If you were first introduced to former teenage heartthrob Zac Efron via High School Musical, you might be having trouble recognizing him now. That feeling peaked in April 2021 when Efron gave a promotional short to raise awareness for Earth Day. Unfortunately for Efron, the interview’s meaningful environmental message was lost amid widespread speculation that Efron had surgically altered his famous face.
In the clip, Efron’s cheeks appear swollen and his jaw appears to be about twice the size it used to be. The rumors were particularly compounded because Efron was making a permanent move from Hollywood to Australia at the time, which some found surprising. Social media was soon flooded with hot takes about Efron’s new look. “Zac Efron is naturally attractive, I know why he keeps messing up his face with plastic surgery,” one fan wrote. “I don’t want to live in a world where people like Jennifer Aniston and Zac Efron feel that they need plastic surgery,” said another. Efron’s good friend Kyle Sandilands defended the actor on his radio show, claiming he would know if Efron had done anything. “It’s like getting a Picasso and having a kid’s finger paint on it,” he said, per Page Six. “Why bother?”
Though it was all anyone wanted to talk about at the time, Efron refused to address the rumors. It would be over a year before he chimed in on the narrative and what he had to say will surely raise some eyebrows.
Zac Efron stays true to himself
According to Zac Efron, all the speculation about his new look was a waste of time because he never changed anything about his face. In a September interview with Men’s Health, Efron explained that his jaw appeared swollen during his Earth Day bit because his muscles were too enlarged thanks to an old injury — not some sort of cosmetic injection. “The Masseters just grew. They just got really, really big,” he said. (Efron was shocked by the public’s reaction as he had never given much thought to his new look. “If I value what other people think of me to the extent that they might think I do, I would be.” definitely not able to do this work,” he said.
Still, Efron isn’t immune to the pressures of modern beauty standards. Just because he’s never surgically altered his face doesn’t mean he hasn’t gone to other physical extremes. During the interview, Efron explained how his “Baywatch” diet nearly destroyed his health. “I started to develop insomnia and went into a pretty bad depression for a long time,” he said, before offering his opinion that the chiseled “Baywatch” isn’t a realistic standard. “Something about that experience burned me out. I had a really hard time centering myself again.”
Since then, Efron has worked hard to “re-center” himself to focus on what’s important to him. He lives full-time in Australia and hosts a show on Netflix that spreads environmental awareness. After all, some things are more important than looks.
Zac Efron wants distance from Hollywood
Long before rumors about his jawline hit Twitter, Zac Efron was fed up with Hollywood. Efron has worked non-stop since he landed the lead role in 2005’s High School Musical. Since then, he has appeared in dozens of films and television shows, and subsequently suffered from controversial diets and fitness programs for his work. By 2020, Efron needed a break. He has his sights set on Australia and has reportedly never looked back.
“He loves Australia and considers it his home,” a source told People in January 2021. “As of now, he has no plans to live in LA permanently again.” Efron sold his home in the cozy but expensive enclave of Los Feliz for just over $5.3 million when he headed to Australia, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Though California meant saying goodbye to a four-bedroom mansion in the heart of LA, it opened the door for Efron to settle Down Under. The actor is reportedly the proud owner of more than 300 acres north of swanky Byron Bay.
Efron’s home base is now Byron Bay, but since COVID regulations were eased he has shifted to a more transient lifestyle. According to Mens Health, he is returning to LA sparingly for business and personal reasons. Otherwise, Efron is a nomad. “I’m in a van trying to travel and see as much of the world as possible,” he said. “Or just hike and camp in the forest.” So there you have it — LA and unsolicited opinions on his face are officially in Efron’s rearview mirror.