The Untold Truth Of Frankie Jonas

What's it like to grow up in the shadow of three older brothers who just happen to be one of the world's biggest pop groups? Frankie Jonas can certainly speak to that, given his three older siblings — Joe, Nick, and Kevin, a.k.a. the Jonas Brothers — achieved massive success when he was still a little kid.

A kid no more — he turned 22 in 2022 — Jonas has been forging his own path independent of his famous brothers, while also inextricably connected to them. That's certainly the case with his latest gig, co-hosting ABC reality competition "Claim to Fame" alongside brother Kevin. Making his return to television more than a decade after he last appeared onscreen was very strange for him, he admitted while appearing on the "Chicks in the Office" podcast. "The last time that I was, like, on a camera, was with Kevin in 'Camp Rock 2,'" he said. "And so to go from that to this has been a crazy experience."

To find out more about the emergence of the youngest Jonas brother, read on to discover the untold truth of Frankie Jonas.

He was a voice actor as a kid — and won a Teen Choice Award

While the Jonas Brothers were burning up the pop charts with hit singles and expanding their fan base with their Disney Channel TV series, Frankie Jonas was making a name for himself as well — not in music, but as an actor. His first credit was a voice role, playing Sōsuke in the English-dubbed version of the animated Japanese film "Ponyo" when he was just 7 years old. Subsequent voice-acting credits include the direct-to-DVD feature "Spooky Buddies," and the animated comedy "The Reef 2: High Tide." 

Jonas also appeared in live-action projects as well, although it's arguable there was a bit of nepotism involved when he was cast in Disney Channel's "Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam," and "Jonas" — both of which starred brothers Nick, Kevin, and Joe. His "Jonas" role portraying Frankie Lucas, younger brother of the musical Lucas brothers (played by the JoBros), won him a Teen Choice Award in 2009.

In a 2022 interview with the "Chicks in the Office" podcast, Jonas reflected on winning the Teen Choice Award all those years ago, looking back at his brief acceptance speech thanking his fans and his best friend, James, while accepting the award: a full-sized surfboard. "And I waddle off with something that's three times my size — Keke Palmer's, like, picking it up to help me ..." he recalled.

Why his future 'slowly died' because of the Jonas Brothers' success

While young Frankie Jonas had little to do with the success of the Jonas Brothers, his brothers' meteoric rise to stardom impacted his life in some pretty profound ways. Perhaps the biggest was when his family made the move from their home in New Jersey to Los Angeles, so the JoBros could avail themselves of the sundry Hollywood opportunities being thrown at them.

"They were like, 'We're going to move to L.A. for your brothers' career.' I had planned out my entire life in Jersey. I was five, and I'm like, 'I'm going to go to Princeton and be this college football star who comes back home and becomes an astrophysicist.' That was my plan. And I watched it just fade to dust. My future just slowly died," he recalled in a candid interview with Bustle.

As the group's fame grew, the youngster found himself thrust into the role of the Jonas Brothers' mascot. Once the family made the move from Jersey to L.A., he added, "It was kind of just decided that I'd act." Despite his lack of training or experience, Jonas suddenly found himself in front of the camera, "'Frankie could theoretically act,'" he said of the thinking at the time. "'He could be in their shows. He can continue that legacy of that mascot-like character.'"

He and Kevin don't hesitate to mock each other

In spring 2022, Variety reported that ABC had greenlit "Claim to Fame," in which non-famous relatives of celebrities face off against each other in a "Big Brother"-style competition, with Frankie Jonas and big brother Kevin tapped as hosts. Their pairing was fitting: "I'm probably best known for being a professional little brother," Frankie quipped in a Cosmopolitan video, joking about his own claim to fame.

Of course, his tenuous connection to celebrity changed once the show debuted that summer and viewers were reintroduced to the now-grown Frankie. In fact, viewers couldn't get enough of the brothers' hilarious rapport as they gleefully mocked each other. That sibling dynamic was on full display in the Cosmo video, in which the two were tasked with trying their hands at various skills to see if they possessed any aptitude. "I would boo you off the stage," Kevin told Frankie of his attempt at ventriloquism. Frankie also came up empty when attempting to touch his tongue to his nose. "I really want to prove myself so bad right now," he quipped. 

According to Kevin, being able to work with Frankie was the main attraction in doing the show in the first place. "Wait, we get to spend five or six weeks together? We don't ever get to do that," he told TV Insider, before jokingly adding, "And then after we were done we realized why we don't do that — no, just kidding."

He's a TikTok superstar

While the Jonas Brothers shot to fame via their music, grown-up Frankie Jonas wound up making an impact via social media. In fact, he's become a standout on TikTok, where he's amassed 1.9 million followers (and counting) thanks to videos that often poke fun at his famous brothers. During a joint appearance on "The View" with brother Kevin, he shared his thoughts on why he'd become such a popular TikToker. "You know, I'm not afraid to throw some salami on Kevin," he observed, referencing a particular TikTok video shown to viewers. "In our family, we like to make fun of each other ... there's a lot of love in our house."

When Frankie first began posting on TikTok, he felt as if what he was putting out into the world was in a vacuum. "I was just making jokes, thinking no one was hearing them. And then people heard them and liked them," he told Bustle. Describing himself as someone whose primary goal has always been to be liked by others, the validation he received from TikTok encouraged him to keep at it. "I thought, 'I'm going to continue to do this,' because I've never had my thing really," he revealed. "This feels like so much of my thing. It feels so empowering to have a thing."

His TikTok success was a big part of why he's been signed to UTA, the powerful entertainment agency that also reps the Jonas Brothers.

He's studied audio engineering

After his brush with child-star fame and that very large Teen Choice Award, Frankie Jonas retreated from the spotlight during his teenage years. As he told Bustle, the tipping point came when he was 13, after an embarrassing incident on the set of a TV series in which he soiled himself due to an allergic reaction. That, he explained, forced him to question what he was doing and why. "I became disillusioned with it all and feeling the way I was feeling," he says. "I wanted to disappear, but I wanted to do everything I could to get back to that normal life that I thought I watched die. I wanted to run away from everything," he explained. 

And that was how he came to take a lengthy hiatus from Hollywood. After graduating high school, he studied at an art academy in San Francisco before studying audio engineering in Nashville. Taking the skills he learned, he created trippy aural experiments (many of which, he admitted, were created while he was on acid) under the nom de plume MEPHISTO

"I have synesthesia, so I just try to make something that makes me feel the way I feel," Jonas shared, citing a condition in which a person experiences one sense through another, such as seeing sound or tasting words. "I can make a painting in my head, I can make a landscape, and I can make an experience inside of me that I can resonate with," he explained.

What surprised him most about co-hosting Claim to Fame

When Frankie Jonas signed on to host "Claim to Fame" alongside brother Kevin, he was entering uncharted territory. Sure, he'd had small on-camera roles and done some voice acting when he was a kid, but hosting a network television show was an altogether new experience that wasn't entirely what he'd anticipated. In fact, Jonas told the Daily Beast that both he and the contestants' expectations were subverted by the cash prize awaiting the winner. "So many of the contestants came into this show expecting to meet people who have the same experiences as them and really create bonds, but once they got there, they realized there was $100,000 on the line, and so all those social dynamics went out the window and it's just a free-for-all," he explained. 

Meanwhile, both brothers found themselves constantly shocked by the revelation of the contestants' celebrity connections while filming "Claim to Fame." "We came out of the season with one 'I knew it,'" Frankie told TV Insider. "And other than that, the rest of every single episode was so, so surprising, so unexpected." 

It didn't hurt that the "Claim to Fame" contestants' relationships with their famous relatives are strikingly similar to Jonas' own relationship with his brothers' fame. "I'm bringing my experience of being the younger brother," he said while appearing on "The View."

He's been candid about his struggles with alcohol and depression

Frankie Jonas has a second TikTok account — @frankiejonastherapist — which is devoted to his sobriety journey (he's since made those videos private). In one, as reported by People, he explained, "This is by no means the eloquent explanation I hope to give on a much more serious mode than this. However from a very young age I struggled with drinking and drugging as an escape because I hated life, and I didn't want to be here," he shared, referring to himself as a "sober drug addict" who, at the time, was attending college.

"I eventually, after many years of trying to kill myself accidentally, came to a point where I was going to do it for real," he continued. "I went to treatment, and it saved me."

As he told Bustle, the drugs and alcohol represented his own attempts to self-medicate while coping with problems he didn't understand, at least not then. "I've always dealt with a lot more than just anxiety," he explained. "At the time, I didn't know that I got panic attacks. I didn't know that I had obsessive thoughts. I didn't know that I would go on to be diagnosed with PTSD." Ultimately, however, Jonas understands that the difficulties he faced all contributed to bringing him to where he is now. "It's important for me to be like, 'Yeah, these things were rough,'" he added, "'but at the same time, without them, where would I be?'"

He's forging his own music career separate from his brothers

Frankie Jonas' attempt to launch a music career in the shadow of the Jonas Brothers is not without risk, inviting constant comparisons to his wildly successful siblings. Yet Jonas threw caution to the wind when he unveiled his first single, "Cocaine," in 2023.

The song is a deeply personal one for Jonas, a musical declaration of his personal journey through the tangled web of addiction before finally embracing sobriety. The song, he told Rolling Stone, was inspired by his time spent in Nashville when he began creating experimental music under the name MEPHISTO, and which he now recognizes as a deeply unhappy period. "While I was there, I was in very dark places. The song is about how even in the darkest moments, we can escape into these moments of bliss," he explained. "Even that can be a moment that we can go back to and feel peace and feel love and feel happiness. It's a light that's surrounded by the tunnel of your own bulls**t."

In April 2023, he made his live performing debut at the Stagecoach festival, and in June released his first-ever EP, which he titled "Sewer Rat." "'Sewer Rat' is the culmination of so much time, so much love, and so much experience coming together to create a piece of work that I am beyond proud to share with the world," he said of the EP in a message he shared via Twitter.

He was 'starstruck' the first time he met one of his sisters-in-law

Not only does Frankie Jonas have to contend with the fame of his older brothers, but there's also the considerable celebrity of his sisters-in-law, Priyanka Chopra (married to brother Nick), and Joe's wife, Sophie Turner.

Given that he's a huge fan of "Game of Thrones," the first time he met Turner — who famously played Sansa Stark on the HBO fantasy hit — proved to be unexpectedly awkward for both of them. "Honestly, the most starstruck I've ever been was showing up in ... Thanksgiving of 2016, I show up at this airport, and on the plane with my family is Sansa Stark," he told the "Chicks in the Office" podcast. "For 24 hours, I didn't talk to Sophie because I was too afraid because she's so cool."

During that interview, he also offered high praise for Chopra. "Priyanka is a legend," he said. "She is so much fun." After Chopra and her husband welcomed the arrival of daughter Malti Marie in 2022, Nick Jonas revealed during an appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" that Frankie, out of all his brothers, holds a special place in his daughter's heart. "He's the favorite uncle by far of all the uncles," he said, adding a playful zinger: "Well, he's the closest in age to the kids."  

His personal style is all his own

Frankie Jonas has always followed his own path, separate from those of his brothers, and that's been reflected in his clothing choices. As far as fashion goes, Jonas admits that his own personal style doesn't necessarily align with those of his siblings. "I think it's pretty wildly different," he told PopSugar of how his own fashion ethos compared to those of his brothers. "I think I have the most in common with Joe in terms of what we like and our style in general," he observed, although he admitted to gravitating toward Kevin's "dad mode" attire when he's not onstage, on the red carpet, or in front of a TV camera. "Think sweats and a hoodie — Adam Sandler vibes all the way," Jonas joked. "Hoodies to the country club, that's what it's about."

Of course, he's already built up some fashion industry cred. Back in 2021, he was tapped by luxury fashion brand MCM to star in one of its campaigns. "I was really impressed with the vibe of MCM and their team for this campaign," Jonas said in a statement, as reported by Nylon. "I especially liked how they integrated video, movement, and music into the overall creative. MCM supports celebrating uniqueness but also community, which is something I can personally relate to and why this partnership is a great fit for me."

Don't call him the 'Bonus Jonas'

In various media reports, Frankie Jonas is often jokingly referred to as the "Bonus Jonas," a nickname that first began being used by Jonas Brothers fans and wound up worming its way into pop culture. However, that particular moniker is one that's long rankled him. "I always hated that nickname," he told Bustle. "A lot of my problem with being in the public eye was that I was seen as this commodified vision of myself."

As Joe Jonas told the outlet, he personally stopped using the term once he realized just how much his younger brother disliked it. "I refused to call Frankie 'Bonus Jonas' after he opened up to me about how that was hurtful to him," he explained. "It completely makes sense, and we've had lengthy conversations and apologies behind closed doors that showcased my understanding and respect for his wishes."

That said, the youngest Jonas brother has no problem making self-deprecating jokes about himself. That was clear when he and Kevin sat down for an interview with "Entertainment Tonight," where both were forced to weigh in on who they felt was the most attractive of all the brothers. Kevin graciously suggested the honor go to Frankie — who was not having it. "Highly disagree with," Franklin said. "I think that's a subjective question. It depends on if you want our opinion or the world's opinion."

He mercilessly mocked brother Joe with a hilarious Halloween costume

Back in the day, long before he tied the knot with Sophie Turner, Joe Jonas dated Taylor Swift. Before she claimed that he dumped her in a 25-second phone call,  Swift wrote a song about him, ironically titled "Forever and Always." When they were together, however, Swift and Joe Jonas famously performed together in the Jonas Brothers' 3D concert movie, with Swift wearing a silver minidress while her then-beau sported a t-shirt featuring the logo for the JoBros' Burnin' Up Tour.

That magical movie moment provided Frankie Jonas with the inspiration for an epic Halloween costume that hilariously spoofed it. In a since-deleted video he shared on social media, Frankie is seen wearing that same shirt while singing a faux duet with girlfriend Anna Olson, who's wearing an identical outfit to the one Swift wore in the film (silver minidress and cowboy boots). For authenticity's sake, noted the Daily Mail, Frankie included footage of the original so that his followers could appreciate the attention to detail. 

His brother's costume did not go unnoticed by Joe, who shared his thoughts with "Entertainment Tonight." "Yes, he got some laughs," he said, confirming that Frankie was indeed wearing original tour merch. "He looked good, he looked good ... I think that's my shirt, and I think I need it back," he added.

He's in a committed relationship with girlfriend Anna Olson

So who is Anna Olson, who channeled Taylor Swift in that hilarious video? Both Olson and Frankie Jonas have tried to keep their relationship low-key for the media, although they have made at least one red-carpet appearance together, appearing together at the opening of Nellie's Southern Kitchen at the Park MGM in Las Vegas, where they took in the opening night of the Jonas Brothers' residency. 

The couple has been together since at least January of 2022 when Olson posted some photos on Twitter in which both her head and the other person in the pics, presumably Jonas, are cut out. In the caption, she wrote, "My man asked me to be his girlfriend last night and he rented a whole ass suit and showed up with a bouquet of flowers."

Olson also has an active TikTok account, although she hasn't issued a new post since late 2021 (a particularly bittersweet post, by the way). She is also apparently a fan of "Euphoria," judging by a February 2022 tweet in which she hosted (presumably with Jonas, who is once again pictured headless) a "Euphoria"-themed soiree. "We had a [Euphoria] dinner party with mandatory costumes hehe," she wrote.