He stated, "The script said we were walking into school and Willy takes off his shirt. And there's reasons behind it." The actor was lampooned in conservative writer Laura Ingraham's satirical The Obama Diaries, commenting to have Lautner as a mascot for the White House Easter Egg Roll, to fit their health-conscious theme, and have Lautner don a furry bunny head and appear shirtless.
Lautner resides with his parents and younger sister in Valencia, California, which he says he prefers because of the paparazzi.
After his massive physical change following Twilight, Lautner became a tabloid teen idol with his co-stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.
Lautner, determined to stay in the series, worked out every day and gained over 30 pounds (14 kg) of muscle in order to bulk up for the role of Jacob Black in the remaining films in The Twilight Saga.
He has stated on Late Show with David Letterman that if he does not have work, he would like to go back to school.In an interview with The Wrap, Weitz said Lautner deserved a lot of credit for the movie's box office, stating, "If you look at the movie, it should have been the weakest in the franchise, because Robert Pattinson doesn't play as big a role." The commercial performance of the film outpaced the first film, setting several box office records including the biggest midnight opening in the United States and Canada and the biggest single-day opening.Although it began after the release of the first film, upon release of New Moon, Lautner and his co-stars Stewart and Pattinson transitioned to teen idol status, with Lautner particularly admired by teens for his new physical characteristics, becoming a sex symbol.He has stated that he was bullied in school because he was an actor.He commented, "I just had to tell myself 'I can't let this get to me. And I'm going to continue doing it.'" A year later, he attended the national karate tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, where he met Michael Chaturantabut, the founder of Xtreme Martial Arts.
Several critics credit Lautner's physical characteristics for much of the success of the Twilight series, with critic Sharon Waxman stating, "as a tabloid teen idol, he certainly deserves some credit for New Moon's $700 million worldwide gross." Lautner's abs in particular have been subject to media attention, with The Wrap stating that companies bidding for the actor in movies in 2011 would "shell out for the young actor's much-on-display though mostly untried abs." Before the actor turned 18, his sexualized image was often critiqued, and subject to controversy.