The 32-year-old actor began his own career as a child but, unlike his fiancee – who started acting at six and became a household name thanks to ‘Interview With a Vampire’ when she was 12 – he didn’t spend a lot of time in Los Angeles growing up so had no opportunities to “get ahead” of himself in his hometown of Mart, Texas.
He told The Guardian newspaper: “I was lucky in that I had such drastically different experiences growing up. I was in my wonderful little town, which has horses, one stop light and 2,000 people, then I’d be in LA for five or six months a year.
“It wasn’t possible for me to get ahead of myself or think I was better than anyone else. I’m more amazed that Kirsten turned out the way she did because she experienced fame at a young age and I did not, which I’m glad about.
“I saw what happens and it’s a lot to wrap your head around as a kid.”
Although he appreciated his childhood in a small town, the ‘Antlers’ actor doesn’t like the “double standards” he encountered surrounding race from the adults int he area.
He said: “I grew up in a small town that was half African-American at least. It was one of the reasons we were so good at football. Our school was so small, we probably had 40 people in our class and everyone had known each other since kindergarten so racism didn’t really exist among the kids.
“It was something that you kind of discovered from the parents as you got older – this weird double standard of cheering for the town football team but God forbid, you know, that an African-American kid dates your daughter. That kind of attitude really gives me the heebie-jeebies.”
Jesse admitted his attitude to acting hasn’t changed since he was a child.
Asked what he got out of acting when he was young, he said: “It was make believe. Playing. I grew up watching westerns, and then I got to be an extra in a few when I was a kid. All of a sudden, I was inside this world that I’d been drawn to.
[And now?] Probably the same. Acting is a really unique way to learn about yourself and the world and other people, all at once.”