Even the squeakiest of clean stars go through problem spots—even Lindsay Lohan was once a fresh-faced, sweet young thing—but not all of them end up going the way of the celebrity train wreck. Take Zac Efron, for example: It emerged yesterday that he did a stint in rehab… without making a big deal about it… five months ago. How’s that for doing it right?
According to E! Online, the 25-year-old High School Musical alum went in for alcohol abuse; several months later, he’s “healthy, happy, and not drinking” and “taking time to focus on working.” Speaking of working, he’s certainly been a busy boy—he stars next in Parkland, a drama about the JFK assassination out on October 4, alongside Tom Welling, Paul Giamatti, Jackie Earle Haley, Jacki Weaver, and Marcia Gay Harden; he’s also completed filming for both Are We Officially Dating? and Neighbors, which are due out in January and May 2014 respectively.
The whole rehab thing is tricky to handle as a celebrity. How do you get the help you need without your career blowing up in your face? Do you announce it when it happens? Do you try to keep it hushed up? The answer is to do it like Zac did: Fly under the radar, then get your butt back to work when you get out on the other side. If it comes out later, it comes out; at least you’ve demonstrated that you a) recognized that you needed help, b) had the sense to seek it out when you realized you needed it, and c) are doing your darndest not to let it halt your career in its tracks. Rehab isn’t a publicity tool, after all. It’s a real thing that people often need. Of course, there’s no accounting for the TMZs of the world, who will find a way to spin whatever problem you had into the worst thing they possibly can (cocaine and Molly? Seriously?), but some things can’t be helped.
I wonder, by the way, whether Zac regrets doing High School Musical. There’s no denying that he can attribute that Disney juggernaut with his breakout role, but no matter how many other projects he does, it’s going to dog his steps for a good long while. Maybe he’ll be like Neil Patrick Harris and Doogie Howser, M.D.: Eventually Zac will find his equivalent of Barney Stinson and people will finally stop thinking of him exclusively as the wunderkind he played as a teenager. There’s hope for him yet!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.
Photo Credit: StarTraks Photo