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Who Plays Ben On Friends & What Other Big Roles Has He Landed?

By the emotional series finale of "Friends," there are quite a few additions to the group, including the newborn adopted twins of Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) and Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), and Emma Geller-Green, daughter of Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) and Ross Geller (David Schwimmer). However, one youngster holds the title of being the first child born to one of the core six: Ben Geller, son of Ross and his ex-wife Carol Willick (Jane Sibbett).

In early seasons, Ben is played by Michael Gunderson, followed by twins Charles Thomas Allen and John Christopher Allen. Then, from Seasons 6 to 8, when Ben is a bit older, Cole Sprouse takes on the role. Sprouse appears in seven episodes of "Friends," including Season 7, Episode 16 ("The One with the Truth About London"), which sees Rachel teach Ben how to prank Ross.

Sprouse might not have a huge presence on "Friends," but that doesn't mean his resume is lacking major roles, from Adam Sandler's "Big Daddy" and Disney Channel's "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" to the CW's "Riverdale."

Adam Sandler always had confidence in the Sprouse twins

The 1999 comedy "Big Daddy" marks the big screen debut of Cole Sprouse and his twin brother Dylan Sprouse, who take turns portraying Julian "Frankenstein" McGrath, the adopted son of slacker Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler), who will go to any lengths to show his girlfriend Vanessa (Kristy Swanson) that he can be responsible.

Though the brothers were only 6 years old at the time, Sandler believed they were something special. He told Access Hollywood, "I knew what those kids were capable of, then they were Ross Geller's [David Schwimmer] son. I set the table for the kids to hop on 'Friends.' That was the one thing that Jen [Aniston] said when I first met her, 'Please break in the children for us.'"

"Big Daddy" catapulted the Sprouse twins' career, but also helped support their financially-struggling family. According to Cole Sprouse on Alex Cooper's "Call Her Daddy" podcast, his mother Melanie Wright, who he is now estranged from, was irresponsible with her sons' early earnings. This is why, he said, their next major gig was extremely important.

The Suite Life of Zack & Cody was a hit, but don't expect a reboot

Three years after his stint on "Friends," Cole Sprouse reunited with Dylan Sprouse for the hit Disney Channel series "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody," which follows the antics of Cody Martin (Cole Sprouse) and Zack Martin (Dylan Sprouse) at the Tipton Hotel, where their single mother Carey Martin (Kim Rhodes) is a lounge singer.

Around the same time, their father Matthew Sprouse won a costly custody battle against Melanie Wright, which meant their Disney earnings were much-needed. Cole said on the "Call Her Daddy" podcast, "It was in many ways a life-saving show.."

"The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" was a hit among viewers, with the show expanding to include "The Suite Life Movie" and the spin-off series "The Suite Life on Deck." However, as early 2000s shows like "That's So Raven" and "Zoey 101" make resurgences, Cole Sprouse doesn't see himself stepping into the shoes of Cody ever again. He told The Buzz, "I think to take something that's beautiful and nostalgic, and then to sort of reopen that and bring it to modern criticism, it's a dangerous thing."

Cole Sprouse didn't think Jughead would be a fan favorite on Riverdale

In 2023, Cole Sprouse is set to part ways with his most recent major role: Jughead Jones on The CW's "Riverdale," which is ending after seven seasons. Over the years, the show's narrator and best friend of Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) has become a fan-favorite character — something Sprouse never anticipated when he took on the role.

In an interview with Wired, Sprouse said, "I didn't think Jughead was gonna be too strong of a presence on the show. The pilot was kind of a story between the love triangle characters — Betty [Lili Reinhart], Archie, and Veronica [Camila Mendes] — and Jughead was a silent observer. But he was also the narrator, and I thought that was gonna be a bit more of the role. But as the show got picked up, my character's presence increased, and now it's like the four amigos."

Beginning in 2017, the on-screen romance between Jughead and Betty, known as "Bughead," carried over into the real world when Sprouse and Reinhart got together. But in 2020, they called it quits. On the "Call Her Daddy" podcast, Sprouse explained how difficult it was to go through the breakup while still seeing her every day on set. However, he said they're now good friends and were able to work well together to complete the series.