Why Alyson Stoner Felt "Uncomfortable" Kissing Dylan and Cole Sprouse on Zack & Cody

Alyson Stoner opened up about kissing Dylan and Cole Sprouse on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, saying that the vulnerable situation felt "uncomfortable.”

By Gabrielle Chung Aug 25, 2023 2:42 AMTags
Watch: Alyson Stoner Opens Up on Coming Out

Alyson Stoner didn't have a suite time kissing Dylan and Cole Sprouse onscreen.

The former child star, who made several appearances as the twins' friend Max on Disney Channel's The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, reflected on how they had their "first kiss" on-camera. Looking back, Alyson—who uses they/them pronouns—recalled feeling vulnerable because they said they were unaware of the kissing storyline when they first auditioned for the role and felt obligated to perform the scene.

"Writers and executives might decide to make your character do anything on the next episode and it's assumed that you're going to agree to whatever scripted," Alyson said in a recent episode of their Dear Hollywood podcast. "My first kiss and several of the times I experienced kissing all happened on camera."

Recalling how they had "already booked the role of Max" and filmed a prior episode, Alyson remembered receiving a new script in which their character "had to kiss both twins."

"Did I know that when I auditioned for Max? No," the actor, now 30, continued. "Was I ready for that? No." 

Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Saying that they were under contract as a recurring character with "less clout" at the time, Alyson "didn't want to be difficult" and went through with the scene.

"I felt young and uncomfortable," they added. "I felt like, 'This is part of my job. I chose to act and audition for this project. It's only a character.' So in that way, I justified like, 'OK, I can have my kiss here and then I'll have my own separate first kiss at some point.'"

The Suite Life of Zack & Cody premiered in 2005, when Alyson was 12 and the Sprouse twins were 13. The show ran for three seasons until 2008, with Alyson appearing in six episodes overall. (Alyson also held roles in Disney Channel fan-favorites like That's So Raven and Camp Rock during the aughts.)

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images); Arturo Holmes/FilmMagic

This was not the first time Alyson spoke out about their experience as a child performer in Hollywood. In 2021 op-ed advocating for change in the entertainment industry, the Cheaper by the Dozen star detailed their "harrowing" acting career, recalling that their tween self would often "train for multiple hours, skip dinner, and meet for a late-night rehearsal."

"My body is medically undernourished and chronically stressed, which later will evolve into severe eating disorders, adrenal fatigue and mandatory bedrest," Alyson wrote in People. "The onset of puberty has turned my waist and bust into the main objects of attention and inspection. This will also categorize my career trajectory."

Alyson said they voluntarily checked into rehab at age 17, after stress hit them "like a tsunami."

"I believe everyone deserves to feel safe, comfortable and confident in their mind and body, especially youth who are vulnerable with fewer tools to navigate daily life," Alyson added. "No matter what has happened to you, there is a way to reconnect with yourself and reclaim your story, your voice, and your authority as your own."

E! News has reached out to Disney for comment but hasn't heard back.

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