We already know Jeffrey “Ja Rule” Atkins as a hip-hop star who made the hit records “Holla Holla,“Always on Time” with Ashanti, “Put It On Me” with L’il Mo and Vita and “I’m Real” remix with Jennifer Lopez, among others. At one time, he was one of indie hip-hop label Murder, Inc. ‘s (later, The Inc.) most bankable stars. But a feud with 50 Cent, the demise of The Inc., and a two-year jail sentence for gun possession and tax evasion derailed his career. Now Atkins is back – but this time in a different medium. He’s the star of the new Christian film “I’m In Love With a Church Girl.”
In the movie, out this Friday, Atkins plays drug dealer Miles Montego who falls in love with ‘church girl” Vanessa Leon, played by actress/singer Adrienne Bailon. He’s already appeared in several movies, but this is his first leading man role. Atkins says that he did start going to church more both before and after filming the movie.
“I have been going to church a little bit lately. It’s been a good experience doing the film, I got in a little bit of church before I went in. I was studying for the role before I went in, trying to get the mannerisms and the characteristics of a pastor.”
The movie is based on the true story of the Bay Area’s Galley Molina, who produced and wrote the film. He fell in love with a church girl and made the transition in real life from a drug dealer to a pastor. Molina wrote the script while in jail and shopped it once he was released, raising the money himself and bringing on gospel artist Israel Houghton as a co-producer. Although drugs weren’t behind Atkins’ own incarceration, he said that jail ultimately did teach him a few life lessons.
“I learned a whole lot while I was inside. You get a lot of time to yourself to think and go over the mistakes that you made in life and then you come home and try to right your wrongs. It was a kind of a learning curve for my kids that this is what can happen even if you are successful. One wrong decision, one bad night can end you up in a position you never thought you’d be in. It was a good thing for them to see and learn what can happen. Usually bad things start out as fun. I can use that to teach them how things go in life.”
Atkins’ oldest daughter, Brittany (he has three children with wife Aisha) is at Hampton University now, majoring in Psychology, so some of the life lessons he’s taught have stuck.
“To me, this is the final reward for all the work I’ve been through and everything that I’ve achieved in my life. That’s what I worked so hard to accomplish to get the little ones to college and get them on their way. So I think I’m doing a good job.
36 photos Launch gallery
1. Remy Ma
1 of 36
2. Bobby Shmurda
Source:Bobby Shmurda Instagram
2 of 36
3. Apollo Nida was just sentenced to 8 years in prison for fraud.
3 of 36
4. Darren Sharper is currently on trial for rape in several states.
4 of 36
5. Justin Bieber has had some trouble with the law in the past for marijuana possession, drag racing and a number of other crimes.
5 of 36
6. Ja Rule spent two years in prison for gun possession and tax evasion.
6 of 36
7. Joseline Hernandez has spent some time in jail for prostitution prior to her Love & Hip Hop fame.
7 of 36
8. Nene Leakes was charged with shoplifting in her early 20's.
8 of 36
9. Chris Brown is currently in jail for violating his probation.
9 of 36
10. Lindsay Lohan
10 of 36
11. Wesley Snipes was convicted and spent some time in the big house.
11 of 36
12. Ron Isley spent time in jail for tax evasion.
12 of 36
13. Foxy Brown's numerous probation violations landed her in the slammer for a year (76 days in solitary confinement).(AP)
13 of 36
14. A drunk Shia Labeouf was arrested for trespassing at a Walgreens. The store was closing and he refused to leave. (AP)
14 of 36
15. OJ Simpson
15 of 36
16. 50 Cent was arrested on drug charges and spent 6 months in an incarceration boot camp and earned his GED while there. AP
16 of 36
17. Lil' Wayne served a year at Rikers for illegal gun possession & performed suicide watch with at-risk inmates. (AP)
17 of 36
18. Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for peeing on the Alamo in San Antonio. He bragged about it & got a 20 yr. ban from the city. AP
18 of 36
19. T.I. spent 11 months (the last time) in jail for probation violation. He is on the straight and narrow again. (AP)
19 of 36
20. Martha Stewart was found guilty of insider trading and spent 5 months in federal prison & 2 years of supervised release. AP
20 of 36
21. Gucci Mane has been in jail several times; drug possession, assault and probation violations. (AP)
21 of 36
22. James Brown was sentenced to 6 years in 1988 for not stopping his car in a police chase.
22 of 36
23. Nicole Richie only spent 82 minutes of her four-day sentence in jail for a DUI due to overcrowding in the system. (AP)
23 of 36
24. Boy George got 15 months for chaining a male escort to a wall (without his consent) in his flat during a photo session.
24 of 36
25. Lil’ Kim was at the very peak of her career when she was charged with conspiracy and perjury charges. She got 1 year & 1 day.
25 of 36
26. Michelle Rodriguez has been in & out of jail four times: DUI, hit & run, probation violations, driving without a license.
26 of 36
27. Meek Mill was sentenced to 2-4 years for violating his probation and driving dirt bikes in NYC.
27 of 36
28. Kiefer Sutherland was charged with misdemeanor drunk driving in Los Angeles and spent 48 days in jail. (AP)
28 of 36
29. Robert Downey Jr. spent 4 months in a LA jail and a year in prison for drugs and probation violations. He is doing well now.
29 of 36
30. A hairdresser cashed an unauthorized check and Mystikal gave her a choice; jail or sex (not legal) and he got six years. (AP)
30 of 36
31. Christian Slater was sentenced to three months in jail for assaulting his girlfriend & the man who tried to help her.
31 of 36
32. Actor & comedian Tim Allen spent over two years in prison for cocaine possession (before he found fame). (AP)
32 of 36
33. A drunk Edward Furlong was arrested for “freeing” a tank of lobsters in a Kentucky grocery store. (AP)
33 of 36
34. Michael Vick spent 21 months in jail for financing a dog fighting business. He is out and doing well. Go Mike! (AP)
34 of 36
35. Suge Knight was indicted by a grand jury for threatening death to director F. Gary Gary in August of 2017.(AP)
35 of 36
36. Lauryn Hill served 3 months in prison for not paying federal taxes of $1.8 million from 2005 to 2007. (AP)
36 of 36