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‘High School Musical’ Star, Zac Efron Was Hollywood’s Heartthrob for a Long Time — This Is What He’s Been up to Since His Time on the Musical

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Former teen throb, Zac Efron has come a long way since starring in the teenage musical television film, “High School Musical.” 

American actor and singer, Zac Efron made his entertainment debut as a teenager in 2002. However, it was his role as Troy Bolton in the television film, “High School Musical,” that skyrocketed him to stardom, making him one of the most sought-after actors in the 2000s.

Efron snagged the breakthrough role in 2005, marking a turning point in his career. Starring as the lead male character in the 2006 Disney production, the actor easily won over the hearts of the teenage audience. 

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His character, Troy Bolton, was a handsome, high school basketball player who was torn between his love for music and his life-long dreams of becoming a pro basketball star. Meeting Gabriella Montez, a member of the scholastic decathlon, and an aspiring member of the school musical piqued the conflicted teenager’s interest in participating in the musical. Montez soon became his love interest in the movie. Their love story won over many hearts, making the film a success.

Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudges in High School Musical 2005 | Image: YouTube/Disney
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudges in High School Musical 2005 | Image: YouTube/Disney

During his time in the musical, Zac Efron was dating his then-girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens, who starred as Gabriell Montez, the lead female in the film. The duo, who first met on the set of “High School Musical” in 2005, reprised their roles in later productions of “High School Musical 2” released 2007, and “High School Musical 3” released in 2008. Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens broke up in 2010.


Before storming the entertainment industry, Efron was a regular American growing up in a middle-class family in Arroyo Grande, California. He was born on October 18, 1987, to parents, David Efron and Starla Baskett, in San Luis Obispo, California.

Efron’s father reportedly encouraged him to delve into acting when he was eleven. He took the advice while he was in high school, appearing in theatre productions at Arroyo Grande High School. He also took singing lessons.

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On the recommendation of his drama teacher, the Creative Artists Agency signed Efron, years before his 2006 high school graduation. He gained admission into the University of Southern California soon after but chose instead to pursue his career.


The 32-year-old actor has been open about his first brush with role-playing, and how it inspired his decision to become a celebrated actor. He once divulged in an interview that after performing in a 1999 stage production of “Gypsy,” in his early teens at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, he became motivated to take up the arts.

His participation in high school theaters created the perfect opportunity for him, which paid off eventually — following his first signing with an agency. His on-screen debut came with guest appearances on “Firefly,” and “ER.”

Since his acting debut in the early 2000s, Zac Efron has made appearances in “The Guardian,” “Miracle Run,” “17 Again,” and “Hair Spray, ” among others. The actor admittedly went through a phase of drug and alcohol addiction, before making his big comeback in 2014.

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Zac Efron’s “High School Musical” role remains his most outstanding gig to date despite being in other blockbusters. Many still remember him as the young, charming, romantic captain of Wild Cats basketball team who almost every teen had the hots for. However, the actor has undoubtedly moved past those years.

Some of his later appearances as a Hollywood A-lister include “That Awkward Moment,” 2014, “Neighbors,” 2014, “We Are Your Friends,” 2015, “Baywatch,” 2017, “The Beach Bum,” 2019, and “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile.”

Not only has the actor excelled in his career, but he has also moved on in his love life since his years as Vanessa Hudgens beau. Four years after his breakup from Hudgens, Zac found a new love interest, Sami Miro. He dated the model for two years before their split in 2016. 

In 2019, the star started dating actress, Sage Halston. Zac Efron’s girlfriend, Halston, starred alongside him in 2014s “Neighbors,” which marked their first meeting. Rumors of a relationship between the pair first came up shortly after the movie’s premiere. But Efron was quick to dispel the claims.


Over the years, Efron has become one of the sexiest men in Hollywood, with his perfectly toned muscles and chiseled out physique. Achieving the looks admittedly doesn’t come without challenges.

During a February appearance on the YouTube show, “Hot Ones,” the icon recalled the intense workout regimen and diet plan he had to go through to achieve the perfect body he needed to star in the 2017 movie, “Baywatch.” He reflected on how difficult it was, adding that he never wanted to achieve a shape that good again unless it was something worthwhile.


Several years after Zac Efron’s “High School Musical” stint, all the cast of the all-time favorite movie gathered for a groundbreaking reunion in April 2020. Fans anticipated the remarkable event for a long time. They, however, received a great shocker when Efron failed to join the other cast during the Disney sing-along.

Although fans came up with several speculations as to why he didn’t sing, “High School Musical” co-star, Monique Coleman cleared the air. The actress explained how Efron got to know about the reunion at the last minute. Therefore, he was unable to partake in the rehearsals before the show. With his last-minute appearance, introducing other casts was the least he could do to be part of the big moment.


Just as the Troy Bolton role player moved on to greater achievements following his stint on the Disney production, so did the other cast in their own rights.

Vanessa Hudgens, who starred as Gabriella Montez, went on to pursue a dual career in music and acting. She has since released two albums and starred in several other movies. She played the title character in 2015 “Gigi,” in addition to her other roles in “Polar,” “Powerless,” and “Second Act.”

Ashley Tisdale, who starred as Sharpay Evans, has gained recognition as a singer, an actress, an executive producer, and a beauty founder. She has been married to musician Christopher French since 2014.

Lucas Grabeel (Ryan Evans), is an actor, a voice actor, and sings in the musical band, Midnight Holler. Corbin Bleu, who starred as Troy’s wingman, went into Broadway, with productions like, “In The Heights, “Godspell,” and “Holiday Inn.”

Monique Coleman played the role of Taylor McKessie, the leader of the scholastic decathlon team. She now runs a talk show, “Gimme Mo,” and is a youth champion for the United Nations and Girl Up, due to her efforts in improving the lives of young people.

Oleysey Ruling, (Kelsie Nielsen), now runs a blog where she shares beauty and fashion tips. In addition, she has made appearances in “Devious Nanny,” “SEAL Team,” and “NCIS,” among others.

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