For Nico Tortorella, Season 4 of Younger has been a game-changer. The 29-year-old star’s character, Josh, is reeling from his breakup with the show’s lead, Liza (played by Sutton Foster), allowing Tortorella to get emotional on screen. “Love makes people crazy—good crazy and bad crazy," he told InStyle last week. "Josh has been put through the ringer with this girl, and in a lot of ways he has gotten older and matured because of the type of love that the two of them shared. He’s more broken now than when we met him."
While Josh may be struggling, the end of his romance with Liza has had one very positive result for Tortorella—a new close friendship with Hilary Duff, who plays Liza’s best friend and co-worker, Kelsey. Having found out that Liza had been lying to her since they met, Kelsey is at odds with her BFF, creating the perfect bonding opportunity for her and Josh. “Honestly, the best part of this season has been working with Hilary,” said Tortorella. “She and I are super close outside of work. We run on a similar frequency, I guess. It’s just really nice to work with her, because our characters have spent three seasons being in a fringe friendship, just connected through Liza. Now that they’ve both been heartbroken by the same woman, they can really connect on a soul level.”
The pair’s friendship is moving full-speed ahead—so much so, [spoiler alert:] they’ve even moved in together. There's even been some speculation about romantic sparks flying. But while the characters may be in a state of new-roommate bliss on the show, Tortorella isn’t so sure that he and Duff would be a good match as roomies IRL. It depends on the amount of space we would have,” he said. “In her house in L.A.? Yeah, absolutely! In my apartment in New York? No!" Scroll down for our full chat with the star, and tune into a new episode of Younger tonight at 10 p.m. ET on TV Land.
As Josh attempts to move on from Liza, what are your hopes for him in the romance department?
I would like to see him take that step back. I think Josh is very much still love-struck by what happened with Liza, and there’s this massive hold and I feel bad for him, I understand what that’s like, but I think Josh really needs to take a step back and look at himself before he can start working on a relationship with somebody else. I think Josh does a really good job of pretending everything is okay and cheery all the time, but deep down he’s probably struggling.
The age difference between Josh and Liza was a focal point of their relationship. Do you think age is just a number?
Yeah, age is totally just a number. I’ve been in relationships that had a much wider gap than Josh and Liza. I think age is just another label that we throw onto people. And I think that when two individuals of legal ages can find love in each other, support each other, and be inspired by each other, it doesn’t matter what they look like, where they come from, what color their skin is, what religion they are, or what their sexuality or gender identity may be. Across the board, I think that all is free game as long as there’s real love involved and nobody is getting hurt.
Having dated someone older than you, do you think that a substantial age gap complicates a relationship?
I think it depends on the emotional and intellectual capacity of each person. It can complicate things from an external level of other people having an opinion. But who the f—k cares?
Is there something that you’ve wanted to happen on the show that hasn’t yet?
That Josh and Liza [have a] baby! I’ve been saying it since the beginning. Or, just a baby on set—not even Josh and Liza’s, necessarily. I think working with a kid on set would be so fun, and I would love to be a young dad on television. It could be Kelsey and Josh’s baby too, actually. Hillary and I have been talking about that forever, what our baby would look like. It would be f—ing gorgeous.
Hilary’s character, Kelsey, has a new love interest this season, who just so happens to be a book editor at a rival publishing company. What are your thoughts on Zane?
I’m into him. I think that it’s a good partner for Kelsey right now. I don’t think that the relationship is being introduced on a healthy level, but I think it’s fun for her right now. I can’t imagine it going anywhere. But I think it’s good for her.
If you could trade places with any character on the show, who would it be and why?
I’m going to go with Lauren, to just explore her sexual fluidity [but] with a vagina, you know what I mean? [laughs]
Molly Bernard, who plays Lauren, recently said in an interview that she’s really just “Lauren playing Nico," making reference to your openness about your sexual fluidity in real life—something that her character, Lauren, shares. What are your thoughts on that?
I love that she said that! It made me so happy. I think that just a representation of that type of character on this show is a step in the right direction. I think that we have so much more work to do in terms of representation and visibility across the board—sexuality, gender, race, religion. It’s just really starting to happen. But for her to say that is hysterical.
Do you think that the show is portraying sexual fluidity well through her character?
Like I said, it’s a tiny, tiny step in the right direction. There’s just really not enough time to develop what I would think is a proper, layered, multi-dimensional representation of fluidity for Lauren’s character. That being said, it’s a really, really good stab at it for what we have available. Especially as a woman navigating it.
What does your perfect date night entail?
Well, I just was in Los Angeles and I had a handful of perfect date nights with a certain individual. We just rode bikes down the boardwalk for hours and hours and hours during sunset, and that, like, really worked. Also, talking about the cosmos—astro projections, dreams, and just taking it out of our bodies.
Speaking of bodies, you play a tattoo artist on the show. Do you think you'd be good at that in real life?
I actually just tattooed myself for the first time! It was that same night on the boardwalk. We brought a tattoo gun and put tattoos on each other. So we can add that to the perfect date night.
That’s impressive. Do you have a favorite of Josh’s tattoos that you would consider permanently adding to your body?
Well, Josh got that dragon tattoo for Liza, back in Season 1. And I was born in ’88, so in terms of the Chinese zodiac, I’m a dragon. I definitely relate very much so on my animal totem to dragons, and there’s a dragon tattoo somewhere in the future. It's like, I don’t want to say the boy with the dragon tattoo, but the human with the dragon tattoo. We don’t put genders on anything over here [laughs].