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"Riverdale" Stars and Their Families Got Death Threats From Fans

Actors opened up about the disturbing messages they've received about the teen soap.

After seven seasons, the outlandish teen soap opera Riverdale is coming to an end on Aug. 23. To mark the end of the series, the cast of the show looked back on their time making it in a group interview with Vulture. The stars talked about their wacky storylines, the show's unexpected musical numbers, and the positives of representing certain identities on television. But they also opened up about the dark side of fame and some of the fanatical responses they got just for being a part of the show. The actors said that they and their families received death threats—not even for anything they did or said, but for the actions of their characters.

Read on to find out what they said about fans being overly invested in their personal lives and how their fictional romances led to some disturbing messages.

RELATED: 5 TV Episodes So Controversial They Sparked Protests.

One star said he received "criminal" fan mail.

Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse at the premiere of "Five Feet Apart" in 2019
DFree / Shutterstock

Vulture asked the Riverdale cast about the "very intense investment" some fans have in the characters' relationships. Online, wanting certain characters to be together is known as "shipping."

Cole Sprouse, who plays Jughead Jones, suggested that some fans became even more obsessed, because some of the cast members dated in real life. "I get a lot of stuff sent to my house or my loved ones' houses. Death threats, really nasty, honestly criminal stuff," the now-31-year-old said. "And I do think it's because at least four of us at this table have dated our co-workers."

Sprouse was in a relationship with Lili Reinhart (Betty Cooper), while Charles Melton (Reggie Mantle) used to date Camila Mendes (Veronica Lodge).

The actor continued, "Is that just a consequence of an incredible love? Or is that what fanaticism looks like? Perhaps because those lines were blurred to our audience, it's hard to break those things up when life moves on."

Another star said his mother received concerning messages.

Casey Cott at the premiere of "Five Feet Apart" in 2019
DFree / Shutterstock

Sprouse's Riverdale co-star Casey Cott, who plays Kevin Keller, said that someone left threatening messages on his mother's phone.

"There's sometimes a failure to differentiate the characters from the humans. You can go down an extreme hole if you're looking at that," the actor said. "Someone got my mom's phone number and started leaving voicemails saying that they were going to come get her."

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One actor received threats before her episodes even aired.

Vanessa Morgan at the 2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

After the first season of Riverdale aired in 2017, it was announced that Vanessa Morgan would be joining the show as Toni Topaz in Season 2. Some viewers who were worried that the character would breakup Jughead and Betty—known by their "ship name" "Bughead"—sent violent threats to the new cast member.

"I've already had some death threats," Morgan, who was 25 at the time, told Glamour before she ever appeared in an episode. "But the thing is, it's half death threats because they don't want that [actually] happening, and there's half that's just all love. Who knows if [my character coming between Bughead] is even going to happen. People are just jumping to conclusions."

Reinhart defended Morgan in a post on her Tumblr. "Bughead shippers are amazing… but the fact that Vanessa is getting death threats because of her character *possibly* causing problems for the Bughead, is seriously [expletive] up," she wrote. "If you see this happening, please stop it or report it. This is a fictional couple, for god's sake. This does not constitute sending death threats to my friend and fellow castmate."

Morgan ended up becoming a series regular and remained on the show throughout its run.

RELATED: The Most Hated TV Couples of All Time.

The cast also praised their supportive fans.

Cole Sprouse, Camila Mendes, Casey Cott, Madelaine Petsch, KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Charles Melton, and Vanessa Morgan at the 2018 CW network Upfront
lev radin / Shutterstock

Riverdale stars have also gotten positive feedback from fans, particularly when it comes to the diversity of the series.

"On the other side, Vanessa and I have a very specific relationship, Choni [their "ship name"], and we get a lot of support," Madelaine Petsch, who plays Cheryl Blossom said in the Vulture interview. Cheryl is a lesbian, and Toni is bisexual. Morgan added, "I've been grateful for it."

Melton shared that he has received a positive response when it comes to representation, as well.

"The cool thing about Reggie is he's the captain of the football team, and I had that experience growing up, but I never saw it when I watched Friday Night Lights or any sports films," Melton, who has a Korean parent and a Caucasian parent, said. "Once, I was at the airport going through TSA, and this guy in his 50s was like, 'Hey, you're that guy from Riverdale.' He was Caucasian, and his wife was Chinese, and their son was mixed like me. I remember introducing myself to him and his mom saying, 'See, he looks like you! He's an actor.' That was a good feeling."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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