Zac Efron expressed profound gratitude for his parents as he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this Monday. The accomplished Iron Claw actor took a moment to share with PEOPLE how pivotal his parents, Starla Baskett and David Efron, have been in supporting him on his journey to realize his acting aspirations.
Efron, 36, acknowledged, “My mom and dad, they’re the reason I’m here today. They believed in me when I didn’t know how they did. It must’ve been difficult to drive me back and forth to auditions when I was 15, three hours from the Arroyo Grande out here, just to have such a small shot.” He continued, reflecting on the sacrifices his parents made for him, stating, “They believed in me, and they stuck with me, by my side, through all of it. And I think they sacrificed a lot to support me throughout the years.”
Expressing the emotional significance of having his parents present at the ceremony, Efron added, “So to have them here and to both be here in person is… it makes me emotional, man. It’s very special. It means the world to me.” Despite Starla and David typically staying out of the limelight, they stood proudly by their son’s side during the star ceremony, along with his younger brother Dylan, 31.
In a 2016 interview with Elle, Efron shared insights into his parents’ distinct but supportive love, stating, “My parents love me in very different ways, but they checked every box.” He highlighted his father’s influence, saying, “My dad always taught me to be driven,” recounting moments when his dad motivated him, such as building a basketball hoop after challenging school days.
The actor, known for his breakout role in the High School Musical trilogy, becomes the 2,767th entertainment-industry figure to receive a star, according to an official press release. Reflecting on his younger self from the High School Musical era, Efron humorously commented to PEOPLE, “Oh geez. Holy cow. I don’t think he wouldn’t believe me. Or yeah, I think he’d probably laugh.”
During the ceremony, Efron also took a moment to pay tribute to his late 17 Again costar Matthew Perry, who passed away in October at the age of 54. Efron recalled Perry’s kindness and generosity during the filming of the 2009 movie, expressing gratitude for the impact it had on his career, saying, “It really pushed me into the next chapter of my career, and for that, thank you so much, Matthew. Thinking about you a lot today.”