Cole Sprouse Got Real About Why He Was A Child Actor & It's Pretty Sad

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images/The CW
Before Cole Sprouse was playing the iconic Jughead Jones on The CW's Archie Comics adaptation Riverdale, he was a child actor. He famously appeared as Ross Gellar's son Ben on Friends before launching his Disney Channel career opposite his twin brother Dylan. However, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody star didn't necessarily catch the performing bug early in life: In a Reddit AMA, Sprouse admitted that his early work was mainly about making money for his family.
Sprouse took a six-year break between the end of his Suite Life spin-off, Suite Life on Deck, and Riverdale, opting to attend NYU rather than dive back into the Hollywood scene. When a fan on Reddit asked about the transition, the TV star got candid about why he pursued acting in the first place.
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"I think many young celebrities from my upbringing face a similar dilemma: Acting was, for a long time, a means to keep my family alive financially," Sprouse responded during the AMA.
"[Being] that I was put into it before I made a conscious decision to pursue [acting] out of passion, the only definition I had for the artform was a business/survival definition. It affected every aspect of my involvement: my ability to improve talent-wise, my care, my choosing projects, etc. That until I took a large break for re-definition of that artform, I couldn't possibly return."
The actor added that playing Jughead reawakened that passion:
"Now it's much more enjoyable, and Riverdale is so much fun to be a part of. Now it's passionate."
Sprouse isn't the only star to admit that their acting journey began as a means to make money for their family. Famous In Love star Bella Thorne told MTV's podcast Happy Sad Confused that she originally auditioned for Disney Channel series Shake It Up! in order to help her family financially.
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"We were about to live physically on the street if I didn't have that role [on Shake It Up!]," Thorne admitted to podcast host Josh Horowitz. "We were living off Stouffer's coupons, and that's all we had to eat every day. That may not sound like a big deal to everybody, but when you're a single mom raising four kids with debt and you have nothing to your name, it's fucking shitty."
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