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Is Everything The Internet Says True? Get To Know What Really Happened Between Olivia, Joshua And Sabrina

Being a public person is not easy. Every day, rumors about you, your friends and your family circulate on the internet. Dealing with criticism and with people who believe they have the right to judge your life must be extremely tiring. Now, imagine dealing with all this during adolescence? Having your internal discovery process, your first relationship, your first breakup, your fights, all your teenage drama exposed by the media. It must be excruciating.

I am sure that Olivia Rodrigo, Joshua Bassett and Sabrina Carpenter know exactly what it’s like to feel this way. They are actors, singers and songwriters, who made their debut on Disney Channel. Since the release of Disney’s new series, High School Musical: The musical: The series, in 2018, rumors about the love life of these 3 young people have dominated the internet.

That’s why we’ll explain the origins of these rumors and how they can profoundly affect people’s lives.

First, what is High School Musical: The Musical: The series?

High School Musical: The Musical: The series is an American TV show, developed by Tim Federle for Disney’s streaming service – Disney+. Inspired by the teen success High School Musical, the series follows a group of theater-enthusiastic teenagers who participate in a re-enactment of the film as a school production. The filming took place in 2018, but the series only premiered on November 8, 2019, in the United States. Olivia and Josh met and became close as they played Nini and Ricky – respectively – the main couple on the show.

The rumors

In 2018, after Olivia ended her relationship with Ethan Wacker, rumors that she and Josh were dating began to appear on the internet – in fact, they dominated social media. Fans of the series started to realize that the on-screen couple was very close in real life. They were posting pictures of each other all the time and were acting very intimate in interviews. But even back then, they never confirmed anything.

The first season of the High School Musical series was a success, and it was soon renewed. Shootings for the second season began in January 2020, but it had to be stopped and postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The whole world had to be quarantined as a preventive measure against the virus. In interviews at that time, Olivia revealed that she and Josh got into a challenge, in which the two had to write one song a day during quarantine.

On March 18, 2020, Olivia posted an excerpt of a song she wrote during quarantine. “Quarantine means more writing!!!! Here’s ‘gross’ lol”, she said in the captions. The singer’s fans soon associated the song’s lyrics with her supposed boyfriend and coworker, Josh.

Josh’s turn to contribute to the rumors that the super cute couple were together for real, came in April, when he released his single “Common Sense”. With super passionate lyrics, Josh declares himself to a supposed girl – who had a first and last name for the fans: Olivia Rodrigo. Even without any confirmation, people were sure the couple was real. Social media was full of edits, videos and photos that the couple’s lovers posted all the time.

But it was in May that this youthful love story changed course. Fans noticed that the two no longer interacted on social media. A few months later, Olivia publishes a part of a new song she wrote, called “White Flowers”. Quite different from the song she posted in March, this one had more depressing lyrics and, of course, it fueled rumors that they were no longer together. Around the same time, Josh released the song “Anyone else”, which fans faithfully believed it was written for Olivia Rodrigo. Josh confirmed that he wrote the song in 2018 in Salt Lake City, where the filming of the High School Musical series takes place. The lyrics talk about an impossible romance, but one he couldn’t put aside – at the time of the writing, Olivia was still dating Ethan, which made the rumors that he was in love with her much stronger.

So, they dated, but were no longer together. At least this is what everyone assumed – and still assumes. In August 2020, to the unhappiness of the couple’s fans, Josh was seen having lunch with Sabrina Carpenter, another Disney actress, and that was enough for fans to believe that the relationship with Olivia – or supposed relationship – was over for good. In October, near Halloween, Josh and Sabrina posted a TikTok dressed as a Shark boy and Lava girl. Neither of them declared whether or not they were dating, but it was clear that at least they were close friends.

In January 2021, with the release of the hit “Driver’s License”, which incidentally drove the whole world crazy, all the rumors involving Disney’s darlings resurfaced – and with much more force. Olivia’s music reached the top of the music charts in several countries and made the actress break world records. In the lyrics, Rodrigo says “And you’re probably with that blonde girl, who always made me doubt…”, an excerpt that fans soon linked to Sabrina. Seen as the “blonde girl”, Sabrina received numerous nasty comments on her Instagram. Josh was not out of the “hate wave” and was heavily criticized on his social media. At the same time, he released his first EP, which increased discussions about the love triangle.

On January 22nd, Sabrina released a song called “Skin”, with lyrics that many believed was a shade for Olivia. In an Instagram post, Carpenter clarified that the lyrics were not meant to target someone specific, but that it was a representation of her feelings at that moment.

The nasty comments only increased. Some sided with Josh, others with Sabrina, and others with Olivia. All this due to assumptions and internet rumors.

Many people say the internet is no man’s land, but that doesn’t mean we can post anything or that we should believe everything we’ve seen on it. Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Rumors can greatly affect someone’s life. Both Josh, Olivia and even Sabrina have received horrible comments on their social media and all this because of assumptions people make on the internet.

Artists can and should write about their emotions and experiences, but this doesn’t give the audience the right to build a parallel reality, in which hate is a basic precept.


The article above was edited by Bárbara Vetos.

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Clara Guimaraes

Casper Libero '24

young journalist still learning the art of writing. a lover of series, films and music. 
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