Former ‘Scandal’ Actor Columbus Short Opens Up About Drug Abuse
ABC’s hit show Scandal has been honored with Emmys, Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice Awards and more since its debut in 2012. But now in its fourth season, it’s in the spotlight for some scandal of its own.
Actor Columbus Short is written out of Scandal
At the end of the third season, Scandal writers rather abruptly killed off one of their primary characters, Harrison Wright. It actually wasn’t entirely clear if the character was killed, disappeared or just presumed dead, but as Season 3 came to a close in the spring of 2014, it became obvious that Columbus Short, the actor who played Harrison, would not be returning to the cast.
In March, Short was arrested and charged with felony battery following a violent brawl at a restaurant. In April, his wife filed for divorce, citing an intense physical relationship. She additionally obtained a temporary restraining order, and said that while drunk, Short threatened to kill both her and himself.
Later that month, Short released this statement through his publicist, confirming that he wouldn’t be returning to the show.
“At this time I must confirm my exit from a show I’ve called home for 3 years, with what is the most talented ensemble on television today. Thank you GLADIATORS, who have supported me throughout my entire career and of course to ABC and Shondaland for allowing me to play such a pivotal role in the Scandal series. I have enjoyed every single minute of it. Everything must come to an end and unfortunately the time has come for Harrison Wright to exit the canvas. I wish nothing but the best for Shonda, Kerry and the rest of the cast, who have become like a second family to me in such a short amount of time. For this, I will forever be grateful.”
An admission of substance abuse
This December, Short sat down for an interview with Access Hollywood. In it, he not only acknowledged his out-his-control behavior, but also revealed some of the factors that contributed to it.
Referring to the assault charges and publicized marital troubles, host Billy Bush opened the segment by calling Short’s year “terrible.” When asked what his biggest problem was, Short opened up about substance abuse.
“I’ll be candid. I was struggling with drugs… I had a lot on my plate, you know…[and I] was using unhealthy ways to self-medicate and deal with a lot of heavy duty stuff in my life.”
“What kind of drugs were you doing?” Bush asked.
“The real drugs,” he replied.
Bush dug deeper. “Cocaine?”
“Cocaine,” Short confirmed. “I was doing cocaine, and drinking a lot.”
Short remained forthcoming throughout the rest of the interview. He talked about how the suicide of his close friend Lee Thompson Young ignited his own feelings of depression and spiraled into drug and alcohol abuse. He also said that getting away from his environment – “persons, places, things” – was a key factor to moving past his substance abuse problems. Everyday access to drugs and alcohol proved to be too big of a temptation for him, and when immersed in his natural surroundings, he was unable to abstain.
So, he left his job in California, moved to Atlanta and worked on being a better person. Though he was later court-ordered to return to Los Angeles, Short was able to spend enough time away from the drug and alcohol influences in his life to bring about real changes.
Getting help for a problem
Columbus Short ran into many legal issues before getting to the root of his substance abuse problems. It took a felony charge and divorce papers before he was able to fully recognize the wake of destruction his choices had left.
But Short’s story isn’t unique. In fact, it’s a fairly common theme among those with addictions: Some tragic event leads to drug or alcohol abuse, and then the drug and alcohol abuse leads to more tragic events.
If you are feeling similar effects because of drug and alcohol abuse in your life, or, if you’re struggling to help a loved one who is dealing with addiction, don’t wait for the next tragedy. Get help today. Call The Watershed any time. We’re open 24/7: 1-800-861-1768.