Cory Monteith was honest, humble and well aware of the pitfalls of both drugs and fame, according to a new article by Parade writer Shawna Malcom -- the same journalist who penned Parade's 2011 cover story in which Monteith publicly revealed his substance abuse issues for the first time.
In an essay she penned for Parade in the wake of Monteith's death on July 13 from a lethal mix of heroin and alcohol, Malcom offers personal observations of the star and reveals never-before-printed quotes about his struggles with addiction. One of the most chilling unused quotes from the "Glee" actor is a statement he made about the downside of drug use: "It's a trap. Because when you choose that lifestyle, you unchoose everything else," he told her in the spring of 2011. "You don't realize you're doing it, but you're distancing yourself from the rest of the world. You're putting up walls and burning down bridges and alienating yourself from everybody. It's very lonely."
That description is in stark contrast to the person Malcom first met back in 2010. "In two short years, Cory had gone from little-known Canadian actor to breakout TV star and international heartthrob, but he wasn't like most fast-rising young-Hollywood types I've encountered. He was humble. Articulate. Genuinely nice. And he had the talent to back up the bright future full of challenging film roles and major-label albums he envisioned for himself," she writes about Monteith, who rocketed to fame on the pop culture juggernaut "Glee" playing Finn Hudson, a popular jock and lovable show-choir star.
Malcom writes that Monteith loved connecting with people, enjoyed his side gig as a drummer in the indie band Bonnie Dune and had come a long way from his youth, when he was better known as a "loner, outcast." It was during that time that he first experimented with drugs, leading him down a dark path that ended with an intervention and a stay in rehab at the age of 19.
"The underlying problem was that I wasn't OK with myself," he told her, while making the connection to his substance issues. "The drugs were symptomatic of me not being in a good place. Things got really bad, really ugly."
And while he found recovery for many years before entering treatment again in April 2013, Monteith clearly had trouble adjusting to life in the spotlight. "At the end of the day, who everybody meets in the public eye, the public image, and myself are two different people in a way. It's a very accessible version of me. I'm definitely more introverted. I'm definitely darker."
But when Monteith decided to sit down with Parade to share his personal story of addiction and recovery, his intentions were to shed some light on his own issues in order to help others. Malcom recalls their meeting, when Monteith arrived ready for a big reveal. "He answered every question I posed candidly, thoughtfully and on the record, save for naming the hard drugs he'd used. He'd only discuss that off the record," she writes. "He was keenly aware that the revelation that the seemingly clean-cut kid from 'Glee' was a recovering addict would be big news, and he said he didn't want the media to focus on those particular 'buzzwords.'"
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In his own words, he understood the implications of revealing too much. "What is just one part of your story, paraphrased and taken out of context, can be a headline in someone else's," he told Parade. "And everything that comes out of my mouth is gonna be repeated in two-sentence-long bites for the next years of my life. Certain words travel far and wide."
"Heroin" is among those words that has now traveled the world attached to Monteith's name after the British Columbia Coroners Service confirmed on Tuesday that he died in a Vancouver hotel room as a result of "a mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol" following a relapse.
While many are still reeling from the actor's untimely passing, Malcom's first-person piece may help bring some light to the struggles that led to Cory's tragic relapse. To read Malcom's piece in its entirety, click here.
- Nov. 25, 2016 What do you think of those last 4 words?