Full disclosure: I'm a Zac Efron fan.
I've followed Zac's career since his early days on random TV shows and Lifetime movies, pop-locking in High School Musical and showing his range in Hairspray and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile.
I even binge-watched him traversing the planet in his Netflix travel show Down to Earth with Zac Efron, which earned him an Emmy in 2021.
I'm even a fan of his comedies like Neighbors (I saw it twice in theaters) and Dirty Grandpa. The former teen idol really knows how to make us laugh.
But, lately, the conversation surrounding Zac is no laughing matter. In 2013, the 36-year-old actor slipped on a puddle of water at the entrance of his Los Angeles home and suffered a broken jaw. Earlier that year, he sought treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.
In 2019, Zac contracted a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection while filming his Quibi series Killing Zac Efron in Papua New Guinea. Needless to say, the 17 Again actor has certainly been through it.
Then, in April 2021, when he appeared in a viral video promoting Bill Nye's Earth Day Musical, everyone quickly commented on his appearance, speculating whether he had undergone cosmetic procedures. Eventually, Zac responded to the claims, detailing he was recovering from a severe injury.
In a Men's Health cover story, Zac shared how, in a year and a half, he tore his ACL, dislocated his shoulder, broke his wrist, threw out his back, and shattered his jaw. The injury to his jaw was so bad, he lost consciousness and woke to find his chin bone hanging from his face.
Zac went on to claim the changes in his face were due to recovery, physical therapy, and a temporary growth of the masseters (a muscle used for chewing that runs through the rear part of the cheek to the lower jaw). In an interview with with Entertainment Tonight, he said the incident was bad that he almost died.
Unfortunately, his response didn't stop fans from speculating that he secretly had cosmetic procedures on his face. For example, when I recently discussed his work in the new A24 movie The Iron Claw, the comments were filled with arguments over his jawline and face.
Now, some fans are defending him against the criticism. Here's what they're saying:
i hope yall know zac efron has openly talked about dealing with developing depression over his appearance and body yall are so mean to him and for what??
— ًً (@girlsonfillm) November 10, 2023
I need everyone to stop talking sht about Zac Efron pic.twitter.com/3Ny8yg2E2M
— isa (@devilmoonk) November 9, 2023
Amazon / Via Twitter: @devilmoonk
it’s bothering me especially bc he literally doesn’t bother anybody and people just constantly pick on him and hes having a big moment rn like let him have this… :(
— ًً (@girlsonfillm) November 10, 2023
He’s such a nice guy and doesn’t deserve to be picked on.
— Gabriela🔅 (@juleesssy) November 10, 2023
yes zac efron looks different. he has had had life threatening injuries and health scares that he has (thankfully) recovered from. so yes, he will look different. let’s move on?
— gati ⍟ (@youIovemelikexo) November 9, 2023
people really forget that he almost died & had to get face surgery…… of course he’s gonna look different now
— ۟ (@atelieure) November 10, 2023
What hurts the most is that it isn't even botched plastic surgery, which I would still have empathy for cause I'm not an ass, but literally had an accident that smashed his jaw and HAD to have this surgery to reconstruct it the best they could
— 🧸⃤ChiaSeedz💖 (@Kittyreignz) November 10, 2023
I'm biased, but no person deserves to have their appearance consistently ridiculed on the internet. For years, we always commented on Zac's appearance, mostly lusting over his physique, and now it's evolved into something dangerous. He addressed it already, so people should drop it.
Not too much on Troy Bolton unless you want to catch these jazz hands.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, you can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and find more resources here.