Josh Peck Has Changed A Lot Since His Drake & Josh Days

There's nothing to make you feel older than learning that it's been 16 years since the classic Nickelodeon sitcom "Drake & Josh" ended in 2007. In the years since he played Josh Nichols alongside his on-screen brother, Drake Bell, Josh Peck has changed a lot. From his dramatic weight loss journey to his career shift and improved personal life, he is no longer the goofy, teenage comedic relief he once was.

Now 36 years old and with his Nickelodeon days far behind him, Peck has become one of the many child stars who are unrecognizable today. Following the launch of his memoir in March 2022, "Happy People Are Annoying," the actor has made the rounds with magazines, talk shows, and podcasts to disclose the truth of what it was like to grow up working on the network and what has been going on in his life since the end of the hit television show. Peck's press tour and new outspoken nature have led to some astonishing reveals, so let's take a closer look at some of the most groundbreaking ways Peck has changed since his "Drake & Josh" days.

He learned a lot from his time on Drake & Josh

Josh Peck has been a fixture in children's entertainment since the 2000, when he joined the cast of "The Amanda Show" alongside Amanda Bynes and his future on-screen brother, Drake Bell. From there, he went on to co-star in "Drake & Josh," where he learned several life lessons he carried with him for years.

In his memoir, Peck emphasized a few key takeaways from working as an actor. From playing a part to the best of your abilities, even if it's a supporting role, to checking your emotional baggage at the door before walking on set, he learned that there are countless factors that can impact those around you when working on a show like "Drake & Josh."

In a 2015 interview with People, Peck spoke about the hard work it took to follow his dreams. He said, "When you're a cute kid and maybe have some natural talent, it seems quite easy. ... But this takes an incredible amount of work and focus and dedication. You have to weather the times when you're not working. There's a lot of rejection. I understood that early on. I never let any of that deter me from my main focus — my passion." Despite the pressure and perseverance it took, he said, he "was just totally in love with coming to work every day."

His Nickelodeon earnings didn't last

There is an assumption that successful child actors tend to set themselves up financially for life, but this wasn't the case for Josh Peck. While speaking on Steven Bartlett's podcast "The Diary of a CEO," the actor clarified that he was not as well off as many would assume. "I'm as much, you know, worried about next year's financial status as anyone else because I don't have that security," he said. "With 'Drake & Josh,' there was no residuals and kid's TV didn't have that at that time and ... while doing the show, we made about $100,000 a year for the four years we were making it, which is great money and a lovely middle-class lifestyle, but no one would assume that once you stopped working that you never had to work again." He added that the career choices he made after the show were propelled by the fact that he had "people to take care of."

While on Jason Tartick's "Trading Secrets" podcast, Peck revealed his motivation for continuing to propel his career after "Drake & Josh" came from childhood. He said that his single mother did everything she could for him but that they moved frequently due to financial strains. "I hate this feeling of not knowing where we're going to sleep or what we're going to do, and I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure we don't have to do that anymore," Peck said.

Josh Peck lost over 100 pounds

A major focal point of Josh Peck's memoir is around his dramatic weight loss. He described his insecurity growing up overweight and playing the "big, funny guy" on television. The costume designer for "Drake & Josh" gave Peck "homemade SPANX" to wear under his clothes while filming, and the actor said that "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***." In an interview with People, Peck said, "I knew I was introducing myself to the world in a body that I wasn't comfortable with. ... I knew that a lot of people would be attached to that first image of me."

Eventually, Peck began a regime of diet and exercise and lost over 100 pounds. But the public wasn't as supportive of his transformation as he would have hoped. In an interview with Today, he said, "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,' so that was very odd to navigate."

He got sober

Josh Peck's self-image was only one of the struggles he faced in his life, but once he lost weight, he said, he found he still wasn't happy. In 2022 the actor spoke on the "Inside of You" podcast, saying, "When I lost the weight it was a game changer, but unfortunately I was the same head in a new body. And pretty quickly, I got to my goal weight and then became viciously addicted to drugs and alcohol, which took over the next four years of my life." Peck remarked that his struggles with drug addiction began when he turned 18 and he had been striving to fit in with other kids. As he said, "I died to be normal," so at a party, Peck took cocaine for the first time because he wanted to impress a girl.

From there, it was a downward spiral. Peck said his mother knew about what he was dealing with, and was "heartbroken and terrified" the entire time. Thankfully, after four years, he managed to get the help he needed through a 12-step program and celebrated 14 years of sobriety in 2022. In an interview with Page Six, Peck spoke about finding stability after getting sober. "[My sobriety] gives me a lot of structure in my life. It's really the bedrock of my life and from it, all these wonderful things have been built," he said.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Josh Peck married Paige O'Brien in 2017

Josh Peck has been with Paige O'Brien, a jewelry designer, editor, and cinematographer with credits in a handful of short films, since 2011. The couple has been somewhat private about their relationship, and little is known about how they met, but they've been sure to share a handful of milestones on social media.

In March 2016, O'Brien shared an Instagram post of her and Peck in Paris, and she sported on her finger a diamond ring. The following year, in June 2017, the couple married in Malibu, with Peck in a black tuxedo and O'Brien sporting a stunning cream, floral dress. They also shared a sweet moment from the day with their followers on Instagram. Now, having been together for over a decade, it's clear that Peck found the love of his life in O'Brien, and they make frequent appearances posing on each other's social media pages.

He had a feud with co-star Drake Bell

"Drake & Josh" wouldn't have been half as good without Josh Peck's counterpart, Drake Bell. Fans of the show might have pictured Peck and Bell staying close after their time on Nickelodeon ended, but that is unfortunately not the case. Bell was in the news after a seemingly never-ending string of controversies, from filing for bankruptcy to abuse allegations and going missing in April 2023, but this isn't the reason that the actors are no longer speaking.

The duo hadn't stayed in touch since their show ended, unbeknownst to the "Drake & Josh" fanbase. On the "BFFs" podcast, Peck said, "We made this thing that people really loved, but maybe we weren't that close. So I didn't invite him to my wedding because I hadn't really talked to him in many, many years." On the night of his wedding to Paige O'Brien, Peck received a string of text messages from Bell who had been upset that he wasn't invited. "But then he takes to the internet and he starts writing these tweets that immediately, like, catch fire ... creating this narrative that just wasn't true," he said.

While Peck said he wasn't phased by this, he also said that his wife was the target of a lot of unkind comments. Their last communication was at the Video Music Awards. There, Peck said, he told Bell to apologize to his wife for the hurt he caused, which he did.

Josh Peck has two children

In 2018, Josh Peck and Paige O'Brien became parents for the first time when they welcomed their first son, Max Milo Peck, into the world. Then, in October 2022, the couple welcomed their second baby boy, Shai Miller Peck. With a few years of parenting experience under their belts and having now gone through the whirlwind of parenting two kids, Peck and O'Brien partnered with Enfamil, a program that supports first-time parents.

In April 2023, the couple sat down with People to discuss why the partnership was so important to them. O'Brien said, "I really had every intention of breastfeeding when we had Max, and then I quickly realized that I never produced enough milk ... then we went to formula and had to try out a bunch of different ones until we found the right fit." The parents said the partnership stemmed from the fact that they wanted to support other new parents, which, "was so necessary for us when we were new parents," said Peck.

That same month, Peck and O'Brien spoke to Parade about what parenthood has been like for them. "Our younger son is 5 months. He's still not sleeping totally through the night, but we're getting through it and we're kind of seeing a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, which is nice. Our older son is an amazing big brother who loves his little brother, and it's very sweet to see them together," O'Brien said.

He's continued acting on television

After "Drake & Josh" ended, Peck continued to land television roles, but they were somewhat sporadic. He had a couple of parts on Nickelodeon's other hit shows like "iCarly" and "Victorious," and he continued to audition for other roles. In 2013, he landed a recurring spot on "The Mindy Project," appearing in three episodes, and he guest starred on "The Big Bang Theory" for an episode in 2014. The following year, Peck finally landed a more long-term gig on "Grandfathered," where he played John Stamos' on-screen son, but it would still be a number of years before he starred in his own show, "Turner & Hooch," in 2021, which seemed to turn the tide for him.

Now, Peck has a recurring spot on "How I Met Your Father," acting as the love interest of former child star Hillary Duff's character. The actor spoke with Access Hollywood about what the reception of the show has been like, saying, "Hillary's like a proper sort of Disney queen, and I come from Nickelodeon, so literally people watching the two of us ... kiss on screen, it's like 2004 again. They can't handle it."

Josh Peck reunited with co-star Miranda Cosgrove

Who could forget the conniving, antagonistic little sister on "Drake & Josh," Megan? The on-screen step-sister to Josh Peck is played by Miranda Cosgrove, who of course went on to get her own Nickelodeon show in 2007 and became a star in her own right with the success of "iCarly." Years after the end of Cosgrove's breakout show, Paramount launched the "iCarly" reboot in 2021, allowing Cosgrove and Peck a chance to reunite when he guest-starred in Season 2.

In an interview with People, Cosgrove said that she met Peck for the first time when she auditioned for "Drake & Josh" when she was 8 years old and she's "always loved him." She remarked, "Now that we're adults, getting to have him come on 'iCarly,' it really felt like we came full circle to have him on my show, when I started off my whole career on his show."

Thankfully, this was a "Drake & Josh" co-star that Peck did keep in touch with. He explained feeling a similar sentiment toward Cosgrove when he spoke to E! News, saying, "I feel like her older brother. ... I feel protective of her. I'm like, 'Who are you dating and is he nice to you?' But more so just like to watch her be such a boss and this incredibly professional sort of leader of this show. I mean, it's her and yet she's still as lovely and as cool as she's always been."

He broke into the film industry

Josh Peck isn't a stranger to film, having worked on the Nickelodeon movie "Snow Day" in 2000 and the 2012 horror thriller "ATM," but these roles are pretty far from what he's doing now. Come July 2023, Peck will be in Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated film "Oppenheimer," and he said he truly can't believe that he's in it.

Speaking on the "Chicks in the Office" podcast, Peck said that he had to unlearn many of the comedic skills he picked up as a comedian and on children's shows in order to grow into a more refined actor. He enrolled in acting class and, although he didn't book any parts for a few years, he was getting better. He said, "I'm preparing myself that, if the right opportunity comes, I'll be able to take advantage of it. And it inevitably did, but I never would have been ready had I not spent those three years really humbling myself to the process." Now, with a major motion picture under his belt, Peck knows the hard work paid off. "I have this really small part in this Christopher Nolan movie and I was on set two days ago going like, 'I'm the guy from Drake & Josh, like what am I doing here?' but I'm soaking it up," he said.

Josh Peck says he's learning to live a good life

After years of struggles and life-changing moments, Josh Peck has doubtlessly learned an unbelievable number of life lessons since his "Drake & Josh" days. As his memoir, as well as many of the interviews he's done to promote his memoir, outlined, one of the key things Peck is working on today is being happy. The Nickelodeon alum spoke with Jesse Chappus on "The Ultimate Health Podcast" about the steps he's made to achieve this. "It was about looking at these negative patterns and these defense mechanisms I had accrued that I thought were helping me, and maybe in the moment they were, but now as a sober guy ... I was living an old story," he said.

Not only did Peck say he had to diminish these negative aspects of his life, but he also had to ingrain new, positive ones into his life as well. He said, "I also had to learn ... how to get self-esteem by doing esteemable acts, and to allow a good life to be the result of good living." Now a husband, father of two, and benefiting from a career resurgence, Peck certainly has countless reasons to remain on a healthy and happy path after overcoming his many hurdles over the years.