“Glee” Star Cory Monteith Comes Out About Drug Problems

By Kirk Maltais 06/24/11

“I’m lucky on so many counts—I’m lucky to be alive,” Monteith says.

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Not always so gleeful.
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Times are good for Cory Monteith, star of TV sensation “Glee.” However, according to a new interview in this Sunday’s edition of Parade, things haven’t always been this nice for Monteith, who plays the character of Finn Hudson on the hit show.

“I’m lucky on so many counts—I’m lucky to be alive,” Monteith tells Parade, as he describes his tumultuous teenage years that lead him to a rehab stint when was 19. The Canadian actor, who grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, details his downward spiral beginning when his parents divorced when he was 7. Monteith, who had been an exceptional student, began to drink and smoke pot at 13, falling into a steady pattern of drug abuse. By the time he quit school at 16, Monteith had attended 12 different schools, including multiple programs for troubled teens. By this point, his substance abuse was out of control. “Anything and everything, as much as possible,” he says. “I had a serious problem.”

Even after Monteith went to rehab at 19, it wasn’t until he was caught stealing a significant amount of money from a family member that Monteith experienced what he calls “the crystallizing event.” He says, “I knew I was going to get caught, but I was so desperate I didn’t care,” he says. “It was a cry for help. I was confronted and I said, ‘Yeah, it was me.’ It was the first honorable, truthful thing that had come out of my mouth in years.” It was only then, after an ultimatum from his parents to either get clean or be prosecuted for what he had done, that Monteith truly made the turnaround from his destructive patterns. “I was done fighting myself,” he says.

Monteith quit using, completed rehab, and got a job as a roofer in an effort to turn his life around. He also began working with an acting coach who put him in front of the camera to play a man contemplating suicide. Monteith’s acting aspirations have since blossomed into his success on Glee.

After the hard times, Monteith now wants to share his story with the world. “I don’t want kids to think it’s OK to drop out of school and get high, and they’ll be famous actors, too,” he says. “But for those people who might give up: Get real about what you want and go after it. If I can, anyone can.”

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Kirk Maltais is a New York-based reporter.  Find out more about him on Linkedin and Twitter.