Columbus Short has spent this year dealing with a scandal of his own.
And now, the actor is coming clean and is on the road to recovery. For the first time, he spoke openly with Access Hollywood Live about his drug and alcohol addiction, which he says ultimately led to his exit on Scandal.
“I’ll be candid: I was struggling with drugs,” Short explained. “I had a lot on my plate, and you know, I was using unhealthy ways to kind of self-medicate and deal with a lot of heavy-duty stuff in my life… I was doing cocaine and drinking a lot, and trying to balance a 16-hour work schedule a day and a family, and I just lost myself back then.”
News of Short’s struggles broke at the beginning of this year. On Valentine’s Day, Short was charged with misdemeanor spousal battery. His wife, Tanee McCall-Short, filed for divorce shortly following the charges. Then, in March, Short was arrested for getting into a fight with a patron at a restaurant.
He announced he was leaving Scandal about one month later.
Short played the beloved Harrison Wright on the show. One of Olivia Pope’s (Kerry Washington) dedicated “gladiators,” who helped her fix her client’s problems, no matter how salacious. News of Wright’s demise in the story line definitely sent a shocking blow to fans of the show.
But Short respects the show’s decision to cut him loose. “They just wanted me to get my stuff together,” Short admitted.
He also said that creator, Shonda Rhimes, and his cast mates on the show were well aware of his problems. “Sometimes the bottom has to be dropped out for you to really get it. So I moved to Atlanta. I’ve been living there for the last five months, five-and-a-half months, and it’s just been great. It’s been life-changing.”
Short has been writing music, which he attributes to helping him heal from a slew of low points in his life which he says led to the drug abuse.
“I think when anybody’s dealing with drugs or alcohol, you need to change your environment, period,” Short said. “Persons, places, things, you need to get out of whatever the comfort — it was accessible to me. Come on — I’m on the number one show on television, anything I wanted I could get it, but that’s deadly, you know what I mean? So it was about how do I change my life?”
Now that Short has made that change for himself, he’s anxious to get back to work.
“I’m really ready to get back to work. As far as Shonda’s shows, I would love nothing more to go back to Scandal. It’s my family.”