The Sprouse twins have been acting in diaper commercials since before their 1st birthday, but they really got their start on the show Grace Under Fire, where they shared the role of Patrick Kelly for five seasons. Cole says he doesn’t remember much of his time on the show, telling the New York Post: “I remember being on set and growing up on that soundstage and running around and causing a little bit of mischief. I haven’t watched it at all. I honestly could not tell you what that show is even about.”
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After Grace of Fire wrapped in 1998, the twins scored their first film role as Julian in Big Daddy, where they showed off their comedic chops opposite Adam Sandler.
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Their next big role came as Ben Geller, son of Ross and his first wife, Carol, on Friends. Like Big Daddy and Grace Under Fire, the pair shared this part. Though they only appeared in seven episodes, the show has remained a staple in their careers. It’s been over 15 years since his last episode on Friends aired and Cole told the New York Post he still gets recognized for the part.
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The boys got their big solo break in 2005, when they landed every child actor’s dream: Their own Disney Channel show. They played twins, Zack and Cody Martin, who lived in a luxury hotel on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
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Suite Life was a big hit. The show lasted for three seasons and 87 episodes and, after its conclusion, got a spin-off, Suite Life on Deck.
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Suite Life on Deck, which sees the twins relocated from the Tipton Hotel to a ship — where they study in a semester-at-sea program — was equally successful, also running for three seasons.
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However, the Disney bliss didn’t last forever. They pitched an idea for another spin-off show, which at first, Disney didn’t like, according to a YouTube video Dylan shared in 2013. Later, he said that Disney came back and pitched them what was pretty much the same idea, and the company refused to give the twins producer credits. “Cole and I turned to each other and we basically laughed in their faces and walked out,” he said. “And that was the last meeting we had with Disney.”
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After Suite Life on Deck finished, the twins took a hiatus from acting to focus on their education. Both twins started at New York University in the fall of 2011, with Cole majoring in humanities and archaeology and Dylan studying video game design. They both led fairly normal lives during college; they lived in dorms, and Dylan even worked at a restaurant. They graduated in 2015.
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Cole made his return to acting in 2016 when he was cast as Jughead Jones in Riverdale, the CW’s drama series adaptation of the Archie Comics. “Yeah, it’s fulfilling, and I think that’s the only currency I am looking for right now,” he told ELLE of acting. “As long as it stays fulfilling, I will continue doing it, but the second it stops being fulfilling I’ll leave.”
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Dylan hasn’t made the same sort of leap back into the acting world that his brother has, though he does have projects lined up through 2020 and has expressed interest in working behind the camera.
The twins have returned to the spotlight thanks to their personal lives, too, with Cole dating costar Lili Reinhart and Dylan in a relationship with model Barbara Palvin.
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