Vanessa Anne Hudgens (born December 14, 1988) is an American singer-songwriter, actress and television personality. She made her debut in 2003 appearing in the Hollywood films "Thirteen" and "Thunderbirds", before reaching fame in 2006 after appearing as Gabriella Montez in the Disney Channel film "High School Musical" hit series. Hudgens began a music career and released her debut album, V, in 2006. Her sophomore album, Identified, was released July 1st, 2008. She is currently a Neutrogena spokesperson, the face of Sears and Ecko footwear.
Hudgens was born in Salinas, California, the daughter of Gina (née Guangco) and Greg Hudgens. She has a younger sister, Stella Hudgens. Hudgens's father is an American of Irish and Native American descent, and her mother, who grew up in Manila, is a Filipino-born of Filipino, Spanish, African, and Chinese descent. Hudgens has been home-schooled since after her seventh-grade year at the Orange County High School of the ARTIST.
On January 11th, 2008, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Hudgens would star in the comedy, Bandslam, alongside Gaelan Connell, Alyson Michalka, and Lisa Kudrow. Hudgens will play 15-year old Sam.
Hudgens's second album was Identified. The first single from this album, "Sneakernight", premiered on Radio Disney on April 11th, 2008. The song was used as part of her deal with Red by Marc Ecko. On the first week of the release of her album, Identified sold more than 22,000 copies, 12,000 less than her debut album. Though the album had poor sales its first week, Identified received generally positive reviews from music critics. The album was released a week before the United States in Japan featuring three exclusive-bonus songs.
Hudgens launched on July 31st, 2008 her first solo tour called "Identified Summer Tour" in order to promote her two albums, performing some of the most popular songs from her debut album and others from her sophomore album. The tour reached Mexico too and she appeared in the Neutrogena Fresh Face Concert. As of October 2008, she has officially closed the concert tour.
Hudgens reprised her role as Gabriella for the third time in High School Musical 3: Senior Year. She also will appear on the High School Musical 3 soundtrack, performing songs such as Can I Have This Dance? and Walk Away. Also, the song "Can I Have This Dance?" was released as a promotionl single from the soundtrack, with the song being released on iTunes but later removed. She also presented an award in the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards along with the rest of the HSM cast. Hudgens and the cast of HSM 3 launched a European promotional tour to promote the movie. Vanessa made only $2 million for the film, reportedly due to the photo scandal that hurt her image
Hudgens debuted in Thirteen as Noel and appeared in the 2004 film Thunderbirds as Tintin and appearances include guest roles on Quintuplets, Still Standing, The Brothers García and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody (episode title - Forever Plaid), as Corrie. Hudgens also appeared on Drake & Josh, playing Drake's girlfriend, Rebecca.
Hudgens' largest role has been starring in the Disney Channel movie series High School Musical and High School Musical 2, starring as the beautiful, shy, intelligent student Gabriella Montez. She auditioned for Gabriella with the song "Angels" by Robbie Williams. Hudgens and Efron had won "Best Chemistry" award at the Teen Choice Awards for their roles. The first High School Musical spawned a hit soundtrack, a worldwide concert tour, a show at Walt Disney World, and even a book series that helped Hudgens land in Forbes magazine's list of top-earning stars under 21." In the list, the 18-year-old Hudgens was No. 7 with estimated earnings of $2 million. Hudgens started concentrating on her music career by signing a record deal with Hollywood Records in 2006 as the start of her solo career, but first covered the song "Colors Of The Wind" for Disneymania 5 album in that same year.
Hudgens confirmed, in an October 2007 interview with Teen Magazine, that she has been dating her High School Musical series co-star Zac Efron, the actor who plays Gabriella's boyfriend Troy Bolton, and had been since the filming of High School Musical. In an interview, Hudgens' publicist stated that her music video for "Say OK" was their official "come-out" as a couple. At 2008, she was ranked as FHM's 62nd Sexiest Woman and Maxim's number 12 in their 100 Hot List. She was included in People magazine's annual "100 Most Beautiful People" list in May 2008. She was also voted Bop Magazine's 7th Hottest Star as Hot Breakout Star'.
Hudgens launched a worldwide tour with the rest of the cast of High School Musical in fall 2006, performing the songs from the soundtrack album as well of three songs from her debut album, which was released on 2007. A DVD and an album named High School Musical: The Concert were released in 2007, featuring only one of the three songs performed by Hudgens from her debut album in the tour.
Hudgens' debut album, entitled V, was released in early September 2006. V debuted on the Billboard 200 in early October 2006 at number twenty-four on the chart, with 34,000 copies sold that week. A music video for her first single, "Come Back To Me", debuted after the world premiere of The Cheetah Girls 2 in late August. The official music video for her second single, "Say OK", was first shown following the premiere of Disney's Jump In!. In August 2007 at the 2007 Teen Choice Awards, Hudgens was named the Choice Breakout Singer - Female. Hudgens promoted the album when opening for The Cheetah Girls during their The Party's Just Begun Tour. The album has been certified Gold in the U.S. for reaching 500,000 copies shipped. The album was re-released in a limited Deluxe Edition format, released only in Japan. The album was certified Gold for shipments to retailers of 500,000 copies. The album was nominated as #7 on "Album of The Year" by Billboard Readers' Choice. Hudgens sang the duet "Still There For Me" with Corbin Bleu for his debut album.
Hudgens also appeared on the soundtrack of High School Musical 2, performing several songs such as Gotta Go My Own Way, Work This Out, You Are the Music in Me, Everyday, All for One, and What Time Is It?. In the end of 2007, she had performed "The Christmas Song" along with Katharine McPhee and Ne-Yo for "Christmas In Washington" event.
Her second album, Identified, was released on July 1st, 2008.
Previous to High School Musical, she guest-starred on a number of television shows and played Tintin in the 2004 remake of "Thunderbirds". She also will be starring as Sam in the upcoming movie "Bandslam".
The long-format Sears video was shot by Grammy award-winning director Joseph Kahn, who is renowned in the world of music videos for his work with Britney Spears, Eminem, Mariah Carey, U2, Destiny's Child and Black Eyed Peas, among others. "I like to make a fashion statement by changing up my look with different styles," explains Hudgens in the video. "Sears is a great place for those heading back to school this year because you can find an entire wardrobe of fun 'looks' to suit any mood or fashion sense. Plus, since the clothes are so affordable, you can easily switch styles and really get noticed when you arrive back at school."
Hudgens is also currently a Neutrogena spokesperson. "Vanessa Hudgens has an energetic, dynamic personality that will truly complement the spirit of Neutrogena. We are pleased to welcome her to our team", says Neutrogena President, North America, Jim Colleran. As a new spokesperson for Neutrogena, Hudgens will be featured in both national TV and print campaigns. She joins fellow Neutrogena spokespersons Kelly Preston, Susie Castillo, Gabrielle Union, Hayden Panettiere, Julie Bowen, Kristin Kreuk and Paola Rey, each of whom will continue in their role as Neutrogena representatives. In September 2008, she appeared in the Neutrogena Fresh Face Concert.
On September 6th, 2007, controversy erupted after provocative photos of Hudgens surfaced online. Two showed her posing in suggestive lingerie, and another showed her nude. A statement from her publicist claims that the photo was taken privately and it was "unfortunate" that they were released on the Internet. Hudgens later apologized, saying that she was "embarrassed over the situation" and regretted having "taken [those] photos." Disney Channel spokeswoman Patti McTeague indicated that Disney will still be working with Hudgens, stating, "Vanessa has apologized for what was obviously a lapse in judgment. We hope she's learned a valuable lesson." After the scandal blew over, Hudgens was quoted as saying, "I'm much better now. But truthfully I don't like talking about it. It was something that was meant to be private, and even though it isn't anymore, I'd still like to keep it as private as I can. It was very traumatic, and I am extremely upset it happened. I hope all my fans can learn from my mistake and make smart decisions. But I wouldn't have been able to get through it if it wasn't for my family, friends, and fans, who supported me all along the way". Early speculation that Vanessa Hudgens would be dropped from High School Musical 3 due to her nude photo scandal proved untrue. Although it was reported by OK! Magazine that Vanessa would be replaced by Adrienne Bailon or Sabrina Bryan from the Cheetah Girls in High School Musical 3, Access Hollywood confirmed that the cast was still in negotiations and Vanessa would not be cut from High School Musical 3. "Totally untrue. It is an old rumor," Vanessa's representative told Access, "OK! Magazine never bothered to check the fact with me, but they did call Disney who said it wasn't true, but yet OK! ran it anyway. Apparently, OK! Magazine was having a slow news day."
Hudgens was sued by music producer Johnny Vieira, who claims she reneged on a deal to share her earnings with him after he helped make her a star. In the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Vieira accuses Hudgens and father, Greg Hudgens, of breach of contract and fraud, seeking more than $27 million in damages. Hudgens' record label, Hollywood, also is named as a defendant in the suit. Vieira said he was dumped from Hudgens's management team soon after she was cast in HSM. However, "it became clear that Hudgens and her new 'team' ... all directed by her father ... would take every possible opportunity to deprive Vieira of the benefits to be derived from the settlement agreement," the lawsuit says. Hudgens' publicist could not immediately be reached for comment. A Disney spokesman said the company had not had a chance to review the lawsuit.". According to the suit, they subsequently reached a settlement under which Hudgens agreed to pay Vieira a percentage of her earnings from her first three albums under her solo recording contract with Hollywood Records.
Recently, Hudgens bought a home in Studio City, California for $2.75 million.
Us Weekly said Hudgens and her High School Musical series co-star Zac Efron met in 2005 while making the first High School Musical flick, and became a romantic item about two years later." The two were paired together during the audition process and got the part because of their chemistry. The two ended their relationship in December 2010. Hudgens briefly dated Journey 2 the Mysterious Island co-star Josh Hutcherson, but the two are now "good friends". Vanessa dated fellow actor, Austin Butler from the fall of 2011 to January 2020.
Hudgens was represented by William Morris Agency but signed on to Creative Artists Agency in 2011.
In 2006, Hudgens's earnings were estimated to be $2 million.Hudgens was included in Forbes richest list in early 2007, and the Forbes article noted that she was included in Young Hollywood's Top Earning-Stars. On December 12, 2008, Hudgens was ranked #20 in the list of Forbes "High Earners Under 30", having reported to have an estimated earnings of $3 million in 2008. She was number 62 at FHMs Sexiest Women in the World of 2008 and number 42 in the 2009 list.Hudgens is also featured in Maxims lists.She was included in Peoples annual "100 Most Beautiful People" 2008 and 2009 lists.
On September 6, 2007, photos of Hudgens appeared online, one showing her posing in lingerie and another showing her nude. A statement from her publicist claims that the photo was taken privately and it was unfortunate that they were released on the Internet. Hudgens later apologized, saying that she was "embarrassed over the situation" and regretted having "taken [those] photos."Hudgens subsequently released a statement indicating that she declined to comment further on the scandal. OK! magazine speculated that Hudgens would be dropped from High School Musical 3 as a result of the images, but The Walt Disney Company denied this, saying, "Vanessa has apologized for what was obviously a lapse in judgment. We hope she's learned a valuable lesson."
In August 2009, another set of pictures showing Hudgens topless emerged on the Internet. Hudgens's representatives did not comment, though her lawyers requested the removal of the pictures from the Internet. In late 2009, Hudgens sued "www.moejackson.com" for posting nude 'self-portrait photographs of her taken on a mobile phone in a private home. Hudgens later commented on the photos' impact on her career in the October issue of Allure with, "Whenever anybody asks me, would I do nudity in a film, if I say that it's something I'm not comfortable with, they're like, 'Bullshit, you've already done it.' If anything, it makes it more embarrassing, because that was a private thing. It's screwed up that someone screwed me over like that. At least some people are learning from my mistake." According to Us Weekly, further pictures were released on the Internet March 15, 2011 as well as a nude video.
Brian Schall sued Hudgens in 2007 for an alleged "breach of contract"; according to the suit, Schall claims he advanced costs and expenses on Hudgens's behalf for her songwriting and recording career. Schall claims Hudgens owed him $150,000 after helping her earn more than $5 million for her music career. Hudgens argued that she was a 16-year-old minor when she signed the contract in October 2005, and therefore too young to do so. She subsequently disaffirmed it on October 9, 2008. Papers filed in court by her lawyer say California's Family Code "provides that the contract of a minor is voidable and may be disaffirmed before (age 18) or within a reasonable time afterward." In 2008, Hudgens was sued by Johnny Vieira, who claims he was owed a share of Hudgens' advances, royalties and merchandising revenue in exchange for his management services. Vieira accuses Hudgens of abandoning her talent team as soon as she became a commercial name in the High School Musical era. In early May 2009, the case was settled.
In March 2020, Hudgens made a video in which she said it is "inevitable" that people will die from coronavirus. The video caused controversy because she appeared to be minimizing the impact of the disease and the need for preventative measures. She subsequently apologized for her "insensitive" remarks.