The actor addresses his sexuality, while also revealing he was hospitalized for septic shock and heart failure shortly after the release of Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License.”
“High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” star Joshua Bassett’s love life and love interests have made headlines ever since the show premiered — and now he’s opening up about both in a new interview with GQ.
The actor and musician has been in the news for his rumored relationship with costar Olivia Rodrigo, though neither star has ever confirmed the talk. When she released her hit single “Drivers License,” many assumed the song was about him — and then felt the reverse when he dropped “Lie, Lie, Lie” shortly after. He also started trending when an interview clip of him calling Harry Styles hot and remarking, “this is also my coming out video,” dropped online — a video he followed up with an Instagram post saying he was still “figuring out” his sexuality.
He addresses both topics with GQ, keeping it classy when asked about Rodrigo and revealing the scary battle he was secretly going through behind closed doors when both of their singles dropped.
Bassett told the publication most “people don’t know anything they’re talking about” in regards to the Olivia and Sabrina Carpenter talk, adding that it’s been hard to bite his tongue through it all. “The reality is it’s kind of like a lost cause trying to talk about any of that stuff, and I refuse to feed into any of the bullshit, so I just don’t,” he said, telling people to “focus on the art” the two women are making “and how great they are instead of their relationship with a boy.”
He said that when Rodrigo’s song dropped, he started feeling “very ill” and it only got worse and worse, until he was eventually hospitalized the same day his own single was released. “I’m sure stress had a part in it,” he said, before confirming he had septic shock and heart failure.
“[The doctors] told me that I had a 30% chance of survival. They told me that if I had not checked into the hospital within 12 hours, I would have been found [dead] in my apartment,” he explained, adding that he “didn’t have the energy to focus on anything but staying alive” at the time.
Regarding his Harry Styles and “coming out video” comments, Bassett told GQ he “wasn’t joking.”
“I stood by every word that I said,” he added, referring to his Instagram post about his sexuality, saying it gave him “an opportunity to say something that I believe in. Even if there are consequences, I would much rather deal with consequences and live my truth than live in fear.”
“There are plenty of letters in the alphabet … Why bother rushing to a conclusion?” he added. “Sometimes your letter changes, sometimes you try a different one, other times you realize you’re not what you thought you were, or maybe you always knew. All of these can be true. I’m happy to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community because they embrace all. Don’t let anyone tell you love isn’t love. They’re the ones who probably need it the most.”
The actor also got emotional when he started to talk about the on-screen romance between real-life couple Joe Serafini and Frankie Rodriguez, saying he got “full body chills” and was “weeping” when the two shared a dance during Season 1 of the series.
“I didn’t connect the dots why until recently … the reason that made me so emotional. I’m getting so emotional now because they were speaking their truth despite the inevitable reaction that they were going to get,” he explained, adding that he would “love” to have Ricky explore his queerness on the show as well.
All this open talk about sexuality is something that Bassett clearly hopes becomes commonplace going forward, as he noted he didn’t have any real examples to follow when it comes to articulating how he’s feeling.
“I didn’t have a me saying stuff like this,” he told GQ. “I’m very at peace. I’m celebrating Pride all month long.”
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