Back in the day, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were the ultimate Disney Channel power couple. For those who forgot, they met and fell for each other on set of High School Musical, and they went on to become one of the most iconic pairings of all time! And now, the casting director from the beloved movie franchise just spilled all the tea on the moment they met, and the instant chemistry they had on set.
“When we first met Zac, we felt he had the quality of what we’d call a matinee idol. He was stunning, but he wasn’t cocky, which isn’t something you’d find in young people. He had an accessibility. We knew he had the capability of being a leading man,” Natalie Hart recalled to Variety. Disney Channel president Gary Marsh added, “It’s easy to say in hindsight. But when they auditioned together, it was clear. It wasn’t even a close call. We saw the chemistry between them, and we were sold.”
And get this, you guys — according to Hart, Hudgens felt it too! She instantly had a crush on the actor, and her feelings were so strong that she had a “meltdown” over them.
“She was so smitten. She said, ‘He’s too cute. I can’t read with him.’ She had a meltdown,” the casting director shared.
OK, how cute is that?! But wait, why did they end up splitting? What went down between the former flames? And are they still friends? In case you forgot, we decided to recap their entire love story from start to finish for you, and boy, was it intense. Yep, grab some popcorn and let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?! Here’s a complete timeline of Efron and Hudgens’ relationship…
It All Started Back In 2005
As we all know, the two stars met while auditioning for HSM in 2005. And in 2014, Efron opened up about the moment they met.
“My mom dropped me off out of a minivan somewhere in North Hollywood. I had no idea what to expect. There were about 40 guys, and we walked in, and [director] Kenny Ortega was there with a piano, and they put everybody in a room together,” he recalled to The Hollywood Reporter. “We ran through different phases of what we would need to do — first dancing, then singing — and a few of us got tapped on the shoulder [to leave], and I didn’t. And next came the scene-reading sections, and I got paired with Vanessa Hudgens. She was a really interesting, sweet person.”
Hudgens later revealed that they started dating right away.
“We created a bond right from the start,” she said. “We were like, ‘We’re doing this, it’s us or nothing.’”
She also told Glamour Magazine, “Right off the bat, we had a connection, I think everybody could see it.”
“I don’t know what it was with Vanessa, but we kind of clicked from the very beginning,” Efron reiterated in a different interview.
They Were Together For Five Years
For five whole years they were everyone’s favorite couple — posing on the red carpet together, packing on the PDA all over the world and gushing over each other in interviews. But in 2010, they shocked the entire world and ended their relationship.
“It [was] nothing dramatic,” a source told E! News about their breakup at the time. “There [was] no third party involved.”
Another insider added, “They were together for so long. It just ran its course.”
But Hudgens later admitted that jealousy played a major role in their split.
“I went through a phase when I was really mean because I was so fed up. Girls were running after him, and I was giving them death stares,” she told the New York Times in 2015. “Then I realized that’s not what that’s about. ‘Spread the love, be a good person, they support you, be nice.’”
The former Disney star also explained while chatting on the on the “Awards Chatter” podcast that things weren’t always picture perfect throughout their relationship. She admitted that while making one of the HSM movies, they got into a big fight on set — and it wasn’t pretty.
“I remember one time we did have a fight and it was while we were at rehearsals, and I remember Kenny Ortega coming around the corner with the most concerned look on his face like, ‘Oh no, is our movie going to fall apart right?’” she dished. “I pride myself on being a professional. So I was like that aside we are going to move forward and do what we need to do … and we sorted it all out. I think because I was so young, I think that relationship stabilized me.”
She also explained that long distance put a strain on their relationship.
“Long-distance relationships are hard no matter what,” she said. “When you don’t have face-to-face time, it’s just different. Having an iPhone helped, but it just wasn’t the same.”
They Are No Longer In Contact
Now, they’ve both confirmed in numerous interviews that they’re no longer on speaking terms.
“I completely lost contact with him,” the brunette beauty revealed to Access Hollywood Live in 2017.
But she has no regrets about their relationship.
“It started off really organically,” she said in April 2019. “I could not have been more grateful to have that relationship at the time. … It was this massive phenomenon and [all] eyes were on me. And it’s just a really weird foreign thing to go through, and by being in a relationship, it kind of kept me stabilized and grounded, and I had someone to lean on who was going through it as well.”
The 32-year-old also reminisced about her time in the series to The Zach Sang Show, and she confirmed that she had no regrets about it, including her relationship with Efron.