The 29-year-old began his acting career when he was just 6 months old, but he and his twin brother, Dylan Sprouse, shot to fame after starring in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody between 2005 and 2008 and its sequel series, The Suite Life on Deck, between 2008 and 2011.
Addressing his experience with childhood fame during an interview with The New York Times, Sprouse said, “My brother and I used to get quite a bit of, ‘Oh, you made it out! Oh, you’re unscathed!’ No.”
Though he expressed his belief that every child actor endured “unique” trauma from fame, Sprouse added that his own experience didn’t compare to his female counterparts.
“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,” he said. “And every single person going through that trauma has a unique experience.”
“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.”
Starring in the hit CW series Riverdale since 2017 and claiming the lead role in HBO’s Moonshot, Sprouse says that the “psychological effects” of fame in adulthood are similar to his experiences as a child.
He added that the real difference was that, “People have an easier time hiding it when they’re older.”