In 2021, Olivia Rodrigo released ‘Drivers License,’ the song that would catapult her to pop superstar status The song rose to the top spot on the singles chart and broke Spotify records, making her 2021’s biggest breakout star.
But who was Rodrigo’s lovelorn record about, really? Attentive fans turned to context clues to determine the song actually was about Rodrigo’s ex-boyfriend and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ co-star, Joshua Bassett.
their smiles tell the story💘💘 pic.twitter.com/TB1P0BQ9yc
— JOLIVIA💝 (@joshuaoliviafp1) January 14, 2020
Rodrigo neither confirmed nor denied that she was singing about Basset. But, in a recent interview with People, Basset says his being constantly linked to the song stressed him out so much, he landed in a hospital.
Basset says for several days, he faced rampant scrutiny and even death threats online, causing him to fall ill. He shares: “I was sleeping 16 to 20 hours a day,” he said. “I couldn’t even stand up for longer than 30 seconds.”
Basset dropped ‘Lie Lie Lie’ six days after the release of ‘Driver’s License.’ He says the record’s release has been scheduled previously and had nothing to do with Rodrigo’s song, but people still took it as a response to Drivers License. The singer says this entire mix up contributed to his failing health.
He says: “I felt my heart literally failing. I was like, ‘This isn’t just anxiety. This is bad.’”
A HSMTMTS producer took Bassett to the hospital, and it was there that the latter was diagnosed with septic shock. “The doctors were like, ‘If you hadn’t checked in within 12 hours, you would have died in your apartment,” the 21-year-old actor shared.
After nine days, Bassett was discharged from the hospital, but his troubles didn’t end there. “I was even more depressed and stressed,” he says. “I had a panic attack every single day.”
Basset eventually found his footing, crediting therapy and yoga for helping him overcome the ordeal.