The “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” co-stars appeared to have put all of their (alleged) offscreen drama aside at the season three premiere of their hit Disney+ show Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
Dressed in complementary black ensembles, the two seemed to be genuinely enjoying one another’s company, and posed for a series of playful photos.
The premiere marked the first time the pair has appeared together in public since the release of Rodrigo’s Grammy-winning breakout single, “Drivers License,” in January 2021.
The two actors met while filming the debut season of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” which premiered in 2019. They portray the show’s central on-again, off-again teen couple, Ricky and Nini.
It didn’t take long for Bassett and Rodrigo’s palpable chemistry to spark real-life dating rumors. While they’ve never confirmed they were in a relationship, many fans and media outlets interpreted “Drivers License” as an ode to a behind-the-scenes romance and subsequent breakup between the two.
Speaking to People in March, Bassett said he was inundated with hateful comments and online death threats after “Drivers License” debuted. Just days after the song dropped, he was hospitalized for heart failure, reportedly brought on by stress.
In December, he revealed that he and Rodrigo hadn’t spoken since the release of “Drivers License,” though he’d made several attempts to reach out.
“People don’t realize how long ago that was,” he told GQ. “It’s not as recent as it seems. I’m a completely different person now.”
While Bassett and Rodrigo may have smoothed things over, the reunion is bittersweet for “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” fans. Rodrigo’s role on Season 3 has been reduced from series regular to recurring character amid reports she’s planning to depart the show to focus on her music career.
Series creator Tim Federle told Entertainment Weekly he’d “never say never” to Rodrigo, but confirmed viewers would see less of her in future seasons.
“I think it’s probably a fairly safe bet to say that, for now, we have so many cast members who we love and who we’re serving, that I think there’s no immediate plans for Nini to be a huge part of the show going forward,” he said.