Child Star Claims Disney “Heavily Sexualized” Female Actresses

in Entertainment, Movies & TV

The cast of 'The Suite Life of Zack and Cody' on luggage carts at The Tipton

Credit: Disney

Cole Sprouse, former Disney child star, recently expressed his gratitude for his childhood acting career on the Call Her Daddy podcast and indicated how his experience differed from those of his female co-stars.

cole sprouse abc popcorn interview
Credit: ABC

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For millennials who grew up watching Disney Channel in the mid-2000s, you might be familiar with Sprouse (and his twin brother Dylan Sprouse) as one of the titular characters of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. For any Riverdale fans, you may know him as Jughead Jones.

Cole Sprouse in Riverdale
Credit: The CW

Sprouse and his brother have had an impressive career for their age, starring in Big Daddy (1999) and having a recurring role in a few episodes of the iconic sitcom series Friends, all before age ten.  Although, Sprouse reveals that those weren’t their choices but rather their mother’s decision due to financial issues.

“My parents did not come from too much,” stated Sprouse. The actor also explained the difference between his mother and father on the podcast. Melanie Wright, the mother of the Sprouse twins, saw acting as an opportunity to make income for their family. While their father, Matthew Sprouse, had a different philosophy on life and didn’t want their sons to take their careers too seriously. “He wanted us to be normal kids,” added Sprouse.

This conflict between the two parents and Wright’s spending habits eventually led to a custody battle before the twins even made it to the Disney Channel.  Sprouse opened up, claiming it was the first time sharing this information, about living with his brother and father in the back of a family’s house after losing most of their money due to their mother’s financial irresponsibility. This was why landing The Suite Life at the age of thirteen truly was a life-saving experience.

THE SUITE LIFE OF ZACK AND CODY, Dylan Sprouse, Ashley Tisdale, Brenda Song, Cole Sprouse, (Season 1), 2005-08, © Disney Channel / Courtesy: Everett Collection
Credit: Disney Channel

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“Money,” said Sprouse without beating around the bush, was the biggest reason why the show changed his life. After a year, he was able to buy a house and rebuild what his mother had taken from him.

Even though Sprouse enjoyed his time at Disney, he did briefly mention that the young female actresses on the channel were “heavily sexualized” compared to the boy stars. He mentions names like Miley and Selena, referring to the stars of Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place, stating that their experience is a whole other conflict altogether.

And when asked if he still keeps in touch with his former co-stars of the Disney Channel, Sprouse honestly admitted that most of the stars grow up and no longer stay in touch with each other.

Listen to the Call Her Daddy podcast on Spotify to hear the full interview.

Do you think most child stars grow up to have mental health issues? Let Inside The Magic know in the comments below. 

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