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What We Know About Cory Monteith's History of Addiction

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Cory Monteith (Twitter)

The death of "Glee" star Cory Monteith on Saturday came as a huge shock, but, sadly, that wasn't the first time the 31-year-old surprised fans this year.

Jaws first dropped on March 30 when the actor announced he "voluntarily admitted himself into a treatment facility for substance addiction." Few knew much about any sort of relapses from previous battles with addiction he may have had, but he certainly was seeking treatment with a huge swell of support from his girlfriend, Lea Michele, as well as the rest of the "Glee" and Fox family.

[Related: 'Glee Star Cory Monteith Dies at 31]

Monteith left the facility a month later and showed his gratitude via Twitter, posting, "Sending out big love to everyone. Thank you for the continued support! It means the world to me!" He and Michele quickly headed to Vancouver, where they were spotted looking happy and healthy at a Vancouver Canucks game on May 1.

They made their first — and only — post-rehab red carpet appearance on June 10 at the Chrysalis Butterfly Ball.

While little is known about Monteith's cause of death at this point — the autopsy is scheduled for Monday — we do know that the star had battled with addiction long before his 2013 stint in rehab. In 2011, the actor first went public about his past addiction. In an interview with Parade, he detailed his troubled teen years – which included abusing alcohol and drugs, and dropping out of high school at 16 – and noted he was "lucky to be alive."

The Victoria, British Columbia, native's drugs of choice? “Anything and everything, as much as possible,” he said. “I had a serious problem.”

Even an early trip to rehab didn't help. At 19, his mother and closest friends staged an intervention, which led to his first visit to a treatment facility. However, it didn't have a lasting effect.

“I did the stint but then went back to doing exactly what I left off doing,” he recalled.

[Related: ‘Glee’ Star Cory Monteith Checks Into Rehab for Substance Abuse]

It was later when he faced serious criminal charges (“A lot of things went missing when I was around; I had high overhead to take care of,” he said) that he decided to turn things around.

“I stole a significant amount of money from a family member,” he revealed. “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.”

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Monteith found love with his 'Glee' co-star Lea Michele, who said she will stand by him through his treatment. …

Told if he didn't get clean, the relative would press charges, Monteith moved away to live with a family friend. He stopped using drugs, he started a job as a roofer, and he became interested in acting, which ultimately led him to stardom playing Finn Hudson on Fox's "Glee."

After going public about his addictions, Monteith appeared on the Canadian talk show "George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight" and spoke about why he decided to share his story.

"You see this young, all-American quarterback-looking dude on the show and you immediately made assumptions," he said. "And people started identifying me with those assumptions. … I felt like I had to step in at some point and relate to people my experience and relate to people the truth of my life and where I come from."

Asked why he thought he turned to drugs as a kid, Monteith said, "Finding a place. For me it wasn't so much the substances per se, it was more about not fitting in. I hadn't found myself at all. I had no idea who I was."

As for whether it was still a daily struggle to stay clean, he replied, "No. I just redouble my efforts on what I'm doing."

(Originally published on April 1, 2013)

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