Hollywood may have lost Cole Sprouse once, but he will not be turning his back on the industry again. In a new profile with the Los Angeles Times, the actor opened up about his four-year hiatus while pursuing a college degree, rediscovering his love for acting, and balancing his public and private personas while dating his on-screen Riverdale love, Lili Reinhart.
As the story goes, after growing up as a Disney Channel star alongside his twin, Dylan, the brothers both decided to take a break, go to college, and experience a life they hadn't known before. "I was completely content, at the time, to let the Disney shows exist within this little nostalgic bubble and I was ready to move on," Sprouse told the L.A. Times.
So off he went to NYU, where he challenged himself by studying archaeology, geographic information systems, and satellite imaging because he "fancied testing if I could do something like that."
But as soon as his four-year schooling window was over, his manager called him up, asking for one last pilot season. You know where this is heading — straight to Riverdale High. And the CW show was exactly what Sprouse needed to reignite his passion for acting.
"It's easy to forget, because this industry has so many different sides to it, that the act of acting is an incredibly enjoyable thing," he said. "It's a really empowering thing to do and it's all the stuff on the outside of it — the publicity and the celebrity — which I actually had a problem with."
Admittedly, the fame aspect has become more of a challenge since he started dating Reinhart, which sparked a massive fascination that swells as he continues to use her as his model and muse in his other artistic pursuit, photography, which he shares on his "very curated" Instagram account. Finding a balance between sharing his work and guarding his privacy is "one of those things that I still sort of grapple with, and Lili and I grapple with," he said.
But grapple they must, because their bond has been undeniable from the start. "We legitimately could not stay away from one another," he insisted when questioned about the potential ramifications of dating a costar. What can he say? When you know, you know.
And speaking of less-than-ideal dating situations, Sprouse will continue showing off his acting chops in his upcoming movie, Five Feet Apart, about star-crossed cystic fibrosis patients. His character, Will, is participating in a last-hope drug trial to clear his lungs and the other, Stella, played by Haley Lu Richardson, is awaiting a transplant — but because they are both sick, they must remain at least six feet apart at all times to avoid trading infections.
See the love story unfold when Five Feet Apart hits theaters Friday, March 15.