Columbus Short has been making headlines for all the wrong reason this year – a spousal battery charge, allegations of aggravated assault in March, a lawsuit, a contentious divorce and an arrest for public intoxication last weekend.
On top of all that, Columbus lost his job as Harrison Wright on “Scandal” – something the actor said was handled with grace and positivity by ABC, Shonda Rimes and the cast.
“They did not throw me to the curb like trash – that’s my family,” Columbus told Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush in an exclusive interview. “They knew that I was going through a tough season and rallied around me and wrapped their arms around me – from Shonda to the craft service. We are family.
“I think at a certain point, when you’re getting a barrage of these stories, after stories, after stories, ABC, justifiably, would want to distance themselves, because if you want to look at it and you’re approaching this like it’s a presidential campaign, I lost sponsorships, I lost a lot of things due to these ugly stories,” he continued. “Whether they’re true or not, the allegations just put an ugly, nasty taste in people’s mouths and that’s the unfair part that I’ve had to weather.”
The 31-year-old said he understands why he was relieved of his Gladiator duty.
“We’re in a season of moving forward and ‘Scandal’ is my family, ABC is my family, they did the right thing,” he said. “It takes time to rebuild and you know, it’s gonna be in my actions. It’s all in my actions and directors will see [it] in my actions, producers will see [it] in my actions.”
With multiple reports claiming alcohol has played a role in Columbus’ recent incidents with the law, Billy asked the actor if he (Columbus) has a drinking problem.
“To be honest with you, I struggle with medicating with alcohol, I think, and that’s a real truth,” he answered. “I think that deserves some more looking into, if I want to be truthfully honest. I think dealing with the stress of the situations that I’ve been going through, medicating with anything is dangerous, because it becomes a crutch, but it doesn’t change it, the situation.
“And so, that’s what’s the funny part – I’m in a season where that’s not a part of my life, alcohol, drugs, those kind of things aren’t around me, aren’t in my life, but… in the past, it was a definitely a struggle for me,” the actor added.
Though his arrest over the Fourth of July weekend took place at a bar (for public intoxication), Columbus said he doesn’t enjoy drinking.
“I hate being drunk. I like to have control of my memories, so you know, that was a struggle,” he said. “But you do funny things to kind of cover up pain, but that’s about growth and that’s where growth comes in as a man and… finding the right tools and how to deal with things where you don’t need things like that, you don’t need alcohol.”
For now, Columbus is concentrating on getting back on track.
“What I refuse to do is lay down, and I’m not about doing a lot of talking right now, I’m about doing the work,” he said. “I’m in the studio for hours and working on my album, I go from the studio, I’m writing, I’m producing right now, I have a couple of movies that I’m trying to produce. I don’t stop and I will not stop – that’s just plain and simple.
“We’re all warriors, but I’m a warrior and I was wounded but I’m back in the battle,” he added. “I’m ready to go.”
-- Erin O’Sullivan