I think that an open relationship or a polyamorous relationship or an understanding of sorts is acceptable in this day and age.
On TV Land’s Younger, Nico Tortorella plays love interest to Liza (Sutton Foster), a 40-year-old mom who relaunches her career in book publishing by pretending to be 26. In real life, he plays love interest to many. “Relationships and people are my hobby of sorts,” he told Cosmopolitan.com on a visit to the office last week. (A visit that ended with him inadvertently or purposely? showing off his pubes.) “I love exchanging energy with people and getting to know people and falling in and out of love.” Here, Nico talks more about his romantic life, cheating, Botox, and his failed CW show The Beautiful Life, which also starred Mischa Barton and the one ex with whom he is no longer friends.
Liza and Josh are back together but doing just OK now that he knows she was lying about her age.
Yeah, we’re OK-ish. It’s a new beginning for them. They have to renavigate getting to know each other, because she’s basically a brand new person to him.
But he’s already told her he loves her. If you’ve told someone you love them, and then they become a brand new person, do you still love them?
We’ve had that conversation [among the cast]. Because I don’t actually know of any time that we say “I love you” in the second season. Even the writers were like, “Yeah, we didn’t even think about it.” And when we did say we loved each other, we were fucked up on molly. We’ve all told people that we love each other on molly. But I think we do really love each other, it’s just becoming a different type of love.
Liza seems needier to me in the second season she’s constantly wanting Josh to reaffirm their relationship status and a little annoying.
There’s so much about Liza’s character on the page that you’re not supposed to love, but because of Sutton Foster, you fall in love with her and you root for her to win. But she’s lying to everybody. She’s not really a great person. She means really well, but yeah, she’s needy. She’s going through her adolescent years all over again.
But she’s not a jealous girlfriend, which probably speaks to her age and wisdom. You told BuzzFeed that you hate jealousy.
Least favorite thing in the world.
Is it something you experience a lot?
With women in particular?
People in general. Definitely with women and those relationships did not last as long as other relationships. It’s just something I’m not into. If you love somebody, you can watch them be close with somebody else too, and if that makes them happy, then that should make you happy.
What’s your cheating philosophy though? Because you could argue that if you get too close to someone else, it could lead to things.
My cheating philosophy … I mean, cheating is bad, right? But I think that an open relationship or a polyamorous relationship or an understanding of sorts is acceptable in this day and age. And I’ve been in those relationships and sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. But cheating inherently is a terrible thing. If you’re going behind the other person’s back and if there’s any type of malice, you’re a bad person, end of story.
I don’t know. There’s so much that goes into it. I’ve definitely cheated before and it sucks. But given the circumstances, I don’t think that I would necessarily go back and change anything. As I’ve gotten older, I understand more what a relationship should be.
In other words, there was something flawed about that relationship that led to the cheating?
Yeah. It wasn’t working in the first place, which is why one of us or both of us were going out and looking for attention somewhere else.
You said you’ve been in polyamorous relationships. Is that something you’re still into?
Yeah, it’s part of who I am. I’m open to all types of relationships. I don’t think I’ve found the right fit, quite yet, but I’m down to keep exploring. Relationships and people are my hobby of sorts. I love exchanging energy with people, and getting to know people, and falling in and out of love. It’s, like, my favorite thing to do in the whole world.
You were in a relationship with an older woman when you were 19 and she was 33, right?
Yeah, she’s still one of my best friends too.
I can’t do friends with exes.
There’s only one person that I haven’t stayed friends with, Sara Paxton and we dated for a long time. I always tried to be friends after the fact, but it never really worked out on her end and there comes a point where you just stop trying.
You were in The Beautiful Life together.
This was your longest-term relationship?
No, my longest-term relationship was with this girl Bethany [Meyers]. We’ve been on and off for, like, nine years. At this point we’re best friends and, like, family. We’ve grown up together.
The Beautiful Life got canceled almost immediately [in 2009]. Did that put a strain on your relationship with Sara?
It put a strain on us [as individuals] more than the relationship. We were living in New York and we had the whole world in front of us and we thought we were going to be on the show forever, and then one day the show just fucking got canceled and we had to pack up our apartments and move back to L.A. We both hit a dark point after the show got canceled, because we were still on this high but we weren’t working. So when you’re 21 and you’re in Hollywood getting fucked up all the time and you’re not working, bad things happen. Nothing good is going to come out of that. And that’s kind of what happened with our relationship. At the end of the day, we weren’t a match at all, just in terms of the way we live our lives. But we were kids.
Are you in a relationship now?
No [pauses a beat] I mean, I’m always in a relationship.
But not properly in a relationship. You’re 28 now?
Do you think about aging yet? I think about my wrinkles every day.
You think about wrinkles every day too?
Yeah, I’m photographed all the time. I like, have crazy wrinkles [calls attention to his forehead]. I’m split. Part of me is like, “I should just start pumping my face with Botox now,” and part of me is like, “You know what? You’re a dude, and people like to see dudes age.” I love to see dudes age on screen. But there’s a balance between the two, because let’s be honest, George Clooney, Brad Pitt everybody is getting pumped a little bit, and there’s a way to do it so it isn’t crazy, ridiculous, plastic surgery face. But I’m excited about getting older. I’m excited about looking older, feeling older, being wiser.
You were a model at the beginning of your career. If acting didn’t work out, would you have continued modeling?
I was never really a model.
So that part of your bio is exaggerated?
Kind of. Because of The Beautiful Life, I feel like it was more exaggerated. That being said, I’m going to meet with modeling agents at Wilhelmina today about getting another modeling agent. But I was never really a model model. It was something I did out of convenience, which is so annoying to say. I dropped out of school, I was at Loyola Marymount in L.A., the next day I went to Ford [Models] because I heard they were having an open call, and I got a three-year contract that day. I did some editorial work, but I also started working in Hollywood. Then I got The Beautiful Life and we kind of used that relationship [between the modeling world and me] to build that show, and then that stopped and I got rid of my agent and now I’m at a point where I want to be doing more endorsement stuff, campaigns.
What went wrong for The Beautiful Life? It had Ashton Kutcher attached to it [as a producer]. And Mischa Barton.
The show was great. It had everything going for it. We were going over budget a million dollars an episode. And CW at that point was like, Gossip Girl was everything, there was no Vampire Diaries. So it was like, “It’s not gonna work.” Looking back, it’s a blessing that I’m not stuck on a CW show for eight years nothing wrong being said about CW but my career took a different path and it’s worked out for me.
When you were modeling, were you ever told you couldn’t eat certain things, or were you body-shamed?
It wasn’t about modeling with me and food. I’ve personally always had bizarre relationships with food. I grew up Italian, so I was, like, a chubby kid. When I was in fifth grade, I went vegan for three years. So I lost a bunch of weight. And then I stopped that and gained weight, and then I went raw for three years I was only eating fruits and vegetables and nuts and green juices. Then stopped that. So my weight’s always fluctuated and I’ve never really been in shape before this past year. I stopped drinking a year ago and started working out heavily. I sort of switched addictions. Ever since then, I’ve gotten a really good mind-body-food balance.
So did you give up drinking because you were addicted?
I didn’t have a good relationship with alcohol. I did for a while and then it wasn’t working anymore. And thank god I was able to recognize that and turn it around.
[His cell phone vibrates.]
Speaking of my older girlfriend that’s her calling me right now. She got married and her husband refuses to meet me, which is so fucked up.
Is he an actor?
No, no, no, he’s a chef. He’s a Michelin-rated chef and they’ve been married for, like, three years and he refuses to meet me. She’s one of my best friends. Isn’t that so bizarre?
Just show up at his restaurant.
I honestly don’t care at this point.
A tattoo question: You’ve said that Chinese lettering was your first tattoo, which is such a ’90s clich.
I got it when I was 15! That being said, I feel like Chinese tattoos are making a little bit of a comeback right now, and I am OK with it. My cousins all have Chinese lettering on their backs. [In my family], you got a tattoo when you were 15 and then you got a motorcycle when you were 18 I never got a motorcycle. So it was a family tradition to get that tattoo. It was supposed to mean “health, wealth, and happiness,” but actually [my ex’s] grandma is Chinese and I was at her pool one time and she told me that the “wealth” [character] actually means that my sex life is going to be extremely abundant and therefore I will be wealthy. And I was like, “So it says I’m a prostitute.” And she was like, “No, it’s really beautiful, it’s poetic it just means you’re a sexual person.” Health, wealth, and happiness [but] sexual wealth.
So not only did you get Chinese characters, but you didn’t know what they really meant?
Well, I thought I knew what they meant.