All Research

I Still Believe: History vs. Hollywood

KJ Apa
Born: June 16, 1997
Auckland, New Zealand
Jeremy Camp
Born: January 12, 1978
Birthplace: Lafayette, Indiana, USA
Britt Robertson
Born: April 18, 1990
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Melissa Henning
Born: October 7, 1979
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, USA
Death: February 5, 2001 (ovarian cancer)
Gary Sinise
Born: March 17, 1955
Blue Island, Illinois, USA
Tom Camp
Shania Twain
Born: August 28, 1965
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Terry Camp
Nathan Parsons
Born: June 16, 1988
Adelaide, Australia
Jean-Luc La Joie
Abigail Cowen
Born: March 18, 1998
Geneva, Florida, USA
Adrienne Liesching
Born: July 12, 1981
Birthplace: Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Questioning the Story:

Was the real Jeremy Camp involved in the making of the film?

Yes. While researching the I Still Believe true story, we discovered that singer/songwriter Jeremy Camp was closely involved in the making of the movie. In fact, the film is based on his memoir I Still Believe, published in 2011. The book offers a more in-depth look at Camp's life, including his childhood, the loss of his first wife Melissa Henning, and his relationship with God.

During an interview with WAY Nation, he described being present for the filming of some of the hospital scenes. "It was not easy," said Camp. "The hospital brings back bad memories for me. At one point, I literally was watching a hospital scene and I broke down. I left."

Jeremy Camp's biography 'I Still Believe' was the basis for the movie.

How did Jeremy Camp meet his first wife Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp?

"First time I met her, we were at a Bible study, I remember, and doing worship," says Camp of the real story. "I looked up [while playing] at one point, and there she was, just raising up her hands, just singing, like, abandon. 'No one else is around me. I don't care who's around me. It's me and Jesus right now.' And that's what kind of attracted me to her ... she has a relationship with Jesus. And that kind of was the start of me going, 'Okay, who is this girl?'" At the time they met in 1999, Jeremy was 22 and Melissa 20. They began hanging out and fellowshipping together and grew closer. -WAY Nation

Jeremy Camp and first wife Melissa Henning while they were dating (center). KJ Apa and Britt Robertson portray Camp and Henning in the movie (foreground).

Does KJ Apa sing in I Still Believe?

Yes. Despite some hesitation, KJ Apa recorded his own vocals for the film. Five of the songs he recorded are featured on the I Still Believe Soundtrack. "I'm super uncomfortable when I sing," Apa told People magazine. "I went into the studio in Nashville - I did that first before we shot anything - and I think that really gave me perspective on the film." It also helps that Apa has his own offscreen band, The Good Time Boys.

Of KJ Apa's versions of his songs, Jeremy Camp said on the red carpet, "It was so different because he sounds a lot different than I do, but I think because he did it in his style and his way, he put his whole heart into it. So you actually can feel it. I wasn't disappointed at all, because I felt like it was authentic to him, and it made it feel real. So the songs actually came out still feeling emotional, still feeling raw, and it was good."

Did Jeremy Camp and Melissa Henning ever break up in real life?

Yes. According to the I Still Believe movie true story, Camp says that he and Melissa had ups and downs in their relationship, like every couple. "There came a point where, you know, we kind of broke it off, and I was devastated, 'cause I thought she was 'the one'." He said that he waited about two weeks and then decided he was going to tell her he loved her. Upon telling her, she replied, "Yeah, I can't tell you that right now." Months went by and Jeremy had begun to feel that things were over.

It's true that Camp's mentor was Jean-Luc La Joie from the band The Kry, but unlike the movie, La Joie wasn't also in love with Melissa. "Another friend who was a Bible study leader was the one in love with Melissa, not my mentor in music," Camp told The Federalist. "But in the film, they couldn't add another character, so they had to condense that aspect into Jean-Luc. When I asked him, he said, 'Of course it's okay!'" To learn more about Jean-Luc, watch the video How I Still Believe Changed the Love Triangle.

Left: Actors Britt Robertson and KJ Apa in the film.  Right: Jeremy Camp and his wife Melissa Camp on their honeymoon in 2000.

Did Jeremy and Melissa get back together after he learned she had cancer?

Yes. "Long story short, I got a phone call from a friend," says Camp. "They're like, 'Hey, Melissa is in the hospital. She has cancer,' and so I went down to visit her, and I walked in, and [similar to the movie] she said, 'Jeremy, I've been sitting here thinking. If I die from this cancer, but if even one person gives their life to Jesus, then it's all worth it.'" Camp said that those words had an enormous impact on him, that if she was able to bring even one person closer to Christ, then her life was all worth it. Their love for each other was quickly rekindled. "I just knew that she was the one for me, and she felt the same way." They ended up getting married, and according to Camp, had "an amazing, beautiful wedding." -WAY Nation

What type of cancer did Melissa have?

Melissa Henning was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2000 during her time apart from Jeremy. By the time it was discovered, it had already spread throughout her whole abdomen, including all of her major organs and was in her liver.

Were Jeremy Camp and Melissa Henning married on the beach?

No. In real life, Jeremy and Melissa were married in a church on October 21, 2000. They sang together at the wedding as Jeremy played guitar.

Jeremy Camp and Melissa Henning on their wedding day, October 21, 2000.

Was Jeremy Camp's father really a pastor?

Yes. The I Still Believe true story reveals that Jeremy's father, Tom Camp, who is portrayed by Gary Sinise in the film, is the pastor at Harvest Chapel in Lafayette, Indiana, the city where Jeremy was born. Tom is the one who taught Jeremy how to play guitar. He is also the one who married Jeremy and Melissa.

Did Jeremy Camp's first wife's cancer go into remission?

Yes. "Things were looking better," says Camp. "She went through the chemo during our engagement." It was at that time that she lost all of her hair, but he says that through it all, she emanated such joy and love for the Lord. Like in the film, Melissa went to see the doctor when they got back from their honeymoon because she had been experiencing stomach pain while they were away. The doctor told her that the cancer had returned and that she had weeks to months to live. -WAY Nation

Jeremy Camp and Melissa Henning after her cancer diagnosis and the start of treatment. Actors KJ Apa and Britt Robertson as the couple in the I Still Believe movie.

How long were Jeremy Camp and Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp married?

Married on October 21, 2000, Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp succumbed to cancer three-and-a-half months later on February 5, 2001. She was 21.

Did Jeremy Camp ever struggle with his faith?

Yes. For example, KJ Apa's character throwing his Bible is taken directly from the I Still Believe real story. "I would read about how God healed in the Gospels and I would throw my Bible across the room," Camp told CCM Magazine. "I questioned whether God is a loving God. In frustration I would say, 'I don't want to share in your faithfulness because I don't think you are faithful.'" Camp says that he held his belief in Jesus close to him, but he also had unbelief too. "It was a journey, for sure," says Camp. "It wasn't easy - a lot of grieving, a lot of anger, a lot of just, confusion, but God was there every single step" (WAY Nation).

Singer/songwriter Jeremy Camp and actor KJ Apa.

Did the emotional scene where Jeremy Camp's father encourages him happen in real life?

No. In the movie, Camp's father, portrayed by Gary Sinise, offers encouragement to his son after his wife Melissa passes. While the scene in Camp's boyhood bedroom is fictional, Camp said it is "almost like all the things that my dad did and said, it is all summed up in that moment." -WAY Nation

When did Jeremy Camp write the song "I Still Believe"?

"That was two weeks after she went to be with Jesus," Camp said of when he penned his hit song "I Still Believe". He said that he wrote the song "Walk by Faith" while Melissa was sick, when they were on their honeymoon, which is depicted in the movie. Actor KJ Apa does his own singing in the film, including the song after which the film is titled. The songs sung by KJ Apa are featured on the I Still Believe Soundtrack, including "Find Me In The River", which was also featured in the movie's trailer.

Is Jeremy Camp an ordained minister?

Yes. After graduating from high school, Camp went to Bible college for two years at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta, California, earning an associate degree in theology. He would later become an ordained minister.

Did Jeremy and his first wife's story impact the life of his second wife, Adrienne Liesching?

Yes. South-African born Adrienne Liesching (pictured below) had been the frontwoman of the Christian pop-rock band The Benjamin Gate. She met Jeremy while on tour in 2002. According to Jeremy, Adrienne approached him and told him how much his story had affected her. She reminded him of what his late wife Melissa said after being diagnosed with cancer, that if she was able to bring at least one person into the arms of Jesus, then everything she had gone through was worth it. Adrienne told him that she was one of those people who had been touched by Melissa and his story. "She had been struggling and not doing well," Jeremy said of Adrienne, "just really having a hard time, and God used our story to minister to her. So that's how we, in the film, kinda like, we meet." -WAY Nation

Top: Jeremy Camp and his second wife Adrienne Liesching on their wedding day, December 15, 2003.  Bottom: Jeremy with Adrienne and their kids, Isabella "Bella" Rose Camp, Egan Thomas Camp, and Arianne "Arie" Mae Camp, in June 2019.

With the release of the I Still Believe movie roughly two decades after Melissa Camp's passing, her story and legacy will continue to inspire millions, including those who might have never heard of Jeremy Camp. The movie itself is a continuation of the fulfillment of her dying wish, that if one person is inspired to discover Jesus because of her story, then it was all worth it.

"Still to this day, I thank the Lord that He has allowed me to see fruit from Melissa's life," said her mother Janette Henning, "that He has allowed me to see answers to her prayer that her life would glorify Him in a mighty, huge way. Just that Jeremy continues to tell her story, I think every time he's onstage or almost every time he's onstage, he carries that with him, that if one more, you know, one more, only one, that he will continue to tell the story so one more comes to know Jesus.

And I get to hear about the thousands, if not millions of people, that have come to know the Lord through his music, through him sharing Melissa's testimony, through the impact her life had on his. I mean, I absolutely believe that music could not have come out of him without the horrific pain that he went through. He's a great singer, and he would have written great songs, but that kind of music and that kind of heart only comes out of brokeness and pain. He willingly walked through that, and so, God gives me that gift of being able to know that thousands have come to know Him and to hear about Him and to worship Him, [which] would delight her."

Jeremy Camp Interviews & Related Videos

Learn more about the I Still Believe movie true story by watching the interviews, music video, and behind-the-scenes featurette listed below.

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