In a Jan. 27 interview with his friend Jason Kennedy for NBC's Today show, the 29-year-old actor recalled being thrust into the spotlight as a teenager following fans' borderline obsession with the Twilight franchise. After his breakout as buff werewolf Jacob in the first 2008 film, he avoided grocery stores, malls and especially movie theaters for an entire decade.
"I went so many years either not leaving my house, or if I did, hat, sunglasses, and just like, [feeling] scared," Lautner said. "It built up something inside of me where, I didn't know it, but I was scared to go out. I'd get super anxious to go out. So I just didn't."
At the time he was in his late teens and when he'd try go on a date or even just a walk, "twelve cars would be waiting outside my house to follow me wherever I'm going," he detailed. When he showed up at an airport, there were "thousands of fans screaming."
But after Twilight: Breaking Dawn — Part 2, the fifth and final film in the series, was released in 2012, the noise vanished quite suddenly. While Lautner continued his acting career, with a notable role on the short-lived series Scream Queens, none of his projects sparked the same fervor. That's when he realized, he told Kennedy, that the fame can disappear as quickly as it arrived.
"In the moment, it's like, it got frustrating because you just wanted to live a normal life," he said. "But then, when that's taken away from you at all, you start to start to question yourself and start to be like 'Oh, do people not care about me anymore?' And it goes away a little bit. You notice it and that's the dangerous part, because that can really mess with your mind."
These days, he's prepping for a return to screens with Netflix's Home Team, the film that also stars Kevin James set to begin streaming Jan. 28.
He's also returned to more everyday activities like buying groceries and planning for a future with his new fiancée, Tay Dome.
Raved Lautner of his bride-to-be, who he met following his acting hiatus in 2016, "She was a large part of getting me back to where I am today."