Everything changed for Olivia Rodrigo’s career at the top of 2021 when she released “Drivers License.” The song broke Spotify records, rose to No. 1 on the singles chart, and made her this generation’s newest pop star. As for “Drivers License,” the song left many wondering who was the subject of the lovelorn record. Many concluded that it was singer Joshua Bassett, who stars beside her on the Disney+ TV series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. While Rodrigo never confirmed or denied that Bassett was at the center of “Drivers License,” his constant connection to the song brought a heavy amount of stress into his life, so much so that it landed him in the hospital.
In an interview with People, Bassett says that after several days of online scrutiny, some of which included death threats, he felt his well-being start to deteriorate. “I was sleeping 16 to 20 hours a day,” he said. “I couldn’t even stand up for longer than 30 seconds.” Six days after “Drivers License” was released, Bassett shared “Lie Lie Lie,” a record that he says was supposed to drop regardless of the arrival of “Drivers License.” However, many still took it as a response to Rodrigo’s song which only worsened Bassett’s situation. “I felt my heart literally failing,” Bassett said about his health at the time. “I was like, ‘This isn’t just anxiety. This is bad.'”
At this point, an HSMTMTS producer realized that Bassett needed to be taken to the hospital, and it was there that he was diagnosed with septic shock. “The doctors were like, ‘If you hadn’t checked in within 12 hours, you would have died in your apartment,'” Bassett said. He also noted that he was told that the diagnosis could have been caused by stress. “It’s wild that I was this close to taking another nap.”
Bassett was discharged from the hospital nine days later but still faced some health problems. “I was even more depressed and stressed,” he says. “I had a panic attack every single day.”
You can read the full profile with Bassett via People here.
Joshua Bassett is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.