Photo Credit: Bennett Raglin/WireImage
At age 29, Cory Monteith is singing and dancing his way through high school on Glee -- but his actual teenage years were far from harmonious. In an interview with Parade, the Canadian actor opens up for the first time about his troubled past, and how acting helped him conquer a drug addiction that could have killed him.
Monteith, better known to fans as McKinley High quarterback Finn Hudson, says he never felt like he belonged as a child. His parents got divorced when he was 7, which started him on a downward spiral that eventually led to substance abuse. By the time he was 13, Monteith says, he was skipping school to drink and smoke pot. By the time he became a drop-out at age 16, he had attended 12 different schools -- and had "a serious problem" with drugs.
"I'm not Finn Hudson. I burned a lot of bridges. I was out of control," Monteith recalls, saying that his drug use included "anything and everything, as much as possible." He frequently stole from the people close to him in order ot fuel his drug habit.
At age 19, after an intervention by his mother and friends, Monteith agreed to go to rehab. After the rehab stint, he went right back to using drugs, until a "crystallizing event" made him realize how far he'd fallen.
"I stole a significant amount of money from a family member," he confesses. "I knew I was going to get caught, but I was so desperate I didn't care. It was a cry for help."
The family member threatened to report Monteith to the police, at which point he decided that he was "done fighting myself." He moved away, got a job as a roofer and quit drugs for good. Then Monteith started working with an acting coach -- and, for the first time, he felt like his hard work had actually led to him being "good at something."
This isn't Monteith's first interview by a long shot, but he's never shared this side of his life before. So why the hesitation? Monteith says he was worried that if he shared his story, kids would "think it's okay to drop out of school and get high, and they'll be famous actors too." But he does hope that his recovery can serve as inspiration for "those people who might give up."
"Get real about what you want and go after it," Monteith advises anyone who's been in his shoes. "If I can, anyone can."
We think it's great that Monteith has decided to come clean (so to speak) about his past drug problem, however shocking the story may be. With so many actors cycling in and out of rehab, it's inspiring to hear from one who worked his way up from rock bottom. For the sake of the world's Lohans and Sheens, we hope that Monteith is right: If he can, anyone can.