Jones earned much acclaim for his role as Jake Harper, starring alongside the infamous Charlie Sheen and the quirky Jon Cryer. He even won two Young Artist awards and a TV Land award after spending over a decade on the hit sitcom.
Things Have Changed
For one reason or another, the success did not last. Angus T. Jones came to a stage in his career where he felt like it was necessary to make drastic changes in his life. After Charlie Sheen’s dramatic descent into chaos, the child actor was put in a situation where he needed to reassess his career options. It wouldn’t take long though before Angus knew which avenue he wanted to go down next. But let’s start at the very beginning…
Take It Back
Before hitting the big time with Two and a Half Men, Angus Turner Jones, who is the oldest of two sons, came from the humblest of beginnings. When he was just four years of age, the little boy from Austin, Texas moved with his little brother Otto and the rest of his family to Los Angeles. But believe it or not, despite being noticed for his raw talent at such a young age, Angus was not interested in acting…
Even though she acknowledged his apprehension to pursue an acting career, Angus’ mother was adamant that he should fulfill his potential. So she took him to many auditions. Her hope was that Angus would lock down some small time roles in order to raise savings for his college application. At first, he got a couple of breaks, acting in commercials and online videos. Then, in 1999, Angus got his first role, albeit a small one, in the Sharon Stone-led Simpatico.
First Big Role
Then, only two years after moving to L.A., Angus got his first big role when he starred alongside David Arquette in the hit comedy, See Spot Run. The movie is about a mailman who tries to help an FBI dog escape a dangerous crime lord. Angus joined the chaos and put his stamp on the role of James. After gaining recognition for his acting chops, the big screen opportunities came flooding in. Angus was making his family very proud.
Hollywood became Angus’ playground and between 2001 and 2003, the child actor had roles in numerous movies such as The Rookie, Bringing Down The House and George Of The Jungle 2. He also made small cameos in TV shows such as ER and the TV movie Dinner with Friends. It’s safe to say that Angus was quickly making a name for himself as the number one child actor of the 00s. Then, an opportunity came along that he never saw coming…
Lorre Loved Him
TV producer Chuck Lorre took notice of Angus in his early years. The writer of episodes for shows such as Roseanne and Dharma & Greg was taken aback after seeing the boy’s explosive performance in The Rookie. And as Lorre was in the infant stages of creating a show by the name of Two and a Half Men, he needed a child actor for one of the main roles. After finishing his audition, Angus immediately learned that he got the part.
The Half Man
In 2003, Angus officially became part of Two and a Half Men. Lorre cast him as 10-year-old Jake Harper, the son of recently divorced parents and who went on to live with his father Alan, played by Jon Cryer. However, they also live with his destructive, womanizing uncle, Charlie. Lorre cast Charlie Sheen for the role and told him to basically play himself. The three leads struck incredible instant chemistry and proved to be a recipe for huge success…
The show was an instant hit, and this was in no small part due to Angus, Cryer and Sheen’s lethal combination. Fans automatically warmed to Jake’s cuteness, Alan’s awkwardness and Charlie’s sheer audacity. The reality was that critics did not take to the show at all. However, it was a commercial success. For the majority of its run, it was the most popular sitcom in American TV history. The show had an average audience of about 15 million viewers.
Age Of Innocence
As he started work on the show from such an early age, Angus was oblivious to a lot of the racy humor that Two and a Half Men brought to the table. And according to Jon Cryer, he never wanted to know what the jokes meant. “At one point I asked him if he wanted to know and he said no,” Cryer said. “He doesn’t bring it up with me. He’s not like a lot of boys.”
As a result of his newfound fame, Angus T. Jones was in hot demand. He did some philanthropic work and helped in a variety of causes. In 2008, after Two and a Half Men reached its five year mark, Angus helped support the First Star Organization. This initiative set out to help children who had either been abused or neglected. He worked with stars such as Dakota Fanning, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Van Kilmer to help raise awareness and funds.
Being one of the most successful actors on TV at such a young age must’ve been a unique experience. But just like any other kid, Angus had his own interests and passions outside of acting. During his free time, the child actor would play video games. These included Rock Band 2 and Call of Duty: World at War. And in between seasons, Jones and the family would enjoy snowboarding together. Little did he know, things were about to get even better…
In 2010, Angus reached new, unprecedented heights when he became the highest paid child star in the history of American TV. At 17 years of age, the actor agreed a new contract with Warner Bros who promised that he would receive $7.8 million for the next two seasons of Two and a Half Men, a number that was unheard of at this point. This meant that Angus would get a staggering $300,000 per episode. But something unexpected was just around the corner…
The harsh reality was that not everything was going smoothly behind the scenes of the show. This was in no small part due to Charlie Sheen’s rapid public meltdown. After a series of run-ins with the law and a heavily publicized rehabilitation, the show’s creators were forced to reassess their options moving forward. Charlie was such a vital part of Two and a Half Men‘s success and to consider the show’s future without him was a risk, to the say the least.
In 2011, after Sheen had a massive fallout with Chuck Lorre, CBS, and Warner Bros decided to halt production on the eighth season. Shortly after, his contract was terminated and the studios confirmed that he would not be coming back to the show. The decision was met with much scrutiny from the public. In order to move on, Ashton Kutcher was brought in to fill the void left by Charlie. But how did Angus feel about all these rapid changes?
Amazingly, Jon Cryer claimed that he had not heard from Sheen ever since he left the show. However, according to Angus, he has kept in contact with Charlie. “I talk to him every now and then,” Jones said in an interview with E! “I still want to hang out with him and stuff. We’re still friends. There’s no hard feelings at all.” It seems that after years of working together, Angus was sad to see his uncle figure depart from the show.
Covering Up The Cracks
The changes kept coming. Once the ninth season arrived, Angus was now a young adult and was therefore given storylines with a much more adult tone. In fact, one of Jake’s main past times during season nine was taking illicit substances. He was also starting to get intimate with women both his age and even older. But something was off and these changes only seemed to slightly cover up the cracks left by Sheen’s dramatic departure.
Eventually, Jake ends up graduating from high school and enlisting in the army at the end of season nine. However, Angus was very apprehensive about the way that his character had been portrayed later on in the series. At 18 years of age, he still felt like a child and was uncomfortable with doing the “adult thing.” But there was something more to the actor’s newfound discomfort with the adult themes of the show. But what was it?
Gotta Have Faith
Angus’ change in attitude towards the mature themes and dark comedic tone of Two and a Half Men coincided with his newfound interest in religion. In the Fall of 2012, Jones revealed the details behind his newfound faith. After being baptized and committing to the faith, he said that he would no longer be a part of Two and a Half Men. While it may seem obvious, Angus actually had his own reasons as to why he quit the show…
Religion Vs. Entertainment
In his own words, Angus referred to the show as “filth” and believed that the show was not in sync with his beliefs. But not only was Angus no longer involved with Two and the Men – he also advised others to stop watching Lorre’s show. Towards the end of his time on the show, Angus referred to himself as a “paid hypocrite” and believed that everything about the show went against his beloved Christianity. And everyone had their say on the matter…
As a result of his newfound faith, Angus attracted a lot of attention from the media. Fans took to Twitter, expressing their support for the actor and begging him not to leave the show. He also appeared on a YouTube video which was posted by the ForeRunner Chronicles. This is a ministry run by Christopher Hudson, dedicated to promoting the messages of the New Testament. Since then, Angus has taken to social media to confirm his specific religious allegiances…
Time To Move On
At that point, Lorre and the producers were put in a situation where they needed to develop the show in case they lost another key cast member like Angus. As a result, CBS decided to make him a recurring character from season 11 onwards. Unfortunately, though, Angus didn’t appear on one single episode. Although he was still technically contracted to the show, Jake Harper was seemingly on his way out. So producers cast Amber Tamblyn as his replacement.
One person who unexpectedly supported Angus for his beliefs and actions was none other than Charlie Sheen. The actor, who also left the show for very different reasons, didn’t think that his friend and co-star of nearly a decade was “crazy” for his recent life decisions. “I get it. It’s a weird place and people tend to have a different perspective on life working over there, ” Sheen said. “He’s a good kid and maybe he’s just going through a phase…”
As his walk away from Hollywood started to take shape, Angus moved closer to the world of education. He enrolled at the University of Colorado, majoring in environmental studies. But after his freshman year, Angus decided to major in Jewish studies instead, as his interest in religion got more and more intense. It seemed like he was finally living the life he had always wanted to and he was finally experiencing a life of normality.
Nail In The Coffin
After confirming himself as a Seventh-day Adventist, Angus officially left the show on March 18, 2014. The show had lost two of the original characters that made it so popular in the first place. And even though Angus came back for a brief cameo in the controversial series finale, “Of Course He’s Dead,” it was all too late. After a dip in ratings and an all-time viewership low, Two and a Half Men came to an unceremonious end on February 19, 2015.
Despite his determination to complete his degree, Angus is currently taking a break from his studies. In 2016, he joined the management department of Tonite, an event and multimedia production company founded by Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ son, Justin Combs. It seems that while he is still young, Angus wants to add more strings to his bow before he settles on his next career pursuit. But there is one shocking thing that the former child actor admitted to recently…
Faith No More
It seems like Angus’ spiritual journey has come full circle. Recently, he announced that he left organized religion. “Over the last three years I’ve been involved with various faith-based organizations,” he said. “Right now, I’m stepping away from the organizational business-model programs. I’m interested in seeing where I go without an organization putting a stamp of approval on if I’m good or bad or whatever.” But that’s not all that Angus has reconsidered in recent times…
Return To Hollywood?
Despite Two and a Half Men coming to an end, Angus admitted that he enjoyed the thrill of entering that Malibu house for one last time. “Getting to be back on the set with everyone again kind of showed me how much I did like it and how much a part of me is acting,” he said, regarding his cameo in the finale. It seems like the man who played Jake Harper is actually considering a return to stardom…
The allure of Hollywood definitely runs deep for someone like Angus, who has tasted the sweet nectar of fame and fortune throughout his formative years. That surely must be irresistible for even the strongest of minds. “The door is definitely still open for me to do that,” he said, regarding a return to acting. “But I’m taking things slowly.” He demonstrated this possible slow transition back to TV after recently starring in his former college roommate’s short film.
For practically the first time in his life, Angus is finally able to say that he is free to make his own decisions. Since the day that he was born, it has been other people who have been making decisions for him. But now, he is a man. “I’m kind of liking the ability to travel and to move around at a moment’s notice,” he said. “And not have to be in one spot for years at a time.”
A Whole Man
The only thing that matters now is how Angus feels in the moment. And right now, he is happy with how things are going, even if that means not being in the spotlight at this moment in time. “In terms of regrets, I try to avoid those completely,” he said. “There’s no changing anything. There’s only moving forward.” And when it comes to celebrities as big as Angus T. Jones, we believe that those are wise words to live by.