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Twilight’s Taylor Lautner Explains Downside To Fame And Anxiety About Leaving The House

Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black running after wedding invitation in Breaking Dawn Part 2
(Image credit: Summit)

A decade ago it really seemed like you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about the Twilight franchise, whether it be merch from the movies or teenagers talking up their favorite characters - were you Team Edward or Team Jacob? If fans felt the presence of the best selling book series turned film franchise in their everyday lives, I can’t even imagine what kind of pressure the stars of Twilight felt in the height of its popularity. The newly engaged Taylor Lautner has now opened up about the downside of fame and the anxiety he had about leaving his house.

Taylor Lautner recently appeared on Today (via The Hollywood Reporter) and spoke about what it was like becoming famous so quickly after he first started playing Jacob in the Twilight franchise and how the fame affected the actor. Lautner was only a teen himself at the time, and couldn’t really go anywhere without attracting a ton of attention. This is what he said, in his own words:

Not many things in life can come and happen overnight. Fame can. It also can disappear overnight. When I was 16, 17, 18 years old, waking up and trying to just go out for a walk or go on a date and I had 12 cars waiting outside my house to follow me wherever I’m going or show up to an airport or anywhere, and you have thousands of fans screaming.

Taylor Lautner had been in the business previously, and was a child star you may recognize as one of the titular characters in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3D, among other projects. Twilight was a worldwide sensation, though, and it’s reasonable to say that Lautner had never experienced fame of that magnitude before. 

Being one of the main characters of the franchise, Taylor Lautner appeared in all of the Twilight films, spanning over the course of 4 years. After the Twilight hype died down, though, Lautner’s time in the spotlight seemed to dissipate more so than his co-stars, both Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson moving on to other significant films and having enviable careers

In the same interview, Taylor Lautner explains the relief he felt once he was out of the media’s gaze and was able to go to the grocery store without the anxiety that he had previously felt when leaving his house. He explained that it was liberating no longer having to worry about attracting a lot of attention, saying:

It felt like freedom.I went so many years either not leaving my house, or if I did, hat, sunglasses, and just like, scared. It built up something inside of me where, I didn’t know it, but I was scared to go out. I’d get super anxious to go out. So I just didn’t.

Even though Taylor Lautner talks about relief of no longer feeling anxious about the media hounding him when he went out, there was a downside too. Apparently going from intense fame to being able to leave your home with no one there to follow you around can mess with your head a little. Here’s what he said, exactly:

In the moment, it got frustrating because you just wanted to live a normal life. But then when that’s taken away from you at all, you start to question yourself and start to be like ‘oh, do people not care about me anymore?’ When it goes away a little bit, you notice it, and that’s the dangerous part because that can mess with your mind.

It sounds like the Twilight star went through quite the range of emotions in the past decade or so, his career winding down the last few years. It may be that he is stepping back into the limelight a little bit, because he just acted alongside Kevin James in Home Team where the two coach a football team, which just released to Netflix for streaming today and marks Taylor Lautner’s first film in over 5 years. It remains to be seen whether this new film will mark a heavier return to films, but I can’t wait to see what his future holds.