Cole Sprouse is not afraid to look within. On the last episode of call her daddyAmerica’s self-proclaimed podcast Founding father Alex Cooper sat down with the Riverdale actor to discuss a variety of topics, including his self-proclaimed mommy issues, his time on the Disney Channel, and, of course, his high-profile love life.
Sprouse, alongside his twin brother Dylan, made a name for himself as a child actor, playing Ross Gellar’s son in Friends and in Adam Sandler’s 1999 film Grandpabefore landing their breakout role on the Disney Channel Original Series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. After taking a hiatus from his acting career to attend college, Sprouse returned to the limelight in the CW drama that unwillingly succeeded. Riverdale, who completely revamped his acting career. While appearing on the podcast, Sprouse reflected on her upbringing and how her early experiences and relationships impacted her outlook on fame and love. (He also lit a cigarette about 4 minutes into the podcast, which is already getting the same treatment on Twitter and will most likely be an extremely difficult smell to get out of Cooper’s Loop loveseats)
The Sprouse twins were born in Arezzo, Italy, but their parents divorced before they were two years old, and the boys subsequently moved back to the United States. While Sprouse’s mother was the first to have the twins play, her own mental health issues and inability to manage their finances ultimately led to their father taking sole custody of the boys. While Sprouse called his father his best friend and described their enduring bond, the actor acknowledged that his mother’s personal demons led to the demise of their relationship, which remains incredibly strained today.
“Truly, she lost her mind,” Sprouse said. “I think it was the consequence of a strange chemistry of addiction and mental instability. It’s probably the biggest injury of my life and also the biggest driving force for me to continue in this industry.
Sprouse also told Cooper that her early bursts of fame with the Disney Channel were a “golden ticket” for their family financially, but seriously affected her ability to trust and be emotionally vulnerable in relationships. He described an encounter at age 14 when he lost his virginity to a stranger, which he says started him down a path to serial monogamy.
“As I got older, what I really tried to unpack was the distinction between my public and private life,” Sprouse explained. “My public life has been a waste of showing off my awkward teenage years and all that kind of stuff to the world, and I think it’s a total natural consequence of my upbringing to feel a little nervous about vulnerability and connection when it comes to romantic partnerships.”
One of Sprouse’s most public relationships was with his Riverdale costar and on-screen love interest, Lili Reinhart, who played Betty Cooper. The two first confirmed their romance in 2017 but announced their split in January 2020. While Sprouse initially called her split from Reinhart a “mutual” decision, pressure from Cooper – in the form of his bullshit appeal – led him to admit that the two did “damage” to each other emotionally and that he was the one who ultimately left the relationship. He also opened up about how having to keep working together impacted their split.
“I think the work became difficult because it was difficult to put on hold everything that we felt for each other. And it didn’t give us the distance to really overcome that. I know we both did quite a bit of damage to each other… we’re good friends now, which is great,” Sprouse said. “But to be honest, when you’re in a relationship that long and someone leaves, it’s not like someone is like, ‘What?!’ It is not a surprise.
But throughout the episode, Sprouse maintained that even with all the twists, he wouldn’t change anything in his life.
“I have a very complicated relationship with the public, which is how much I let them in and how much I don’t let them in,” he said. “A lot of things probably should have been done differently in the past, but that’s who I am and it made me who I am now. So I don’t regret it too much.