High School Musical’s Ashley Tisdale Never Thought Zac Efron Was ‘Hot’ Until One Memorable Moment

Ashley Tisdale listening to Vanessa Hudgens sing in High School Musical.
(Image credit: Disney)

If you grew up in the early 2000s, like me, High School Musical was a formative film, and Zac Efron was likely one of your first celebrity crushes. The 2006 Disney Channel musical along with HSM 2 and 3 sent its stars to a new level of fame, and everyone was pining over Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and others in the cast. However, Ashley Tisdale, who played Sharpay, was not. However, there was a moment when she did realize her co-star was “hot.”

While on the Not Skinny But Not Fat (opens in new tab) podcast Tisdale talked about her experience on High School Musical, as well as the fan response to Sharpay. Then, when asked if she had a crush on Zac Efron back in the day, she said:

I never thought that to be honest. It's because I was friends with him before the movie. And he was way younger than me. He was like a brother, too. I think the one time where I was like, 'Oh, OK. Shit. Yeah, he looks hot,' was the Rolling Stone cover. When he grew up more I was like, 'For sure. Now I understand.' But, I think I just knew him too well and had been best friends with him for so long that it's like your brother that you're hanging out with.

The issue of Rolling Stone Tisdale is referring to shows Efron barely wearing a white t-shirt, abs on full display, next to a headline that reads “The New American Heartthrob Zac Efron.”  So, yeah I would think if there was a moment to realize your co-star was hot, this would be the moment. Following the wildly popular High School Musical trilogy Efron has gone on to star in movies that made him even more of a heartthrob, including 17 Again, Neighbors, Dirty Grandpa and Baywatch. I’d even say to this day the actor is still an actor ladies love. 

However, I can see where Tisdale is coming from when she said she never really had a crush on him. The two actors are two years apart in age; Tisdale was around 21 when HSM was made, and Efron was around 19, which is a time when a two-year age gap does make a big difference. Also, when the movie came out on Disney Channel, Tisdale was already working on the popular series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, while Efron had not starred in anything big until High School Musical, making this big sister, little brother relationship clearer. 

The actress has also explained that because she sees Efron as a brother he never had a crush on him, and she said it was why her worst on-screen kiss was with the Troy Bolton actor. While I’d assume we’ll never see the two play love interests based on these comments, I do hope we’ll see them on a screen together again at some point. 

In the years since High School Musical the cast has gone on to star in bigger projects, however many fans are wondering if we’ll get Tisdale, Efron and Hudgens back for an HSM reunion. While we know many OG stars will return to East High by way of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 4, the actors behind Troy, Gabriella, and Sharpay were missing from that list. Tisdale and Hudgens are still in contact with each other, along with other cast members, so hopefully, they’ll at least come back to a small cameo as their iconic characters on HSMTMTS

I have hope we’ll get to see Tisdale, Efron, and company back together again sometime soon. However, while we wait to find out if they’re still “All In This Together” you can watch all three High School Musical movies and the spinoff series with a Disney+ subscription

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.