Former Disney Channel actor Cole Sprouse defends ‘heavily sexualized’ female child stars

If you grew up on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel in the early 2000s, the Sprouse twins were part of your everyday television viewing. But Dylan and Cole were put in front of the camera way before their Disney days, appearing in movies like Big Daddy (1999) and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (2001). Friends fans will also remember Cole Sprouse for playing Ross Geller’s young son Ben.

Dylan and Cole are clearly no strangers to the spotlight, as both have gone on to scoop up notable roles over the years. For Cole’s part, he currently stars in one of the most popular shows on TV right now, The CW’s Riverdale. But when looking back at his time as a child star, Cole feels the idea that he and his brother came out “unscathed” is a little unfair. He spoke with The New York Times (per Entertainment Weekly) about what fame can do to a young person, specifically young girls.

The Friends alum says he can’t compare his experience to other young people because everyone goes through different things. So when people commend him and Dylan for not creating controversy or going through public meltdowns as other former child stars have, they’re not seeing the big picture.

Cole Sprouse talks trauma from fame as a child star

“My brother and I used to get quite a bit of, ‘Oh, you made it out! Oh, you’re unscathed!’ No,” Cole stated. “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. And every single person going through that trauma has a unique experience.”

Cole shared why he gets so defensive of young female stars, saying:

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

The Suite Life of Zack & Cody actor also went on to explain that fame at any age can be very traumatic, adding:

“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.”

Countless female child stars have been picked apart in the media over the years, and Disney Channel actors are a huge example of that. From Miley Cyrus to Hilary Duff, to Demi Lovato and Raven-Symoné, the public ridicule many young celebrities experience is just awful. We’re happy Cole is speaking up in defense of these talented actresses.