‘I was Faulty as a Human’: Columbus Short Says He ‘Almost Gave Up a Few Times’ After Leaving ‘Scandal’ Abruptly, Apologizes for His Troubled Behavior

Actor Columbus Short joined former co-stars Guillermo Diaz and Katie Lowes on their podcast “Unpacking the Toolbox” to reflect on his controversial exit from the hit show “Scandal” at the end of season 3 nearly a decade a go.

The episode was candid and emotional with all concluding that the show was never the same after Short’s addiction became an issue for his fellow cast members, production and the other staff working on the show.

The troubled actor, who played Harrison Wright, right-hand man to Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope, opened up about the personal struggles that led to his departure and offered a heartfelt apology to his peers.

Short shared that at that point his life had spiraled out of control, admitting to heavy cocaine and alcohol use, coupled with a chaotic personal life that included a domestic-abuse allegation. At one point, during his demise, co-star Darby Stanchfield filed a complaint against him, citing his reckless behavior.

These issues and some of his personal issues with his ex-wife Tanee McCall, who claimed he assaulted her, became unmanageable for both him and the show, forcing the series creator Shonda Rhimes to figure out how to write his abrupt exit into the show’s arc.

In a statement to the media at the time, Short addressed his dismissal, saying in part, “At this time I must confirm my exit from a show I’ve called home for three years, with what is the most talented ensemble in television today.”

He continued, “I would like to first thank [‘Scandal’ creator] Shonda Rhimes for the opportunity to work with such an amazing cast. Thank you GLADIATORS, who have supported me throughout my entire career and of course to ABC and Shondaland for allowing me to play such a pivotal role in the ‘Scandal’ series. I have enjoyed every single minute of it.”

In 2014, Short reportedly knocked a man unconscious at a family gathering, resulting in probation, community service, and pleading no contest to a felony assault charge, according to CBS.

Years later in 2016, he received a 30-day sentence for violating his probation after testing positive for cocaine and marijuana use. He was also ordered to spend six months in a live-in drug treatment program, according to CBS News.

Ten years later, the Kansas City, Missouri, native made a point to apologize for his past behavior and its impact on the show.

He admitted, “I was faulty as a human,” and further talked about feeling lost after getting the boot.

“I just was like moving through earth, like journeying through earth with a cloud,” he said about life after “Scandal.” He explained, “I almost gave up a few times multiple times.”

While Short said he never thought about taking his life, he did feel like he was “done” with wanting to do better. In addition to dealing with being let go from the show and allegations of assault, the actor-turned-producer said months later he ran into legal problems that left him in police custody.

“I’m done and I don’t know what else to do,” he said, remembering those dark days, before adding, “Thanks be to God from my wife, for my kids, inspirations that come from multiple sources and I prayed for this day… The day that I could look at you and say, ‘I’m sorry’ and look at you and say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and have this one moment to make amend.”

Short was intentional in the video to look at and address both Lowes and Diaz individually with his apology. They both graciously accepted his apology.

When the “Stomp the Yard” lead said that he felt like the opportunity to apologize was “a blessing,” Lowes jumped in and said, “We feel that way.”

Lowes said that they had been wanting to get the one-time gladiator on the show and were wondering if there was interest.

In an interview with Shondaland, it was revealed that the podcast episode was two years in the making. Partly due to scheduling, but also because Diaz and Lowes insisted on doing an in person. Lowes said she was not sure if he would have been open to doing the podcast.

“Do you think he would be open to like hanging out and talking about it,” Lowes said she asked before adding, “Because, honestly, dude, when we watch it back, like, you’re the show.”

Short interrupted and says, “We were the show.”

But Diaz explained to him, “It was never the same without you there.”

His arrival to the studio and the initial reunion was recorded. Short posted it on his Instagram page with the caption, “To make amends is one of the most freeing experiences one can have! Will always and forever love my @shondarhimes … and the entire scandal family! I’m going to sleep good tonight!”

Short also tagged his cast mates, Lowes, Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Joshua Malina, Guillermo Díaz, Bellamy Young and Darby Stanchfield.

Washington responded to the post, writing, “Love you so much C Short” in the comment section.

He replied, “@kerrywashington I love you even more sis! Miss you immensely!”

Fans seemed equally pleased with Short’s remarks about redemption as many sympathized with his character’s departure.

One said, “I needed to hear this because I was so heartbroken when he left scandal.”

Another wrote, “When his character was gone it’s like Olivia lost her moral center, her voice of reason, her ride or die. Yes, they were gladiators but her and Harrison had a special bond and every fan felt it when he was gone.”

“The show was never the same,” added a third while a fourth said, “Man because the season Olivia got kidnapped needed you!!!”

Since his departure from the political soap opera in 2014, Short has navigated a rocky path both personally and professionally, facing multiple legal issues, including arrests on charges of domestic violence and public intoxication, which kept him in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Despite these setbacks, Short continued to pursue his acting career. He appeared in several films, including “American Violence” (2017), “True to the Game” (2017) and its sequels, which received positive attention from fans. He also starred in the TV movie “Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story” (2022), showcasing his versatility as an actor.

In addition to his acting roles, Short also took to writing, releasing a memoir titled “Short Stories: The Autobiography of Columbus Short” in 2020, where he candidly discussed his tumultuous past and path to redemption.

As Short has worked to address his personal struggles, he has also taken on public speaking and interviews to share his journey of recovery. Meeting up with his former colleagues was just another step to his personal healing.

“If I could have did it again, oh man, I would have did it different. But everything that I went through, everything that I did, all the mistakes, has led me to the man that I am today,” Short shared with his friends. “And I’m proud of the man I am today.”

Short currently stars on “Mind Your Business” on BounceTV.

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