Zac Efron spoke about his physical and mental health—and how the two are related—in a new interview with Men’s Health. The 34-year-old actor said that, during the span of a year and a half, he tore his ACL, dislocated his shoulder, broke his wrist, threw out his back, and shattered his jaw.
The question of Efron’s jaw is one fans have obsessed over: After the injury, many speculated that the 17 Again actor had gotten cosmetic work done on his face—presumably something like jawline fillers, which can give the jaw a more defined look, depending on how they’re injected. Efron said his own mother called him once images of his face started circulating to ask if the rumor was true.
The jaw injury occurred after Efron slipped while running through his house in socks. (Friendly reminder: Wear your house shoes, people!) When he fell, his chin hit the granite corner of a fountain, causing him to lose consciousness. During the recovery process, Efron said his masseter muscles—facial muscles that play a major role in chewing food—became enlarged because they were working harder to compensate for the other injured muscles in his face. “The masseters just grew. They just got really, really big,” Efron said, adding that he still works with a physical therapist to deal with these effects.
Efron also touched on the preparation he did for his role in the 2017 movie Baywatch, explaining that it took a major toll on his physical and mental health. He said he had to overtrain and eat the same three meals each day as he prepared for the role of an Olympic swimmer. Getting ripped required powerful diuretics, sometimes called water pills, to help prevent the body from absorbing too much salt.
He also ran on very little sleep because he was constantly either filming or training. “I started to develop insomnia, and I fell into a pretty bad depression, for a long time,” Efron said. “Something about that experience burned me out. I had a really hard time recentering. Ultimately, they chalked it up to taking way too many diuretics for way too long, and it messed something up.” While diuretics are generally safe and are often used to help control high blood pressure, they can cause potential side effects, including hypokalemia (when your potassium level drops too low), problems with your heartbeat, dizziness, joint disorders, and impotence, per the Mayo Clinic.
The actor said he ultimately felt his Baywatch body looked unnatural on screen, which makes sense, given the tactics required to achieve it: “That Baywatch look, I don’t know if that’s really attainable. There’s just too little water in the skin. Like, it’s fake. It looks GCI’d.”
He began to feel better about six months after he finished filming, but the experience negatively impacted his fitness routine for a long time. He was so burned out that he wanted to “say, ‘Fuck it,’ and let [himself] go.” But that felt bad too, he said: “I was just miserable. My body would not feel healthy; I just didn’t feel alive. I felt bogged down and slow.” Since then, he’s reworked his fitness routine, and he now leans into yoga, stretching, and self-massage to take care of his body. (Efron added that he is “attached” to his Theragun.)