Cory Monteith’s untimely death shocked and saddened millions of fans who knew him primarily as Finn Hudson, the all-American football star on Glee. In truth, Monteith’s adolescence was far different than that of his on-screen persona.
“I’m not Finn Hudson,” Monteith said during a 2011 interview with Parade Magazine. “I’m lucky on so many counts — I’m lucky to be alive.”
Monteith’s troubles began when his parents’ divorced during his childhood. After that point, Monteith and his older brother went to live with their mother in Victoria, Canada.
By 13, Monteith was sneaking out of the house to smoke weed and drink. Quickly, Monteith’s addictions became all-consuming.
“Anything and everything, as much as possible,” he said of his drug preferences. “I had a serious problem.”
Once a promising student — Monteith could reportedly read at a fifth-grade level when he was just five — he dropped out of high school at 16. He later described the experience to GQ as “this whole world of excitement and danger outside the doors of high school — this kind of renegade teenage lifestyle.”
As exciting as a “renegade teenage lifestyle” may sound, Monteith said there was nothing glamorous about it. (He also actively feared that the young fans might consider a similar path.)
Out of school and out of the home, Monteith took odd jobs to fund his addictions. When he was 19, and still going nowhere but down, Monteith’s family staged an intervention and convinced him to go to rehab.
“I did the stint but then went back to doing exactly what I left off doing,” Monteith told Parade.
It wasn’t until a short while later that Monteith accepted the direction his life was headed in and decided it was time to change.
“I stole a significant amount of money from a family member,” he 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… I finally said, ‘I’m gonna start looking at my life and figure out why I’m doing this.’”
To get clean, Monteith went to live with a family friend in small Vancouver Island city. There he quit the drugs, took a job as a roofer and began taking acting lessons. Although those lessons eventually set him on a totally different path, Moneith was never able to entirely shake his demons. Last spring, he admitted himself to a residential rehab program with backing from his co-star/girlfriend Lea Michele.
Since then, the actor appeared to be healthier… Sadly, many speculate that his demons came back for one final appearance. A fast-tracked autopsy has been scheduled for today and will reveal whether Monteith had drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of death.