Six days after Olivia Rodrigo dropped her smash hit “drivers license,” the man widely reputed to be her ex-boyfriend, Joshua Bassett, was hospitalized with heart failure.
Rodrigo and Bassett met on the set of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, and while neither has publicly confirmed rumors that they dated, Bassett came very close in his new interview with People. The now-21-year-old said that the breakup anthem “drivers license” was an almost unimaginably stressful experience for him, especially as fans piled on, taking her side and issuing him death threats on social media.
“Every day I felt worse and worse,” he said. “I was sleeping 16 to 20 hours a day. I couldn’t even stand up for longer than 30 seconds.”
At the time, Bassett was trying to launch his own solo career with the song “Lie, Lie, Lie.” Many fans thought it was written in response to “drivers license,” which dropped on January 8th, 2021, though Bassett told People that it had long been scheduled to come out on January 14th. When the day arrived, “I felt my heart literally failing,” Bassett said. “I was like, ‘This isn’t just anxiety. This is bad.'”
He asked one of the producers of HSM:TM:TS to drive him to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with septic shock of the heart, which could have been brought about by stress. “The doctors were like, ‘If you hadn’t checked in within 12 hours, you would have died in your apartment.’ It’s wild that I was this close to taking another nap.”
Bassett stayed in the hospital for nine days. He recalled that he didn’t feel better following his release: “I was even more depressed and stressed,” he said. “I had a panic attack every single day.”
Ultimately, he feels that the experience left him a stronger, healthier person. “In this last year a lot of my biggest fears came true,” he said. “But in that, I found that I’ll always be OK, if not better off.”
As for Rodrigo, she’s also been reflecting on the breakup. “I just remember going through that awful heartbreak and feeling so responsible for it too in a way,” she said today, March 24th on The Drew Barrymore Show (via Billboard). “Like, you can blame someone else and be like, ‘Oh I hate that you did that to me.’ But when you really think about it, you put yourself in a position to be hurt and nobody’s perfect, and you must have done things wrong in that relationship too.”
You can catch Rodrigo performing at the 2022 Grammy Awards on April 3rd. She’s nominated for seven awards, including the big general field categories of Album of the Year (for her debut album SOUR), Record of the Year and Song of the Year (for “drivers license”), and Best New Artist. On March 25th, a film about SOUR will premiere on Disney+.