Zac Efron says he suffered “pretty bad depression” over his body

·3-min read

From his debut role as Troy Bolton in High School Musical to his most recent appearance in Firestarter, Zac Efron is no stranger to the big screen – nor is he a stranger when it comes to stripping off on camera. Yep, if there's one thing Efron is known for, it's his body. But it seems that achieving said body has come at a cost.

Speaking to Men's Health, Efron opened up about how the pursuit of the so-called 'perfect body' has impacted his mental health – particularly during 2017 when he starred in the Baywatch remake alongside Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.

"That Baywatch look, I don’t know if that’s really attainable," Efron said. "There’s just too little water in the skin. Like, it’s fake; it looks CGI’d."

Speaking about how he achieved such a slimmed-down look, the actor revealed he took strong diuretics – a medication that (according to the NHS) helps get rid of extra fluid in your body.

"That [look] required... powerful diuretics, to achieve," Efron said, adding that he overtrained his body and ate the same three meals every day. He also admitted to struggling with his sleep too, often going to bed after midnight when filming wrapped up and waking up at 4am to workout.

Photo credit: Christopher Polk - Getty Images
Photo credit: Christopher Polk - Getty Images

"I started to develop insomnia," the 34-year-old went on. "And I fell into a pretty bad depression, for a long time. Something about that experience burned me out. I had a really hard time recentering."

Efron continued: "Ultimately they chalked it up to taking way too many diuretics for way too long, and it messed something up."

Six months after filming for Baywatch ended, the actor says he finally started to feel like himself again. "I don’t need to do that," he concluded of the stress he'd put his body through to achieve his Baywatch look. "I much prefer to have an extra, you know, 2 to 3 percent body fat."

Admittedly though, Efron says he still likes to stay in shape for both his physical and mental health. "At one point, that was a dream of mine — what it would be like to not have to be in shape all the time," he told Men's Health. "What if I just say, 'F**k 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."

He went on: "I enjoy pushing myself and really laying it all out, to the point where I kind of have to do it. Otherwise I don’t feel like myself."

If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s health, you can contact Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677 or

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