The untold truth of Cole Sprouse

Cole Sprouse launched into the Hollywood acting scene when he was just 8 months old. Paired with his twin brother, Dylan, the boys starred in films like Big Daddy, appeared as Ross Gellar's son on the mega-successful sitcom Friends, and starred as the titular characters on Disney's Suite Life of Zach and Cody, before appearing on the show's spin-off series, Suite Life on Deck.

After the series ended in 2011, the twins were ready to move on from Hollywood and live their lives like normal teens. Sprouse embarked on an acting hiatus while pursuing a college degree, leaving his fame in the wind. However, that all changed in 2017 when he landed the role of Jughead Jones on CW's Riverdale.

The show became a massive hit for the network and the young cast found themselves swarmed with a devoted army of fans obsessed with their lives on and offscreen. The role brought Sprouse newfound popularity, love, and a reignited passion for acting. But, what else has he been up to after all of these years? Read on to find out. This is the untold truth of Cole Sprouse.

He couldn't stay away from Lili Reinhart

When Cole Sprouse began acting opposite Lili Reinhart on Riverdale, there was an immediate connection between the pair. Their characters, Jughead and Betty, became lovers, and the real-life pair would also become closer offscreen. In a March 2019 interview with the LA Times, Sprouse said, "We legitimately could not stay away from one another."

While the couple has struggled with keeping their relationship private from rabid fans obsessed with their love life, the pair has occasionally opened up about one another in interviews and on social media. Sprouse, who is also a photographer, shares photos of Reinhart, who seems to have become a muse for the young actor.

Along with posing for Sprouse's photography, Reinhart also supported her love at his movie premiere for his film, Five Feet Apart, in March 2019. She gushed about the film and Sprouse in this Instagram post writing, "I am so in awe of Cole Sprouse and @haleyluhoo for their work in this film." Aww. Can you say #relationshipgoals?

He took a 4-year acting hiatus to pursue this surprising college degree

When Suite Life on Deck ended in 2011, Cole Sprouse was 18 years old. Everything he had done up to that point had been to support his family, and Sprouse decided he needed to take a break and pursue college. So, the actor and his twin brother, Dylan, enrolled in NYU.

He told the LA Times in a March 2019 interview, "My brother and I were getting recognized a lot. It became one of those things that we realized we had just sort of taken as gospel since we were little kids, and that there was another path through life. …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."

While enrolled in college, Sprouse did absolutely no acting, instead opting to tackle something entirely new: archeology. Sprouse explained to GQ in February 2019, "I went to school and sort of reconciled who I was and tried to find my own little path through the world outside of acting." He graduated with honors from NYU in 2015.

Riverdale re-ignited his passion for acting

After wrapping a hugely successful Disney series and graduating from college, Cole Sprouse was content to pursue an entirely different career outside of acting. He had picked up a love for photography, and was also considering enrolling in grad school to embark on a life in academia.

However, a call from his manager would change everything. He told the LA Times in March 2019, "[My manager] asked me to come back for a single pilot season. I was on this path, but I said 'OK, if I don't book anything, I don't think I want to do acting anymore."

But Sprouse did book something: Riverdale. Soon, Sprouse realized that it wasn't acting that he had a problem with, but it was the publicity and celebrity that comes with fame. In the same interview he explained rediscovering his love for the arts, "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."

If he wasn't acting, he would be a photographer full time

While Cole Sprouse was attending NYU, he became fascinated with photography. The actor, who had previously always been in front of the camera, became infatuated with traveling to places and staying behind the camera to capture life's beautiful moments. Soon, he would begin capturing his beautiful Riverdale co-stars, most notably his on- and off-screen-love, Lili Reinhart; work with fashion magazines like Teen Vogue; and photograph supermodels like Kendall Jenner.

Sprouse told Teen Vogue in March 2017, "Photography is a pursuit that allows you to be very hands-on with what you show people of either yourself or the art you want to make, and acting is kind of the exact opposite. …If you're a photographer, you end up being the raw creative force that allows other people to see what kind of narrative you want to be giving or what kind of art that you want people to see." He went on to tell the mag that if he wasn't acting, he would be a photographer full time.

He is more "zen" about his Hollywood fame now

When Cole Sprouse was living his life as a tween Disney heartthrob with his twin brother, Dylan, he began to grapple with the fame. Being recognized everywhere he went was all the young star had ever known, which is why he set off for college after his Disney career came to a close. The actor shied away from celebrity until he landed a job on Riverdale, and surprisingly, in a world where social media rules all, he's okay with fame now. Sprouse told People in March 2019, "I think [I am] more Zen."

He went on to discuss how the nature of celebrity has changed a lot since his early acting days, pre-social media, and that while some people enjoy building a personal connection with their fans through a curated Instagram profile, he's just not that kind of person.

Sprouse also notes that he's okay with fans recognizing him in public now: "…I've been lucky enough to have roles and been part of projects that have become successful and people see you on the street and go, 'Hey man, you made my childhood.' Or, 'I really love you in this.' And that's kind of the nature of a long acting career…"

He's a big fan of the romance genre

In 2019, Cole Sprouse starred in the teen drama, Five Feet Apart, a film about two teens with cystic fibrosis who fall in love, despite the deadly consequences that can come with being together. While promoting the film in March 2019, Sprouse spoke with People about how he prepared for the role of a teen living with a critical disease, and how he tapped into his romantic side — something that wasn't difficult for him to do.

He explained, "I'm a huge fan of the romance genre. I'm always swept away within that sort of thing." The actor went on to express his love for manga, stating, "I grew up reading Japanese romance manga for young girls — at the time, it was for young girls but I made it my own. So, I've always kind of had this fondness for that genre in general."

Along with his appreciation for the romance genre, Sprouse and the rest of the team behind Five Feet Apart wanted to make sure that the movie was an accurate portrayal of CF, and that it represented a hope for individuals living with the disease.

He doesn't shy away from romantic gestures

Considering that Cole Sprouse is a huge fan of the romance genre, it's no surprise he would be a romantic at heart. The normally private actor opened up about his relationship with co-star Lili Reinhart in a March 2019 interview with Glamour, and detailed a romantic date so perfect, you might think it was a scene written for Riverdale.

When asked about the most romantic gesture he ever did for someone, the actor described taking his girlfriend (Reinhart) on a road-trip date through Canada, and then surprising her with an adventurous ride on a hot-air balloon. Sprouse stated, "Those grand experiences always end up yielding the greatest memories — and the greatest romances."

In October 2018, Reinhart told TeenVogue that she loves going on adventures with Sprouse, explaining, "Truly, adventures. He takes me to places where I'm like, 'How did you find this?' He's made me see these things that I would have never seen otherwise." It's safe to say with romantic memories like that, Sprouse's relationship with Reinhart can only go up from here.

He could have been the next real-life Indiana Jones

When Cole Sprouse enrolled in NYU, he entered the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where students are allowed to design their own major. Sprouse opted to study archeology, rather than pursue his school's prestigious arts program. He was interested in the subject because his grandfather was a geologist, and he thought he would be challenged academically in the field.

As he told the LA Times in March 2019, during his studies, the actor traveled across the world to locations including Germany and Bulgaria, where he participated in and assisted on excavations. While it may sound like he was a real-life Indiana Jones, Sprouse told GQ in February 2019, "You're kind of just an unpaid intern who's washing sediment and emptying the latrine."

Despite the lack of excitement, Sprouse continued to work hard in the field. According to his interview with LA Times, he was working as an archaeological assistant in cultural resource management in an artifact laboratory in a Brooklyn after graduation, with plans to pursue the career even further by enrolling in a graduate program; however, he ultimately won the part of Jughead on Riverdale.

He has mastered the art of the "duel"

Being famous means being in the public eye, whether you like it or not. Along with starring on a series with a cult-like fan following and having to fend off constant inquiries into his love life, Cole Sprouse often has to put up with random people trying to take his picture in public. And the actor had a hilarious response: he photographs them back.

Sprouse quickly became a respected photographer in the industry, and so it's not surprising that he has a good eye for catching fans and paparazzi who are secretly trying to take his image while he's out to lunch or traveling. He created a second Instagram account — which, at the time of publishing, boasts over 5 million followers — with the handle @camera_duels, which he describes in the account's bio as follows: "dedicated to the people out there who secretly take photos of me, and how I take photos of them first. May the fastest camera win."

The account, which Sprouse originally started as therapeutic fun, turned into something he didn't expect. As fans caught on to his posts, they purposely began trying to get caught attempting to take his photo, so they could be posted on his Instagram, as he explained on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in January 2018.

He lost 25lbs to play a terminally ill teen

To say that Cole Sprouse takes his job seriously would be an understatement. To prepare for the role of an ill teen living with cystic fibrosis (CF) for his film Five Feet Apart, he dedicated hours researching the disease, spending time with people living with the condition, and he even tried putting himself in their shoes. He wanted to portray the disease accurately, right down to the physical appearance of the main characters.

Living with CF comes with many physical side effects, like weight loss, so Sprouse decided he would drop 25 pounds to appear more physically authentic to the CF community. He told People in March 2019, "We built this whole nutritional regimen dedicated to embodying the physical limitations of cystic fibrosis. I lost 25 pounds for the role."

The actor went on to explain that he was lucky enough to work with medical professionals trained with cystic fibrosis, as well as patients living with the disease, and that he feels like he has a better understanding of it now.

He's not afraid to go back to his (blonde) roots

If you've been following Cole Sprouse's entire career, then you already know he lived his childhood as a blonde. Flash forward, though, and the actor sports a full head of perfectly tousled black hair as the beanie-wearing Jughead Jones on Riverdale. Sprouse wears the brooding, black-haired Serpent style so well, it's easy to forget all about his lighter roots. So, fans of the hit CW series were shocked when their South Side king dyed his hair in April 2019.

As Cosmopolitan reported, the actor shared an image on his Instagram stories showing off his new hairdo, and fans were losing their minds. The sandy-blonde hairstyle brought back flashbacks to the actor's earlier days on the Suite Life of Zach and Cody, and some fans couldn't tell if he was trying to play a joke on them by switching places with his blonde twin brother, Dylan.

Fans are crossing their fingers and toes, hoping that the change in hair color doesn't mean Sprouse is hanging up his Jughead leather jacket and leaving Riverdale. While it's not clear exactly why he died his hair, he told Popbuzz in March 2019 that he was filming a secret project while the show is on hiatus, so it wouldn't be surprising if the dye-job was for the new role.

He had a crush on Jennifer Aniston while on Friends

When Cole Sprouse was just 8 years old, he landed the role of Ross Gellar's (David Schwimmer) son, Ben, on the hit NBC sitcom, Friends. Interestingly, this was the first role Sprouse did not share with his twin brother, Dylan — in prior acting jobs, they either split the same character, or appeared together as twins.

While on the series, Sprouse interacted with actress Jennifer Aniston, who famously played Rachel Green on Friends – and he fell in love. Sprouse told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show in November 2018 all about his crush after viewing a picture of a specific scene between the pair.

Sprouse told Colbert, "That's when I fell in love with her. …I remember feeling so, so intimidated by my crush on her that I completely blanked and forgot every single one of my lines and she just stared at me and was waiting and one of the crew members, it was one of the cameramen — you guys know who you are — just goes, 'That little boy's got a crush!' Broke me."

Filming Five Feet Apart changed his life

When Cole Sprouse signed up to play the character of Will in the film Five Feet Apart, he was ready to fully immerse himself in the role. In order to fully understand what it was like to live with cystic fibrosis, Sprouse knew he could only gain insight from the individuals who were actually living with the disease. Over the course of production, he became close with a CF patient and activist named Claire Wineland, who sadly passed away shortly after they finished filming.

In a March 2019 interview with VICE, Sprouse talked about working with Claire, grappling with her mortality, and how her death deeply affected him and everyone apart of the film. He explained, "That was still probably the most challenging part about it, and something that changed my life — changed all of our lives. Getting to know people like Claire and knowing, hearing, that the end was near. And knowing that they were responsible for all this work that they may never see."

He doesn't want his brother Dylan to appear on Riverdale

Fans of Cole and Dylan Sprouse haven't seen the twins appear alongside each other on screen since the end of Suite Life on Deck in May 2011. Many have expressed their desire to see Dylan show up on an episode of Riverdale, however, Cole is adamantly against the idea.

As reported by Refinery29 in October 2017, Cole Sprouse made it very clear to Glamour what the chances of seeing an appearance from his brother on Riverdale were: "Absolutely zero. I wouldn't want it, Dylan would never do it, and I think it would break fourth wall too much."

Sprouse's biggest problem with his twin brother appearing on the show was that it would be too unrealistic, saying, "It would be super, super weird and totally not appropriate. I also just don't think Dylan wants to; to be honest, I wouldn't want to either. People want to see us onscreen together again, and that's fine. That's flattering, I guess. But if it's going to destroy the kind of world that we've built [on Riverdale], it's wildly inappropriate."