Ben Higgins says it was 'incredibly courageous' of 'Bachelorette' winner Zac Clark to open up about his drug addiction on the show

Tayshia Adams Zac Clark "The Bachelorette"
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  • Ben Higgins praised Zac Clark for opening up about his drug addiction on "The Bachelorette."

  • Higgins had been addicted to painkillers too but didn't discuss it while starring on "The Bachelor."

  • "It was incredibly courageous of Zac," Higgins said. "And I know it's not easy. I didn't do it."

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Tayshia Adams' season of "The Bachelorette" was hailed for featuring some of the most vulnerable conversations the franchise has ever seen.

And former "Bachelor" star Ben Higgins told Insider that he was especially touched watching Zac Clark, Adams' eventual winner, open up about his past drug addiction - something Higgins also dealt with, but didn't discuss on his own season in 2016.

"It was incredibly courageous of Zac to do that," Higgins said. "And I know it's not easy. I mean, I didn't do it. I'm so proud of him as a person to have the confidence to share it."

Ben Higgins
Higgins recently opened up about his own past struggles with drug addiction. Ben Higgins/Instagram

During the show, Clark told Adams that he became addicted to painkillers shortly after he had surgery for a brain tumor when he was 23 years old.

"I was hanging out with some sketchy people," Clark said. "I got arrested, I got a DUI, my wife left. It got pretty gnarly. Moments of like, I'm not sure I'm going to make it to tomorrow. I was hopeless."

Clark revealed that everything changed when he stole one of his dad's checks to buy more drugs. Instead of calling the police, the bank teller rang his father.

"She's like my angel," Clark told Adams of that bank teller. "And basically says, 'Your son's here, it's not good and you need to get down here.' In that moment, I had some type of spiritual, crazy moment of clarity. I was like, 'Oh, okay, it's time.'"

Tayshia Adams Zac Clark "The Bachelorette"
Tayshia Adams and Zac Clark on "The Bachelorette." Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

Clark's addiction story has many parallels with Higgins' own.

The "Bachelor" star told Insider that he became addicted to painkillers after he was injured during a football game in high school, ending his dream of playing the sport in college.

Higgins was prescribed painkillers for a year as he underwent two surgeries.

"At first they were necessary for the pain and then, over time, they became a supplement to help numb myself from the emotional struggles I was going through in life," he said. "And that lasted for years, that lasted longer than I was prescribed them."

Higgins was taking up to seven Vicodin pills a day at the height of his addiction. But, as with Clark, he had a turning point after stealing money from a family member.

"I'm not an expert on addiction, but I imagine there's a moment that everybody kind of opens their eyes to the pain that they're causing themselves and others," he said. "It was an awakening at that moment that I was hurting people closest to me, hurting myself, and willing to go to drastic lengths to put this thing I was seeking after above them."

Higgins opens up about his past struggles with drugs in his new memoir, "Alone in Plain Sight." He also credits his experience on "The Bachelor" with helping him open up about his past.

"I do credit the show for giving me three months to sit alone in my thoughts and to not have the opportunity to numb," he said. "I was able to understand myself better and love myself better."

Higgins said he's glad that "The Bachelor" is featuring people like Clark who are so willing to share their stories with the world.

"Anytime 'The Bachelor,' or any show, has a level of vulnerability and speaks to the heart of issues around the world, I'm all for it," Higgins said. "Somebody is going to be watching that and hear his story and go, 'Me too. And if he can recover, then so can I.'"

Read the original article on Insider