June 23, 2011 at 2:23 PM ET
Cory Monteith plays doe-eyed jock-with-a-heart Finn Hudson on FOX’s hit series, “Glee,” but the Canadian actor says his teenage life was nothing like that of his character.
“I’m lucky on so many counts — I’m lucky to be alive,” Cory, 29, told Parade magazine in an interview for their June 26 issue.
The handsome actor, who revealed he regularly cut class in favor of drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, quit high school for good at age 16, after attending a number of schools and an alternative program for troubled teens.
“I burned a lot of bridges. I was out of control,” he told the mag, before adding that his drug use included “anything and everything, as much as possible.”
Cory’s mother and friends were terrified by the small screen star’s destructive path. Fearing his habits would cost him his life, the group staged an intervention for Cory when he was 19 years old.
He “did the stint,” but soon returned to his old ways. Cory’s actions finally caught up with him after he stole “a significant amount of money” from a member of his family.
“I knew I was going to get caught, but I was so desperate I didn’t care,” he told the mag. “It was a cry for help. I was confronted and I said, ‘Yeah, it was me.’ It was the first honorable, truthful thing that had come out of my mouth in years.”
The family member he stole from gave the actor two choices: sober up, or the theft would be reported to the police and charges would be pressed. Cory opted to stop “fighting” himself, and set out to get clean.
After relocating to a small Canadian town (Nanaimo) to live with a family friend, he quit using drugs and became a roofer. Cory dabbled in acting, and after performing a scene about a suicidal man, finally felt a sense of pride from “working had and being good at something.”
“I don’t want kids to think it’s okay to drop out of school and get high, and they’ll be famous actors, too,” Cory explained of why he chose to speak out about his troubled past. “But for those people who might give up: Get real about what you want and go after it. If I can, anyone can.”