You probably know Cole Sprouse from his role in "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody." He and his brother Dylan were only 13 years old when the show kicked off in 2005.
But Cole's acting career started much earlier than that. He was only eight months old when he acted for the first time in standout roles include Big Daddy in 1999 and Friends in 2001. Cole and Dylan Sprouse witnessed firsthand what really happens with child stars behind the scenes. Cole opened up to the New York Times about his experiences as a child star.
Cole Sprouse Says His Female Co-Stars Were "Heavily Sexaulized"
Cole doesn't sugarcoat things – he comes right out to say that being a child star often results in trauma. "When we talk about child stars going nuts, what we’re not actually talking about is how fame is a trauma," he said. People don't like to talk about it, but it's something that Cole feels strongly about.
He says many people look at him and his brother and assume they made it out of the child star phase "unscathed," but it's not that simple.
"The young women on the channel we were 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," he explained. "And every single person going through that trauma has a unique experience."
That's why Cole is "violently defensive against people who mock some of the young women" who were on the Disney channel. He says it takes time to recover from the trauma they experienced when they were young, especially as a woman who was sexualized at such a young age.
"And, 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," he continued. "I just think people have an easier time hiding it when they’re older."
Stars like Macaulay Culkin and Britney Spears have spoken up recently about the exploitation of children that happens in Hollywood. Not to mention the countdown clocks that are created for teenage stars such as Millie Bobby Brown; sickos online literally countdown the days until actors are 18 years old so they can speak about them sexually online.