Cole Sprouse Claims His Mother Forced Him and Dylan to Become Child Actors

Getty | Arturo Holmes

Cole Sprouse is opening up about his experience as a child actor. During a March appearance on the "Call Her Daddy" podcast, the 30-year-old actor said he and his twin brother, Dylan Sprouse, were thrust into the acting business as kids by their now-estranged mother, Melanie Wright. Although they starred in huge projects like "Big Daddy" and "Friends" early on in their careers, Cole claimed their mother had spent all their earnings by the time "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" came around. "My mother was an incredibly wonderful and artistic woman, but she was financially the most irresponsible woman ever," Cole said.

When Cole and Dylan were 10 years old, their father, Matthew Sprouse, was given sole custody of them. According to Cole, Matthew initially wanted his kids to live "normal" lives. However, following his lengthy (and pricey) custody battle with Melanie, he also allegedly began encouraging his sons to continue acting in order to help the family with their financial situation. Because of this, Cole compared getting cast on Disney to getting a "golden ticket" from Willy Wonka. "It was in many ways a life-saving show," he said. "It provided us with an amount of stability and consistency and routine that really was needed for my brother and I at the time."

Still, Cole admitted that he doesn't "regret" getting into acting. "I know that there's definitely resentment, there's definitely some things I have to work through, but no. If I were given the same choice again, I'd probably do it again," he said.

Dylan is also thankful for the opportunities "The Suite Life" gave him. The actor previously looked back on his time on Disney Channel in celebration of the show's 15th anniversary in March 2020. "A lot had happened in our lives that was difficult then and this show, in a way, saved us," Dylan wrote in a since-deleted Instagram (via Us Weekly). "1000 years of gratitude to all involved." He added: "I'll keep those memories forever."

To learn more about the Sprouse family, keep reading for everything we know.

Who Are Cole and Dylan Sprouse's Parents? Matthew Sprouse and Melanie Wright

Cole and Dylan's parents, Matthew Sprouse and Melanie Wright, got married in 1990 and welcomed their sons in 1992 while living in Italy. According to Insider, Matthew and Melanie named Cole after the jazz singer Nat King Cole and Dylan after the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. The couple were teaching at an English-language school in Tuscany when they became first-time parents but moved back to California shortly after Cole and Dylan's arrival. According to BuzzFeed, Matthew and Melanie split when their kids were less than a year old.

Matthew Sprouse and Melanie Wright Had Different Views About Raising Their Kids
Getty | Ron Galella

Matthew Sprouse and Melanie Wright Had Different Views About Raising Their Kids

A few years ago, Cole revealed on Tumblr that his mother put him and Dylan into acting when they were just 8 months old. "I never made the decision to join the arts or acting specifically. And so it was never really my passion," Cole said in a since-deleted audio clip on Tumblr, per Insider.

While their mother reportedly pushed the two into acting early on due to financial reasons, Cole told "Call Her Daddy" that his father apparently wasn't into the idea initially. "[My father] desperately wanted us to be normal kids, and my mother wanted us to be a bit more of a caricature of two normal kids," he said.

In a March 13 interview on podcast "The Diary of a CEO," Cole described his mother as "the tortured artist type" who "struggled" to find her "place in the world." Apart from the fact that his and Dylan's acting jobs helped sustain the family, Cole thinks another reason his mother was so adamant they go into acting is that it helped fulfill an old dream of hers. "I think it satisfied some sort of narcissism she probably had in order to be recognized as this sort of artistic success," he said. "But as time went on, I think the entertainment industry just sort of broke her."

Cole alleged Melanie wasn't responsible with her kids' early acting money and she eventually lost custody of him and Dylan. "When my father was given forced custody, we had pretty much lost everything from the youngest parts of our career. That would be 'Friends' and 'Big Daddy,'" he said on "Call Her Daddy."

Cole became estranged from his mother in adulthood due to everything she put him and Dylan through. "In truth, she lost her mind," he said. "I think it was the consequence of some weird alchemy of addiction and mental instability, and it's probably the greatest wound in my life and also the greatest driving force for my continuing in this industry."

In a March 2020 interview with the New York Daily News, Dylan said that his personal issues at home impacted his school life. "I was not a good kid. And I was always in trouble," he said. "And I was dealing with a lot of stuff at home that I was bringing to school and taking out on other people." However, Dylan said that once he was in a "nurturing environment," he "became a much better person."

How Is Cole and Dylan Sprouse's Relationship With Their Parents Now?

Cole told "Call Her Daddy" that he's become estranged from his mother over the years, and while they don't speak, he says he'll always care about her. "I think if anyone knew the kind of woman she was, they could have said it would have gone the exact same way. I am remorseful in very many ways that she wasn't able to get out of it, but I don't blame her at all," he said, adding that he "misses" her.

Cole shows his love for Melanie on Instagram by occasionally sharing throwback pictures of his mom, and she does the same for him and Dylan on her page. As for their dad, Cole has a good relationship with Matthew. On "The Diary of a CEO," the actor called his dad an "incredible guy" for stepping up and raising him and Dylan following their parents' messy custody battle.

Cole also praised Matthew on "Call Her Daddy," saying he'd always be willing to help his father financially. "I love my father very much. My father put a lot of his life on hold in order to ensure that my brother and I were OK, and I owe him a lot for that," Cole said. "If that comes through financial conversations, then so be it. I want to get my dad the f*cking car he wants. I want to get my dad the house he wants. I want to make sure he's all good."

More Photos of the Sprouse Family
Getty/ Maureen Donaldson

More Photos of the Sprouse Family

Getty/ Ron Galella

Getty/ Albert L. Ortega

Getty/ Jim Smeal/ Ron Galella