Former Disney star Orlando Brown has certainly gone through a number of challenges while growing up in front of the public eye. From battling drug addiction to his numerous run-ins with law enforcement, fans were absolutely shocked to see the star, who many grew to love on shows like That’s So Raven and Family Matters, hit absolute rock bottom. Everyone deserves a shot at redemption, and it appears as though Brown has finally turned his life around in recent years, but it’s certainly been one heck of a difficult journey for the 33-year-old actor.
A Child Star
The Los Angeles native became a breakout star in the 90s and the early 2000s as a child actor on a number of famous Black sitcoms including The Jamie Foxx Show and Family Matters, where he played the role of Jerry Jamal “3J” Jameson, the younger adopted brother to the Winslow siblings. Even at a young age, Brown made fans clutch their bellies with laughter and smile with his infectious on-screen presence and quick-witted humor. The star catapulted to fame after he received another big break on Disney’s That’s So Raven as Eddie Thomas, Raven-Symoné’s best friend, and right-hand man. If you remember, Brown’s character had a knack for rapping, and would often spit a few lyrics on the show. The actor turned his on-screen rap persona into a real-life hip-hop career, churning out hits like “Super Cali” and “Little By Little” on albums like Disneymania 4 and the soundtrack to That’s So Raven Too!
Eventually, the star stormed into the world of animation, using his distinct voice to bring a number of characters to life on Disney shows like Fillmore! and The Proud Family.
Brown has also appeared in films such as Major Payne (1995), Max Keeble’s Big Move (2001), and Straight Outta Compton (2015) which was the last time fans saw the star in a major role.
A Hefty Track Record With The Law
After Disney wrapped up the final season of That’s So Raven in 2007, it appeared as though Brown’s emotional and mental health troubles began to come to light. In 2008, the star went missing for a full 24 hours. The actor-turned rapper was scheduled for a full day of meetings in preparation for his performance at Club Tattoo in Los Angeles, which sent his team into sheer panic. After hours of searching, Brown finally appeared and issued a statement, telling fans that he “felt a little lost and needed to get away.”
“It got a bit overwhelming and I needed to be alone,” he explained. People noted that a schedule conflict with the performance may have caused Brown to disappear, but it was just the beginning stages of his continuous downward spiral.
In 2016, Brown allegedly struck his girlfriend in the face during a domestic dispute that occurred in a parking lot in Torrance, CA. Coincidentally, the “Two of a Kind” alum reportedly pulled into a police station parking lot during the dispute, according to TMZ. A bystander flagged down authorities who instantly questioned Brown about the altercation. TMZ noted that the star refused to leave his car, which prompted officials to discover methamphetamine on him after searching his pockets. He was charged with a misdemeanor on domestic battery charges in addition to obstruction of justice and 2 felonies–drug possession with intent to sell, and having contraband in jail. The star was already in hot water with law enforcement from charges stemming from a DUI in 2012.
Brown failed to appear for a scheduled court date in relation to his domestic dispute and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was ultimately taken into custody by police on Jan. 18, 2018, in Barstow, California, after police were called to a private residence in response to complaints of a domestic disturbance between Brown, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend’s mother. The actor was slammed with an additional charge of domestic battery, drug possession, and resisting arrest. Brown was struggling to battle against drug addiction, and unfortunately, his drug-fueled behavior resulted in even more shocking events. Like in 2017, when he leaked his very own sex tape, BET reported.
That same year, the star made a number of baffling claims that he and his former co-star Raven-Symoné, were sexually romantic during their time on That’s So Raven. Brown went into explicit detail about his alleged relationship with the actress during an interview with DJ Vlad. The strange accusation came almost a year after he bashed Symone for not vouching for his role to be reprised for the That’s So Raven spin-off series.
Dr. Phil Appearance
After a short-lived stint in rehab, Orlando Brown appeared on Dr. Phil in 2018, where he opened up about his struggles with methamphetamine, weed, and mental illness. The star appeared to be incoherent during his candid sit down, but it was a moment where some fans began to rally behind the star with prayers that he would somehow overcome his battle with addiction. After the show aired, some viewers criticized Brown and accused him of being on drugs while speaking with Dr. Phil. Brown appeared to mix up the ages of his children and had trouble remembering their names.
“I’ve got a 2-year-old, a 5-year-old, eight and eleven [year-old],” Orlando told Dr. Phil. “The 2-year-old is still in the belly,” the actor said.
“Honestly, I see my kids everywhere,” Brown explained. “But, like I said, I barely see them,” he continued. “I don’t know them,” he added. “They don’t know me. That’s what this whole thing is about; being able to identify and, you know, get back with my kids and stuff.”
Now He’s Saved
In October 2021, news surfaced that Orlando Brown had completely turned his life around. Reports revealed that Brown had graduated from a faith-based treatment center called Rise Discipleship, “a free 6-month in-patient recovery program for men who struggle with addiction, homelessness, and other life-controlling issues” in Abilene, Texas, The Christian Post noted. Around this time, social media users began to discover images of a sober-looking Orlando, appearing coherent, happy, and with his life seemingly back on track. In one clip, Brown appeared to be giving a testimony about his recovery at Rise Discipleship’s recent fundraising event, telling the audience that his fiancé, Danielle Brown, recommended he join the program.
“My name is Orlando Brown. You may know me from a little show from back in the day called ‘That’s So Raven,’” he said, according to BCK Online. “I went through a lot. I experimented with crystal meth, with weed. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was addicted to the internet. All kinds of stuff.”
“My fiancés told me about this place and when I came it was amazing. I had a blast. These brothers accepted me for who I am.”
During the event, Jubal Elrod, whom Brown described as the “home overseer,” in the clip, issued a statement about the rapper’s successful rehab journey, telling fans:
“He’s completely turned around. He got on this like in his third week, hit it like a man. Now he’s leading classes. He’s actually overseeing discipline and teaching other brothers how to get through it. I’m super proud of you man, proud of you Orlando.”
The Rise Church founder and senior pastor, Rey Sandoval, echoed a similar sentiment on Twitter. “My student Orlando Brown giving his testimony at rising Church for the Rise Home rally. Proud of you my bro,” Sandoval tweeted.
In a statement to The Christian Post, Brown shared that he was focused on getting his life and family back. “Prayer is so essential especially in cases like these where we have a whole bunch of men come off the street and they are doing their thing to change,” he added.
Fans were happy to see the star looking healthy with his fiancé and their young son. Back in May of 2021, Brown released a music video for a new song called “SMILED ON ME,” a Christian rap song dedicated to his rise above addiction and becoming saved.
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