"It's a hard deal," says Jack Quaid of going through his parents' very public divorce

By Gabrielle Olya
Updated March 23, 2016 11:25 PM
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Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid divorced in 1997 when their son Jack Quaid was only 5 years old – and the actor is getting candid about exactly what that experience was like for him.

“It’s one of those weird ages for your parents to get divorced,” the actor, 23, said on the Allegedly with Theo Von & Matthew Cole Weiss podcast. “You’re old enough to know what’s going on, but young enough to be kind of naïve about it. It’s a whole deal.”

While it’s difficult for any young person to experience their parents’ split, it was amplified for Quaid because for him, it happened in the spotlight.

“It’s hard to ignore when you’re at a grocery story and you’re checking out and you look at [magazines], and there’s a photo of them with a little paper rip graphic between them,” he said. “It’s a hard deal.”

Now that he’s older, The Hunger Games star can look back at his childhood with a little more perspective.

“I acknowledge fully the way that I grew up was not normal,” said Quaid. “But at the same time, it was normal in the sense that despite what my parents do, they are still a mom and a dad. It’s not like they are their characters at the dinner table or anything like that.”

Growing up with celebrity parents never bothered Quaid, who has followed in their acting footsteps.

“It’s not like I want to escape from it,” he said. “I’m a huge fan of both of their work – really, I’m a big fan. The thing that’s nice about it, something that I’m really grateful to have, is they share this enthusiasm for telling stories and acting.”

Now that he’s pursuing acting on his own, he does worry a little bit about living in their shadow.

“It’s always going to be kind of in the air,” says Quaid. “At this point, yeah people might make comparisons, and I also get that it’s interesting.”

RELATED VIDEO: What Did Dennis Quaid Buy After Earning His First Big Paycheck as an Actor?

Quaid is now starring on the HBO series Vinyl, and is making a name for himself as an actor in his own right.

“I’m really happy,” he says. “It’s a cool job. If I had parents who weren’t actors, I’d still be over the moon to have this job.”

With reporting by JODI GUGLIELMI