It has been a year of ups and downs for Zac Efron and the Neighbors star is opening up about it all in this week’s issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
It was revealed earlier this year that the 26-year-old spent time in rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. He also broke his jaw and there were reports that he recently got in a fight down on skid row. Now, Zac is turning his life around and based on the buzz around Neighbors, his career is better than ever.
“No matter who you are, you face challenges growing up,” Zac tells THR. “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 so scrutinized.”
He continues, “When you have success young, and you accept the good things, you have to accept all of it. You have to accept the moments of glory but also a great responsibility. And that responsibility, to some degree, involves being a role model. At the same time, I’m a human being, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve learned from each one.”
Zac is not the first former child star to struggle with things like addiction. Just take a look at Lindsay Lohan, Demi Lovato and more. “I was drinking a lot, way too much,” he says, acknowledging there were drugs, too. “It’s never one specific thing. 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.”
There were rumors that Zac had relapsed when a story about him getting in a fight with a homeless man on skid row emerged. The That Awkward Moment star set the record straight saying, “I had a friend come pick me up late at night — we were looking for a place downtown to get a bite and catch up,” he says, without identifying the friend. “We were having trouble finding somewhere — a lot of places were closed — and the car ran out of gas off the 110. It was ridiculous. We had to pull over, and I called Uber.”
While waiting, “A homeless guy, or vagrant, tapped on the driver’s-side window. Before I knew it, he [the friend] was out of the car, and they started fighting. I saw that [the homeless man] was carrying some sort of a 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.” After that, the two friends went home. Efron calls it “the most terrifying moment in my life.”
Zac is working on getting all the pieces of his life in order and is spending a lot of time working and, well, working out! He loves swimming and training. Also ladies, he’s single! So we’re guessing he and Halston Sage are just friends then? He has also joined Alcoholics Anonymous and is seeing a therapist. “I just started going,” he says. “And I think it’s changed my life. I’m much more comfortable in my own skin. Things are so much easier now.”
Now that the heavy stuff is out of the way, lets move on to one of our favorite parts of the interview. Zac told the mag all about his audition for “High School Musical.”
“My mom dropped me off out of a minivan somewhere in North Hollywood,” he remembers. “I had no idea what to expect. There were about 40 guys. And we walked in, and [director] Kenny Ortega was there with a piano, and they put everybody in a room together, and we ran through different phases of what we would need to do — first dancing, then singing — and a few of us got tapped on the shoulder [to leave], and I didn’t. And next came the scene-reading sections, and I got paired with Vanessa Hudgens.”
How cute! For even more of Zac’s very personal interview, pick up THR or go here.
See Zac in Neighbors May 9.