Actor Cole Sprouse has opened up about the 'trauma' of being a child star after rising to fame with work on Friends and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
Now 29 years old, Cole is currently starring in the role of Jughead Jones in the CW and Netflix show Riverdale, but he has recently admitted he started acted when he was so young that he 'hadn’t actually attempted, as an adult, to think about if [he] really enjoyed performance'.
Cole assured he does 'very much love the art of acting', but explained he has a 'complicated relationship with celebrity culture' as he reflected on his childhood during an interview with The New York Times.
Together with his twin brother, Dylan, Cole was working as actor from when he was an infant and all the way throughout his childhood, starring in films such as Big Daddy and as Ross's son Ben in Friends before securing the role of Cody in Disney's The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, as well as its spinoff and TV movie.
Cole reflected on how he and his brother used to be told they had made it through the experience of child stardom 'unscathed', but the actor argued he and Dylan could not compare their experiences to 'the young women on the channel [they] were on', in apparent reference to Disney Channel.
Cole continued: "[The women] 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. And every single person going through that trauma has a unique experience. When we talk about child stars going nuts, what we’re not actually talking about is how fame is a trauma."
The 29-year-old described himself as being 'violently defensive' against anyone who mocks some of the young women who worked on the channel, because he doesn't feel like it 'adequately comprehends the humanity of that experience and what it takes to recover'.
Cole went on to admit to noticing the 'same psychological effects' of fame now that he's older, but suggested people 'have an easier time hiding it when they’re older'.
The actor has most recently starred in the lead role for the HBO Max film Moonshot, in which he plays a college student who takes a trip to Mars alongside fellow passenger Sophie (Lana Condor) in an attempt to reach another girl on Mars he's convinced could be 'the one'.