In 2013, ex–Disney Channel star Dylan Sprouse turned up behind the counter of a coffee shop in the East Village, pouring lattes and craft beers. It startled more than a few customers.
“I think they were just confused,” Sprouse says. At 25, he retains the wide-grinned mischief of his Disney Channel days, and his lustrous blond hair has grown down to his shoulders. “I was just doing what I impulsively thought I needed to do. And I knew I’d have a great time doing it.” At the time, he felt obliged to reassure his fans, via Tumblr, that he wasn’t struggling or destitute. “People would come up to me and be like, ‘You must have fucked up.’”
Along with his brother, Cole, Dylan Sprouse is best known as one half of the Sprouse twins, the identical-twin duo who starred in 158 episodes of the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, and its spinoff, The Suite Life on Deck, not to mention The Suite Life Movie and the That’s So Suite Life of Hannah Montana crossover special. At the height of Zack & Cody, they were earning a reported $40,000 per episode combined, and on track to be a sibling phenomenon of Olsen proportions.
In 2011, the twins withdrew from the public eye in extraordinary fashion. They quit the Suite Life, and the Disney Channel, and enrolled at NYU — Dylan embarking on a course in video-game design, and Cole studying photography. The two had been an onscreen package deal since they were 8-month-old co-stars in a diaper commercial. For much of their lives, and especially during the seven years of Zack & Cody, their very inseparability and interchangeability have been essential to their collective appeal and identity.
But lately, they’ve forged their own, distinct paths.
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