Actor Zac Efron has opened up about his addictions, as well as a "terrifying" fight with a homeless man in March in the infamous Skid Row neighbourhood of downtown Los Angeles.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 26-year-old former High School Musical star says he and a friend were driving around in the area "to get a bite and catch up" in the early A.M. hours when their car ran out of gas. And then the trouble started.
"A homeless guy or vagrant tapped on the drivers-side window," said Efron. "Before I knew it, he [the friend] was out of the car and they started fighting."
At which point Efron entered the fracas: "I saw that [the homeless man] was carrying some sort of 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."
Efron says the fight was "the most terrifying moment in my life."
In the same interview, Efron talks about his "never-ending" struggle with addictions, and alcohol in particular.
"I was drinking a lot, way too much," he said. "It's never one specific thing. I mean, you're in your twenties, single, going through life in Hollywood, you know?"
Efron went to rehab for alcohol and cocaine addiction last year. More recently, he joined Alcoholics Anonymous and began seeing a therapist to conquer his inner demons.
"I just started going," he said. "And I think it's changed my life. I'm much more comfortable in my own skin. Things are so much easier now."
And talk about ironies: Although Efron is clean and sober in the real world, his newest movie, The Neighbors, casts him as a party-hearty fraternity boy who crosses horns with his nerdy new neighbour, played by Seth Rogen. All of which seems a lifetime away from getting into fights in a back alley.
"Everything is thrown at you," said Efron. "I wouldn't take anything back; I needed to learn everything I did. But it was an interesting journey, to say the least."