By Maurice Bobb
Zac Efron is in the middle of career comeback, especially with the buzz surrounding "Neighbors," but his trek back to the A-list was almost derailed by alcohol and drug addiction.
The "High School Musical" star spoke at length about his substance abuse and his decision to join Alcoholics Anonymous in a very candid cover story in The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday (April 30).
"I just started going," Efron said about AA, adding that he also sees a therapist. "And I think it's changed my life. I'm much more comfortable in my own skin. Things are so much easier now."
Efron’s addictions were the result of his self-imposed isolation from friends and family. He hid behind his work, lived out of a suitcase and eventually turned to alcohol and drugs to make sense of it all.
"I was just so deep into my work. It was really the only thing I had," he said. "I clung to it in a way that became a little bit destructive."
Efron entered rehab last spring, but found himself in a bit of trouble after his release when he got into a fight with a homeless man. Efron called the incident “the most terrifying moment in my life.”
"I had a friend come pick me up late at night and the car ran out of gas off the 110. It was ridiculous,” he added. “We had to pull over, and I called Uber. 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."
Despite his recent troubles, Efron is focused on self-improvement, which includes working out to keep his abs tight, reading books and screenplays, collecting vinyl records and listening to all kind of music, including a certain Grammy-nominated rapper from Compton.
"I try to stay as low-key as possible," he said. "I'm on Spotify 24/7. Kendrick Lamar and his album good kid, m.A.A.d city is one of the coolest things I've ever heard."
As for his battle with addiction, Efron admits that it’s not an easy fix.
"It's a never-ending struggle," he said.
"Neighbors" parties into theaters May 9.