‘Fame Is A Trauma’: ‘Suite Life’ Actor Reveals the Struggles of a Disney Channel Star

suite life cole sprouse disney channel

Fans of Riverdale or the Victoria’s Secret Angel Barbara Palvin might still be following Cole and Dylan Sprouse closely (since one of them stars on the CW show and one of them is dating the Hungarian model), but most Disney Channel fans will only remember the famous Disney twins for their lead roles in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (2005-2008) and its spin-off series The Suite Life on Deck (2008-2011).

Cole Sprouse, the twin who played Cody, recently spoke to the New York Times about the challenges of being a child star, the likelihood of a Suite Life reboot, and the disturbing treatment of his female co-stars on the shows.

According to the interview with New York Times, “the pair [of twins] worked so tirelessly that they were officially burned out by the time they turned 18”.

“I started acting when I was so young that I hadn’t actually attempted, as an adult, to think about if I really enjoyed performance,” Cole Sprouse said in the interview. Although the actor has now realized that he does love acting since accepting a lead role in the popular CW series Riverdale, he also said that he does “still have a very complicated relationship to celebrity culture.”


Cole Sprouse as Cody Martin and Dylan Sprouse as Zack Martin on ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’ on the Disney Channel. Credit:

“My brother and I used to get quite a bit of, ‘Oh, you made it out! Oh, you’re unscathed!’ No,” the Moonshot actor said when asked by the New York Times about “surviving early stardom”.

Cole Sprouse did make it very clear that the girls he worked with on set, and the other Disney Channel actresses from his time, were very “heavily sexualized” at a younger age than the actors were. “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 said.

Suite of life Zack and Cody Disney channel

Carey Martin, London Tipton, Maddie Fitzpatrick and Mr. Moseby, Arwin Hawkhauser, Zack Martin, Cody Martin and Esteban Ramirez in ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’ (played by Brian Stepanik, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse, Adrian R’Mante, Kim Rhodes, Brenda Song, Ashley Tisdale, and Phil Lewis). Credit: Wikipedia

“When we talk about child stars going nuts, what we’re not actually talking about is how fame is a trauma,” he explained, emphasizing that all of the young actors experienced the trauma (although the actresses faced additional challenges).

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

Even though Cole Sprouse is playing a lead role on Riverdale and just starred in Moonshot alongside Lana Condor (the actress from the To All the Boys films on Netflix), his disillusionment with the acting industry after a childhood with Disney Channel and his observation of his co-stars’ treatment seems to have taken its toll.

suite life disney channel

Brenda Song as London Tipton, Dylan Sprouse as Zack Martin, Cole Sprouse as Cody Martin, and Ashley Tisdale as Maddie Fitzpatrick on ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’ Credit:

“In an ideal world, when Riverdale finishes, I would love to be doing one to two movies a year and photography the rest of the time,” Cole Sprouse mused, implying that he would like to decrease his acting once again. He also mentioned that he might try his hand at directing, since it is “the logical intersection of those two worlds”.

Did you used to watch the Suite Life shows on Disney Channel?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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