Zac Efron Opens Up About Life Before Rehab Stint: I Needed a "Social Lubricant"

Former Disney star opened up about life before treatment on an episode of Running Wild With Bear Grylls

By Alyssa Toomey Jul 29, 2014 9:43 PMTags
Zac EfronNeil P. Mockford/GC Images

While it's no secret that Zac Efron completed a stint in rehab last year, the actor has rarely opened up about the circumstances which led to his decision—until now, that is.

The 26-year-old hunk appeared in the first episode of Running Wild With Bear Grylls, a new NBC reality series in which Bear Grylls takes celebrities on two-day excursions where their survival skills are put to the test. On the show, Zac got candid when it came to the topic of his time in treatment, sharing insight into his life before rehab while revealing that he hit rock bottom due to the media's fascination with his personal life.

"The challenging part was never the work. That was never it," the erstwhile High School Musical star says of finding fame at such a young age. "It was sort of the in-between work—the social aspects outside of it. I mean, everywhere you go to a certain extent, there is press in some form."

VIDEO: Zac Efron describes his dream girl

Duncan Gaudin/NBC

He continued, noting that the constant pressure caused him to seek out unhealthy coping mechanisms as a means to deal with his everyday life.

"Whether you're going to an event where you're supposed to be out…there will be press there, if you're leaving your house to go to the grocery store, there will be press there. It can be everywhere and it can be confusing," he explained. "You spend a lot of time in your house, going crazy and pretty soon you need a social lubricant. And once I needed that, it became to go anywhere."

In September 2013, E! News exclusively reported that Efron completed a stint in a treatment facility about five months prior. "He's healthy, happy and not drinking," a source said at the time. "He's taking time to focus on working."

Efron's realization that he lost sight of his career became a big factor in his decision to get clean, which ultimately led to the rebuilding of his self-confidence.


"It was getting to the point where I was caring less about the work and waiting more for the weekend, you know what I mean, when I couldn't wait to go out and sort of let loose and have fun. But then when Monday and Tuesday were difficult to get through, I was like, ‘Oh this is bad,'" the handsome thesp told Bear Grylls. "I just really want to never again have to take anything from the outside into me to feel good about my outside, to be comfortable in my present skin." 

Following his time in treatment, the actor opened up about life post-rehab in an interview with the Today show in January.

"I'm in the best place I've ever been," he said while making the press rounds for his flick That Awkward Moment. "I've never been this happy before. I'm extraordinarily grateful for these guys and to be here promoting this movie. I don't know. Things are good."

Glad to hear life is still going well.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)