Speaking on the Call Her Daddy podcast, Cole – best known for his roles in Friends, Big Daddy, The Suite Life, Riverdale and more – opened up about how financial issues prompted the twins' mother to put them forward for numerous acting jobs at a young age, but that much of the money they earned was spent.
"Both my brother and I went through a lengthy court battle at about 10, and custody was stripped from my mother and given to my father," he said, adding that his dad wanted them to be "normal kids".
Cole went on: "I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this… 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."
"My mother was an incredibly wonderful and artistic woman, but she was financially the most irresponsible woman ever," he continued. "I think it was the consequence of some alchemy of addiction and mental instability, and it's probably the greatest wound in my life."
After the custody battle, Cole said his father re-evaluated the twins' career, using it as an opportunity to regain their financial freedom but also as an anchor to their somewhat chaotic lives. "By the time my brother and I got to the Disney Channel, we were good. It was a huge boon to us," Cole recalled. "It was in many ways, a life-saving show. It provided us with an amount of stability and consistency, and routine, that really was needed for my brother and I at the time."
As for whether he holds any resentment towards his parents for pushing himself and Dylan into acting, Cole said he's understanding of their decisions.
"I think there’s two types of kids within the child acting business. There’s, like the 'thespian children' who choose to do it, and then there’s the working class kids that, in our case at least… I mean it started, really, as a means to put bread on the table," he said. "My parents did not come from too much, and I have now been granted a life of primarily financial stability — and surplus in very many cases — that is the byproduct of working for 30 years and trading my childhood."
"But I don’t regret it at all," Cole added. "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."
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