Zac Efron Opens Up About Addiction

By Shawn Dwyer 04/30/14

For the first time in public, the High School Musical star talked about his ‘never-ending struggle’ with drugs and alcohol.

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At the end of last year, it appeared as though troubled star Zac Efron had turned a corner. He allegedly was six months clean from addictions to cocaine and alcohol, but only now has Efron divulged just how hard it’s been to stay sober.

"No matter who you are, you face challenges growing up," Efron told The Hollywood Reporter recently. "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.”

Efron has been promoting his latest film, Neighbors, where he plays a frat boy whose life is spinning out of control opposite Seth Rogen. At the time of filming, the young actor was battling his addiction to cocaine and was a “no-show on a number of days.”

Twice last year Efron went into drug treatment, including receiving intensive outpatient care at a private residence for several weeks after wrapping production on Neighbors. "I was drinking a lot, way too much," he said while confirming that he also took drugs. "It's never one specific thing. I mean, you're in your 20s, single, going through life in Hollywood…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.”

Also in the interview, he acknowledged a fight with a homeless man in some desolate part of downtown Los Angeles, an incident that triggered rumors that Efron was using again. But he only went so far to say that he and a friend ran out of gas, called a car service, and were assaulted by a vagrant with a knife. It was "the most terrifying moment in my life."

Now apparently healthy and happy, Efron has adopted something of a monastic lifestyle, preparing for bed around 9 p.m. every night and getting up early to exercise. He’s also part of AA and has been seeing a therapist. But like any addict, his problems remain close to the surface.

“It’s a never-ending struggle,” he said.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.