zach efronI used to work for a magazine that loved to slap the saying, "Stars are just like us!" on photos of celebrities doing mundane things. I've always thought that these stars -- with their cooks, drivers, stylists, and personal trainers -- are nothing like us, even if they do pick up their own coffee once in awhile. However, a recent image of Zac Efron is softening that opinion. Sitting courtside at a Lakers game, he revealed a scary struggle with something I am sure many of his fans are going through too.

The High School Musical star was proudly wearing his Alcoholics Anonymous sobriety chip around his neck as he cheered. 

In case you hadn't heard, the actor quietly entered into rehab last April. Many people had no idea he even had a substance abuse problem. Unlike other young stars, he didn't have a public meltdown, get a DUI, or wind up in jail for some other ridiculous and scandalous reason. He found himself battling a serious problem and was determined to get the help he needed. An admirable move, especially given the partying environment he works in.

Though, seeing him with that blue chip, which signifies six months sobriety, is impressive and an inspiration. In so many cases, stars come out of rehab and they either pick up where they left off or they are mum on the subject. Even though addiction is something many people can relate to, the celebrity experience often seems so unrelatable.

It’s nice to see that Zac is wearing what I am sure is a constant reminder of his daily battle. For this actor, what he has gone through and continues to go through is not shameful. It's a part of who he is now and he seems proud of what he's accomplished so far. In many ways, this is a public service. It’s not just their clothes, cars, and luxe lives people will want to emulate. Seeing Zac overcome his demons can do more for fans than he ever imagined.

What do you think of stars who are open about their battle with sobriety?


Image via Ivo Duran/Flickr