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Will Friedle Shares Dark Reflection On Growing Up As A Child Actor

Will Friedle is opening up about the harsh realities many childhood actors face.

On this week’s episode of the “Pod Meets World” podcast, which was launched by “Boy Meets World” stars Rider Strong, Danielle Fishel and Friedle in 2022, Friedle and his co-hosts were joined by “The L Word” star, Leisha Hailey.  

After Hailey asked the show’s hosts how they managed to “get through” life after starring in the massively successful ABC sitcom, Friedle spoke up about how sitcom acting and being a child star can lead some people down the “wrong path.” 

“Boy Meets World” premiered in 1993 and aired until 2000. Friedle, Strong and Fishel were children when the series hit the small screen.

“It’s been a rough 23 years,” Friedle, now 47, said during the Mar. 10 episode. “We joke about it, but it’s easy to see how sitcom actors, especially young sitcom actors, fall into that unfortunate stereotype of drinking or drugs or going down the wrong path.” 

He continued, “Because, as we’ve said so many times, Thursday night you’re somebody and you’re in front of an audience and Friday morning you’re not.”

Friedle then explained how performing in front of an audience “becomes a drug” for some stars. 

“There are some shocks, but you could kind of tell the people that weren’t going to be able to transition as easily. It’s looking for that rush, that audience becomes a drug, and it’s literally gone in one day,” he added. 

The cast of Boy Meets World (left to right): Maitland Ward, Will Friedle, Ben Savage, Danielle Fishel, Matthew Lawrence, Trina McGee and Rider Strong.
The cast of Boy Meets World (left to right): Maitland Ward, Will Friedle, Ben Savage, Danielle Fishel, Matthew Lawrence, Trina McGee and Rider Strong. ABC Photo Archives via Getty Images

Seemingly perplexed by Friedle’s comments, Hailey added, “I never equated it to the rush of the audience, I always thought it must be an age thing. You know, just growing up and then: ‘Who am I?’”

Friedle then doubled down on how difficult it can be to escape the shadows of one’s childhood fame after the success dies down.

“Well, there’s something interesting about knowing, chances are, you’ve lived the first line of your obituary by the time you’re 17,” he said. “You can go off and have a great life, a wonderful life, whatever you want to do, but chances are it’s going to say: ‘Will Friedle from Boy Meets World was killed today by a lion.’”

Leisha agreed, adding, “Yeah, like, your identity is cemented, and you’re trying to either chase it or leave it behind.”

Friedle’s comments come after he and Strong opened up about their controversial relationships with disgraced Nickelodeon dialogue coach, Brian Peck, last month on the “Pod Meets World” podcast.

“Drake & Josh” star, Drake Bell, recently accused Peck of abusing him when he was just a teen in the new bombshell documentary, “Quiet On Set,” which airs March 17 and 18 on Investigation Discovery.

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