'The Walking Dead' Alum Steven Yeun Reveals He 'Went HAM' with Drugs When He Was Younger

Yeun, who'll next appear alongside Ali Wong in Netflix's Beef, says he'd still like to "lick a toad" one day

Steven Yeun
Photo: Noam Galai/Getty

Steven Yeun says his wild days are behind him.

The Nope actor, 39, got candid in a recent interview with WSJ. Magazine about discovering drugs after he found fame as an actor.

"I came to a lot of things late," said Yeun, who garnered prominence after playing Glenn Rhee on The Walking Dead from 2010 to 2016. He added that as a result, he "went a little HAM with that stuff, trying to make up for lost time."

He explained to the magazine that the drugs "slowed down" his mind and prevented him from overthinking things, which he said was "really effective and necessary."

"It's the way I've been since I was 4, when I got dropped here and my brain went into a hyperdrive of self-defense," explained Yeun. "I can obsess over something. I can be taken down by thoughts."

Now that he has kids — 5 year-old son Jude Malcolm and a daughter he and wife Joana Pak welcomed in 2019 — he said his focus has shifted away from that stuff.

"My entire life is Peppa Pig and Pokémon," he quipped.

That said, Yeun is still slightly curious about psychedelics, telling WSJ.: "It's becoming standard to do DMT [dimethyltryptamine, a hallucinogenic that naturally occurs in many plants] or lick a toad. I haven't done that, but I'd like to, at some point."

RELATED VIDEO: The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun Marries Girlfriend Joana Pak

Yeun isn't the first celebrity to admit to taking a trip — HGTV's Christina Hall and former professional boxer Mike Tyson have admitted to smoking bufo toad venom. While Yeun is considering joining the club, he also told the magazine that he doesn't let other people influence him and has moved on from "explaining" himself.

"When I was growing up, I was more messed up by the thoughts of others," he explained. "'What does that person think I am?' Then the tension becomes, 'I need to show people I'm not that,' but then you're working against an ideal you created yourself — it's not a fun place to exist."

"I was pretty clear about who I was, to myself, from a really early age, and so life had been me mostly trying to explain myself" he added. "I was trying to make it so that I could stop explaining myself [in interviews]."

Steven Yeun attends the world premiere of Universal Pictures' "NOPE"
JC Olivera/Getty Images

Next up, Yeun is set to debut his next series Beef on Netflix. He stars alongside Ali Wong in the darkly humorous show as characters who "kind of destroy each other's lives" as a result of a road rage incident

Yeun said he hopes said he hopes viewers will appreciate the nuances in this next project — both in how they see him as a South Korean-American actor, and in how they see themselves and others around them.

"Culture is great, it's beautiful, but that's not the depth of who we are," he said. In Beef, he hopes people watching will be "able to see it and say, 'Oh, that's me. I'm not part of that culture, but that's me.'"

Appropriately for a show that plays with the notion that what happens on the road doesn't stay on the road, Yeun said he's drawn to projects that surprise him.

"I love that feeling of, 'Oh, I had no idea it was this until I got there,'" he shared. "I'd hate to do a project where I have a road map for where it's supposed to go. That doesn't sound like fun."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Beef premieres April 6 on Netflix.

Related Articles