The shady side of Zac Efron

Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron went from being a teen idol to an out of control partier. For a while, he seemed destined to go the same route as fellow fallen Disney stars such as Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus, but after several years of public scandals, Efron sobered up and made a concerted effort to reinvent himself both personally and professionally. Now that he's in a better place, what's the harm in reminiscing on the hunky actor's checkered past? Here's the shady side of Efron.

He battled drugs and alcohol

In 2013, sources confirmed to E! News that Zac Efron "completed a stint in rehab." The source alluded to an alcohol problem, saying, "He's healthy, happy and not drinking," but rumors that he had cocaine problems had been swirling for years. Later, during an appearance on Running Wild with Bear Grylls (via ABC News), Efron confessed to needing "a social lubricant" just to leave the house in order to deal with the relentless pressure of media scrutiny.

Eventually, Efron admitted to The Hollywood Reporter that he had abused drugs. "It's never one specific thing. I mean, you're in your 20s, single, going through life in Hollywood, you know? Everything is thrown at you. I wouldn't take anything back; I needed to learn everything I did. But it was an interesting journey, to say the least," he said.

The ripped Neighbors (2014) star even got slightly philosophical, saying, "It's impossible to lead an honest and fulfilling life as a man and not make mistakes and fess up to them when you need to." At the time of that interview, Efron was attending AA meetings and living a completely clean lifestyle, although he acknowledges that this will be "a never-ending struggle."

That fight on Skid Row

Probably the craziest story to come out of Efron's party days was the time he ended up in a fight with a bunch of homeless guys in Los Angeles' dangerous Skid Row. The story varied greatly before Efron finally broke his silence and shared his version of events with The Hollywood Reporter. Efron claimed that he and a friend were looking for a place to eat and they ran out of gas in the sketchy neighborhood. While they waited for an Uber, "a homeless guy, or vagrant" tapped on the window, and his friend jumped out of the car. A fight ensued, and Efron thought he saw the homeless guy ready to attack his friend with a knife, so he jumped out of the car to help, but by that time, the cops were already there.

TMZ, who claimed to have spoken with police who were on patrol in the area of the incident, reported that Efron was actually with his bodyguard, and they threw a bottle at a group of homeless people while waiting for a tow truck. According to the tab, the fight involved Efron, the bodyguard, and "at least three other people," and Efron took a punch to the face. While we may never know what truly went down that night, we hope getting into a fight with homeless people is not something Efron considers to be part of his aforementioned "honest and fulfilling life."

He had to have his jaw wired shut

Just a few months after his rehab stint, Efron took a nasty spill in his Hollywood Hills home and face-planted right into a water fountain. The Baywatch (2017) star reportedly broke his jaw, had to get it wired shut, and could only eat liquid foods for six weeks. Of course, everyone thought the fall was because he relapsed and had an accident while partying, but that wasn't the truth at all. What exactly happened?

During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (via Us Weekly), Efron recounted the story, jokingly bragging about his fancy digs. "Let me start over, because the story starts kind of cool. I have a fountain in my house. That's kind of dope, right? So I was running through and slipped on water and hit my chin on the fountain in my house. It's not a big fountain, but it's a fountain in my house," he said.

It definitely sounds like one of those so-weird-it-has-to-be-true stories, but it's also something we could totally see his crazy frat-boy character, Teddy, from Neighbors doing, so who knows?

He possibly relapsed when dating Michelle Rodriguez

In the summer of 2014, Efron had a brief romance with actress Michelle Rodriguez, which started with a PDA-soaked 4th of July in Italy alongside Efron's good bud and Instagram star, Gianluca Vacci. From there, Efron and Rodriguez toured Europe all summer and ended the season with a bang in Ibiza, Spain, where, according to TMZ, Efron fell off the wagon hard.

Though the pair were spotted on yachts and in clubs throughout their baller romance, the High School Musical star seemed to be keeping himself clean until someone snapped a pic of him holding what looked like a beer bottle in an Ibiza nightclub. Sources told the Daily Mail that it was around this time that the pair had a falling out and went their separate ways. TMZ also reported that people around Efron said he was never really 100 percent sober, and that "He'll stop cold for 3 or 4 days when he has to work and then he's back." Maybe being around Rodriguez, who has her own hard-partying rep, was just too much of a temptation.

He shaded ex Vanessa Hudgens over leaked photos

Back in 2007, before leaked nude photos were as regular as cat memes are on the internet today, Vanessa Hudgens was a victim of one of the most scandalous nude photo hacks ever. The Disney starlet, who starred alongside Efron in the High School Musical trilogy, had just turned 18 and had a sterling reputation.

Hudgens was understandably humiliated by the publicatoin of her scandalous photos. She even had to issue an apology because the family-friendly entertainment giant was supposedly thinking about cutting ties with her. According to Today, Hudgens statement read: "I want to apologize to my fans, whose support and trust means the world to me. I am embarrassed over this situation and regret having ever taken these photos. I am thankful for the support of my family and friends." Since she and Efron were dating at the time, that had to be pretty uncomfortable, right?

Fast-forward to 2014, which was four years after Hudgens and Efron split: he and his cast mates were promoting their bro comedy, That Awkward Moment (2014). While reviewing fan survey questions about sex, the subject of "not sending sexually explicit pictures" came up, to which Efron said, "No me neither, I'm always worried about where they will end up," according to the Daily Mail. Sure, you could say that enough years had passed that there's no way this had anything to do with Hudgens, but if you recall that pesky rumor that Hudgens had emailed the photos to Drake Bell, this suddenly takes on a whole new degree of subtle shade.

He posted an irreverent MLK Day tweet

While he's worked hard to break free from Hollywood typecasting with roles in The Paperboy (2012) and Parkland (2013), it's always going to be hard for Efron to not be considered an uber bro just based on his appearance alone. He's almost painfully good-looking; he has the most ridiculous forty-pack abs; and he seems to hate wearing a shirt as much as The Incredible Hulk. So, the guy's going to get a lot of hate whether it's warranted or not. But there was one day in 2016 when even the fiercest Efron defenders probably couldn't help but roll their eyes., and that day was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a time when the nation pauses to remember the civil rights hero.

In Efron's tribute tweet (via Cosmopolitan) to Dr. King, he wrote, "I'm grateful for a couple things today: Martin Luther King Jr & 10 million followers on IG," which he followed with a black fist, a black hand doing the #1 sign and #MLKDay. It was an error of judgment, for sure, because Efron seemingly equated his support for civil rights with excitement over people clicking a button on Instagram, so yeah, actually when we put it that way, it sounds pretty bad. Of course, the twittersphere was not having it, and Efron quickly deleted the original tweet, and apologized with another. "I have nothing but the greatest admiration & respect for MLK. My last post was insensitive & I apologize to anyone who I offended. So sorry," he wrote.

He didn't stop his buddy from drinking and driving

Despite Efron's hard-partying Hollywood days, he miraculously managed to avoid getting into trouble with the law. Even when he and his friend or bodyguard or whoever allegedly threw down with homeless people—no charges. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for some of his fellow ragers.

In July of 2011, Efron's pal and Nickelodeon star, Ryan Rottman, was arrested for DUI just minutes after they both left the same bar. According to TMZ, the buds were hanging out at Dillon's Irish Pub in Hollywood along with Rumer Willis and some others, where sources claim they ordered "7 Kamikaze shots, 8 or 9 mixed drinks and 3-4 beers."

Rottman and Efron apparently both left the bar around 9:30 p.m. Rothman got behind the wheel of his own car and was arrested after cops saw him hit a curb. Efron was seen leaving in a car driven by Willis. Rottman allegedly blew a .19 on the breathalyzer, which was more than twice the legal threshold for a DUI, so the question is: did Efron try to stop his friend from driving? Was there no room in Willis' car for one more? We'll probably never know.

He let everyone think he was hooking up with Ashley Tisdale

After she and Efron were photographed during what appeared to be a PDA-filled frolic on the beach, complete with piggyback rides and canoodling, Ashley Tisdale was forced to go on the defensive about how she wasn't actually hooking up with her BFF's ex. It turns out, it was just Tisdale's 26th birthday party on the beach, and those shots of her frolicking around in a bikini with Efron, including this shot that pretty clearly shows his hand on her butt, were just her goofing around with her good buddy.

On Twitter, Tisdale said, "So happy zacary made it to my party!!! He's my brother/best friend!!!" (You can tell it's the truth because she uses his full name and six exclamation points.) In a fun twist, Tisdale also tweeted a shot of her then-boyfriend, Scott Speer, who also happened to be at the party, and who had to have been just thrilled that Efron was platonically pawing up his lady.

Efron, who has said he prefers not to discuss his personal life, never commented on the scandal. In other words, on top of arguably overstepping the boundaries of the friend zone, he couldn't even be bothered to squash the rumors, leaving Tisdale left to explain the whole thing. Hopefully, he at least gave her a decent gift card or something.

The time he dropped a condom on the red carpet of The Lorax

Remember when we said it was going to be tough for Efron to shake his natural dude-bro veneer? Well, he didn't exactly do himself any favors that time he showed up to the premiere of a kid's movie and let a condom fall out of his pocket right on the red carpet. It was a classy move that only someone like Efron or Charlie Sheen could pull off, and in an interview on Today, Efron and Matt Lauer had a good laugh over the whole incident.

"I never really had a pocket-checking policy prior to going on the red carpet before, but now we fully instated one," Efron said when Lauer asked him about the infamous moment.

"Better to be safe than sorry, right?" Lauer said.

"That's a great message to add to the many messages of the film," Efron replied. Then they laughed about an unintentional pun involving Efron's "production company," because get it? Isn't it so nice how those two were able to have a healthy chuckle over the fact that Efron seemed positive his role in a Dr. Seuss movie was going to get him laid? And if those were the kind of preparations he was making for that movie, we don't even want to know what kind stash he toted to the Baywatch premiere.