might be the most Sopranos thing I have ever done, I looked at him and I go, ‘Go apologize to my wife right now.’ He made a beeline for my wife and I see him do a whole 5-minute performance of an apology,” Peck said on the podcast.

Von Schmeling refused to keep quiet after hearing what Peck had to say.

“Josh Peck is a total piece of s**t. I stay quiet until lies happen,” she said on her Instagram Story. “And… the fact that I was there at the VMAs, I was next to Drake. I was the one who told him Josh was coming [up to us with the camera.] I was there, heard it all. Drake was never threatened by Josh… that’s actual[sic]  hilarious. Bro you’re not tough.”

She continued, “Also, yea, Drake apologized to your wife because you asked him nicely to. We actually hung out after that. Multiple times. We talked multiple times since then. You’re a f***ing liar. A f***ing liar, Josh.”


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Originally published: March 10, 2022 at 01:51 GMT.

H/T: ET Canada; Additional sources: Yahoo! Entertainment, AOL,

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