Olivia Rodrigo, the star of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, dropped a new single called “Drivers License” on Jan. 8. Since then, the internet has been obsessed — and not just because it’s a lyrical masterpiece that bopped right to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, either.
Some think the song hints at a relationship between Rodrigo and one of her co-stars.
Fans think the 17-year-old wrote the breakup song about Joshua Bassett, a 20-year-old actor Rodrigo allegedly had a relationship with while they were filming the Disney+ show.
The apparent onscreen chemistry between Rodrigo and Bassett, whose characters date on HSMTMTS, let to rumors of a real-life relationship.
In August 2020, Rodrigo shared a TikTok of herself listening to the song “All I Want” from the show’s soundtrack. As the heartbreaking lyrics — which feature the TikTok-famous line “found a guy who told me I was a star” — played, the text on the screen read, “You think u can hurt my feelings? I wrote this song.”
“And that’s on failed relationships,” her caption said.
In her new song, Rodrigo mourns the end of a relationship as she drives past the street of her former lover right after getting her driver’s license.
To add to the drama, some fans suggest the other girl mentioned in the song is also a Disney star.
To further complicate things, fans think that “that blonde girl” who is “so much older” mentioned in Rodrigo’s song is none other than fellow Disney star Sabrina Carpenter, the 21-year-old known for her role on Girl Meets World.
Fans also pointed out that Rodrigo changed the original lyric, “that brunette girl,” to say “blonde” — potentially as a reaction to this relationship.
olivia changing the lyrics from “with that brunette girl” to “that blonde girl” when i tell you i screamed girl scream that truth queen
— val (@wondercara) January 8, 2021
dream a dream u little bleep #sharkboyandlavagirl @sabrinacarpenter
♬ Follow me plz – Ma’kaila Janai
Rodrigo’s song has drawn loads of praise from fellow artists and inspired memes from fans.
The outpouring of support for Rodrigo’s crushing song has been universal — she even got a shoutout from one of her favorite singers, Taylor Swift.
I can’t wait to see Olivia’s reaction on this; she definitely deserves all the success she’s having rn.. it’s insane. pic.twitter.com/YMYwsRP2WA
— ahmed (@ahmedswift13) January 10, 2021
“I say that’s my baby and I’m really proud,” Swift commented on Rodrigo’s Instagram post.
Her TikTok announcing the song received tons of positive comments.
“You made me cry … I am obsessed,” one user wrote.
“This song is a literal masterpiece,” another said.
Even Bassett shared the song on his Instagram story, which a fan called an instance of “someone just blatantly not reading the room.”
“No hate to Sabrina folks but shame on Joseph Basketball … I have not been kept up to date on the drama with these disney stars but jesus christ this poor girl,” one user wrote.
“I know we have never met before … I’m going to ask you a question on behalf of everyone who has listened to this song,” another user said, unpacking the lyric about driving past a man’s house. “Here’s my question. What’s the f****** address?!”
Bassett released his own song with a similar music video just days later.
Mere hours after Rodrigo announced her forthcoming song on Jan. 4, Bassett announced his own new single titled “Lie Lie Lie” that was released Jan. 11. Followers called it “awkward” and accused him of “trying to steal Olivia’s thunder.”
According to Vulture, fans also took notice that while many cast members from HSMTMTS — including Julia Lester, Joe Serafini, Larry Saperstein, Sofia Wylie, and Dara Reneé — showed their support on Rodrigo’s post, only one — Serafini — commented on Bassett’s post.
In a follow-up post on his Instagram Story, Bassett claimed that the song was just about a friend. In fact, he hasn’t addressed the fact fans think Rodrigo’s song is about him.
“I wrote ‘Lie, Lie, Lie’ after I found out a friend had been lying about me behind my back for a long time,” he wrote, according to Seventeen. It always sucks to hear that someone you thought you could trust would throw you under the bus when it benefits them. It happens to all of us, and I think all you can do is seek out people that build you up rather than tear you down.”
To further add a wrinkle to things, Bassett shared on the same day as his song’s release that he was in the hospital.
“Worst pain of my life,” he wrote in his lengthy caption.
“According to the doc, i now have the medal for ‘the sickest patient in the hospital.’ how cool!!!” he continued without clarifying the reason why he was in the hospital.
Some fans defended his silence on the matters of his health and Rodrigo’s song in the comments of his post.
“This is a prime example of y’all never knowing what anyone’s going through. While y’all are busy slandering his name … he’s been suffering,” one fan wrote. ” Imagine how much harder it is to go through that with all the unnecessary hate he’s getting for mere speculations.”
“All these comments about “karma” are disgusting. this world is full of sooo many hateful people. I truly hope you have a speedy recovery,” another said.
With all of this in mind, the second season of HSMTMTS is set to air sometime this year. We’re looking forward to seeing what drama unfolds on-screen and off-screen.
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