- Both Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron are known for their time on the hit Disney film franchise High School Musical.
- Vanessa is currently in a relationship with MLB player Cole Tucker, however, Zac is reportedly single.
- Zac was previously linked to Australian model Vanessa Valladares, while Vanessa dated Elvis actor Austin Butler for nine years.
- The Hollywood heartthrob stars in the 2022 Apple TV+ movie, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, alongside Russell Crowe.
Believe it or not, it has been over a decade since the sweet days of Troy and Gabriella – or Zac Efron, 35, and Vanessa Hudgens, 33. The former Disney actors starred in the hit movie franchise High School Musical together from 2006 until the final film in 2008. For about five years Vanessa and the Baywatch actor were Hollywood’s “it couple”, but sadly they were not all in this together for long. Below is a complete timeline of their relationship from their Disney days to today!
Zac & Vanessa Meet
When Zac was just 18 years old he met a then 17-year-old Vanessa while auditioning for the role of Troy Bolton. It was not long until the teen icons were completely loved up and being watched by everyone. When recalling the first time he met the tick, tick…BOOM! star, Zac remembered that the connection was instantaneous. “For all of the partner things, me and Vanessa always got paired up,” he told PEOPLE in 2007. “I was like, ‘They’re not trying us with other people.’ For some reason we kept sticking around [for callbacks]. I don’t know what it was with Vanessa, but we kind of clicked from the very beginning.”
Even Vanessa remembers the early days of their relationship the same way, as she told The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast about it in 2019. “We created a bond right from the start. We were like, ‘We’re doing this, it’s us or nothing,’” she said. By 2007, the brunette beauty had casted Zac to play her onscreen boyfriend in her famous “Say OK” music video. During that time they were also going strong promoting the release of HSM all over the world.
By Aug. 2007, Zac and his leading lady were both wearing matching silver rings on their right index fingers. But when Rolling Stone asked the handsome actor about it, he played it coy. “This is just a ring from a friend that I got,” Zac said at the time. “It’s a female friend, but I can’t say who,” he added, “because then it would be chat-room pandemonium and teen-magazine hysteria.”
Later in Jul. 2009, Vanessa shutdown engagement rumors and set the record straight about her goals. “I think [marriage and starting a family] is great but I’m so focused on my career right now that it doesn’t really cross my mind,” she told PEOPLE. Just before the duo attended their final event together in Aug. 2010, Zac told Details about his thoughts on being single. “Yeah, everyone tells me that. I think a lot of guys would enjoy that. But I’m not really like that … I rack my brain thinking, ‘Why am I not out there playing the field?’ One of my buddies was like, ‘You have no idea what’s going on right now.’ … But it’s not in my heart,” he said.
Every teen’s nightmare came true when Vanessa and her beau officially broke up in Dec. 2010. By this point the starlet was 22 years old and Zac was about 23 years old. The details of their breakup was not publicly disclosed but a source told PEOPLE that “They are 100 percent still good friends.” However, a few months post-split the Spring Breakers star revealed that being long distance played a role in their breakup. “Long-distance relationships are hard no matter what. When you don’t have face-to-face time, it’s just different. Having an iPhone helped, but it just wasn’t the same,” she said.
Following their 2010 breakup, the duo lost touch with each other for a few years. But in 2019, when speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Vanessa shared that she had lots of gratitude for the romance of her youth. “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,” she said.
Since her time with Zac, Vanessa then moved on to date The Carrie Diaries actor Austin Butler, 31, from 2011 until their split in 2020. Now she is completely enamored with professional baseball player Cole Tucker, 26. Zac was linked to several Hollywood women including Emily In Paris star Lily Collins, Sami Miro, and his Baywatch costar Alexandra Daddario. Most recently he dated Australian model Vanessa Valladares, from Sept. 2020 until their split in April 2021. He is now single and not really looking for someone, he told Men’s Health in Sept. 2022. “I know that probably when I meet the right person, it’s going to be when I least expect it,” Zac said.