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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Glee" actor Cory Monteith said he had such a serious drug problem as a teenager that friends once feared he could die.
Monteith, 29, plays naive high school football star Finn Hudson in the television musical comedy. But the Canadian actor told Parade magazine he was nothing like his quiet, well-behaved TV character, and that by the age of 13 he was skipping school to get drunk and smoke pot.
At 16 years old, when he quit school for good, he had attended 12 different schools.
"I burned a lot of bridges. I was out of control," Monteith told Parade. "I had a serious problem" (with drugs). "Anything and everything as much as possible.
Afraid that he "could die," his mother and a group of friends staged an intervention when he was 19. "That's when I first went to rehab. I did the stint but then went back to doing exactly what I left off doing."
It was only later that he decided to get clean.
"I stole a significant amount of money from a family member," Monteith said. "I knew I was going to get caught, but I was so desperate I didn't care. 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."
Monteith said he felt "lucky to be alive" after his troubled youth.
Since starring in "Glee", Monteith has signed up for a number of movie projects including the July romantic comedy "Monte Carlo" with Disney star Selena Gomez and "Gossip Girl" actress Leighton Meester.
Monteith's interview appears in the June 25 edition of Parade.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Christine Kearney