Unlike most people dealing with addiction and mental illness, Maia Campbell’s struggles have always been front and center. As the child of a lauded author, getting her first role at the age of 16, the actress dealt with her issues in the most public forums. 

Sadly, while she should have been embraced and helped, some have consumed her pain for fodder —enabled by camera phones, social media and ignorance. 

Her journey is not a joke and we explore Maia Campbell’s past, below.


At the age of 16, Maia Campbell got her first role in a film, playing Lucky’s (Tupac Shakur) cousin in Poetic Justice. She went on to star in other 90’s hits including Thea, South Central, Beverly Hills, 90210, Moesha and Sister, Sister. But her most standout role was alongside Debbie Allen and LL Cool J in In The House.


Campbell married Elias Gutierrez in 1998, and in 2000 they welcomed their daughter Elizabeth Elisha Gutierrez. As reported by Heavy, she lost custody of her daughter the year after she was born because she refused to treat her bi-polar disorder. Guiterrez has been raised by her father through the years. 


Campbell’s mother Elizabeth Bebe Moore Campbell Gordon died from brain cancer in 2006. The author —who penned for ESSENCE in the 70s— wrote four New York Times’ bestsellers and was a mental health advocate. Gordon was also a founding member of National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Campbell revealed years later that her mother’s death hit her hard, although they were said to be estranged when she passed.


In a statement released to ESSENCE, Campbell’s stepfather Ellis Gordon Jr. says she’s in a treatment facility being supported by family. “As a family, we have been struggling with Maia in her illness for quite some time,” he said. “We continue to hold fast to our faith and hope that some day she will realize that healing will begin when she decides to reach out and accept the help and treatment that have been offered to her.”


As reported by The Huffington Post, Maia was arrested for theft and sent to a mandatory mental health facility in California. She voluntarily lived at a residential treatment center in hopes of transitioning to living on her own.


Campbell appears on Iyanla: Fix My Life with her stepfather, daughter, and ex-husband who all appeal to help her. The actress appears to want to get better and has touching moments with her loved ones. 


Campbell is arrested for disorderly conduct at a Riverdale, Georgia Waffle House. According to Page Six, insiders say she was allegedly drunk and ended up in handcuffs after refusing to leave the restaurant.


LL Cool J appeals on Instagram, to help find his former co-star, after a video of her asking for drugs at a gas station goes viral. While she’s found —in a video recorded by someone in a barbershop— Campbell says she doesn’t need or want help.

Hopefully, with some serious intervention, Campbell’s story only gets better with mental health care and drug addiction treatment.

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