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Taylor Lautner Says He Was 'Scared' to Leave His House for 10 Years After Twilight Success

·3-min read
Taylor Lautner
Taylor Lautner

C Flanigan/FilmMagic

Taylor Lautner is recounting the tough time he faced as a teen in the spotlight.

In an interview with Today that aired Thursday, the 29-year-old actor admitted he struggled with fame and was "scared" to leave the house after the smash success of Twilight.

Lautner played werewolf Jacob Black in all five Twilight Saga movies, rounding out the series' love triangle opposite Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen.

"Not many things in life can come and happen overnight. Fame can. It also can disappear overnight," he explained on the show. "When I was 16, 17, 18 years old, waking up and trying to just go out for a walk or go on a date and I had 12 cars waiting outside my house to follow me wherever I'm going or show up to an airport or anywhere, and you have thousands of fans screaming."

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During his peak in the spotlight, Lautner said he feared being recognized in public so much that he spent 10 years avoiding simple tasks like going to the grocery store, mall or movie theater. However, he said it "felt like freedom " when he was finally comfortable enough to get out more.

"I went so many years either not leaving my house, or if I did, hat, sunglasses, and just like, scared," the actor explained. "It built up something inside of me where, I didn't know it, but I was scared to go out. I'd get super anxious to go out. So I just didn't."

After the final Twilight film premiered in 2012, Lautner went on to star in a few films and two television shows — Cuckoo and Scream Queens — but took a break from acting in 2016, and said the media attention slowly started to wane.

RELATED: Taylor Lautner Says 'Mainly the Twi-Moms' Would Recognize Him Before Twilight Netflix Resurgence

"In the moment, it got frustrating because you just wanted to live a normal life," Lautner said. "But then when that's taken away from you at all, you start to question yourself and start to be like 'oh, do people not care about me anymore?' When it goes away a little bit, you notice it, and that's the dangerous part because that can mess with your mind."

The actor admitted that he feels better today than he has in recent years, and is "thankful" for the perspective he has now.

Breeders' Cup World Championships, Santa Anita Park, Los Angeles, USA - 05 Nov 2016
Breeders' Cup World Championships, Santa Anita Park, Los Angeles, USA - 05 Nov 2016

Jim Smeal/REX/Shutterstock

In this week's issue of PEOPLE, Lautner (whose first broke out in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 2005) opened up about returning to acting in Adam Sandler-produced Netflix sports comedy Home Team.

The Twilight alum will star alongside Kevin James, who plays New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton in a story that touches on the team's Bountygate scandal following their 2010 Super Bowl win.

Two years after winning the Super Bowl, Payton, 58, was given a yearlong suspension from the NFL in 2012. He returns to his hometown in the heartwarming film, where he reconnects with his 12-year-old son by coaching his Pop Warner youth football team.

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Lautner told PEOPLE that coaching tweens in the movie feels "full circle," explaining, "I did my first feature, Sharkboy and Lavagirl, when I was 12, and all the kids in this movie were about 12."

"I remember everyone taking me in and supporting me on my first movie sets, and I wanted to do my best to provide that to these kids and just be their big brother," he said.

Home Team hits Netflix on Friday.

For more from Taylor Lautner, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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