updated 04/30/2014 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/30/2014 AT 5:30 PM ET
In the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter, out April 30, Efron says the scuffle happened when he tried to defend his pal after getting stranded in a rough part of Los Angeles.
“I had a friend come pick me up late at night – we were looking for a place downtown to get a bite and catch up,” he tells THR of the March incident. “We were having trouble finding somewhere – a lot of places were closed – and the car ran out of gas off the 110. It was ridiculous. We had to pull over, and I called Uber.”
“A homeless guy, or vagrant, tapped on the driver’s-side window. Before I knew it, [the friend] was out of the car, and they started fighting,” he continues. “I saw that [the homeless man] was carrying some sort of knife, or shank, and I got out of the car to disarm him.”
The man punched Efron in the face, he says, and police broke up the brawl. He calls the fight “the most terrifying moment in my life.”
Efron is also focusing on sobriety since joining Alcoholics Anonymous. “I think it’s changed my life,” he says. “I’m much more comfortable in my own skin.”
The former High School Musical star acknowledges his early rise to fame led to some missteps but says he’s ready for reinvention.
“When you have success young, and you accept the good things, you have to accept all of it,” he says. “You have to accept the moments of glory but also a great responsibility.”