Hayden Byerly, star of the hit ABC Family drama The Fosters, is anything but ordinary. The 14-year-old powerhouse took on the role of Jude Jacob in 2013, and ever since he’s been doing a FANTASTIC job portraying the dynamic character we continue to see grow on our screens each week.
Jude, a reserved boy who’s been bouncing in and out of the foster system his entire life has luckily found a home in the Adams Fosters, a same-sex couple with lots of love to give and five kids to look after. Despite the full house, moms Lena (Sherri Saum) and Stef (Teri Polo) do a stellar job parenting Jude, his sister Callie (Maia Mitchell ), twins Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) and Jesus (Jake T. Austin) and their eldest Brandon (David Lambert) in an often chaotic household.
This show had me hooked from the beginning and continues to draw in millions of viewers with its refreshing and heartfelt depiction of a same-sex couple raising a family in present day America. Hayden was kind enough to talk with me about the show, and the struggles his character continues to face– for example, Jude’s sexuality or the fact that his sister can’t be adopted due to that pesky obstacle known as her birth father. We also spoke about #Jonnor, so let’s get to it!
MCKENZIE MORRELL: How would you describe your character on ABC Family’s The Fosters?
HAYDEN BYERLY: My character Jude is a boy who has been in and out of the foster system with his older sister, for most of his life. He’s never really found a family that he really connects to, or loves, until he meets the Fosters. They’re the first family that they really stay together with and that they really feel connected to. He also has a lot of problems with his sexuality.
MM: This show is truly groundbreaking and your character is unlike any other character on TV- past or present. Do you feel any pressure to set a good example for kids who may be unsure of their sexuality?
HB: Yes, I feel like there’s a lot of pressure. I think that it makes me feel really happy when I hear that people relate to my character, or that they have some issues and they resolve them because of something on the show, or some of the things they’ve seen facing Jude. It really feels great to hear that, but there is a lot of pressure. It’s different being looked up to, and having kids view you as a role model. Not even kids, really, people who are older than myself, eighteen or twenty year olds saying, “You’re someone that I look up to.” I think that’s very cool, but it does add a lot of pressure.
MM: Without a doubt. Jude has a lot going on, with the news that Callie is going to go live with her birth father. How do you think Jude is really feeling about this whole situation?
HB: Jude will always love his sister. They have a very special bond that cannot be broken by just a little distance between the two. They would obviously still see each other and talk to one another very often. I think it will hurt Jude having his sister taken away from him, taken out of the home, is very hard for him to handle. He won’t be perfectly fine, but he will still love his sister very much.
MM: Everyone seems to be rooting for #Jonnor. Jude and Connor are great friends, but there’s also this flirtation happening that seems to further confuse both boys. Will we be seeing more of these two characters and their overall development?
HB: Yeah, for sure. There is a lot more up ahead with Jude and Connor (Gavin MacIntosh). There’s a lot more between the two of them and their relationship as friends or more, whatever happens between the two of them we definitely see a lot more. We recently got to look at Daria (Madison Pettis) and Taylor (Izabela Vidovic) being introduced to the show, which is interesting because Connor is interested in Daria, but at the same time it seems that he still has some feelings for Jude. So, it’s cool to see and it will definitely be added to as the show continues.
MM: We can’t wait to see what happens! Now who would you say Jude is the closest to in the family and why do you think that is?
HB: I would say Callie, because they’ve been through so much together. But for the new Foster family, I think that he is closest to Lena, mostly because she has helped him through so many hard times and taught him many important life lessons. He very much connects to her, and he loves all the Foster family but I think that he and Lena have a very special bond that not many people have. I think that’s very important.
MM: Let’s talk about how much of a fan favorite your character is. How has the response been on Twitter in regards to you and just your storyline in general?
HB: It’s great. It’s amazing to see so many people say so many good things about my character and the show and the storyline. It’s great to hear some of their stories. It’s great to portray a character who is liked by so many people, especially at my age- I’m only 14-years-old and I’m doing stuff that a lot of people don’t do, so it’s all very exciting to do and see.
MM: It’s definitely something to be proud of! You have accomplished so much at such a young age, it’s great to see. Do you have any actors that you look up to or are dying to work with in the future?
HB: If I could choose one actor to work with, he has always been my favorite. His name is Leonardo Dicaprio. He’s always been my favorite actor that I’ve always looked up to. I love the movies that he’s been in and I’ve followed all the characters he’s portrayed throughout his career. I feel like if I was to work with anyone, I would definitely choose to work with him and he’s also someone I look up to as an actor. To play so many different characters and roles is a talent I don’t think many people have, and it’s very hard to do so I definitely envy him.