It’s been nearly a year since Zac Efron entered rehab for substance abuse, and for the first time, he’s getting candid about his publicized struggle.
“No matter who you are, you face challenges growing up,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “You go with your things, you learn, you have to. It’s impossible to lead an honest and fulfilling life as a man and not make mistakes and ‘fess up to them when you need to. But it’s especially humiliating when they happen to be so public and scrutinized.”
Before two secret stints in rehab, Zac admitted he was “drinking a lot, way too much.” But there were drugs, too. “It’s never one specific thing,” he explained. “I mean, you’re in your 20s, single, going through life in Hollywood, you know? Everything is thrown at you. I wouldn’t take anything back; I needed to learn everything I did. But, it was an interesting journey to say the least.”
Trouble with drugs and alcohol began when the 26-year-old was engrossed in work, filming movies back-to-back. “I was just so deep into my work, it was really the only thing I had,” he admitted. “I clung to it in a way that became a little bit destructive.” Now, he says he attends Alcoholics Anonymous, adding that it’s “changed my life.” Still, the battle with addiction is a “never-ending struggle.”
Unfortunately, it seems trouble has followed the Neighbors star. He broke his jaw last fall, and recently, was involved in a physical fight in a dangerous area of Los Angeles. During the interview, Zac explained that, on the night of the fight, he and a friend were looking for somewhere to grab a bite to eat when they ran out of gas.
“A homeless guy, or vagrant, tapped on the driver’s-side window,” he explained. “Before I knew it, [my friend] was out of the car and they started fighting. I saw that [the homeless man] was carrying some sort of knife, or shank, and I got out of the car to disarm him. At some point, he dropped the knife, and I got hit pretty hard in the face — and almost instantly the police were there to break up the fight.”
Regardless, he referred to the night as “the most terrifying moment in my life.”
Now, Zac is making a comeback, with two new movies released in the first half of 2014. “I sit here in front of you today much happier and healthier than I’ve probably ever been,” he concluded the interview. Neighbors hits theaters on May 9.