Cole Sprouse Opens Up About Being Forced Into His Career as a Child Actor

Cole Sprouse and his twin brother, Dylan Sprouse, began their acting careers at just 8 months old. During the early years of their acting career, they appeared alongside one another in several films and sitcoms – such as Big Daddy (1999), Grace Under Fire (1993-1998), and The Master of Disguise (2002)

In 2001, Cole Sprouse received his first role without his brother when he appeared in Friends as Ross Gellar’s son. Four years later, both he and his brother received their big break when they were cast as Cody Martin and Zack Martin in the popular Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. 

After three seasons, they were cast in a spinoff series called The Suite Life on Deck – which ran for another three seasons and resulted in a subsequent film. After the series came to an end, Cole Sprouse decided to focus on school and attended New York University with his brother between 2011 and 2015.

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On Wednesday, Cole Sprouse talked about his rise to fame on the Call Her Daddy podcast with Alex Cooper. He had previously spoken about being forced into acting by his financially-irresponsible mother – something he elaborated on in the podcast. While he has resentment, he wouldn’t change anything. 

“Both my brother and I went through a lengthy court battle at about 10, and custody was stripped from my mother and given to my father,” he said of his mother. “When my father was given forced custody, we had pretty much lost everything from the youngest parts of our career. That would be Friends and Big Daddy.”

He went on to call his mother an ‘incredibly wonderful and artistic woman,’ but said her financial woes were a result of ‘addiction and mental instability’ – calling it the ‘greatest wound in my life.’ Luckily, the brothers and their father were in a much better place by the time the Disney Channel came knocking.

“It was in many ways, a life-saving show. It provided us with an amount of stability and consistency, and routine, that really was needed for my brother and I at the time,” he said. Still, acting was never really a passion for him and, unlike other Disney stars, was more seen as a ‘means to put bread on the table.’ 

Cole Sprouse Says There’s Definitely Some Resentment Towards His Parents

In the interview, Cole Sprouse explained how being a child actor robbed him of a normal childhood, but it ultimately granted him ‘a life of primarily financial instability and surplus.’ While he doesn’t regret it, he does feel resentment towards his parents and definitely has ‘some things I have to work through.’ 

Still, he wouldn’t change a thing and would do it all again, if he could. It’s something other child actors might disagree with and something Alex Cooper asked him about – citing the many Disney stars who have talked negatively about their experiences as child actors. He gave quite a mature response. 

“That’s interesting, because a lot of those kids came from privilege. I find that a lot of the [time] it’s much easier to complain about the business approach of a larger studio when you don’t need the money as much,” he said, adding that he came from a ‘working background,’ while others did it out of ‘passion.’ 

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He wanted to be clear that he wasn’t ‘delegitimizing’ what the other actors went through, especially since he and his brother weren’t sexualized like some of the females – like MileyCyrus and SelenaGomez, which he called ‘another huge issue.’ For that reason, he feels that he and his brother were lucky.

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