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Cole Sprouse Reflects On 'Trauma' Of Childhood Fame And Whether He'd Consider A Suite Life Reboot

Dylan And Cole Sprouse on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody
(Image credit: Disney)

Disney Channel’s The Suite Life of Zack and Cody remains one of the most iconic kids shows of the early aughts, and followed the shenanigans of two identical twin brothers at their home that was the “Tipton Hotel.” Fast forward nearly 14 years since the series ended, and one of the lead stars in Cole Sprouse has reflected on the darker side of huge childhood fame such as his, which he in fact considers “trauma,” as well as whether he’d consider a reboot.

Former Child Star Cole Sprouse Talks Disney Double Standards

Similar to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Cole and Dylan Sprouse found much success in the twin sibling formula early on. The two would trade off characters in everything from Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy to the ABC sitcom Grace Under Fire, until they eventually became stars with Suite Life when the show launched in 2005, when they were 12-years-old. 

But notoriety at such a tender age can prove difficult to break away from in later, more mature years, as has been seen with criticisms leveled at the Olsens themselves, Nickelodeon’s Amanda Bynes, and fellow Disney stars like Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. Speaking to the New York Times, Cole Sprouse was firm that fame indeed takes a toll, but not equally so for male and female child stars, saying:

My brother and I used to get quite a bit of, 'Oh, you made it out! Oh, you're unscathed!' No. 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. 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.

More recently, Cole Sprouse has found renewed popularity playing Jughead on the CW series Riverdale, which has been greenlit for a seventh season. But the now 29-year-old states that adult fame induces “the same psychological effects” that he noticed as a child. The only real difference, in his view, is that adults “have an easier time hiding it.”

In Age Of Reboots, Will Suite Life Of Zack And Cody Return?

Given that Cole Sprouse considers the Disney Channel time in his life pretty traumatic, a Suite Life of Zack and Cody reboot doesn’t sound particularly likely. Yet, it is becoming quite the common practice on Disney Channel. There was the three-season run of Girl Meets World. The That’s So Raven reboot, Raven’s Home, is on its fifth season now. And episodes for a Lizzie McGuire revival were filmed, but it will take Hilary Duff’s intervention for them to actually see the light of day. Cole Sprouse has an altogether different perspective when it comes to Suite Life getting the reboot treatment, though. He said,

I don't think I'll ever return to that. Not that I have a problem with other people doing the reboots thing. I'm just a big believer that if something is beautiful in the past, you should let it stay beautiful. To bring it into the future feels a bit like reheating a really good, fresh meal in the microwave. It would be hard to be in my 30s and go [in a deep growl], 'Zack and Cody are back, man!'

He certainly makes some points. Nevertheless, Cole Sprouse also made it clear that he continues to be involved with Riverdale solely for its “financial stability.” A Disney paycheck for a hypothetical reboot could do the same, but that's not something that the actor is interested in. He did previously say that he can only watch his initial claim to fame if he's “feeling narcissistic” or “drunk.”

C’est la vie. Fans can revisit The Suite Life of Zack and Cody with a Disney+ subscription. Meanwhile, Cole Sprouse’s turn on Season 6 of Riverdale is still airing on the CW, Sundays at 8 p.m. EST, in the 2022 TV schedule!

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.