Warning: The article briefly discusses body image issues.
Taylor Lautner was just 16 years old when he got his big break in the hit movie Twilight.
Taylor, now 31, played Jacob Black in the 2008 movie, which also starred Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as protagonists Edward Cullen and Bella Swan respectively. Eventually expanding into a five-film franchise, the Twilight movies garnered worldwide success, amassing a huge $3.3 billion in total.
In turn, this meant that the cast members found themselves experiencing a new level of heightened fame pretty much overnight — something that ended up having negative effects on some of them.
Last year, Taylor opened up about how his adolescence was hugely impacted by his sudden surge of fame, noting that he was often followed by “thousands” of screaming fans wherever he’d go.
“When I was 16, 17, 18 years old, waking up and trying to just go out for a walk or go on a date, and I've got 12 cars waiting outside my house to follow me wherever I'm going, or you show up to an airport, or anywhere, and [there are] thousands of fans screaming,” he said on Today in January 2022.
“In the moment, it got frustrating because you just wanted to live a normal life,” he went on.
In fact, Taylor revealed that he developed a fear of going outside as a result of the glaring attention.
“I went so many years either not leaving my house, or if I did, you know, hats, sunglasses, and just scared,” he said. “It built up something inside of me where, even if I didn't know it, I was scared to go out. I'd get super anxious to go out. So I just didn’t.”
And things got even more complicated for Taylor when the Twilight era began to die down. Despite his complicated feelings toward his huge amount of fame, the actor had gotten used to being swarmed by paparazzi and fans. So when this got less and less frequent, he couldn’t help but question his popularity.
“When that's taken away from you at all, you start to question yourself and start to be like, Oh, do people not care about me anymore?” he said. “It goes away a little bit. You notice it, and that's the dangerous part, because that can really mess with your mind.”
Now Taylor has opened up about the subject once more, discussing the “resentment” he felt toward his Twilight fame on Today's The Happy Hour radio show this week.
“I was always incredibly thankful, and feel super blessed for what it brought me,” Taylor began.
“But maybe there was a little bit of resentment deep in there, going like, ‘I wish I could have just experienced this part of normalcy,’” he said.
“Now, I wouldn’t change it,” he added. "But I think it needed the growth to get to that place.”
Taylor’s comments come just months after he opened up about the body image issues he endured after shooting the Twilight saga.
Jacob Black, who was notoriously shirtless throughout much of the Twilight franchise, was known for his toned physique. As a result, Taylor was allegedly “forced” to work out “multiple times a day, six days a week” in order to keep his character's chiseled eight-pack.
Sitting down with his wife, Taylor Dome Lautner, on their joint podcast, The Squeeze, in February, Taylor said, “That wasn’t my natural body ... I had to work very hard for it and very, very hard just to maintain it.”
Taylor noted that his strenuous gym routine came to massively affect his perception of his body in real life.
“When I was 16 through 20 years old, starring in this franchise where my character is known for taking his shirt off every other second, no, I did not know that it was affecting me or going to affect me in the future with body image,” he said. “But now, looking back at it, of course it did, and of course it is going to.”
“What happens when you don’t want to see a gym?” he questioned, noting that almost immediately after shooting the Twilight movies, he started “rebelling against” the gym altogether. "You start losing the eight-pack. I started having more normal of a body,” he added.
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