17 Oct Actor Remi Adeleke’s remarkable faith journey that led him to a Hollywood career
Meet actor Remi Adeleke. Raised in the Bronx, this former U.S. Navy SEAL was recently launched into a Hollywood career with roles in “Transformers: The Last Knight” and commercials for Jockey, AT&T and The Army (believe it or not), after an unexpected break.
For years, people have been telling Remi his powerful story should be a book. Soon he’ll add author to his resume thanks to a major book deal he just signed with Harper Collins.
His early years got off to a rough start. Like many of us who experience the ominous valley’s of life, this West African native resided in the heart of Nigeria and, sadly, lost his father at the early age of 5.
Remi’s father, an affluent and well-known engineer, provided a life of leisure for his family. But shortly after taking his last breath, the Nigerian government stripped the family of their wealth, leaving the Adeleke’s desperate and without anything.
Out of options and living in a country that provided little opportunity for work, the family permanently relocated to the Bronx in New York City.
Raising two sons in the inner city proved challenging for Remi’s mother, but her love of movies offered the trio a healthy escape from reality.
When the Michael Bay film, “Bad Boys” premiered in 1995, Adeleke recalls the lead actors, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, looking like him but not playing the usual role of a thug, gangster, or drug dealer. Instead, they played the heroes and saved the day.
One year later, Bay’s second film, The Rock (1996) released. It featured fearless Navy SEALS who were willing to sacrifice themselves to save other people.
“I said to myself, ‘if I ever turn my life around that’s what I would be. I would be a SEAL.’”
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Lacking a positive male role model in his life, the young Remi tried to fill the void of his father’s absence by running the streets and making unlawful choices.
But in July of 2002, his life took an unexpected turn.
“I was laying in bed and I heard this voice guide me into joining the military.”
“I truly believe it was the voice of God.”
His first stop was the recruiter’s office for a background check. But after he arrived, he was shocked to learn that there were two warrants issued for his arrest, one in New York and one in New Jersey.
The recruiter saw that Remi wanted to turn his life around. She took him to judges in both states and his record was cleared. Soon after, he enlisted in the military.
In 2008, after travelling to Alaska for cold weather survival training, Remi, then a U.S. Navy SEAL, encountered God in a way that brought him to his knees. He knew he needed Jesus.
In the months that followed, Remi’s faith ignited as he surrounded himself with Christians who maintained a genuine relationship with Christ.
After serving his country for 10 ½ years, God’s call on Remi’s life led him out of active duty and into the Navy Reserves for three years.
“Just like I felt God telling me it was time to join the military, I felt God say, it’s time for you to move on.”
Leaving a stable job and walking into the unknown greatly tested his faith.
Newly married to his beautiful wife Jessica and waiting for God to show him what was next, the couple endured financial struggles.
“I realized the more I put my faith in God, the less stress and worry came on me.”
On top of the financial problems, the Adeleke’s marriage began to fall apart.
When asked if there was a point when they thought their marriage was over, Jessica replied, “Oh yes, many points along the way.
I would cry every single day. I wouldn’t want to come home. I didn’t want to be married at all. The only thing that kept me going was that we both knew God wanted us to be married,” Jessica said.
Remi added, “I knew God was working something in us and working things out of us. Eventually, He was going to bring our entire marriage to completion.”
One day in 2016, while raising kids with Jessica, attending grad school and speaking at churches across America, Remi’s life took a dramatic turn.
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Remi was offered an opportunity to become the face of a Jockey campaign that inspires customers to embrace their true selves and, “Show ‘Em What’s Underneath.” He now had a national platform to share his story of faith to millions of people.
Around the same time, Remi graduated with his master’s degree in Organizational Strategy from the University of Charleston West Virginia. Recently, he was accepted into the prestigious Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, where some of the greatest actors have trained.
With Remi’s newfound career on the rise, his family is and always will be his number one fans.
In one conversation with his mother, she expressed how proud she is of him and recalled a time when they were rebuilding their life in the Bronx. She kept holding onto hope that something would change.
Now, with overwhelming joy she looks back on those days only to realize how far they’ve come.
“Everything that we lost when your father died has been restored 10 times over,” she told Remi. “But it was that hope that carried me through to where I am today.”