Vanessa Anne Hudgens (born December 14, 1988) is an American actress and singer. After making her feature film debut in Thirteen (2003), Hudgens rose to prominence portraying Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical film series (2006–08), which brought her significant mainstream success. The success of the first film led to Hudgens’ acquiring a recording contract with Hollywood Records, with whom she released two studio albums, V (2006) and Identified (2008). In addition to High School Musical, Hudgens has also appeared in various films and television series for the Disney Channel.
Since the release of her studio albums and the High School Musical franchise, Hudgens has focused on her acting career. She has appeared in the films Bandslam (2009), Beastly (2011), Sucker Punch (2011), Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012), Spring Breakers (2013), Machete Kills (2013), and The Princess Switch (2018). She has also played the title role in the Broadway musical Gigi in 2015, and the role of Rizzo in Grease: Live in 2016, and is starring in Rent: Live in 2019.
2016–present: Television and films
On January 31, 2016, Hudgens starred in the role of Rizzo in Grease: Live, Fox’s live broadcast based on the original Broadway musical. Hudgens dedicated her performance to her father, Greg, who died from cancer one day before the special aired. In 2017, Hudgens played Emily Locke on NBC’s comedy series Powerless, which was based on DC Comics characters. It was cancelled after one season. That same year, Hudgens was featured on Shawn Hook’s single “Reminding Me” and also starred in the music video. In 2018, Hudgens starred in the romantic comedy film Dog Days, alongside Finn Wolfhard and Nina Dobrev; the movie began filming in late 2017. Also that year, she co-starred in the Jennifer Lopez comedy film Second Act, directed by Peter Segal.
Hudgens began a relationship with High School Musical co-star Zac Efron in 2005. The couple became a frequent target for the media, and in turn the BBC predicted that Hudgens would be a “household name” in the US. They ended their relationship after five years in December 2010. Hudgens is a close friend of actress Ashley Tisdale, whom she met when they both appeared in the film High School Musical; Hudgens was a bridesmaid at Tisdale’s wedding on September 8, 2014.
Hudgens has been in a relationship with Austin Butler since 2011.
In May 2016, Hudgens paid $1,000 in restitution for damage of U.S. Forest Service property by carving initials within a heart on a rock in the Coconino National Forest and displaying it on her personal Instagram feed.
Hudgens was raised Catholic, but since has grown away from that branch of Christianity and now identifies as a non-denominational Christian. She attends the Los Angeles affiliate church of Hillsong Church.