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Columbus Short may have announced he was exiting Scandal late last spring, but this week he’s finally spoken out about the circumstances surrounding that cliffhanger ending at the end of Season 3 and why he and the show ended up parting ways. Apparently, a heavy drug problem led to more outward problems in Columbus Short’s personal life and on the set.
"I'll be candid. I was struggling with drugs. 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."
Clearly, the man was having a tough time dealing with his life, especially after he found out fellow actor and friend Lee Thompson Young had committed suicide. He turned to cocaine and alcohol and it was all downhill from there. While the average person on the street may not know about Short’s drug problem, at the time of his exit, public problems, including a misdemeanor spousal battery charge, made it clear that he was working through some serious issues.
Short also tells Access Hollywood that Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes and the cast members on set were aware of his drug and alcohol problems.
“She did [know]. And if we're going to be fully transparent, they protected me and they held me down. And that was one of the real reasons – they just wanted me to get my stuff together.”
Unfortunately, Short was unable to get his act together quickly enough to continue on the series. Last spring, Short’s character Harrison Wright ended the season with a gun pressed to his forehead, leaving the show open to optioning his character for a return or killing that character off at the beginning of Season 4. While he didn’t open up about whether or not the decision to exit was mutual or one-sided, his story regarding his personal journey helps to explain why the character of Harrison Wright ended up where he did.
In the time since Wright’s big death on the show, he has gotten away from the acting scene and moved to Atlanta. Fortunately, he's a very talented actor, and if Hollywood is anything, it's a place that is open to second chances for people with real talent. I'm not sure there's a single wide release movie this year that won't feature at least one actor that struggled with drug or alcohol abuse at one point or another. Hopefully, Columbus Short will use his new location to get right mentally and figure out the best personal path to be on.
As for Scandal, it's continuing forward and remains extremely popular.