Zac Efron Says He Turned To Substance Abuse Because Of The Paparazzi

Watch his candid interview in the woods with Bear Grylls.

Most of us will never get to — or, rather, have to — live under the microscope that famous people do. We won’t get to reap those rewards — and, on the flip side, we won’t have to deal with the negatives. On a recent jaunt to the woods with Bear Grylls, Zac Efron gave fans a dark look at the fallout from fame. How the anxiety born from constantly dealing the paparazzi led him to abuse drugs and alcohol.

“The challenging part was never the work — that was never it,” Efron told Grylls as the two reclined beside a crackling fire in the wilderness during an episode of NBC’s “Running Wild With Bear Grylls.” “It was sort of the in-between work. The social aspects outside it — I mean, everywhere you go to a certain extent there is press in some form.

“You spend a lot of time in your house going crazy,” he added. “Pretty soon, you need a social lubricant. Once I needed that it became [needed for me] to go anywhere. It was getting to the point where I was caring less about the work and waiting more for the weekend.”

That’s why the actor decided to check into rehab and enroll in Alcoholics Anonymous, an experience he spoke about this past spring, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “I think it’s changed my life. I’m much more comfortable in my own skin. Things are so much easier now.”

Efron also spoke about his transformation with Grylls, saying, “I just really never again want to have to take anything from the outside in to me to feel good about my outside.”

Hear, hear.

“Running Wild With Bear Grylls” premieres Monday, August 4 on NBC.

Brenna Ehrlich is a reporter for MTV News as well as the senior writer/editor for the O Music Awards. In the past, she served as associate editor at Mashable, penned a netiquette column for CNN and co-authored the blog and book "Stuff Hipsters Hate." She likes trying not to die in moshpits and listening to songs on repeat. Follow her on Twitter for news on cats and punk bands.
@BrennaEhrlich