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10th Apr 2022

Cole Sprouse says childhood fame “is a trauma”, particularly for young girls

Katy Brennan

“What we’re not actually talking about is how fame is a trauma.”

Cole Sprouse has spoken out about child stardom and the sexualisation of his female Disney co-stars at a very young age.

Cole broke into the world of acting as a child alongside his twin brother Dylan, playing the son of Ross Gellar in Friends and securing a lead role in Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy. At the age of 11, the pair went on to star in Disney’s Suite Life of Zack and Cody

Speaking to The New York Times about the pressures that come with being a child actor, Cole said things were often significantly worse for his female co-stars.

“The young women on the channel we were on were so heavily sexualised from such an earlier age than my brother and I,” he said. ‘There’s absolutely no way that we could compare our experiences.”

He also said he gets very defensive when people make fun of the young women who starred on the channel at the time.

“I’m violently defensive against people who mock some of the young women who were on the channel when I was younger. Because I don’t feel like it adequately comprehends the humanity of that experience and what it takes to recover.”

He added: “When we talk about child stars going nuts, what we’re not actually talking about is how fame is a trauma.”

In 2018, Miley Cyrus was one of the ex-Disney child stars to speak out about the pressures she felt at the time, admitting she felt her image was heavily controlled by men in the industry.

“I was put in full hair and makeup, a wig, and told what to wear by a group of mostly older men,” she told Today.

Selena Gomez, who starred in Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place, also revealed that she had done things she wasn’t comfortable with during her time as a young actress.

Cole, now 29, went on to say that as he gets older he still sees the same sort of thing happening in the acting world.

“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…

“I just think people have an easier time hiding it when they’re older.”