Entertainment

A Navy SEAL’s Unusual Journey to Hollywood — and Faith

'God had a plan for my life that I didn't see coming,' said Remi Adeleke, crediting filmmaker Michael Bay, too

When Remi Adeleke remembers his life of “doing bad things” growing up in the Bronx, he looks back with a knowing laugh. “I think God had a plan for my life that I didn’t see coming,” the actor told Fox News.

Growing up with a single mother, Adeleke admits he gave her quite a headache by choosing what he calls the “wrong path” in life.

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It wasn’t until Adeleke stumbled across Michael Bay’s films that his life began to change.

“I saw two African-American actors playing heroes and it made me realize there’s more out there in the world than what society tells you [that] you can be,” Adeleke told Fox News of watching “Bad Boys.”

He later went to see Bay’s “The Rock,” a film about Navy SEALs, and it led him to join the military and become a SEAL himself.

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“I wanted to be like those guys I saw in that movie,” he said.

But the Nigerian-born actor — he moved to the United States when he was five — quickly realized being a Navy SEAL wasn’t as easy as they made it appear in the movies.

He found himself in a downward spiral; he cheated on his girlfriend, admitted to being emotionally abusive toward her and overall, “I was not a good person.”

While he was in cold-weather survival training in Alaska, he decided to do something he had never tried before: turn his life over to God.

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“I had time to reflect on my life and I didn’t like what I saw,” Adeleke recalled. “I decided I need to try this Jesus [thing] out because nothing that I’m doing on my own is working and if Jesus is really who everyone says He is, then I have nothing to lose at this point.”

The “Jesus thing” worked — and Adeleke soon found himself married and working as a motivational speaker after retiring from active duty.

However, Adeleke was struggling financially, so when he was approached by Katherine Humphries, a casting agent, for a role as an extra on “The Last Ship,” he agreed.

He hated it, and when Humphries reached out to him again, he said, “Absolutely not.” But when she said it was for a one-day role in a Michael Bay movie, he jumped at the opportunity.

One day turned into three weeks and Adeleke found himself with a significant role in “Transformers: The Last Knight.”

“There’s no way I could have orchestrated this at all,” he said. “Michael Bay chose my career twice — as a Navy SEAL and now he’s chosen my career as an actor.”

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Now the actor hopes his story will inspire others the same way he was motivated by Bay’s films.

“Look at my life,” he said. “All the different facets of my life — of moving from Nigeria to the Bronx, to joining the Special Forces to getting my master’s and now to acting. If I had quit, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

He added, “Don’t expect a handout, because you’re not going to get it. In the meantime, you’ve got to be diligent and if you are, you’ll reap the benefits.”

Watch Adeleke share more about his story in “I Am Second.”

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This Fox News article is used by permission.

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