Zac Efron Opens Up About His Possible Future As A Parent

Initially, after finding fame at a young age, Zac Efron was reluctant to settle down. Unfortunately, the "High School Musical" star fell victim to the pitfalls that come with celebrity. "I was drinking a lot, way too much," he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2014. "I mean, you're in your 20s, single, going through life in Hollywood, you know? Everything is thrown at you," he added. Eventually, Efron put down the bottle and stepped away from the party scene.

Once his lifestyle had changed, Efron contemplated finding a long-term partner, but knew that involved a serious commitment. "[Y]ou have to give a piece of yourself away," he told THR. By 2017, it appeared the "Neighbors" star was ready to take the plunge. "Now that I'm getting closer to my 30s, I'm around some great relationships and I've seen expert couples at work," he told Cosmopolitan. The Hollywood A-lister mentioned that he had to prioritize being the best version of himself before coupling-up.

In 2021, rumors circulated that Efron was getting serious with his Australian girlfriend Vanessa Valladares. However, Efron called it quits with Valladares when work beckoned him back stateside. "Zac is about to start a busy year of filming and wanted to make a clean break now," a source told Us Weekly at the time. It was while working on one of those film projects that Efron had a realization about having his own kids.

Zac Efron's practice run at being a dad

For the first time in his career, Zac Efron played a father when he was cast in the film "Firestarter." The experience gave the actor major insight into being a real-life parent. "We had a heavy dad-daughter scene right off the bat, and I realized I was drastically underprepared for this part," Efron said about working with his young co-star, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, while appearing on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on May 10. A "bond" formed between the film's two stars, but it took longer than expected. "I thought it would just kinda click, but no, that really isn't the case," Efron said about his paternal instincts. That prompted DeGeneres to ask if the experience made the "Baywatch" star want kids of his own. "I think that was a healthy dose to put me off for as long as necessary," Efron said through laughter. 

While making the media rounds to promote the film, ET asked Efron how it felt to portray a "Zaddy" (attractive dad) in a movie. The "We Are Your Friends" actor was unfamiliar with the term, and focused on other parts of the movie. "Being a dad, as much as it was a weird thing to be happening, there's a lot more dangerous stuff going on," he responded.

Not everyone was thrilled to see Efron take on a "Zaddy"-like role, as it made some fans a bit too aware of their own mortality. One fan tweeted, "Wow we really old – how is Zac Efron playing somebody's father."