While it came as a surprise Sunday when "Glee" star Cory Monteith announced he "voluntarily admitted himself into a treatment facility for substance addiction," the 30-year-old actor has been candid about his history of alcohol and drug abuse.
In 2011, the actor, who has the support of his girlfriend and co-star Lea Michele while he seeks treatment, first went public about his past addiction. In an interview with Parade, he detailed his troubled teen years – which included abusing alcohol and drugs, and dropping out of high school at 16 – and noted he was "lucky to be alive."
The Victoria, British Columbia, native's drugs of choice? “Anything and everything, as much as possible,” he said. “I had a serious problem.”
Even an early trip to rehab didn't help. At 19, his mother and closest friends staged an intervention, which led to his first visit to a treatment facility. However, it didn't have a lasting effect.
“I did the stint but then went back to doing exactly what I left off doing,” he recalled.
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It was later when he faced serious criminal charges (“A lot of things went missing when I was around; I had high overhead to take care of,” he said) that he decided to turn things around.
“I stole a significant amount of money from a family member,” he revealed. “I knew I was going to get caught, but I was so desperate I didn’t care. It was a cry for help. I was confronted and I said, ‘Yeah, it was me.’ It was the first honorable, truthful thing that had come out of my mouth in years.”
Told if he didn't get clean, the relative would press charges, Monteith moved away to live with a family friend. He stopped using drugs, he started a job as a roofer, and he became interested in acting, which ultimately led him to stardom playing Finn Hudson on Fox's "Glee."
After going public about his addictions, Monteith appeared on the Canadian talk show "George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight" and spoke about why he decided to share his story.
"You see this young, all-American quarterback-looking dude on the show and you immediately made assumptions," he said. "And people started identifying me with those assumptions. … I felt like I had to step in at some point and relate to people my experience and relate to people the truth of my life and where I come from."
Asked why he thought he turned to drugs as a kid, Monteith said, "Finding a place. For me it wasn't so much the substances per se, it was more about not fitting in. I hadn't found myself at all. I had no idea who I was."
As for whether it was still a daily struggle to stay clean, he replied, "No. I just redouble my efforts on what I'm doing."
So while it remains unclear what triggered Monteith's decision to seek treatment in rehab this time, we hope he gets well soon – and maintains his upbeat attitude throughout the recovery process.
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