The Baywatch actor opened up about the experience while on First We Feast’s Hot Ones where he was promoting his upcoming Quibi show Killing Zac Efron.
Efron, 32, told host Sean Evans of the time he sat next to DiCaprio, 45, at a Lakers game in November 2008, and how his friendship with the Oscar winner began.
“What’s really cool about that night, and this really sticks in my mind, we weren’t talking at that point and then I was just kind of going to wait for him,” Efron recalled. “Sure enough, he had his hat down low, and when the ball went to the other side [of the court], he said, ‘Hey man, do you want to go get breakfast tomorrow?’ I was like, ‘Yeah dude,’ and he wrote his phone number down and then handed it to me while the other team was scoring and nobody saw.”
Efron said he followed up on DiCaprio’s offer, saying, “I took it and he cooked me breakfast the next day at his house.”
When Evans asked what a breakfast made by one of the biggest stars in the world looked like, Efron laughed and said, “He cooked waffles and burnt those so then he made pancakes.”
“It was awesome. I had a billion questions for him at that point, [I was] definitely dealing with too much paparazzi presence in my life,” Efron said. “And sitting next to Leo, I was just like, ‘How have you handled this for so long?'”
The Neighbors actor said DiCaprio showed surprise at the amount of paparazzi attention Efron was getting.
“He said, ‘Frankly, you’re going to get a little bit different [of an experience],'” Efron said. “I pulled up and some cars followed me. This was just normal routine, I’d leave my driveway and 10 cars would follow. He was like, ‘Yeah there’s never this many cars here. That’s insane, dude.'”
Noel Vasquez/Getty Zac Efron and Leonardo DiCaprio at a Lakers game in November 2008
Efron continued, “And I saw in his eyes the feeling that I consistently was having all the time which was stress and anxiety. He was like, ‘Don’t worry about it, man. You’re good.'”
The moment has stayed with the former High School Musical star.
“I really appreciate that he took that time, it made me feel good about it,” Efron said. “That’s the biggest hand you could extend if you’re in Hollywood, looking out for someone younger. Rock on Leo, thank you, buddy.”
Efron previously opened up about his courtside chat with DiCaprio in April 2009, telling GQ of DiCaprio’s advice.
“He said, ‘There’s one way that you can really f— this all up. Just do heroin,’” Efron said at the time. “‘If you steer clear of that — the other obstacles you’ll be able to navigate. And that makes sense, dude.”