Cole Sprouse’s Relationship History Is Proof That Therapy Works

“I should have exercised a bit more selfishness,” the actor admitted in a recent interview

Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse attend the premiere of Lionsgate's 'Five Feet Apart'
Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse attend the premiere of "Five Feet Apart" at Fox Bruin Theatre in Los Angeles

Anyone who’s ever wanted to try talk therapy got a free session this week from former Disney star Cole Sprouse, who unleashed the inner-workings of his emotional growth since his tumultuous childhood upon podcast host Alex Cooper of Call Your Daddy. The 55-minute episode starts at the very beginning — Cole and his twin Dylan were born in Tuscany, Italy, where their parents were teachers and also maybe in a cult — and winds its way through the highs and lows of Sprouse’s professional and personal life, including his storied breakup with former Riverdale castmate Lili Reinhardt in 2020.

Across the room from Cooper, in a tastefully unbuttoned top with rolled sleeves, Sprouse lounged like a millennial Freud on a plush, white loveseat, waving an indoor cigarette and flawlessly dissecting his own “mommy issues,” why all of his exes have cheated on him and what it means to grow up a Disney star with a Prince Charming complex who’s really just a “sinful, dirty, little hairless ape like the rest of us.”  

Sprouse, who identified as a serial monogamist, said he’s jumped “from long-term relationship to long-term relationship” since he was a teenager, with the only notable exception being his first time having sex, at 14. The incident involved a random girl on a beach who was “DTF” (gag) and agreed to come up to his hotel room for a rousing 20 seconds of pleasure. The two — and this may come as a shock — never saw each other again.

While Sprouse indulged in plenty of fanciful therapy jargon throughout the episode, his “self-work” and inward reflection really does appear to be working, and his insights about past relationships were refreshingly enlightened. The 30-year-old acknowledged how his childhood stardom and his strained connection with his mom contributed to his trepidation about being vulnerable with romantic partners. As a consequence of his not being able to open up, he said he’s been “emotionally cheated on” by every single one of his previous partners, and once physically cheated on, too. 

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“I’ve come to terms with my own inability to be emotionally vulnerable over time,” he told Cooper. “I literally don’t blame any of my partners for anything that’s happened. Ever. Ever ever. It takes two to tango in any relationship that you’re in and anyone who points the finger and blames the entirety of the miscommunication on them [is] probably not doing the self-work.”

As for Reinhardt, whom he dated for a few years while making Riverdale, he said they stayed together longer than they should have because he was trying to make other people happy. “If I had loved myself a little more I probably would have left a little earlier,” he said, noting that it was impossible to have a clean break when working 14-hour days, six days a week together. “I probably should have exercised a bit more selfishness in that relationship.”

His current girlfriend of two years, on the other hand — who is surely reaping the benefits of his commitment to his own emotional interrogation — has shown him “what real compatibility and trust looks like,” giving him the space to make meaningful progress professionally and even find sobriety. Sprouse might have thought his poster child days were over, but it looks like the Therapy Generation just gained a new spokesperson.

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