Cole Sprouse opened up about the toll fame takes on child actors in a new interview.
The Riverdale star began his career at a young age, appearing in the Adam Sandler film Big Daddy alongside his twin brother Dylan.
The pair then landed their own show on the Disney Channel aged 11, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.
Speaking with The New York Times on Monday (4 April), Sprouse defended other child stars who had faced public scrutiny as they grew up.
“When we talk about child stars going nuts, what we’re not actually talking about is how fame is a trauma,” he said.
The actor, who most recently appeared in the new HBO Max rom-com Moonshot, said that he could not compare his experience to young female stars.
“The young women on the channel we were on [Disney Channel] were so heavily sexualised from such an earlier age than my brother and I that there’s absolutely no way that we could compare our experiences.
“So 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.”
After The Suite Life and all its spin-offs ended, the Sprouse twins took a break from the acting world to study at New York University. Since then, both have returned to screen roles, with Cole most notably starring in the hit CW series Riverdale.
Sprouse said that after Riverdale exploded in popularity, he noticed the same effects of fame on the show’s cast he had witnessed as a Disney Channel star.
“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 said. “I just think people have an easier time hiding it when they’re older.”