Zac Efron, 31, is a seasoned heartthrob on the big and small screen, but he wasn’t always so smooth in front of the camera. Before the six-pack and impressive IMDb page came along, a 16-year-old Zac had to film his first on-screen kiss for his first recurring role on a television show, Summerland, and confessed a cringe-worthy anecdote on The Graham Norton Show’s April 29th episode. “So I was very nervous. I still get nervous, but I was very nervous for this day…I wanted to make her as comfortable as possible, she was young,” the Baywatch star said of his Summerland co-star, Kay Panabaker, 28, who was 13 at the time.
“I went to go in for the kiss and everyone’s watching. It’s a closed set though…makes it even more awkward. Like only special people could watch,” Zac continued, and here’s where the TMI details started to pour in. “At lunch, they served fish. The lunch spreads on set — You’ve never seen food like this…I’ve never seen crab legs up for multiple people to grab,” he explained. So, of course, Zac took advantage of the opportunity and “went to town” on crabs and salmon.
It was unfortunate timing, as the seafood lunch preceded the big moment. “Next up was the kissing scene. I was very nervous,” Zac went on. “We went in for the kiss — I got up this close. I’d shut my eyes, ready to go in…nothing happens..I’m going further..and nothing’s happening. I get further, like thinking eventually we’re going to touch. And all of a sudden I hear, ‘Oh my gosh. Did you have salmon for lunch? Seriously?'” And here’s the moral lesson of the story: “It ruined the first kiss for me. Poor Kay, I’m sorry. I promised I brushed my teeth. I learned a big lesson that day.” The incident was so scarring, the Disney alum now carries around a toothbrush, which he proved by pulling out a miniature version from his suit pocket.
Luckily for Zac, the embarrassment was mutual. Zac’s on-screen love interest, Kay, revealed that the kiss was her very first in an interview for LA Teen Festival in 2010! “It was totally embarrassing in front of the whole crew — they were all like my dads,” the actress turned zoologist explained. She added, “It was very weird, but [Zac] was so nice. And so sweet.” So you didn’t entirely mess up, Zac!