The Untold Truth Of Sydney Sweeney

Sydney Sweeney was only 12 years old when she made her screen debut in a low-budget zombie movie. From there, she hit Hollywood running, landing roles in the TV series "Heroes" and "Criminal Minds" as a child actor. The star went on to land guest spots on the likes of "Grey's Anatomy," "The Middle," and "Pretty Little Liars," and then high-profile recurring roles in "The Handmaid's Tale," "Sharp Objects," and "Everything Sucks!"

In 2019, Sweeney was cast as Cassie Howard in HBO's edgy teen drama "Euphoria" and followed that up with another HBO series, "The White Lotus," showcasing her funny side in the dark comedy about an array of rich jerks vacationing at a posh Hawaiian resort. Sweeney also established a foothold in film when she landed a role in one of the hottest movies of 2019, starring alongside Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." "I still can't believe I'm on a first-name basis with the [actors] I'm on first-name basis with now," Sweeney marveled in an interview with Los Angeles Confidential. "A couple months ago, I had an interview and they asked, 'Who's someone you'd love to do a project with?' I named Leo and Brad, and literally a couple months later, I'm in a movie with them. Wow."

To find out even more about the intriguing star of "Euphoria" and so many other projects, read on to discover the untold truth of Sydney Sweeney.

She created a five-year plan for Hollywood stardom at age 12

Sydney Sweeney has dreamed of being a successful Hollywood actor since childhood. While that hardly makes her unique, what does set her apart is the relentless single-mindedness with which she approached that goal. Growing up in Spokane, Washington, however, did not present the aspiring young actor with too many opportunities to break into show business. 

Sweeney was just 12 when a rare window opened, in the form of a low-budget zombie movie shooting in her hometown. When her parents balked at her desire to audition for a role, she crafted a strategy to convince them. "I created a five-year business plan that basically explained what could happen in my life if they let me do this, the steps I had to take, things I had to work toward," Sweeney recalled in an interview with Los Angeles Confidential. "They were like, 'OK, maybe she's a little serious about this!' They let me audition for it, and I ended up booking it."

That successful audition led to Sweeney's very first screen credit, in the indie "ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction." Looking back on the experience, Sweeney told Backstage that being part of the low-budget horror flick may not have been big-time showbiz, but it sure felt like it to her. "The first day on set, I was beyond happy," she said. "I was so much younger, so everything felt so surreal to me." 

Sydney Sweeney's kind of obsessed with Titanic

Sydney Sweeney has not only starred in movies, she's also a big movie fan. As she revealed in an interview with InStyle, there's one film that remains her absolute favorite: director James Cameron's 1997 Oscar winner "Titanic," starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet

"I've always been a huge fan of Leo in 'Titanic,'" Sweeney said. "One, it's based on a true story, and I always love movies and TV shows that are based off of true stories. I also love the love story, and Kate Winslet's amazing. ... I've basically memorized that film." Meanwhile, she told IMDb that the first movie star she crushed on was actually DiCaprio, something that came into play when she acted alongside him in "Once Upon in Time in Hollywood." "I had to pinch myself," she admitted. "Just take in every moment that I possibly could when I was working with him, trying not to faint." 

That admiration was mutual when DiCaprio was interviewed by Variety and professed his love for "Euphoria," gushing, "That show is amazing!" Interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter, Sweeney shared her reaction to DiCaprio's praise. "I couldn't stop laughing, I was like, 'This is so cool!'" Sweeney gushed. "The whole cast was talking about it and freaking out in our group chat, and then Barbie [Ferreira, who plays Kat] made a shirt of the quote that Leo said and made it for all of us. So we all have a shirt that says it now."

She was going to college while filming The Handmaid's Tale

In 2018, Sydney Sweeney was cast in what was arguably her highest-profile role to that point, teenage bride and Gilead true believer Eden Spencer in Hulu's dystopian drama "The Handmaid's Tale." As Sweeney told Women's Wear Daily, she was so excited about the opportunity that she cried when she learned she'd been cast. "The stories are amazing. The actors and cinematography are amazing, so not only that, but the movement that it's standing for is also really powerful. To be a part of something like that is incredible," she marveled. 

One complication surrounding her role in "The Handmaid's Tale," however, was that she was attending college in Los Angeles at the same time she was filming the show in Toronto. Juggling her burgeoning acting career and her studies, she admitted in an interview with Her Campus, was "tough sometimes, but I've always actually enjoyed school, so I think that helps." 

During an appearance on "The Drew Barrymore Show," Sweeney recalled how she balanced schoolwork with her acting career while working toward a business degree and filming "The Handmaid's Tale" at the same time. Thinking all was going well, Sweeney discovered that wasn't the case when one of her professors refused to let her take the final exam — because other students had complained that her lack of attendance at classes was unfair to everyone else. "And he didn't let me take the final and I never got credit," she lamented.

Sydney Sweeney's co-starred with singer Halsey — and not just once

Among Sydney Sweeney's many screen credits is the music video for "Graveyard," the 2019 single from singer Halsey. "I grew up a big Halsey fan in high school and going to her concerts," Sweeney told StyleCaster. "I loved all her music. She apparently was a fan of me as well. I asked my team, 'You know, I really want to do a music video one day. That would be so cool.' A week later, she reached out to her team like, 'I'd like Sydney to do a music video with me. Do you think she would do it?' It was perfect timing. We met and hung out and we became really good friends. Now we hang out all the time."

That friendship with Halsey led the two to a second collaboration when, later that same year, Sweeney and Halsey were cast in "The Players Table," a new TV series for HBO Max. As Deadline reported, the series would mark Halsey's TV acting debut, with the two playing friends attempting to find the truth behind a classmate's murder while coming of age in a small Long Island community that's "sustained by lies, complicity, and absolute moral decay."

In 2022, Deadline reported Sweeney and Halsey would then be co-starring in another project, the feature "National Anthem" from first-time director Tony Tost. The two would play characters involved in "a gritty hunt for a valuable rare Lakota Native American Ghost Shirt."

The actor launched her own production company

Being cast alongside Halsey in "The Players Table" wasn't a random occurrence, but the result of Sydney Sweeney being one of the project's producers. As Deadline reported, in 2020, Sweeney launched her own production company, Fifty-Fifty Films, with "The Players Table" as the company's inaugural project. "Well, Ash is amazing," Sweeney told ET, calling Halsey by her given name, Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, adding that she was "so excited for people to be able to see her onscreen." 

As Sweeney told Deadline, forming a production company in order to create her own passion projects had been an ongoing ambition. "Starting Fifty-Fifty Films has been a goal of mine for a long time," Sweeney said. "When I read 'They Wish They Were Us' [the novel upon which 'The Players Club' is based] I was instantly drawn to the specificity of the world and the struggles of the character — and I knew it was the first project I wanted to produce." 

After working with Halsey in the "Graveyard" music video, Sweeney told StyleCaster she knew the singer "had it in her" to nail the role. "I sent her the book. I was like, 'Read this. Let me know if you like it because I think you would be absolutely incredible as the older sister, Rachel.' She read it within two days, called me and was like, 'I want to do this.' So we brought her on and that was how everything fell together," Sweeney explained.

Sydney Sweeney called out unnecessary nudity on Euphoria

"Euphoria" has become known for its gritty realism, and that includes nudity. Interviewed by The Independent, Sydney Sweeney revealed she'd spoken with "Euphoria" creator Sam Levinson about concerns she's had about her character's scenes. "There are moments where Cassie was supposed to be shirtless and I would tell Sam, 'I don't really think that's necessary here,'" Sweeney said. "He was like, 'Okay, we don't need it.' I've never felt like Sam has pushed it on me or was trying to get a nude scene into an HBO show. When I didn't want to do it, he didn't make me." 

However, she added, that hadn't been the case in some of her past projects, where she didn't feel comfortable enough to voice her concerns. "I've had experiences where I want to go home and scrub myself completely raw because I feel disgusting," she said.

After her comments generated headlines, Sweeney clarified her original remarks. "I never asked [Levinson] to cut any scenes," Sweeney told Teen Vogue, complaining that what she'd said "got twisted and turned and it became its own beast." According to Sweeney, her intent was to praise Levinson for being respectful of the actors, insisting "he would never make me do something I didn't feel comfortable with," and that the show's nudity was in service of authenticity. "We all get naked in real life," Sweeney explained. "We show this character's life and what they're going through."

She's a skilled mechanic who restores vintage cars

When she's not working, Sydney Sweeney indulges in a hobby that she's shared with her social media followers: restoring vintage automobiles. As Sweeney has demonstrated more than once, she's not afraid to get her hands dirty while she personally restores her beloved 1969 Ford Bronco. 

In addition to her Instagram account, Sweeney has a separate side account on TikTok, Syd's Garage, devoted entirely to chronicling the car's progress. Since her first post in February 2021 — right after she purchased the vehicle — she's shared videos of herself removing the car's "insanely heavy" rear axle, showing off her welding skills to customize the hood latch, and installing the rear suspension. In January 2022, she revealed that her car was "finally drivable" after nearly a year of work. "I changed over the transmission, and I fixed up the front and rear axle from drum brakes to disc brakes. I made it power steering. Everything to make it a safe everyday drive but still look classic," she told GQ of her restoration project. "I always wanted to [restore a vintage car but] never had the means to be able to do it," Sweeney explained during a visit to "The Drew Barrymore Show." "And finally, dreams came true."

Not content to work her magic on just one vintage automobile, in May 2021, she revealed she'd purchased a second vintage vehicle, a baby-blue 1976 Ford Mustang that she dubbed Britney.

Sydney Sweeney's a trained MMA fighter

Restoring vintage autos isn't the only hobby to occupy Sydney Sweeney's spare time. Another is mixed martial arts, and Sweeney is no dilettante. As she told Marie Claire, she began MMA training when she was 14 and entered her first competition at 18. "It was a grappling competition against all guys a weight category above me, and I got first place," she recalled. "Those guys were probably saying, 'Oh, we didn't want to hurt her,' but they were definitely trying. Everyone broke a sweat!" In an interview with The Face, Sweeney admitted she was contemplating turning pro, "but my parents and my agents did not let me."

During an appearance on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," Sweeney revealed that once she'd discovered mixed martial arts she got "very into it" — and even "trained with Ronda Rousey's senseis," referencing the legendary UFC fighter. However, Sweeney admitted that becoming a successful actor had put a damper on her MMA training. "Unfortunately, you sign a little piece of paper that says you're not to do X, Y, and Z, and I am all of X, Y, and Z," she confessed.

Regardless of what she'd signed, fans received a glimpse of her considerable MMA skills in a video she shared on Instagram, in which she's seen practicing with a trainer. Not only does she throw a flurry of punches, but the video concludes with Sweeney delivering a powerful kick that sends her sparring partner flying backward. 

A co-star broke Sydney Sweeney's toe on the set of Euphoria

Despite being prohibited from mixed martial arts while filming "Euphoria," Sydney Sweeney still managed to get hurt while working on the series. During an appearance on "The Late Late Show with James Corden," she revealed that she'd suffered a pretty severe injury on the set — and that one of her co-stars was to blame. 

"Well, my toe got stepped on during filming and it just exploded. So I ended up at the E.R., and then I showed up and I was high on morphine," Sweeney divulged, admitting her fellow actors "were like: 'We have never seen you like this before.'"

She also explained how the accident took place. "In one of the episodes, a character that's very upset with Cassie right now accidentally stepped on me and broke my toe in three places," she recalled. While she was initially reluctant to single out the identity of her foot-stomping co-star, host James Corden eventually got her to reveal the culprit was Alexa Demie, who plays Maddie Perez. "I didn't tell her," Sweeney admitted, adding, "I'm so sorry Alexa. I'm okay now."

The star's had her dog Tank since she was a teenager

Not only are Sydney Sweeney's social media followers familiar with her adventures in vintage car restoration and mixed martial arts, but they've also met her dog, Tank. Back in 2020, Sweeney threw Tank a birthday party and later took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to share a photo of her four-legged friend. As she wrote in the caption, Tank had "been my best friend for almost six years now. I rescued her when she was just a lil baby."

In a video interview for Elle, Sweeney revealed the "funny story" about how Tank came into her life. As she recounted, she and her family spent a few years without a dog after their previous dog — a German shepherd — died when she was about 13. Sweeney, however, "felt we weren't a complete family without a dog, and I really wanted one."

While visiting her great-grandmother — whose passion was rescuing dogs — they were visiting a shelter to "play and feed the dogs" when Sweeney spied "this little tiny baby, and she was adorable!" Sweeney wound up bringing the puppy home and then telling her parents after the fact. Their reactions did not align. "My mom was furious with me," Sweeney recalled. "My dad was like, 'Oh, she's so cute!'" Sweeney came up with the name Tank, she explained, "because I wanted her to grow into a tank. I wanted her to be a big, huge dog." 

She writes complex backstories for all the characters she plays

Sydney Sweeney is a firm believer in knowing the characters she portrays inside out, and one strategy she uses to achieve this is by writing intricate backstories for them. "It's these character books that are an interactive timeline journal or diary of their entire lives, from the day that they're born to the first page of the script," Sweeney said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. 

The more she learns about a character in a script, the more she adds to these personal character histories. "With TV shows I'll usually add in more and more every episode as we learn more and more about the character, and I built her entire world: every house she's ever lived in, every neighborhood she might have walked, friends you've never met on the TV show but have made her who she is today," she said. 

As Sweeney told E! News, she created an intricate backstory when she accepted the role of privileged teenager Olivia Mossbacher in HBO comedy "The White Lotus." "I go so in depth in the backstory that it's not like one event that creates the person," she explained. "So, I literally have from the day Olivia was born until the first page of the script and many, many pages of memories and things and time lines that create and shape and mold her to be who she is."

Sydney Sweeney's a brand ambassador for Rihanna's lingerie line

Sydney Sweeney made a huge entry into the world of fashion when, in March 2020, she was featured in a new ad campaign for Rihanna's Savage X Fenty lingerie brand. Sweeney announced that she had become a Savage X Fenty brand ambassador in an Instagram post, featuring a photo in which she's attired in daring black lingerie; a similar photo of Sweeney in the same lingerie was also shared by the Savage X Fenty Instagram account. "Welcome to the squad, sis," the caption read. Sweeney's post racked up more than 100,000 likes in less than a half-hour. A few months later, the brand's X account shared more photos of Sweeney, this time attired in pink lingerie.

When it comes to her own sense of style, Sweeney admitted that the wardrobe of her "Euphoria" character has actually had a fair bit of influence. Cassie, she told InStyle, "loves pastel colors, so she wears a lot of baby blues and baby pinks. Baby blue is my favorite color, but I used to never like pink, and after wearing pink as Cassie, I've been adopting pink into my own closet. I've found items that I personally would like to wear more of, and I've learned more about my own style now through Cassie."

Her impressive net worth is set to become even bigger

Given Sydney Sweeney's youth, she's nonetheless managed to amass a considerable net worth, estimated at a cool $10 million by Celebrity Net Worth, as of this writing. While she may not be earning those massive movie-star paydays quite yet, she's certainly doing all right; according to Dirt, she purchased her first home for $3 million in November 2021.

Now that Sweeney has launched her own production company, Fifty-Fifty Films, to produce her own projects, her paychecks will only be getting bigger. That speaks to the acumen of a successful actor who juggled her busy Hollywood career with college, where she worked toward a degree in business. "I love being able to use the business side of my brain, not just the creative," she said in an interview with Elle UK. "In the first five minutes of each meeting, I can see everyone is expecting me to be some dumb blonde girl who doesn't know what she's doing. But I always leave them shocked and impressed."

In addition to being business savvy, Sweeney also possesses a serious work ethic. "I put a lot of work into what I do," she told Teen Vogue. "I would never want to have my name or company just slapped on something because I want it slapped on. I will be doing the heavy lifting."

Sydney Sweeney quietly got engaged

Sydney Sweeney has given numerous interviews over the years and has shared a lot of herself with fans on social media. When it comes to her love life, however, Sweeney has preferred to remain tight-lipped. As a result, fans would be hard-pressed to find an interview in which she discusses her relationship with Jonathan Davino, to whom she reportedly got engaged in March 2022. While Sweeney didn't make a public announcement, TMZ published photos in which she sported a massive diamond ring on the appropriate finger.

So who is Sweeney's fiancé? Davino has been dating Sweeney since 2018 and is 13 years older than the star. Davino, a restaurateur based in Chicago, isn't famous. That fits Sweeney's dating MO, which she laid out in an interview with Cosmopolitan. "I don't date people in the spotlight," she said. "I don't date actors or musicians or anyone in entertainment because I can just be normal Syd that way and it's easiest." When seeking a significant other, she added, "I look for a best friend. I need to be able to be with someone who I can literally hang out with 24/7 and never get sick of and we laugh every single day." 

While these two have yet to get hitched — as of this writing, that is — Sweeney revealed to Variety in August 2023 that she was hoping to start a family. "I always wanted to be a young mom," she said, adding of her successful career, "What's the point if I'm not getting to share it with a family?"

Sydney Sweeney fought for her career-making White Lotus role

Playing Cassie in "Euphoria" may have taken Sydney Sweeney's acting career to the next level, but it was "The White Lotus" that demonstrated she could hold her own in the midst of an eclectic, top-shelf cast in a scathingly pointed dark comedy. 

However, as Sweeney explained in a May 2023 interview with Variety, landing the part was hardly a fait accompli; in fact, producers initially didn't feel she was right for Olivia, due to how different the character was from Cassie in "Euphoria." "So I put myself on tape, I auditioned for 'White Lotus' just like everybody else and had a call back like everybody else," she said. "I could get offered roles that are similar to the ones that I've played, but the ones that are different, the ones that surprise people that I do, are the ones that I usually have to fight for."

While being cast as Olivia was a triumph, the role did not come without some major apprehensions. "I was so nervous and I was so scared because I've never done comedy quite like that," she previously told Deadline, admitting that the more challenging the role, the more she covets it. "And if something challenges me, then I'm going to go for it, full force," Sweeney declared. The actor also shared how her specific take on Olivia delved into the character's demographic zeitgeist. "She's like a walking woke Twitter account," Sweeney joked. "Terrifying."

How posting some family photos stirred up a political controversy

As Sydney Sweeney's fans are aware, she's quite active on social media. In fact, she regularly updates her Instagram account with photos of her various exploits, ranging from behind-the-scenes photos from the Venice Film Festival to video taken at her own birthday party. 

That, however, came back to bite her in August 2022 when she shared photos on Instagram taken at her mom's 60th birthday party, a cowboy-themed "surprise hoedown" that featured line dancing and mechanical bull riding. In one of the pics (which she subsequently removed), a male party guest is wearing a Blue Lives Matter t-shirt. Meanwhile, reported The Wrap, her brother also posted some photos from the party, in which guests are wearing parody red baseball hats, featuring the phrase "Make Sixty Great Again." All combined, Sweeney found herself hit with backlash in comments from those who conflated everything into an apparent belief that Sweeney was a supporter of ex-President Donald Trump's MAGA movement. 

As is often the case with social media, the spark of controversy quickly grew into a raging wildfire, to the point that Sweeney herself decided to weigh in and insert a little common sense into the situation. "You guys this is wild," she wrote on X. "An innocent celebration for my mom's milestone 60th birthday has turned into an absurd political statement, which was not the intention. Please stop making assumptions."

The reason she leaned into bogus romance rumors with a co-star

In April 2023, Sydney Sweeney and fellow actor Glen Powell appeared together at CinemaCon, the annual Las Vegas event in which Hollywood studios trot out the stars of their upcoming projects for the nation's cinema owners. The two were on hand to promote their upcoming romantic comedy "Anyone But You," which had been announced just a few months earlier and would be set for release that December.

However, their appearance together raised eyebrows for the way they flirted with each other while reading off a teleprompter. Rumors began swirling when Powell's girlfriend, Gigi Paris, shared a cryptic Instagram post, reading, "Know your worth and onto the next," along with unfollowing Sweeney. Then, an anonymous source told ET that the two had broken up. Suddenly, the internet was bursting with gossip that Sweeney and Powell had become the latest co-stars to hook up on set. 

A few months later, Sweeney weighed in on the rumors, confirming that she and Powell were not romantically involved offscreen. As she told Variety that August, their flirtatiousness at CinemaCon was simply in service of the movie. "It's a rom-com. That's what people want!" she explained. "Glen and I don't really care. We have so much fun together, and we respect each other so much; he's such a hard worker, and I'm a hard worker. We're excited for the press tour, and I literally just left ADR with him. We talk all the time like, 'That's really funny.'"

Sydney Sweeney is super athletic and a straight arrow

Mixed martial arts isn't the only athletic activity that's attracted Sydney Sweeney over the years. As her Instagram followers are aware, a couch potato she is not; athleticism is seemingly hard-wired into her personality, and she's constantly embarking on some sort of challenging physical endeavor.

In fact, she's shared Instagram posts in which she's skiing, posing atop a majestic mounting, and golfing at a desert course. In another post, she shared video of herself being pulled by a motorboat as she expertly waterskis — in fact, another post saw her combining her love of waterskiing with a little bit of income-generating product placement. Another featured a shot of her rock climbing, along with her caption, "If you need me I'll be climbing some rocks." 

While many Hollywood actors relax in their downtime by indulging in alcohol and/or drugs, Sweeney prefers to get her heart pumping with physical activity. "I'm not one to go out," she said of the Hollywood party scene in a 2019 interview with W. "I'm more of a homebody. I've never done drugs. I've never smoked weed, I don't drink."

Playing a real person in Reality presented a new challenge

Despite her youth — she celebrated her 26th birthday in September 2023 — Sydney Sweeney has played a surprisingly diverse array of characters. In 2022, Deadline reported she'd signed on to play real-life NSA whistleblower Reality Winner in the HBO biopic "Reality," with the film making its debut the following year.

For Sweeney, playing Winner presented a new challenge that she hadn't faced before: portraying an actual, real-life person, and not just a fictional character created by a screenwriter. "That was one of the reasons I wanted to play Reality, for how different it would be than everything I've done before," she told Little White Lies. As the actor explained, in addition to crafting a compelling performance, she also felt an even greater responsibility weighing on her. "You have to honor the person you're playing as much as possible," she said.

In preparation for the role, Sweeney met with Winner — who was then under house arrest — via Zoom. "I wanted to speak to her prior to prepping on this, one, just to know her as a person, but two, to understand her mannerisms and how she speaks," Sweeney said. Playing a living, breathing person, she noted, was different from her usual process of creating a character's backstory. "So, a lot of it was me learning about her history and her memories, because that's what I love to do with my characters," Sweeney said in an HBO featurette.

Sydney Sweeney starred in a Rolling Stones music video

In September 2023, Sydney Sweeney made a surprise appearance in a what had been, to that point, a top-secret project: a music video for The Rolling Stones' new single "Angry." In fact, Sweeney is front and center in the video for the track, the first original song from the group dubbed the World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in nearly two decades. Wearing black leather, mesh stockings, and ultra short shorts, Sweeney is seen standing up and dancing in the back seat of a red Mercedes convertible driving down Sunset Boulevard in L.A., the street dotted with billboards featuring the Stones in various eras of their lengthy career — who spring to life while seemingly singing the new song.

The video's director, François Rousselet, told Rolling Stone that he got the gig when the band loved his pitch, in which a female Hollywood star — initially imagined as Kristen Stewart — drove in a car. When casting, several actors were considered until they ultimately contacted Sweeney. "I freaked out, called my family, and brought my mom," she said, as reported by Rolling Stone.

As Rousselet explained, he only had a single day to shoot Sweeney's part, and he admitted she made his job a lot easier. "Sydney was just going for it," he said. "She almost tried to be [another] member of the Stones, singing along and even playing [guitarist Keith Richards'] parts."