Vanessa Hudgens ‘Grateful’ For Relationship With Zac Efron During ‘High School Musical’

Vanessa Hudgens (L) and Zac Efron arrive at the premiere of Universal Pictures' 'Charlie St. Cloud' at the Village Theater on July 20, 2010.
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Vanessa Hudgens spoke of her former long-term relationship with High School Musical co-star Zac Efron on the Awards Chatter podcast and revealed for the first time that she was “grateful” for the union, which ended in 2010 after four years together.

Hudgens, who was recently seen in the role of Maureen in Fox’s Rent Live, hasn’t spoken about her love affair with Efron in many years. It is now in retrospect that she realizes just how wonderful it was and how innocent it all began. She stated on the podcast, that the relationship “started off really organically.”

“I could not have been more grateful to have that relationship at the time. … I had someone to lean on,” she continued.

Us Weekly reported that the couple, who maintained a tight bond during their union, did have one big fight and it worried the film’s choreographer and director, Kenny Ortega, enough to have concerns about the future of the wildly popular franchise.

“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 now?'” Hudgens recalled.

The duo managed to move past their issues and completed their work and their relationship continued until their union fizzled in 2010.

Hudgens has been dating actor Austin Butler since 2011, shortly after she and Efron broke up. They have remained together ever since.

Efron is rumored to be dating Olympian Sarah Bro.

The High School Musical franchise of movies was the biggest made-for-television series of films the Disney Channel has ever produced. Set in the fictitious East High, all three High School Musical films chronicled the love story of star basketball player Troy Bolton and his math whiz girlfriend Gabriella Montez, both of whom found love in their school’s theater department, where they felt they could truly be themselves.

What started out as a sweet love story where boy meets girl and outside forces tried to keep them apart turned into a monster hit for the channel, as fans took to not only Efron and Hudgens but also the film’s co-stars — Lucas Grabeel, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman.

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The original film was released in 2006 and was followed in quick succession by two more in the series — High School Musical 2 in 2007 and High School Musical: Senior Year in 2008.

A fourth film capitalizing on the series’ success, titled Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, starred Tisdale and was released in 2011. High School Musical: Senior Year was the only film in the franchise to debut in theaters.

In 2016, in commemoration of the first film’s 10th anniversary, Hudgens, Tisdale, Grabeel, Blue, and Coleman gathered together in a Los Angeles high school gym, where they spoke about their favorite memories making the film. Efron did not attend. Instead, he sent a video that was played during the anniversary acknowledgment for his fans and fellow castmates.