When I was a pre-teen, my Saturday mornings were dedicated to all things “Saved By the Bell.” Lark Voorhies’ character, Lisa Turtle, was the quintessential “bourgie” black token friend amongst her Bayside counterparts. Lisa Turtle had sass for days. Although she was, in my opinion, the cutest chick on the show, she was seemingly single. Although she did share a memorable kiss with Zack Morris one episode, she seemed to be the perpetually single friend.

After the show ended, Voorhies’ career pretty much came to a screeching halt. Outside of a couple of minor roles, she never had a role that garnered her the fame of “Saved By the Bell.” Recently a photo of Voorhies hit the interwebs, and she looked shockingly different. Her hair was dyed red, and her makeup was three shades too light. The rumors about her current state started to fly. With everything from accusations of health issues to drugs, no one knew exactly what was going on with her.

People recently sat down with Voorhies, and after a string of interviews, they noted, “It was clear something wasn’t right.” They said Voorhies, 38, would frequently stop mid-sentence and stare, often mumbling to herself or to others who weren’t there. They described Voorhies’ present mental state as a “sad spiral,” which the actress’ mother attributes to mental illness. Although Voorhies at first denied she has any type of mental illness, her mother, who lives with her and was also interviewed for the People story, said she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and she has been prescribed medication.

“I care deeply about my daughter and I want her to resume her life,” her mother, Tricia, told People. However, she noted that finding the right treatment – and getting Voorhies’ cooperation to follow through with it – has been “frustrating.” When People asked Voorhies about her mental illness, she spoke of the bible instead and said, “Oh, no. We’re alive in a major time of all-in-all prophecy.” (Voorhies has since admitted she suffers from the disorder.)

Tricia told People that her daughter’s current mental health issues stem from traumatic experiences in her life, but she didn’t want to divulge them. “I don’t want to go there,” she said. She did make mention of how Voorhies’  stalled career and 2001 divorce “caused a kind of break.” Tricia said she  believes her daughter can fight through this. “She’s trying so hard. She says she’s delayed, but she’s going to get there.”

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