At the time, the publication listed the various jobs that Sydney had worked as a teenager to help her family pay the bills; including cleaning restaurant bathrooms, babysitting, and leading tours at Universal.
“I watched my parents lose a lot. We filed for bankruptcy, and they lost their house back home on the lake. We couldn’t afford life in LA,” Sydney added in the interview.
But when she was asked about Universal in subsequent interviews, she was suspiciously cagey and deflective about her old job.
During an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Kelly asked Sydney about working at a theme park, and Sydney replied: “I was a huge theme park person, my family and friends would go to Universal all the time.”
She then added that she had “memorized” the studio tour and could “recite” the entire script — an anecdote that she repeated during her Hot Ones appearance last month.
When host Sean Evans asked the star if it was true that she used to work as a tour guide at Universal Studios, Sydney hesitated before listing the bills that she had to pay as a teenager and explaining how working helped her learn how to budget.
She then parroted what she’d previously said about being able to recite the tour script due to her love of Universal, and then said: “I was there for a little bit, and then actually booked Sharp Objects.”
By this point, people were dubious about Sydney’s employment history, with former Universal Studios tour guides coming forward to debunk her claim. Commenting on the Hot Ones clip, one person wrote: “Hi, another tour guide here! Can confirm, after a very deep dive, that she was never a guide.”
“Tour guide here! She was never a tour guide, we fact checked. But thanks for the shout out Sydney 🥰” another echoed. As suspicion grew, somebody else claimed: “she started coughing after the lies.”
“Looking at all the interviews that mention it (women’s health and Kelly Clarkson) Sweeney never ACTUALLY CLAIMS to have been a tour guide, she just doesn’t correct anyone,” one more noted.
While others were just intrigued by the star’s apparent commitment to the bit, with a comment reading: “idk anything ab her but i’m so invested in this tour guide lie 😭 like what would make you lie ab that that’s too funny.”
Then, TikToker Taylor Hancock went viral when he stitched the Hot Ones video and insisted that Sydney was lying. In the clip, which has been seen more than 1.5 million times and has racked up tens of thousands of likes and comments, Taylor said: “It’s not true, she’s lying.”
“I have worked for the Universal Studios tour department for many years,” he continued. “I don’t know why she’s choosing to kind of fib about this, but Sydney Sweeney has never been a Universal tour guide.”
Adding that Sydney’s claim is “verifiably false,” Taylor detailed how difficult it is to get a tour guide job as “it’s not just a summer job that any teenager can get,” he also acknowledged that it was “an odd thing to lie about.”
However, the Hollywood Reporter has come to Sydney’s defense and verified that, actually, everything that has been claimed about her past job role is true. According to the publication, Sydney was hired by Universal Studios Hollywood on June 12, 2016.
But Sydney ended up leaving the job just over one month later after booking an acting role — meaning that she may not have actually led a tour with the general public due to Universal's rigorous training guidelines.
According to the publication, Sydney attended an orientation shift and a training shift before leaving, but there is no clarification on if she progressed after that — which would explain why other tour guides weren’t aware of her employment.
It also sheds some light on why the star has been dancing around the topic in interviews — after all, while Sydney was hired and trained to be a Universal Studios tour guide, she may never have actually been one in practice.
Sydney has always been incredibly open about the financial hardships that her family faced when she was growing up and trying to get her big break in Hollywood.
And she has been just as candid about money since finding fame, shocking fans in 2022 when she revealed that she doesn’t have enough money to take a six-month break from acting, and breaking down exactly how her earnings are spent.