“Boy Meets World” Star Will Friedle Just Got Seriously Real About Child Stardom And Having To Accept That “You’ve Lived The First Line Of Your Obituary By The Time You’re 17”

Will also explained why some sitcom actors end up “going down the wrong path” after getting used to the “rush” of performing in front of a live studio audience.

In case you missed it, the former child stars of Boy Meets World launched a rewatch podcast back in 2022, and it’s fair to say that they haven’t held back when it comes to sharing behind-the-scenes anecdotes and memories.

Rider Strong, Danielle Fishel and Will Friedle in Philadelphia Phillies baseball jerseys posing together on the field at a game

And in this week’s episode, Will got seriously real about the impact that both sitcom acting and being a child star can have on a person.

Will Friedle wearing a light jacket over a dress shirt, at the iHeartRadio event

The actor, now 47, reflected on living “the first line of your obituary by the time you’re 17,” and also opened up about the addictive nature of performing in front of a live audience each week — and how difficult it can be when that suddenly goes away.

A head shot of Will Friedle in 1993

With Rider absent from the episode due to jury duty, Will and Danielle sat down with actor and musician Leisha Hailey, who was a guest star on an episode of Boy Meets World back in 1996.

Leisha Hailey in a floral dress smiling at an event

“I think so, too,” Will immediately agreed. “There’s the joy of you rehearsing all week and you’re leading up to show night. Then the audience comes in, you feel the energy, and the thing that I always loved was some of the stuff that was getting all the laughs during the week isn’t getting the same laughs from the audience.”

Four cast members sitting on a couch in the living room in a scene from the show

Leisha agreed and said that filming Boy Meets World reminded her “so much of theater,” before admitting to Danielle and Will: “I don’t even understand how you guys let that go. Like, how did you get through that?”

Leisha Hailey playing guitar and singing during her boy meets world appearance

“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 explained. “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.”

Boy Meets World cast in 1996

This prompted Will to open up about the realities of child stardom, saying: “Well, there’s something interesting about knowing, chances are, you’ve lived the first line of your obituary by the time you’re 17.”

Will Friedle age 17

And she went on to reiterate just how blown away she was by Will’s comments about performing in front of a live audience, sharing: “The audience thing is very interesting because from spending one week with you guys, I remember that feeling and how much fun it was.”

Leisha Hailey with Will Friedle on the set of Boy Meets World

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, you can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and find more resources here.

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