Baywatch actor Zac Efron has opened up about his reported "jaw-gate" in an interview with 'Men's Health' magazine. The rumours surfaced last April, with many pointing out that he looked different in an Earth Day public service announcement. Acknowledging that his appearance has changed in recent years, Efron explained that it happened after he fell at his home and broke his jaw in November 2013. His face and jaw muscles, as a result, have to work extra hard for him to make expressions, reports 'People' magazine.
A person's masseter muscle, which helps you close your mouth when you chew, along with the muscles on the face should operate "like a symphony", but his injury meant this was no longer the case, Efron said.
According to 'People', he was seeing a physical therapist to help him recover, but he briefly stopped while in Australia, where he shot Season 2 of his Netflix series 'Down to Earth' last year.
"The masseters just grew. They just got really, really big," Efron recalled.
'People' reports that it was his mom who told him about the attention his appearance was receiving online and about the speculation that he had plastic surgery or undergone some cosmetic procedures -- which the publication dubbed as "jaw-gate".
Efron noted that he typically tries to stay off social media, adding: "If I valued what other people thought of me to the extent that they may think I do, I definitely wouldn't be able to do this work."
The Hollywood star also revealed that his 'Baywatch' body was not sustainable, and he suffered from 'bad depression' while training for the movie. The 34-year-old actor stated in a 2017 interview with Men's Health Magazine that he is no longer concerned with keeping the physique he had for the filming of 'Baywatch' in 2017.
"That 'Baywatch' look, I don't know if that's really attainable. There's just too little water in the skin," he told the outlet. "Like, it's fake, it looks CGI'd. And that required Lasix, powerful diuretics, to achieve. So, I don't need to do that. I much prefer to have an extra, you know, two to three per cent body fat."
Efron revealed to Men's Health that while undergoing the demanding training needed for 'Baywatch,' he experienced "severe sadness" and felt exhausted. The actor thought he was prepared to modify his approach to exercise after the 2020 pandemic.
"I started to develop insomnia," he added in the magazine's October 2022 cover story. "I fell into a pretty bad depression for a long time. 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."
The 'High School Musical' star altered his food and sleeping schedule significantly. According to his Netflix show 'Down to Earth' alongside fitness expert Darin Olien, Zac Efron had been a vegan for around two years. Efron took a hiatus from performing and relocated to Australia during the pandemic. "At one point, that was a dream of mine -- what it would be like to not have to be in shape all the time," he said.
"What if I just say, 'F--k it,' and let myself go? So, I tried it, and I was successful. And for all the reasons I thought it would be incredible, I was just miserable. My body would not feel healthy. I just didn't feel alive. I felt bogged down and slow."
The Greatest Beer Run Ever, Efron's most recent film, will be released in cinemas on September 30 and streamable on Apple TV+.
-with IANS and ANI inputs