Boy Meets World Star Nearly Died Of An Overdose And Quit Acting Afterward

Ben Savage, Rider Strong, Ethan Suplee, and Blake Sennett on Boy Meets World
(Image credit: ABC)

As many Boy Meets World fans know, multiple notable characters appeared on the show during its run. Some like Lindsay Price's Linda left stronger impressions on viewers than others. Another such character was Harley Keiner’s lackey, Joey “The Rat” Epstein, played by former Rilo Kiley guitarist Blake Sennett. Since leaving Hollywood, Sennet has built a solid following as a rock star. However, three decades after his last appearance on the show, the BMW alum has revealed that he quit acting after nearly dying of an overdose.

During his time on the series, Blake Sennett balanced his acting career with his passion for music. Eventually, he turned away from acting to pursue music full-time. Like many devoted fans, the Pod Meets World crew asked the Joey Epstein actor why he left the acting world. The touring musician was honest about the role that his substance abuse played in his decision to leave acting behind:

During my time as an actor, I think I was struggling with some substance stuff. That stuff came to a head, let's say, and... Well, fuck it. I almost died, so I sort of got brought back to life. Upon this, I sort of came to, so to speak, the next day and was like, 'Well, I gotta figure something else out.' So I was able, with the help of things at our disposal these days, I was able to get help. And with that near-death stuff, especially - at least that's how I saw it at the time - your own hand, I think I felt like a reassessment was in order.

The drug overdose served as a wake-up call for the now-46-year-old musician. Sadly, there are a number of child stars who've dealt with drug abuse  over the years, though many have since gotten clean. One would think that giving up acting would've been hard for him. After all, before joining the Boy Meets World cast, he appeared on other classic shows like Family Ties, My Two Dads, The Wonder Years and Salute Your Shorts. So the TV vet had seen quite a bit before joining the ABC sitcom in Season 2.

But of course, we all have to make choices at one point or another, and Blake Sennett had to make a decision that felt right for him. He ultimately felt that his acting career was holding him back from being a successful musician, telling the hosts:

I was like, 'You know, I really don’t love acting,' and at the time, I loved music. That's all I thought about. That's all I wanted to do. So I decided that if I were to act and do music simultaneously, I wasn't going to succeed at music. That just wasn't going to happen. Whether it's knowing that the safety net was there or not having enough focus. I can be pretty obsessive in my work, and so I decided I was just going to do that.

He went on to reveal that his decision to forgo acting for music was met with apprehension from his mom and mentioned that things might’ve panned out differently if he did “something meaningful” with auteurs like Martin Scorsese. Nevertheless, the former actor cited a lack of control on sets and disliking the audition process as key factors in his final decision. So kudos to him for knowing that he needed to preserve his mental health by stepping away.

Now, years later, Blake Sennett is totally devoted to his music career. He even reached out to fellow child actor Jenny Lewis to sing background, who wanted to be the lead singer. Of course, things worked out as they formed the beloved indie rock band soon afterward. The band released four albums before breaking up in 2013. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I'm glad Sennett lived to have had those experiences, and here's wishing him the best moving forward.

If you want to revisit Blake Sennett’s tenure as Joey Epstein, go rewatch Boy Meets World through an active Disney+ subscription. To hear more stories from BMW alums like Sennett, occasional BMW guest star Adam Scott, and even Mighty Ducks alum arguerite Moreau, check out the rewatch podcast Pod Meets World, which is hosted Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong, and Will Friedle, when new episodes drop on iHeartRadio.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).