Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron's relationship was a teen dream, capturing the attention and hearts of High School Musical fans for half a decade before the two decided to split in 2010. Both former Disney Channel stars have since moved on with other partners, but HSM fans still hold out hope for a reunion one day. Let's look back on how the real-life Troy and Gabriella fell in love before growing apart.
Hudgens and Efron first met in 2005 while auditioning for the first High School Musical movie and immediately clicked. "Right off the bat, we had a connection," she told Glamour in 2010 of her then-beau. "I think everybody could see it. When we had our audition, they paired us together. And he was adorable." Hudgens added in a 2019 interview on The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast that she and Efron had gotten together at the "very beginning" of filming the hit Disney Channel movie. "We created a bond right from the start," she recalled. "We were like, 'We're doing this, it's us or nothing.'"
In July 2007, the two went public with their romance, despite speculation that they had a love connection on set and while doing press for HSM. Efron told reporters at a Disney event at the time that he felt an instant draw to Hudgens. "I was like, 'They're not trying us with other people.' For some reason, we kept sticking around [for callbacks]," he said, via PEOPLE. "I don't know what it was with Vanessa, but we kind of clicked from the very beginning."
The two became one of Hollywood's favorite couples and appeared on each other's arms at countless premieres and award shows until December 2010, when reports surfaced that they had decided to split. in March 2011, Hudgens told Shape of her breakup, "It was a good thing," she said, via E! News. "The relationship kept me grounded, and because I was with someone who knew me so well, I didn't need to try to be someone I'm not." She hinted as to the reason for their split, "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."
Later that year, Hudgens would enter a nine-year relationship with Austin Butler, with whom she split in January 2020. She has since been linked to Pittsburgh Pirates player Cole Tucker. Efron would go on to date stars such as Lily Collins and Michelle Rodriguez before settling down in Australia with girlfriend Vanessa Valladares, whom he started dating in June 2020.