Debby Ryan is speaking out regarding her arrest for drunk driving. The 22-year-old Disney star, who played the title character in the Disney Channel hit Jessie, says she regrets not using better judgment when she got behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.
Just hours after Debby Ryan’s DUI charges were made public, the actress took to Twitter to apologize to fans for her bad behavior.
“Over the last few days I have had the chance to think about my actions, and I wish I had used better judgment,” Ryan wrote. ” I recognize that I am a role model and have always worked hard to set a good example for my millions of fans. I am so sorry to disappoint everyone.”
Debby Ryan’s comment about being a role model is not surprising. In a previous interview with Relate magazine, Ryan said she learned how to be a role model at a young age.
“When I was younger, I would babysit and I would always be very aware of the way I did things,” Debby said. “Kids pick up on the things that adults do, so I learned at a young age to be very aware of how I was in front of kids. Fortunately, being on a Disney show was kind of preceded by that. My mind is naturally on being a good person, I want to make my parents proud, and do the best I can at everything I do. There is not an hour that goes by where I am not thinking about my fans and how something I might be doing will impact or influence them.”
Debby Ryan was arrested late last week for felony drunk driving. According to TMZ, Debby was arrested at around 11 p.m., when she crashed her 2016 Audi into a Mercedes. Police gave Ryan a field sobriety test that she failed after blowing 0.11, which is slightly over the 0.08 legal blood alcohol limit. Police sources say the driver of the other claimed injury, so Ryan was arrested for a felony, which is standard procedure when there is an injury involved. But Debby was cut a break when the charges were dropped to a misdemeanor because the other driver’s injury was considered minor. Debby Ryan is out on $100,000 bail but has been charged with driving under the influence and driving with a 0.08 blood alcohol level or higher.
Debby Ryan has long been a Disney Channel favorite, but her DUI is definitely not the type of behavior expected of alums from the franchise. In fact, in an essay from New York Magazine, former Disney star Joe Jonas wrote that there is immense pressure to being an alum of the House of Mouse. Jonas dished on the expectations that come with being a Disney star, especially after High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens’ high-profile 2007 nude photo scandal. According to Jonas, Hudgens was kept on lockdown at Disney offices for a whole day after the scandal broke.
“We didn’t want to disappoint anyone,” Jonas wrote of his says at Disney. “So we put incredible pressure on ourselves, the kind of pressure that no teenager should be under.”
Luckily for Debby (and Disney), she isn’t currently a star on the kid-friendly network. Like fellow Disney Channel alum Selena Gomez, Ryan got her start via Barney and Friends, albeit in a straight-to-DVD movie. After playing Bailey Pickett on the Disney Channel original series The Suite Life on Deck, Ryan landed the lead role of beloved nanny Jessie Prescott on the Disney Channel show Jessie, which ran from 2011 to 2015. Most recently, Debby Ryan had a multiple-episode arc on NBC’s The Mysteries of Laura, where she played Debra Messing’s TV sister.
Still, Debby Ryan will always be known as a Disney Channel alum, and her fan base is still young. Debby’s apology to fans makes it clear that she is still trying to protect her wholesome image, so don’t be surprised if a few PSAs are in her future.
Take a look at the video below for more on Debby Ryan and her unfortunate choices that led to a DUI arrest.
[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]