Tragic Details About Bella Poarch

The following article contains references to abuse, sexual assault, mental health challenges, and suicidal ideation. 

TikTok star Bella Poarch is one of the most popular creators of all time. When she downloaded TikTok in 2020, the Philippines native had no idea her life would drastically change — basically overnight. She first went viral for a video of herself lip-syncing to Millie B's "M to the B" with animated facial expressions, which quickly became the most-liked video on the platform (and as of 2023, continues to hold the title). She soon shot to riches and fame...but still had to wrestle with the harsh realities of her past. 

At the time of writing, Poarch is the third most followed creator on TikTok, behind Addison Rae and Charli D'Amelio. But she's more than just a TikTok star. The talented singer-songwriter signed a record deal with Warner Records in 2021, and her debut single "Build a B***h" was an instant hit. In August 2022, she released her first EP "Dolls," featuring stars like Madison Beer and Grimes in the titular track's music video.

Today, Poarch is at the top of her game, smashing records and dominating our screens. But she had to overcome a lot and faced more tragedy in her formative years than most people do in an entire lifetime. Here are tragic details about Bella Poarch.

Bella Poarch had to wake up at 3 am to do chores

When she was 3 years old, Bella Poarch was adopted by an American veteran and his Filipino wife. Up until that point, she had been living with her grandmother in the slums of the Philippines and never knew her biological parents. The family adopted two more girls and a boy, and they were all raised on a farm.

On an episode of the H3 Podcast, Poarch opened up about her troubling childhood. She was forced to do extremely labor-intensive chores that would be tough on anyone, never mind a 7-year-old. "It was very hard actually because I had to wake up at 4 a.m. in the morning," she said. "Sometimes I'd have to wake up at 3 if I wanted to get to school on time ... I had to be able to finish all the chores. I'd be sweeping the yard ... picking up dog s***. I'd be cleaning up the cat house ... sweeping goat poop."

Poarch claimed her older sisters were not subjected to the same treatment, which caused the host Ethan Klein to liken her to Cinderella. She and her brother were the only ones forced to complete these grueling chores, which is why the two are so close today.

Bella Poarch was abused by her adoptive father

Bella Poarch's adoptive father was both physically and emotionally abusive. If he wasn't satisfied with the completion of her chores, he would deprive her of breakfast and slap her around. He also refused to let her and her brother shower and forced them to go to school smelling like animal waste. While her mother was not abusive, she allegedly remained silent. "I didn't actually realize [I was being abused] until I got to the States," she said on the H3 podcast. "To me, it was normal."

Growing up, Poarch's nickname was "stupid b*tch." Her father made Poarch and her brother sit on the floor while the family watched TV together, even if there was space on the couch.

Poarch found there was nowhere to turn for help, as it's ingrained in Filipino culture to mind your own business. "It's hard when I tell people what's going on in the house and nobody seems to ... give a s***," she said.  Poarch even showed up to school with a swollen, bleeding hand. Instead of receiving help from her teacher, she was reprimanded for writing too slowly. "I [couldn't] write with my right hand so I had to write with my left hand and she was just like, 'Okay, just hurry the f*** up,'" Poarch explained.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Bella Poarch was bullied and racially abused

As if the cruel treatment by her father wasn't enough, Bella Poarch was also bullied by her sisters and classmates. "[My sisters] were also bullying me," she said on the H3 podcast. "They always got like the nice things and I would get like the handovers ... That's also why I got bullied in school cause I would go to school with like holes in my shoes."

Her classmates also made fun of the way she smelled (because she wasn't allowed to shower after cleaning animal waste), and the way she looked (because her curly hair didn't fit the traditional beauty standards of the Philippines.) "You have to have really pale skin and straight hair," she said.

When she was 14, Poarch moved to the U.S., but the bullying didn't stop. It became racially motivated. "My mother used to pack me Filipino food for lunch, and I would get made fun of because of the way it smelled," she told Vogue. "Kids would make fun of me because of the way I looked and call me 'Ling Ling'. I was treated differently and felt like people thought less of me because I was Asian." Even after graduating, her high school bullies would post mean comments on her Instagram. "It's not okay to bully people because of where they came from or what they look like," she said in a video with Vogue.

Bella Poarch had no freedom growing up

Bella Poarch's parents were extremely strict and controlling. "I grew up having to ask permission for a sip of water," she said on the H3 podcast. She and her siblings were only allowed to speak English at home so that her father could understand them. "My room had a lock on the outside because my adoptive parents wanted to make sure that I didn't escape," she told Young Post. Her parents also deprived her of many quintessential childhood experiences. "In the States, I wasn't allowed to hang out or go out ... [my stepdad] changed a few rules, like 'Oh, you can go sit on the couch now,'" she said. "But I was basically not allowed to go hang out with friends after school or anything like that. I never went to the mall ... I never had a childhood, basically." Today Poarch's managers are helping her experience all the things she was never allowed to do as a child.

Her parents also controlled the way she looked and expressed herself. "Growing up, I was not allowed to wear makeup in school," she told Vogue. "So like all my friends [would have] lipstick on, and they [would wear] eyeliner, and I wasn't allowed to, so I was always jealous."

She joined the Navy out of desperation

In 2015, when she was just 17 years old, Bella Poarch enlisted in the military. After enduring years of emotional and physical abuse, she saw it as her only option to escape. "At first I was scared," she said on the H3 podcast. "But I was like, 'This is the only way. This is my only way out and I have to do it." She signed a four-year contract with the Navy and was stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Japan. "The day I left for boot camp, my parents couldn't even drive me," she said. "The last words from my stepdad was, 'Don't ever come back here. This is not your home.'"

Poarch served in the Aviation Ordinance, which means her job was to take care of any weapons that go into an aircraft. Although she learned a lot during her service, she was advised by her doctors not to renew her contract because of the toll it was taking on her mental health. "I was really depressed, like very depressed. And my PTSD was getting worse," she said.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

She was sexually assaulted in the Navy

In October 2023, Bella Poarch went onto the podcast "Call Her Daddy" to discuss a traumatic experience. "I've never opened up about this but something really f***ed up happened to me in the military," she said. "My first year in the military, I got sexually assaulted. I was 18 and it was my first duty station."

She told host Alex Cooper that she was too scared to speak up, but the women around her noticed something was wrong. "I showed up to work and they were like, 'Why do you have so many cuts on your face? Why do you have bruises on your neck? What's going on?'" Poarch explained. 

According to Poarch, the perpetrator was someone she knew. "He did it multiple times [to others] and I guess when I came forward, those other women came forward," she said. She was empowered by her friends to come forward so he couldn't hurt another woman again. "It was a long process, a lot of interrogation. It was like I was a suspect and they were interviewing me," she said. Her perpetrator was tried in court but sentenced to only four years in prison. "I honestly live with so much anxiety because I know he's out there ... I've just been scared," she said. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Bella Poarch has PTSD, anxiety, and depression

Bella Poarch's sexual assault left her with PTSD, anxiety and depression. "I would get triggered at work, literally. My coworkers would be kind of like freaked out like, 'Why are you shaking right now?' and it was scary," she said on "Call Her Daddy." "Sometimes you forget where you are, especially when you get flashbacks. And whenever I see a person that looks like him my body just shuts off. It's happened multiple times ... that's also why I try to stay away from crowded places."

Poarch decided to transfer to a different station where no one knew what had happened. She requested Japan, where her brother was stationed. It was he who encouraged Poarch to seek treatment for her PTSD. While she initially tried to convince him she was fine, she reluctantly agreed to see a therapist. Poarch still struggles with her PTSD today but says her symptoms are more manageable. She met her now ex-husband shortly after the incident and credits him for being there for her. "He definitely helped me through a lot of the dark times," she said.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

She attempted suicide

In the same episode of "Call Her Daddy," Bella Poarch credited host Alex Cooper for making her feel comfortable enough to talk about her suicide attempt. "I tried taking my own life a few months before I got out of the military because my PTSD was getting bad," she said.

"My friends actually found me. I overdosed. I just saw a bottle of Percocet ... I had a roommate, she had a bottle of Percocet in her bathroom and I just took the whole thing," she said. "I was just really depressed. I was talking to a therapist actually, twice a week and I was still struggling very hard." At the time, her then-husband was stationed in Japan while she was in Hawaii. "He was far... The only thing he could do was call me," she said. "So it was kind of hard...not having your person, like the person you trust and that helped you through that."

Today, Poarch is working on healing. "I was basically forced to go to the psych ward and I met a lot of people there that were struggling with the same thing," she said. "I guess I just needed people that understood me and I just needed to talk to people that went through the same thing. That made me feel a little better and hopeful."

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat

Bella Porch got tattoos to cover up her scars

Belle Poarch is known for her trademark tattoos, which cover a large majority of her body. Some of her iconic ink includes a large ship with feathered wings spread across her back, a bow on the back of both her thighs, and writing across her chest. When one user commented on TikTok, "Why do you have so many tattoos? They don't fit you," she got candid about the reason behind them. "I had a rough childhood. My scars from abuse made me insecure. And so I had to cover up my scars with tattoos," she wrote, alongside a video showing off her ink.

Poarch experienced backlash back in 2020 for getting a Rising Sun tattooed on her arm. The Rising Sun is a symbol of Japanese imperialism, used by Japanese armies when they invaded countries during World War II, including Korea. Many fans, particularly her Korean fanbase, found the tattoo racist and offensive.

Poarch took to Twitter to apologize, explaining she was ignorant of the symbol's meaning. "I apologize to Koreans because 6 months ago I got a tattoo of the red sun with 16 rays. At that time, I didn't know the history. But when I found out, I immediately had it covered and scheduled for removal. I am ashamed of myself for not doing my research. I sincerely apologize," she tweeted.

Bella Poarch went through a divorce

In 2022, Bella Poarch announced she had filed for divorce from her husband of 4 years, Tyler Poarch. Many fans were unaware that Poarch was even dating anyone, let alone married. "I'm sorry if everyone thinks I've been keeping it a secret. I will address my divorce when I am ready to speak about it," she wrote in a statement posted to Instagram. She ended the post by asking fans to respect her privacy and noted that she'll be taking a break from social media.

Poarch opened up about the relationship on an episode of "Call Her Daddy." The couple met when they were both 19 years old, serving in the military. "We were both very introverted. And as soon as we saw each other, we kind of fell in love. It was like love at first sight," she said. After a few months together, he proposed in Guam. "He didn't have enough money for a ring so he got me this necklace," she said. "I thought we were actually going to be together forever," she said, holding back tears as she described his "forever, always together" tattoo.

Poarch attributed her overnight fame as the ultimate reason for the divorce. "He didn't want to be in a spotlight and I respect that," she said. "I want to be an artist. I want to share music and I want to make content but when the person you love wants something different, it's hard."

She receives a lot of hate on social media

Despite being one of the most popular creators on TikTok, with millions of followers on all social platforms, Bella Poarch is still subject to hate online. Users often question her success, and she received many hateful comments after posting a TikTok with Justin Bieber and Benny Blanco. "Why is she famous again?" commented one user, while another troll attributed her fame to selling her soul to the devil. When Poarch recreated the viral "tube girl" trend, where users record themselves lip-synching on a train, she was labeled "cringe and obnoxious."

Others have accused her of acting like a child to get more views. Poarch clapped back at the criticism on Twitter, writing, "Why is it not allowed to act cute? It's a natural thing to most Asians. But people seem to hate me for it. I'm Filipino and in the Philippines, we love Ulzzang and kawaii culture. I grew up with it so why can't I just be myself?"