High School Musical: The Musical: The Series fans may be wondering right about now where things stand in Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett’s relationship, and TBH, we get it. While the pair never even confirmed it, their rumored romance seemingly took the internet by storm after the release of Olivia’s viral single, “drivers license”—and fans have been looking for clues about these two ever since.
Well, let’s just say that the clues continue—but we now know a lot more now about Olivia and Joshua’s relationship than we did back in 2019. Not to mention, a lot has transpired since the pair made their on-screen romantic debut together in their roles for HSM:TM:TS. That includes, but is not limited to, a rumored love triangle with fellow Disney star Sabrina Carpenter, seemingly shady song releases, and subtle hints during interviews with Billboard and beyond. Suffice to say: There’s a lot going on here! But that’s why we’re here to break it down for you.
For everything you need to know about Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett’s relationship—from their Disney Channel beginnings to where they stand now—just keep on reading.
November 2019: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series premieres
It all started on-screen. Fans first saw sparks flying between Olivia and Joshua in their roles as Nini and Ricky on Disney’s HSM:TM:TS. In the show, the pair play a high school couple who break up after Nini confesses her love for Ricky on their one-year anniversary. Ricky panics, but he eventually (finally!) reveals that he loves her too. “I love you,” he blurts out during an episode, going on to reference a song they wrote together. “I’ve loved you since the first time you picked your Ukulele and you wrote a song about clouds, a silly little song about clouds. I love you. And that night in your room when you told me you loved me, I meant to say it. I meant to say it. And I’ve kicked myself every day since then because I didn’t say it. But I do. I love you.”
As it turns out, those words weren’t scripted. During an interview with the Los Angeles Times in January 2020, Joshua revealed that the scene was entirely improvised, leading many fans to believe that his words were a true representation of how he felt about Olivia herself. “It’s funny, because Joshua was nervous about what he’s going to say, and the character, Ricky, happens to be nervous about what he’s going to say, too, so I think it played well,” Joshua explained. “It is the most powerful feeling in the world when you don’t even have to think, and it just comes through you. It was really a magical moment.”
January 2020: Olivia says she “loves” Joshua “so much”
During the same interview for the LA Times, Olivia confessed that Joshua’s “I love you” scene in HSM:TM:TS made her cry. “He said, ‘Remember that one time that we wrote a song, and we didn’t know if anybody would like it?’” Olivia recalled. “That one made me cry because I just remembered sharing those memories with him, and I love him so much. He’s my best friend, so that really made the acting authentic and really truthful. It was like I wasn’t acting.” Well…yeah! At this point, many fans were convinced that the pair’s love for each other had extended far beyond the screen. But did it?
April 2020: Olivia and Joshua post about each other on social media
Over on social media, Olivia and Joshua started sharing (since-deleted) posts about each other, where they would often call each other pet names: Olivia, for example, started calling Joshua “Joshy,” whereas Joshua sometimes referred to her as “Liv.” During this time, Joshua also talked about the “spark” they both felt when they first met as part of an interview with YSB Now.
July 2020: Fans spot Joshua out with Sabrina Carpenter
Speculation about Olivia and Joshua’s relationship quieted during the summer of 2020, that is until something surprising happened: Fans reportedly spotted Joshua looking rather cozy with a fellow Disney star, Sabrina Carpenter, during a Black Lives Matter protest. According to an onlooker at the protest, Joshua kissed Sabrina on the forehead. Following their outing at the march, the pair even started posting TikToks together—including one where they wore matching outfits on Halloween. Cue the love triangle rumors!
January 2021: Olivia releases “Drivers License”
Finally, the moment when everyone—HSM:TM:TS fans or not—started paying close attention to Olivia and Joshua’s relationship status. Olivia released her first single, “drivers license,” on January 8, and the song exploded on TikTok while holding the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for a whopping eight weeks straight. Of course, the song caught the attention of fans for reasons beyond Olivia’s stunning vocals: In “drivers license,” Olivia seemingly hints at a “blonde girl” who her ex-boyfriend left her for, which many fans understood to be a reference to Sabrina Carpenter.
While Olivia never confirmed nor denied that her song was a dig at the Girl Meets World star, she insisted its subject is “the least important” part of the song. “I totally understand people’s curiosity with the specifics of who the song’s about and what it’s about, but to me, that’s really the least important part of the song,” she told Billboard at the time. “It’s resonating with people because of how emotional it is, and I think everything else is not important.”
February 2021: Joshua and Sabrina collaborate on a song
Joshua and Sabrina only seemed to fuel more rumors of a love triangle when they revealed they were working on a song together, “We Both Know,” just weeks after Olivia’s debut single. Sabrina admitted that the collaboration was one that was “very dear to [her] heart” during an interview with Radio.com at the time: “I can’t say too much,” the Austin & Ally star explained. “It’s on his project, so I’m like, I don’t want to say too much that I can’t say, but it’s a collaboration very dear to my heart that I’m excited about. We did it a while ago now. I guess you’ll have to see!”
March 2021: Olivia says she “doesn’t know” Sabrina
Taking a nod from the great Mariah Carey, Olivia completely snubs Sabrina after months of feud rumors during an interview with Radio.com. “I think we’ve met once or twice in passing, but I’ve never had a conversation with her,” she told Radio.com, hinting that “drivers license” wasn’t about Sabrina. “I don’t think I could write a song that was meaningful or emotional about somebody that I don’t know.” We see you, Olivia!
April 2021: Joshua shows his support for Olivia’s single, “Deja Vu”
It’s unclear exactly how things are going between the pair following the release of Olivia’s third single, “Good 4 U.” Like her other two tracks, fans are pretty convinced this one is also about Joshua after listening to some of the lyrics like, “Well, good for you, I guess you moved on really easily/You found a new girl and it only took a couple weeks.”
In anticipation of her debut studio album, SOUR, Olivia released a string of singles including fan-favorite “Deja Vu”—a song about an ex moving on with someone just like you. While many fans were convinced the single was also about Joshua, it seems the Stuck in the Middle alum was on good enough terms with Olivia to praise her for the track. “SUUUUUUPER late on this but I love this song so much,” Joshua wrote in an Instagram Story at the time. “The world better watch out for the album!!!!!”
May 2021: Joshua opens up about his sexuality
While it’s pretty clear that Olivia and Joshua are no more, this latest update from Joshua had plenty of fans talking about their relationship all over again. The Disney star seemingly came out as queer during an interview with Clevver News after revealing he thinks former One Direction singer Harry Styles is “hot.” As he explained, “I think he’s a nice guy, doesn’t say too much, but when he talks, it matters. He’s just cool. Who doesn’t think Harry Styles is cool? Also, he’s hot, you know? He’s very charming too. Lots of things. This is also my coming out video, I guess.”
The actor later added to his comments in a tweet, which suggested he isn’t using any labels to describe his sexuality at the moment. “My entire life people have told me my sexuality. People have shamed me for things they know nothing about. I want to say thank you to those of you who stand for love and acceptance.”
“toxicity, hatred, and negativity say less about the subject, but say far more about those who spew it,” he continued. “it’s 2021. we are the generation of love & growth. it’s time we start acting like it. whether you love me, hate me, or damn me to hell, i love you all the same.”
Joshua ended his message to fans by encouraging them to “love who you love shamelessly.” He added, “it’s ok to still be figuring out who you are. life’s too short to let ignorance and hatred win. i choose love.”
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