Olivia Rodrigo celebrated getting her driver's license by cruising through the suburbs, crying — and writing a smash-hit song.
The High School Musical: The Musical: The Series actress, 17, released her single "drivers license" on Friday, and by Monday, her debut single had reached No. 1 on Spotify and Apple Music's global streaming charts. It also climbed the iTunes chart, earning a No. 3 spot just below Taylor Swift's two evermore deluxe tracks.
A Swiftie since her childhood, Rodrigo received praise from Swift herself, who commented, "I say that's my baby, and I'm really proud 💗👏," on her Instagram post.
Like many of Swift's heartbreak hits, Rodrigo's "drivers license" had fans wondering: Who is this song about? And just as stans swear Swift's "All Too Well" is about Jake Gyllenhaal (who may or may not still have her red scarf), Rodrigo's single is thought to be inspired by Joshua Bassett.
Bassett, 20, stars alongside Rodrigo in the Disney+ High School Musical reboot, in which they play high schoolers in love. The actors' on-screen chemistry, Instagram activity and affinity for writing music together has led fans to believe they shared an off-screen romance of sorts as well.
The breakup ballad's release prompted TikTok speculation that Rodrigo is singing to Bassett directly in the lyrics. And because Bassett has been seen hanging out with Sabrina Carpenter, many on the app believe the lyrics reference his moving on with the 21-year-old actress/singer.
Representatives for Rodrigo and Bassett could not be reached for comment. A rep for Carpenter had no comment.
Here are some of the clues fans found in Rodrigo's lyrics and on social media:
Bassett helped Rodrigo learn to drive.
In a resurfaced social media video discovered by LeBlanc Updates on YouTube, Rodrigo said she would "always remember" practicing driving in Bassett's car before she got her license. The pair had just found out the song they co-wrote, "Just for a Moment," would be used in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
"We celebrated and we went to In-N-Out, and I couldn't drive actually. I was 16, but I didn't have my permit," she said. "And so, he took me in his car, and we drove around the In-N-Out parking lot, and that was my first time driving."
Cut to the release of "drivers license," in which the star sings, "I got my drivers license last week, just like we always talked about / Cause you were so excited for me to finally drive up to your house." TikTokers, such as @simpingsugarmommies, connected Rodrigo and Bassett's driving lesson to the first line of her song.
Rodrigo herself posted a TikTok after the song's release, telling fans that the experience of driving "alone thru the suburbs crying" inspired the idea for the song.
The lyrics hint at a love triangle.
In addition to revealing that she and her past love "always talked about" getting her license, Rodrigo sings about how he's now "probably with that blonde girl, who always made me doubt."
Bassett and Carpenter — who is blonde — appear to have been spending time together over the past few months, even dressing up in a couple's costume inspired by The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, as seen on Bassett's TikTok.
In an earlier version of the song, which Rodrigo posted on Instagram in July, she sang, "You're probably with that brunette girl," rather than blonde. Fans wonder if her decision to change the lyrics had to do with Bassett being spotted with Carpenter.
More lyrical clues point to the Work It actress's possible relationship with Bassett. In the final product, Rodrigo sings, "She's so much older than me, she's everything I'm insecure about." Fans on TikTok like @welc0metotheswt pointed out that Carpenter is older than Rodrigo by four years.
While her love interest in the song seems to have moved on, Rodrigo wonders, "How could I ever love someone else?" Later, she sings, "I just can't imagine how you could be so okay now that I'm gone."
Other TikTok users, like @andimitchellll, adapted Rodrigo's lyrics to be from the perspective of the "blonde girl" in the song, whom they believe is Carpenter.
Bassett's songs have many possible connections to Rodrigo.
After Rodrigo sang, "Guess you didn't mean what you wrote in that song about me / 'Cause you said forever, now I drive alone past your street," fans scoured Bassett's lyrics for references to her.
In 2019, Bassett released an IG video singing a song called "Not Right Now," which some sleuths think is about waiting for the right time to pursue a crush. (In this case, could it have meant he was waiting for Rodrigo to turn 18?)
Fans also theorized that "Just for a Moment," which the pair collaborated on for their Disney series, is about IRL and on-screen love.
Bassett is releasing his own song.
The same day Rodrigo announced she'd be dropping "drivers license," Bassett revealed that he is releasing "Lie Lie Lie" this Thursday.
Some fans noticed Bassett was sitting in a car in his promotional image, and the lighting looked similar to Rodrigo's video. (Also, wait, is that a certain "blonde girl" next to him?! We'll have to wait and see.)
However, the timing is coincidental, and don't expect it to be a response to Rodrigo's track or connected to it in any way — Bassett has been teasing the single since 2019, when he first shared a snippet on Instagram.
The stars seem to be on good terms.
Season 2 of the High School Musical reboot resumed filming in October, according to the Los Angeles Times. That means Rodrigo and Bassett have spent time playing a couple amid their alleged real-life relationship roadblocks, but it seems they've been able to maintain a professional friendship.
Bassett even promoted "drivers license" on his Instagram Story, calling it "such a great song," even if he might have inspired the lyrics.
Bassett called Rodrigo a "homie."
While chatting with the Chicks in the Office podcast in December, Bassett reflected on writing "Just for a Moment" with Rodrigo. After they were approached to write a song together, he said the pair spent "every hour on and off set" sending each other ideas and working on the lyrics.
"We definitely spent a lot of time together, and she's really wonderful," he said of their "very close" friendship. "She's a homie for sure."
His admission added to fan speculation that he's moved on from their rumored romance.
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