Australia’s Mr Universe checks himself into rehab after shocking downward spiral
The Australian bodybuilder and former Mr Universe who fell from a two storey building after being caught in possession of a series of drugs has checked into a rehabiliation centre for addiction.
Calum von Moger, 31, pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court last month to possessing a variety of drugs, including testosterone, cannabis and about two grams of methamphetamine – the deadly drug ice.
His fall from a building on May 6 shocked the body builder’s legion of fans, who feared he may never have walked again.
von Moger – a three-time World Fitness Federation ‘Mr Universe’ winner and actor who once played Arnold Schwarzenegger in a film – had been suffering severe depression at the time of the incident, which left him with injuries to his spine, face and neck.
A man nicknamed Popeye, part of his management team, posted a video diary to von Moger’s 3.3million-strong Instagram page on Tuesday confirming the former Mr Universe had voluntarily entered rehab.
‘He’s on his road to recovery. It’s been about a week now since he checked himself into a facility. It’ll be a long road to recovery, it’ll be a long process,’ he said.
‘Anyone who’s gone through addiction or had someone in the family with an addiction, they know it’s not an easy road.’
Calum von Moger has checked himself into a rehabilitation centre for an ‘addiction’ after being arrested by police in possession of a series of illegal drugs
The home where von Moger fell from the second storey – prior to checking himself into a rehab clinic
A man nicknamed Popeye, part of his management team, posted a video diary to von Moger’s 3.3million-strong Instagram page on Tuesday confirming the former Mr Universe had voluntarily entered rehab
Popeye said the support on von Moger’s army of fans had helped him through the difficult period of his life despite the last few weeks being particularly ‘dark’.
‘Callum sends his apprectiation and grattitude for all the wishes. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, it really helped him get to where he’s at today,’ Popeye said.
‘It’ll continue to be a positive light regardless of how dark it’s been lately.’
Popeye also slammed the ‘idiot YouTubers, Instagrammers and influencers’ who had spread rumours about the former Mr Universe, saying the majority of the gossip making the rounds about his life were false.
‘They’re trying to get clickbait from you guys,’ he said.
His friend said it could be a year before von Moger’s fans hear from him again, adding the best thing for him was to ‘recover’.
von Moger appeared in court via video link with his arm in a sling in May, with the court told he remained in severe pain after spending 11 days in The Alfred hospital following the fall.
Calum von Moger as he appeared in court on Thursday
The court heard cops pulled von Moger over in Melbourne’s CBD on January 31 after observing his Ford Ranger was unregistered.
Concerned about his ‘erratic’ behaviour and ‘enlarged pupils’, the officers called for back-up.
The court heard von Moger did himself no favours when he jumped out of the car and continued to behave badly.
A search was conducted, with officers finding a shoulder bag containing a small deal bag of meth.
A further search turned up his illicit stash of testosterone, needles, three containers of cannabis oil, another bag of white crystal powder and an assortment of prescription drugs, including Viagra.
The body builder was placed under arrest.
During his interview, von Moger claimed one of his mates must have owned the meth.
‘I found that deal bag in the back and freaked out because I don’t use it. I knew it belonged to someone so I put it in my wallet to either give it back or throw it away,’ he said.
‘The shoulder bag isn’t mine. I was driving friends around all weekend and they were using drugs and left it. It’s not mine but I know I was in possession of it.’
But he admitted to using testosterone for the past 10 years.
‘I no longer produce it naturally and need to have it to be normal,’ von Moger told cops.
‘I use the testosterone weekly to keep my levels stable. I use the cannabis oil to help me settle and sleep.’
von Moger claimed he also used Viagra – a prescription drug predominantly used to improve erectile function – while he was ‘competing’.
Von Moger played a young Arnold Schwarzenegger (pictured together) in the 2018 film Bigger and has been dubbed ‘Arnold 2.0’ in the bodybuilding world
Bodybuilder Calum von Moger, 31, reportedly fell through a window on May 6, injuring his spine
Just days before that arrest, von Moger had been allegedly embroiled in an ugly dispute with a shopper at a Woolworth’s car park in West Melbourne.
That incident saw von Moger slapped with a series of assault-related charges, including affray and conduct endangering life, which he intends to contest in court.
von Moger’s lawyer, Bernard Campigli, told the court his client had since been accepted into a residential rehabilitation facility, which would treat him for the next month.
The court heard von Moger had been struggling with depression since his father was crippled in a tragic motorbike accident.
In a character reference supplied by the body builder’s mum, the court heard von Moger had been under intense stress leading up to his ‘fall’.
Mr Campigli said while von Moger had a considerable amount of substances in his possession, most of those could have been obtained legitimately with a prescription.
‘He acknowledges he should of had them prescribed,’ he said.
The court heard von Moger was one of six children, growing up in a happy home on Victoria’s Surf Coast.
After initially studying animal husbandry, von Moger took up positions in surf lifesaving, landscape gardening and even did a short stint in the Australian Army.
But it was his work as an outdoor adventure guide that truly won his heart before committing to a career in bodybuilding.
In putting von Moger’s defence, Mr Campigli outlined his client’s career highlights, which included a self made documentary titled ‘Mad Desire’.
It was that documentary that launched von Moger onto the world stage, Mr Campigli said.
Moger (pictured with a friend) released his own documentary titled Calum von Moger: Unbroken on Netflix in 2019
Von Moger was caught driving an unregistered car that was loaded with illicit drugs
‘He also starred in the documentary ‘Generation Iron’ in 2017 and played a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in a movie ‘Bigger’,’ he said.
But it was in Los Angeles where von Moger’s life began to unravel, the court heard.
‘He was a victim of car jackings with firearms which left him scarred and traumatised. He also fell and tore his quad muscle, which set his bodybuilding career back greatly and he suffered depression and anxiety,’ Mr Campigli said.
Adding insult to injury, von Moger remains caught up in a family court matter in the United States over custody of his two-year old son.
At his lowest ebb, von Moger’s support dog died, which saw his mental health spiral even further into decline.
The court heard the slowdown of the entertainment industry in the US due to Covid-19 forced von Moger to return to Australia.
‘Unfortunately he spiralled out of control soon after. He had taken testosterone for a number of years … and unfortunately other substances came into the picture and he struggled in the last few months to find balance,’ Mr Campigli said.
The Australian’s first acting gig was in 2017 for the film Generation Iron 2, but he’s best known for his portrayal of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 2018 movie Bigger
Von Moger has more than 3 million followers on Instagram with many paying tribute to the bodybuilder and wishing for a speedy recovery
Slades & Parson’s Bernard Campigli managed to get von Moger off drug charges without conviction
Von Moger’s love for bodybuilding began at the age of 14 when he started training with his brother in Victoria
The court heard von Moger spent a night behind bars following his arrest, which acted as a ‘sobering experience’.
But when news of his troubles became known within the bodybuilding community, von Moger’s mental health took another plunge.
‘There was a lot of online hate. If you Google Mr von Moger’s name it comes up with a number of YouTube videos of commentary on his supposed decline, which is very stressful for him and that didn’t help his substance use,’ Mr Campigli said.
The court heard von Moger was determined to get his life back in order so that he could return to the US and engage with his son and girlfriend, who has travelled to Melbourne to support him with his legal woes.
Mr Campigli asked Magistrate Roslyn Porter not to convict his client of the charges.
The magistrate agreed, noting von Moger’s total lack of prior offending and previous good behaviour.
Instead von Moger was simply ordered to pay $500 to the court fund, which will go to a court-appointed charity.
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WHO IS CALUM VON MOGER?
The Australian’s first acting gig was in 2017 for the film Generation Iron 2, but he’s best known for his portrayal of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 2018 movie Bigger.
The film was based on Joe and Ben Weider, the two brothers who co-founded the International Federation of BodyBuilders and put the sport on the map.
Moger then released his own documentary titled Calum von Moger: Unbroken on Netflix in 2019.
The film detailed Moger’s rise through the bodybuilding ranks to a point where he was dubbed ‘Arnold 2.0’ and how that came crashing down following a significant knee and bicep injury while abseiling.
The documentary also gave an insight into his childhood growing up on a farm in central Victoria with five siblings.
He said his love for bodybuilding started at the age of 14 when he and his brother found some old, rusty dumbbells at a warehouse to use.
He quickly rose to fame when he started uploading videos of his physique and training online, with Moger now having more than 3 million Instagram followers.