Cole Sprouse began acting when he was just 6 months old, but being a child actor hasn’t been fun and games.
“When we talk about child stars going nuts, what we’re not actually talking about is how fame is a trauma,” Sprouse told The New York Times in a candid interview.
The 29-year-old explained his defensiveness over criticism of child actors spiraling “out of control,” especially those mocking the experiences of young women.
“The young women on [Disney Channel] were so heavily sexualized from such an earlier age than my brother and I that there’s absolutely no way that we could compare our experiences.”
Sprouse, with his twin brother Dylan, gained fame on Disney Channel’s “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.” They began their professional acting careers as infants and turned into stars, which left them feeling burned out by 18. Cole and Dylan shared roles in “Grace Under Fire” and Adam Sandler’s film “Big Daddy.” Cole can also be recognized as Ross Geller’s son Ben on “Friends.”
“My brother and I used to get quite a bit of, ‘Oh, you made it out! Oh, you’re unscathed!’ No,” the “Riverdale” actor told the Times.
After graduating from New York University with a degree in archaeology, Sprouse wanted to quit the industry but promised to do one more round of auditions. That’s when he booked the role of Jughead Jones on “Riverdale.”
“I started acting when I was so young that I hadn’t actually attempted, as an adult, to think about if I really enjoyed performance,” Sprouse said.
“To be quite honest, as I have now gone through a second big round of this fame game as an adult, I’ve noticed the same psychological effects that fame yields upon a group of young adults as I did when I was a child.”
Sprouse added he thinks people have an easier time hiding it as an adult.
His latest role is in the HBO Max rom-com “Moonshot,” starring alongside Lana Condor.