Zac Efron Reveals The Devastating Reason Behind His Struggle With Depression

Zac Efron's career in movies and television spans more than a decade, but there's no denying that his role in "High School Musical" put him on the map. As most of us are well aware, Efron played the role of Troy Bolton, a high school basketball star who could also sing and dance. And who could forget his on-screen and off-screen romance with co-star Vanessa Hudgens? At the time, the two seemed like a match made in Disney heaven.

But since his role in the Disney hit, Efron has enjoyed a great career with plenty of big-name films, like "17 Again" and "Baywatch." The former teen heartthrob has talked about his role as a lifeguard in "Baywatch" on several occasions, sharing all of the hard work it took for him to achieve his body for the film. Efron's trainer, Patrick Murphy, told Men's Journal that he put the cast through an intense training program that included high-intensity workouts and a strict diet.

In an interview with "Hot Ones" in 2020, Efron confessed that his diet for the movie caused him to "nearly [lose his] mind." The star added, "I don't ever want to be in that good of shape again." Now, Efron is opening up even more about the intense "Baywatch" routine and why it took a toll on his mental health.

Zac Efron's intense diet and workout took a toll

Zac Efron is getting candid about his mental health. According to the star, he fell into a deep spiral after filming "Baywatch" in 2017. In an interview with Men's Health, the star confessed that the ripped body he achieved for the movie — which saw him shirtless and in swim shorts most of the time — was not "really attainable." He added, "Like, it's fake; it looks CGI'd. And that required Lasix, powerful diuretics, to achieve. So I don't need to do that. I much prefer to have an extra, you know, 2 to 3 percent body fat."

The actor revealed that he ate the same three meals each day, trained too hard, and due to all the extra energy, he wasn't sleeping well. "I started to develop insomnia, and I fell into a pretty bad depression, for a long time. Something about that experience burned me out," Efron told the outlet. "I had a really hard time re-centering. Ultimately they chalked it up to taking way too many diuretics for way too long, and it messed something up." Since then, the star has come a long way, changing how he eats and works out. Now, ice baths are one of his favorite parts of his new routine.

According to his IMDb profile, Efron has a lot of projects in the pipeline, including an untitled Netflix romcom, which he is in the middle of filming. He's also set to star in the remake of "Three Men and a Baby."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.