Zac Efron told Men's Health that he had a jaw injury, and recovery changed the shape of his face.
An online photo in April 2021 prompted viral controversy that the actor had plastic surgery.
Efron said specific chewing muscles around his jaw got bigger as a result of the injury.
Zac Efron addressed speculation about possible plastic surgery in an interview with Men's Health, saying that changes to his face shape were related to a jaw injury and subsequent physical therapy.
Efron went viral in April 2021 after appearing in an Earth Day special with scientist Bill Nye. Images from the event prompted intense online discourse dubbed "Jaw-Gate" in which people speculated about whether Efron had gotten Botox, fillers or implants, another cosmetic procedure, or even dental surgery.
The actor told Men's Health he was running through his house wearing socks and slipped, colliding with a granite fountain that broke his jaw. He said that while he worked with a physical therapy specialist to recover, some of the muscles of his face and jaw had to work harder in response to the injury.
He said it specifically affected muscles involved in chewing called the masseters, which are located on the side of the face from the cheekbone to the lower jaw.
"The masseters just grew," he said. "They just got really, really big."
Efron said he wasn't aware of the online speculation about his face until his mom called him to ask if he had plastic surgery. He told Men's Health that since his "High School Musical" stardom at age 17, he's tried to avoid social media except when promoting specific projects.
"If I valued what other people thought of me to the extent that they may think I do, I definitely wouldn't be able to do this work," he said.
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