First, here's what police said on the record: Efron and a friend were waiting at Temple Street near the 110 Freeway when officers were flagged to the area by a third party, L.A. Now reported. The cops arrived around 2:30 a.m. and found evidence of an altercation.
A police spokesman had no other details about what had gone down, but authorities confirmed that the "High School Musical" star had tangled with at least one transient after becoming "stranded" in the sketchy area.
Nobody was arrested.
Now for the unnamed-sources details: The friend, initially referred to as a "bodyguard" when TMZ first reported the story, told the website that they'd run out of gas at the bottom of the freeway offramp around 12:30 a.m. Efron reportedly told police that while waiting for a tow truck they'd thrown a bottle out of the window of the car, disturbing transients, one of whom wound up punching the 26-year-old actor in the mouth.
(Yeah, that's the same mouth that in November had a broken jaw wired shut after a mysterious slip-and-fall accident involving a puddle of water at Efron's home. The actor at the time denied the injury had anything to do with partying, according to People sources.)
The friend, whose name TMZ agreed not to use, later told the website that the "That Awkward Moment" actor had actually played the hero, getting out of the car and wielding a vodka bottle as a weapon to fend off three homeless men as one "stabbed" at the friend several times with a "spear." The friend didn't say why he himself was out of the car in the first place, however.
Finally, some background: The friend-bodyguard has a criminal history involving drugs and violence, TMZ said. Efron last year completed rehab, People sources confirmed in September, saying he'd cut most of the party crowd out of his life at that time. But he wasn't forthcoming when asked about rehab in January during a "Today" show appearance to promote "That Awkward Moment." There have been rumors he's gone to rehab more than once.
"He's made a remarkable effort to straighten up and concentrate on staying that way," an Efron buddy told People. "He wants to be healthy."
Now, the friend in the car Sunday initially told TMZ that they'd just been "cruising" around downtown (fortunately with a bottle of vodka?), but later amended that to say specifically they'd been headed to a restaurant in Little Tokyo.
Incidentally, there is at least one restaurant in Little Tokyo open until 3 a.m., seven nights a week. Who knew?
Looks like it's dangerous to be Zac Efron these days.
His reps had not responded to requests for comment from various outlets.