Zac Efron Says ‘Baywatch’ Fitness Routine Forced Him Into Depression, Insomnia

Efron's mother even called him over plastic surgery speculation after Efron shattered his jaw in April 2021.
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 24: Zac Efron attends the "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" European premiere at The Curzon Mayfair on April 24, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Zac Efron
Samir Hussein/WireImage

After more than 15 years in Hollywood, Zac Efron is coming clean about the price of onscreen perfection.

The “High School Musical” alum revealed in a Men’s Health cover story that he suffered from a deep depression due to his “Baywatch” diet and fitness routine for the 2017 film.

“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 explained. “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.”

Efron admitted he was overtraining and eating the same three meals daily while running on a mere four hours of sleep per night due to his exercise regimen and production schedule.

“That ‘Baywatch’ look, I don’t know if that’s really attainable,” Efron reflected. “There’s just too little water in the skin. 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, two to three percent body fat.”

It took six months after filming wrapped for Efron to feel like himself again, and even then he still sought to unplug.

“At one point, that was a dream of mine — what it would be like to not have to be in shape all the time,” the “Greatest Beer Run Ever” star continued. “What if I just say, ‘Fuck it’ and let myself go? So I tried it, and I was successful. And for all the reasons I thought it would be incredible, I was just miserable. My body would not feel healthy; I just didn’t feel alive. I felt bogged down and slow.”

After relocating to Australia, Efron became vegan for a short time and dealt with his self-proclaimed agoraphobia. By April 2021, rumors of Efron undergoing plastic surgery took the Internet by storm. Even Efron’s mother called him to ask if he went under the knife. Now, Efron shared that he shattered his jaw and his masseter muscles looked inflamed because of the injury. Efron still undergoes physical therapy to fix his cheeks.

“The masseters just grew,” Efron said. “They just got really, really big.”

He summed up, “If I valued what other people thought of me to the extent that they may think I do. I definitely wouldn’t be able to do this work.”

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