The real story behind I Still Believe

20 October 2020
The movie is based on a tragedy, yet it is a story about hope and love too.
Jeremy Camp and KJ Apa I Still Belive

Imagine finding the love of your life and getting married at the age of 23, only to lose your wife a few months later to ovarian cancer, who was only 21-years-old at the time. It is, unfortunately, what happened to Christian music star, Jeremy Camp, shortly after he married Melissa Henning in 2000.

The first song he penned after she passed away shares the title of the memoir he wrote about his harrowing experience, I Still Believe, which has been adapted for the big screen.

"It’s the most painful part of my life,” says Camp, in an interview with entertainment magazine, People. “I believed that she was going to be healed and we would have this long story together."

The movie

In the movie, Riverdale's KJ Apa takes on Camp's role, and Britt Robertson plays Henning.


Camp admits he was present for most of the of the filming and adds that the movie blew him away because it was so amazing. "KJ Apa asked me a couple of times how I felt and acted in certain situations; he wanted to make sure he was portraying me accurately," he says in a Q&A session with the Redbox entertainment blog.

He adds that the directors, the Erwin brothers, didn't manipulate any emotion and what you see on screen is what happened in his life. "They really did a good job of taking people through my journey and that’s what I felt like watching it with people. People are engaged with this story. There was laughter, there was weeping. It was special, for sure."

Yet, he admits it wasn't the easiest of things to watch. "It brought me back to places I hadn’t been in a long time and it wasn’t easy."

Their relationship and grief

According to People, Camp and Henning met at Bible study in 1999. He found her faith attractive and their friendship blossomed into romance.

They married in October 2000, and she passed away in 2001. Despite being an ardent believer in God, it challenged his faith. "Melissa’s battle with cancer tested my faith massively," he says to Donald Liebenson in the Redbox interview. 

"I was raised in a Christian home and it was an actual raw moment for me. You see it in the movie; throwing my Bible across the room. And then one day I was moved to pick up my guitar and that song just came out. God gave me that song. But it wasn’t like all of a sudden I wrote this song and ‘I’m good now.’ There were still battles, but it was a great starting point in my healing process."

The next chapter

Camp didn't get stuck in his grief and eventually, opened his heart again to South African-born Adrienne Liesching, also a Christian singer-songwriter. The pair married in 2003.

"The most exciting thing about the movie for both Jeremy and I is having it shown in so many different countries and, of course, as soon as I got the list of the countries I looked to see if SA was included, because though I’ve lived away from home for 19 years I am still a South African," Adrienne says in an interview with local news website, Herald Live.

She says she was deeply touched and inspired by her husband's first marriage.

"I was blown away by their story of faith, and how strong both were, and it touched me deep into my heart. The biggest thing I’d love people to take away from the movie is that there is hope even in the midst of the hardest time."

We highly recommend to keep a box of tissues next to you on Sunday while watching the movie. See I Still Believe, our Sunday night movie on 25 October at 20:05 (CAT) on M-Net channel 101.

If you miss any of these movies on M-Net 101 you can always Catch Up on DStv.

Join the conversation online, find us on Twitter (@MNet),  Instagram (@mnettv), and Facebook (@MNet) using the hashtag #MNet101.

Featured image: Jeremy Camp and KJ Apa attend the premiere of Lionsgate's I Still Believe on 7 March 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo: Getty Images)