Whether it’s their reputation for being Disney channel wunderkinds, their banter on social media, or just for debatably being the cutest identical twin celebrities since the Olsen era, the Sprouse twins Cole and Dylan have dominated the spotlight for the better part of the new millennium.
Though occasionally ducking out of the limelight – for example, both boys completed undergraduate degrees (in video game design and archaeology respectively, both from NYU, both with honors) – the brothers are back in action on the small and silver screens, with Cole starring as Jughead in the Netflix Riverdale series, and Dylan acting in the indie film Carte Blanche (to be released this year).
It’s generally thought that the two brothers side-stepped the common curse of the child star – whether it’s rebelling against Hollywood, turning to partying or substances, or a brush with the law. However, despite their wholesome facade, the brothers have undergone some experiences that may put a bit of a stain of their pristine reputation.
Here are 16 Secrets You Didn’t Know About Cole And Dylan Sprouse.
16. Cole’s relationship with Lili Reinhart
Like many actors, it seems the slightly younger Sprouse sibling is falling into the familiar trap of dating your co-star. To make matters more complex, it appears Cole is dating Lili Reinhart, who portrays Betty on Riverdale, and whom Sprouse’s character, Jughead, is currently dating on-screen.
The couple has been spotted vacationing in Hawaii together, though they are careful not to post incriminating photos proving their relationship. Sprouse remains tight-lipped about the matter, as well, holding fast to an earlier statement that he is “one of those guys that’s never ever going to talk about [his] private life with the public sphere. [People] can talk about the Jughead as much as they want but when it comes to the personal relationships, [he has] spent much of [his] life separating work and play so [he] will continue to do so.”
15. Dylan Cheated On His Ex
Hot off the heels of Cole’s dating drama, it’s clear that his brother has had his own ride on a romantic rollercoaster as of late. It’s common knowledge that Dylan Sprouse dated model Dayna Frazer for a whopping three years (pretty impression by both celebrity and early twenties standards).
However, recently cheating allegations have emerged, stemming from a Instagram story Frazer posted – a selfie of her crying face, and the caption: “When you find out your bf cheated on you lol.”
Fans were outraged by the information, and Sprouse eventually took to social media himself to respond to the charge. He wrote: “This is complicated and it will remain complicated, but those who know me and who have known me, know well enough what kind of person I am. And that is all.”
Not much of a defense.
14. Cole Suffers From Depression
Cole has recently spoken out about his struggles with mental illness in a sit-down interview with Duan Mackenzie (who is coincidentally enough, a close friend of Dylan’s ex, Dayna Frazer). He claims that his interest in photography started from his battle with depression, as a way of coping and finding an outlet for the sadness. He is a passionate and emotive photographer, and he claims that his journey to grapple with his own mental health contributed to his exploration of the art form.
Sprouse says of the practice: “It heals you know, a hobby. There’s no bandaid like a hobby.”
Wise words for anyone who may be struggling with their own mental health. Sprouse admits to some destructive habits when dealing with depression, but claims the photography has done a lot to help heal him and bring him to terms with the illness – and it’s good he has, because his work is really inspiring. He keeps an Instagram account of his pictures that can be found here.
13. Dylan’s controversial beliefs
Dylan Sprouse went on Northern Runes Radio to discuss his belief in Asatru, an historically controversial religion that is based on Northern European Gods. Asatru is essentially a dressed up term for modern day heathenry in the United States – it’s also known interchangeably as Odinism.
Though the movement technically spans the political spectrum, there is a trend to accumulate followers on the political far right – including white supremacists. There are specific subsets of the religion that adhere to such extremist and discriminatory beliefs, such as “Wotansvolk”, which is categorized by its white nationalism and ethnocentric belief system.
Founder David Lane’s believed he was predicted by the Bible to be connected to the uprising of the anti-Christ. Rest assured Sprouse don’t espouse any of the racially derogative beliefs associated with Asatru, but it is a tetchy institution founded largely in a white-focused and dominant mindset.
12. Cole Had A Bad Breakup With A Non-Celeb
Before venturing into dating his Riverdale co-star, Cole Sprouse dated non-celeb Bree Morgan, a fellow New York University student he met during his studies there. It seems that Sprouse really committing to the normal guy routine during his undergraduate degree, and seemed to thrive out of the spotlight.
His relationship with Morgan started in 2013 until they broke up in 2015. They both shared a love for video games and posed for many an adorable social media picture together. However, the relationship was not destined to last. Perhaps because of the fame factor – it’s clear Sprouse is rising star, and attempts of having a “normal” life are no longer in the question.
The reason for the breakup is not entirely known.
Sprouse himself has apparently thrown some shade Morgan’s way, once captioning a picture of a broom on his Instagram with, “Hope you had fun burning the only bridge in town. I’ll sweep up the ashes” – though popular opinion maintains he left her.
11. Cole’s trouble with reality
The Truman Show is a popular dystopian comedy with Jim Carrey, in which he lives in an isolated world designed entirely for and around him. Eventually he becomes self aware, and tries to break free of the manipulated environment.
Cole Sprouse claims to feel some kinship with Truman’s struggle in the film.
When the Sprouse boys finally ended their Disney channel tenure on the Zack and Cody franchise, Cole felt like he wasn’t entirely sure what was real and what was perpetuated fabrication for his benefit. It seems like a lot of child stars have a rough time dealing with growing up in Hollywood, and he is no exception.
Growing up playing a character for so long had a serious impact on his psyche, and it was a big reason why he decided to take a break from acting to explore who he was through academia and other passions.
10. Cole Doesn’t Want To Work With Dylan
Despite the fact that Cole Sprouse’s character, Jughead, actually has a storyline in the Archie comic books in which he has an almost identical cousin (named Souphead because) Cole maintains that Dylan will never appear on the show. In fact, he has stated that he does not want him too, and Dylan wouldn’t want it either.
Cole presumes that the addition of his twin would “break the fourth wall” and excite too many diehard Zack and Cody, which isn’t in the interest of Riverdale’s intregrity. Cole remains somewhat disinterested in the plight of many fans who – contrary to the twins’ belief – think that the addition of Souphead would be a perfect element in the Riverdale world.
To those who call for it, Cole dismissed it, and simply stated: “People want to see us on screen together again, and that’s fine. That’s flattering, I guess.”
9. Dylan’s Leaked Photos
It’s not entirely clear who leaked the photos or who Dylan sent the images to, but the damage was done immediately. In 2014, when Dylan was 21, revealing photos of him posing in his bathroom were posted on the internet. The phto was obviously intentional – it was a posed selfie, clearly sent to a blossoming romantic interest. They left nothing to the imagination, and many longtime Sprouse fans were delighted by the embarrassing revelation.
Sprouse spoke out about the pictures almost immediately, owning responsibility for the turn of events, saying: “I messed up… but I’d be a fool not to own up to it. Got to move past it I suppose.” Both he and his brother had some fun with the event. Cole barbed Dylan about the room conditions, saying: “cold in that bath-room, huh?”
8. Cole Sprouse Disses Fans On Instagram
Obviously, if someone has been following the career of the Sprouse brothers – from The Suite Life or, potentially even before, from Cole’s turn as Ben in Friends or from their shared breakout role as Julian in Big Daddy – they’d be more than excited to spot one of the brothers on the street, and eager to snap a pic to memorialize the event. Unfortunately for them, Cole Sprouse is having none of it.
Whenever he sees a fan try to sneak a photo, he calls them out by taking a photo himself of them taking the picture of him (very meta) and posts it on a separate Instagram he created, called camera_duels. The account has 3.5 million followers and 51 call-out pictures of fans who were trying to sneak a memento of a favourite celebrity.
The pics are usually accompanied by a scathing caption, such as: “I should have guessed by the denim bedazzled devil’s lettuce ball cap that the wearer wouldn’t have the subtlety to pull off a proper camera duel.” Ouch.
7. Dylan Photoshopped Blackface Onto His Girlfriend
Back when Dylan Sprouse was dating ex-girlfriend and model Dayna Frazer, he posted a photo of her on his Instagram (Women Crush Wednesday on a Tuesday, apparently) that depicted her a considerably few shades darker than she normally appears. He even captioned the photo “My African Queen.”
People justifiably reacted negatively – or at least confusedly – to the photo.
It’s clear from the original photo that his ex-girlfriend Dayna Frazer is, in fact, not a person of color, so it’s unclear why Sprouse thought it was appropriate to alter the photo that way – and, more than that, to caption it with the racist sentiment. Presumably, he thought it was funny, but it’s obvious that the joke was in bad taste
6. Cole Did A Bizarre Tumblr Experiment
In September 2012, Cole Sprouse launched the Tumblr account “coletureconcept”, in which he encouraged fans to be open and honest with him on the platform, and ask any questions that they wanted. Sprouse marketed the blog vigorously on his own Twitter, and though it started as a platform to showcase his photography, it quickly transformed into its true purpose of answering fan questions.
At first, it was an early installment of the classic Sprouse social media wit, and fans reacted mostly positively to the banter that Cole threw at them. However, Sprouse quickly revealed the whole thing had been a social experiment to see how fans would respond to being observed – and then promptly deleted the blog.
5. Cole Wanted Jughead To Be Ace but Producers Said No
It was established before Riverdal‘s premiere that in the Archie comic universe (more specifically, in the newer Zdarsky renditions) that Jughead was, in fact, asexual and has no romantic interest in women or men. This is something that Cole Sprouse felt was important to bring to the Riverdale narrative in his portrayal of Jughead Jones – he wanted Jughead to be both asexual and aromantic, not only because it was cnaon, but because he felt it was important to showcase that sort of representation.
However, the producers immediately nixed the idea – in fact, Jughead in Riverdale is actively pursuing a romantic relationship.
The compromise, of sorts, is that the character would not be romantic.
4. Cole Sprouse Had A Fight With A Street Performer
While on the Riverdale set in Vancouver, Canada, Cole Sprouse got into a heated discussion with a street performer. The street performer – called Babe Coal – refused to stop busking despite the fact that the production had a permit to film there.
Cole Sprouse tried to explain the situation, but things quickly got out of hand.
Sprouse lost his cool, and accused the performer of being a “scam artist”, getting incensed when she demanded compensation for being forced to move. Not only did Babe Coal speak out against the handling of the situation by both Vancouver police and the Riverdale cast and crew, but she spoke out against Cole Sprouse personally, saying, “Cole Sprouse acted like a spoiled brat and tried to bully me with his popularity. He has no idea that his actions make him look bad not me.”
3. They Left The Suite Life Because Disney Refused To Collaborate
Despite Cole Sprouse never missing a single day of work in eight years, it seems that after their lengthy tenure, Disney steadfastly refused to negotiate with the twins creatively as the progression of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.
Dylan opened up to Vulture about the conclusion of their time on the Disney show, and commented that both he and Cole had very strong ideas about where the show ought to go – and were excited by the prospect – but when they approached Disney head honchos with their ideas, they were met with a firm negative.
Dylan expressed his feeling that Disney was never willing to heed creative feedback from the two stars, and after such a long time on the show (158 episodes – and making $40,000 an episode at that), it seemed only appropriate to let it go and move on with their lives. Luckily, their break from the spotlight wasn’t permanent.
2. They Got Into Acting To Pay The Bills
It’s not that the twins weren’t absolutely destined for fame – it’s just that the decision was made before they could make it themselves. The brothers were born in Italy and spent the first few months of their lives there – but when it was time to return to the U.S., their mother needed a way to make ends meet, so she decided to get the infant Sprouse twins into acting.
It was a great way to pay the bills – and it’s lucky the twins seem to actually enjoy the work.
Very quickly they scored their first gig – at only eight months old – which was a commercial for diapers. After that, they continued to work in film, television, and commercials before The Suite Life, with their first big role being the lovable Julian in the Adam Sandler comedy Big Daddy.
1. Dylan’s day job
Most people justifiably assume that after eight years on a popular Disney channel show, making $40,000 an episode, plus a slew of other commercial, television, and film projects, that losing all that money would be an impossibility. But this may have been the case for Dylan Sprouse post-Suite Life.
Though none of his is confirmed – and denied by Dylan – he did up as a restaurant host in Manhattan when he was 21. Dylan said the job was just a way to “get out of the house” it’s easy to come up with a variety of other options to do that without resorting to restaurant work. He was also spotted as a barista in a New York coffee shop, so at least he was exploring his options in minimum wage work .
Now that he’s returned to acting, it’ll likely be another decade or so before we potentially see a similar recurrence.
Do you have any Cole and Dylan Sprouse trivia to share? Leave it in the comments!
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