Zac Efron opens up about addiction struggle

Story highlights

  • Zac Efron admits to struggle with alcohol and drugs
  • The actor tells The Hollywood Reporter a challenging workload affected him
  • Now he's focusing on a cleaner lifestyle and a healthier approach
  • Efron says it was a necessary learning experience: "I wouldn't take anything back"

Zac Efron is ready to talk.

The 26-year-old actor best known for "High School Musical" went to rehab in 2013 but was elusive about what he sought treatment for. Now, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Efron is coming clean about his battle with alcohol and drug use.

"It's a never-ending struggle," the actor said of his issues with addiction. "I was drinking a lot, way too much."

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There were drugs as well, he added.

The problem erupted for Efron as he tried to work his way from being the teen star of "High School Musical" and "Hairspray" to more adult roles with movies such as "The Lucky One" and "The Paperboy."

"I had done films back-to-back-to-back. I was burnt out," he said. "There was something lacking, some sort of hole that I couldn't really fill up. I was just so deep into my work, it was really the only thing I had."

That period of his life left him feeling isolated, he said, but in hindsight he can see how it helped him grow.

    "I mean, you're in your 20s, single, going through life in Hollywood, you know?" he told The Hollywood Reporter. "Everything is thrown at you. I wouldn't take anything back; I needed to learn everything I did."

    Part of that learning experience has been aided by therapy, and joining Alcoholics Anonymous.

    "I just started going, and I think it's changed my life," Efron said. "I'm much more comfortable in my own skin. Things are so much easier now."

    This year, Efron is hoping that a buttoned-up lifestyle -- complete with daily workouts and a 9 p.m. bedtime, or so he says -- paired with his newfound wisdom will help him steer his career in the direction he wants it to go. Earlier this year he starred in and produced the comedy "That Awkward Moment," and on May 9 his comedy with Seth Rogen, "Neighbors," will arrive in theaters.

    "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 said. "I'm a human being, and I've made a lot of mistakes. I've learned from each one."