Cole Sprouse recently talked about his childhood and his rise to fame as a child actor on the Call Her Daddy podcast.
Before The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Sprouse and his twin brother Dylan were in the American sitcom Friends and the 1999 movie Big Daddy. The Suite Life of Zack and Cody was where they became famous. The Riverdale star said that his mother, Melanie Wright Sprouse, “made money” from the roles he played as a child. He also said that he and Dylan worked to put food on the table every day:
“I think there are two kinds of kids in the business of kids acting. There are kids who choose to do it, like those who want to be actors, and there are working-class kids who, in our case at least…” He kept going:
“I mean, at first, it was just a way to put food on the table. And let my mother be a mother at the same time, but make her main focus and job our careers.”
Melanie Wright Sprouse had problems with her mental health and with drugs. Before she lost custody of Dylan and Cole Sprouse, she is said to have spent all the money they made from Friends and Big Daddy.
Cole Sprouse said that his father wanted him and his brother Dylan to be “normal kids,” but he also saw their acting careers as a good way to make money. He compared getting The Suite Life of Zack and Cody to getting a “golden ticket”:
“It was like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket… It was a great way to get to the goal.”
He said that the Disney show gave him and his brother “a certain amount of stability, consistency, and routine” that they needed after the custody battle.
Cole Sprouse also said that he and Dylan didn’t get the attention that their female Disney co-stars did:
“I think my brother and I were lucky in a lot of ways, especially because we were young boys. When we were younger, Miley, Selena, and a lot of these other girls were all the rage on the Disney Channel because they were so sexualized, which is another huge f***ing problem.
He went on: “My brother and I went through a lot of the same things, but we weren’t under as much scrutiny, which I’m very, very thankful for.”
But Sprouse also said he was “an angry kid” and saw how being a child star often turned into “elected trauma”:
“Being famous and successful and having too much or too much extra money in a single generation is, in many ways, an elected trauma.”
The former Disney star said that he has a different view of his fame as a child actor, but that he doesn’t want to “discredit” the experiences of other actors.
“Because many of those kids came from well-off families. “You know, I find that it’s easier to complain about how a bigger studio does business when you don’t need the money as much.”
Cole Sprouse said that he doesn’t “regret” being a child star “at all” because it gave him a stable and prosperous life now. He said that he would probably do it again if he had the same choice.
What is known about the parents of Dylan and Cole Sprouse?
Dylan and Cole Sprouse were born in Arezzo, Italy, to Melanie Wright and Matthew Sprouse, two Americans. Jonine Booth Wright, the twins’ maternal grandmother, was reportedly an actress and drama teacher. She persuaded their parents to let their sons try acting.
When Dylan and Cole were four months old, their parents reportedly moved their family to Long Beach, California, where Matthew and Melanie grew up. Melanie is said to have forced the twins to act in commercials almost right after they were born because the family needed money.
Cole Sprouse said in a now-deleted Tumblr post that he would not have become an actor if it weren’t for his mother:
“When my brother and I were 8 months old, our mother put us in plays because we needed money. I never decided to go into the arts or acting in particular. And I never really wanted to do it. If she hadn’t pushed me into it, I probably wouldn’t have thought of it as a career option for myself.”
Sprouse said that his parents were “part of a school slash cult” on his most recent appearance on the Call Her Daddy podcast. He said that he couldn’t “really figure out what it was,” but he did say that his mother was an art teacher and that their father was a physical education teacher.
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