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Jacob Elordi Almost Quit Acting After ‘Kissing Booth’ Fame: ‘It Felt Like I Was for Sale’

"I hated being a character to the public," Elordi explained of his overnight success starring in the Netflix tween movie that spawned two sequels.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 02: Jacob Elordi attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Jacob Elordi

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Before “Euphoria,” Australian actor Jacob Elordi was ready to kiss Hollywood goodbye.

The “Kissing Booth” breakout star shared that after filming wrapped in 2017 for the Netflix film, he was between jobs, slept in his car in Los Angeles, and barely had any money. “I wasn’t booking jobs,” Elordi told GQ UK. “I think I had – I don’t know, $400 or $800 left in my bank account – and ‘Euphoria’ was my last audition before I went home for a little while to make some money and recuperate.”

Yet upon release, “The Kissing Booth” met immediate success and eventually spurred two sequels. “Euphoria,” on the other hand, went on to break viewership records at HBO and on streaming platform HBO Max. Being thrust into the spotlight with the 2018 first “Kissing Booth” almost led Elordi to quit acting over the sudden onset of fame.

To GQ UK, Elordi admitted in hindsight it “might sound quite sensitive and dramatic, but I am sensitive and I’m very dramatic. I hated being a character to the public. I felt so far from myself.”

Playing the “bad boy” love interest in the adaptation of young adult novel “The Kissing Booth” led Elordi to also criticize straying from the source material as “bullshit,” pushing for his character to smoke cigarettes like in the book.

“I remember saying, ‘He smokes in the book. I need to smoke. He needs to have cigarettes. He’s a bad boy.'” When Elordi was told that wasn’t happening, “I was like, This is bullshit! I remember going to war for it. I was like, Are we lying to the fucking millions of 14-year-olds out there? This guy smokes nicotine. It says here on page four – look! I imagine people were just like, ‘Jesus fucking Christ. Is this guy serious?’”

And that dedication to the role took a toll, with the “Deep Water” star sharing that he felt a connection watching an interview with late icon Elvis Presley, in which the King of Rock ‘n Roll said he was “so tired” living life in the limelight.

“That’s really sad to me, because it’s a different period of time and it’s someone who’s gone through 10 billion times anything I’ve experienced, but the same kind of feeling,” Elordi said. “It felt like, all of a sudden, I was a poster. Like I was a billboard. It felt like it was for sale. Then my brain went through the fucking wringer. Like, I wasn’t sure if I was genuine. It really skews your view. It creates a very paranoid way of living.”

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