Stranger Things actor Gaten Matarazzo has quickly become one of Hollywood’s hottest stars appearing alongside Winona Ryder in the hit Netflix show. But, the 14-year-old Egg Harbor resident recently revealed he’s actually been living with a rare genetic condition: cleidocranial dysplasia.
“There’s a one in a million chance that you have of getting it – most likely you get it from a parent, but it just happened for me,” he told People. “I have a very mild case so it doesn’t affect me as much, but it can be a very difficult condition to have.”
The disorder affects the development of bones and teeth forcing many people suffering from it to undergo surgery. Gaten himself has had surgeries on his mouth. But, his condition has actually been written into his role as Dustin on the show and allowing him to speak out about it.
“The feedback has been great,” he added. “A lot of people were messaging me saying, ‘You made me feel better about myself, that you can show that you have this condition on TV and embrace it.’ I feel like I’m raising awareness for it. It makes me feel good.”
The teen landed the sci-fi role after two auditions in New York, a Skype interview with creators The Duffer Brothers and a final audition in Los Angeles. He actually found out while riding home from Newark Liberty International Airport.