Taylor Lautner is looking back on the fame he experienced while starring in the Twilight film franchise.
During a sit-down interview on Today on Thursday, the actor reflected on being thrust into the spotlight at 16 years-old and the attention that followed while starring in the five-film franchise as Bella Swan’s friend and werewolf Jacob Black. The films were adapted from Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novels and cultivated a dedicated fandom, grossing over $3 billion at the box office. Amid the film’s success, Lautner explained that the fame would become overwhelming and he couldn’t “live a normal life” without being followed or recognized.
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“Not many things in life can come and happen overnight. Fame can. It also can disappear overnight. 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 had 12 cars waiting outside my house to follow me wherever I’m going or show up to an airport or anywhere, and you have thousands of fans screaming,” he told Jason Kennedy.
Lautner even admitted that for over 10 years he wouldn’t go to a grocery store, movie theater or mall out of fear of being recognized. When he finally visited a grocery story, he explains “It felt like freedom.” “I went so many years either not leaving my house, or if I did, hat, sunglasses, and just like, 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.”
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The final film in the Twilight franchise, Breaking Dawn: Part 2, released in 2012 and Lautner went on to star in Scream Queens but the level of attention died down. As the level of fame subsided, Lautner admitted he realized how quickly everything can go away.
He explained, “In the moment, it got frustrating because you just wanted to live a normal life. But then 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?’ When it goes away a little bit, you notice it, and that’s the dangerous part because that can mess with your mind.”
After taking time away from the spotlight and acting, Lautner said he feels “so much better today than I have in the last 4-5 years.” He credits his fiancée for being “a large part” of guiding him to where he is today. Though he quipped that his fiancée was a “diehard Team Edward fan” when the Twilight films were released, “I converted her,” he joked.
When asked if the “fame was worth it,” Lautner shared that years ago he would’ve wished he hadn’t gone through it but his perspective has since changed: “If you ask me now, now I say ‘no.’ I am happy because of what it’s taught me. It’s made me who I am right now and for that I’m thankful.”
Lautner is set to star alongside Kevin James in the film Home Team streaming on Netflix on Jan. 28.
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