Rider Strong Talks Running Away From Boy Meets World Fame And Why He Didn’t Want To Be ‘Associated’ With The Show

rider strong shawn hunter boy meets world
(Image credit: ABC)

One of the most beloved family-oriented sitcoms of the '90s has to be Boy Meets World, to the point where it came back in the form of Girl Meets World in the 2010s on Disney Channel. However, not everyone at the time was happy with its broadcast network popularity. Rider Strong, who portrayed Shawn Hunter, recently reflected on how he felt about being in the TGIF series during those years, and wanting to disassociate himself from it.

While promoting the new rewatch podcast Pod Meets World, which former star Ben Savage is not a part of, Rider Strong spoke to Insider about his time on Boy Meets World, saying that he'd take any chance he could to leave Los Angeles whenever the show was on hiatus. Looking back on how strongly he tried to distance himself from the TV hit, Strong thinks his actions were “crazy.”

I did not want to be associated with the show, which is crazy to me now. For years in my mid-teens, I didn’t watch the show. Whenever we were down from the show, I literally ran away from Los Angeles and buried my head in the sand.

While he didn’t give a specific reason why he would want to run away from the show's success, it could be due to the fact that Boy Meets World’s popularity skyrocketed in the 90s, and likely brought a huge amount of unexpected and potentially unwanted attention to the young actor. The sitcom was a pretty successful one, to say the least, so to want to not be part of that chaos throughout one's formative years seems reasonable enough. 

Luckily, that’s not the case anymore. Strong was a prominent recurring star on Girl Meets World, and now that he's co-hosting Pod Meets World with former co-stars Danielle Fishel and Will Friedle, he is soaking up everything that he took for granted:

In retrospect, I’m like, ‘That’s pretty bad,’ I should have just been happier and lived in the moment and been proud of the show and been proud of what we were doing. But instead, I don’t know; I had a real chip on my shoulder.

It’s not unusual for a child star like Rider Strong to want to step out of the spotlight that a show like Boy Meets World inspires, but at least he can appreciate those details at this point in his life. The series is still popular to this day, especially thanks to streaming, with fans old and new watching and rewatching the lives of Cory, Topanga, Shawn, Eric, and more. (Nobody's forgetting you, Mr. Feenie.) So it's not like people ever stopped recognizing him.

Will Friedle, who memorably played Eric Matthews, spoke to CinemaBlend in May about the show’s success and how “unbelievable” it is that people still love it. He mentioned how honored he and his co-stars are that they were able to be part of something that “mattered to people.” It’s nice to know that despite Strong not always having shared those same feelings while on the show, he can now appreciate Friedle’s sentiments with his own gratefulness for his time on Boy Meets World.

With a show that connects to fans so much, even 22 years after its end, it’s no wonder that Rider Strong’s feelings changed about the sitcom. Boy Meets World was a staple on the TGIF lineup on ABC, and it will be forever in the hearts of those who grew up with it and are still watching it.

If you want to relive Boy Meets World from the very beginning, be sure to check out the iHeart Radio podcast Pod Meets World with Rider Strong, Danielle Fishel, and Will Friedle as they discuss moments from the series, life lessons, and have special guests.

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.