Joshua Bassett set the record straight in a new GQ profile Thursday (June 24) about the highly publicized, rumored love triangle between him, Olivia Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter.
Bassett, who plays Ricky on the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series alongside on-screen love interest Rodrigo (who plays Nini), has long been considered by fans the real-life love interest Rodrigo sings about in her breakthrough Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Drivers License.”
The timing of his own kiss-off single, “Lie Lie Lie,” a week later was questionable, but he shut down speculation that he released the song about someone ruining his reputation with false narratives in connection to Rodrigo’s breakup anthem. However, Carpenter got into the mix, the rumored “blonde girl” from “Drivers License,” and released her own provocative single “Skin” about someone getting under hers. Thus, the modern Disney love triangle was born — but Bassett isn’t participating in the narrative.
“People don’t know anything they’re talking about,” he says in the new interview, explaining that “the hardest thing” has been “biting my tongue, in a lot of ways, but the reality is it’s kind of like a lost cause trying to talk about any of that stuff, and I refuse to feed into any of the bulls—, so I just don’t.”
He continues, “[Everyone] is asking me about Sabrina and Olivia. Why don’t we focus on these women for who they are? Let’s focus on the art that they’re making and how great they are instead of their relationship to a boy.”
Bassett commends Rodrigo’s Billboard 200 No. 1 debut album Sour and how the 18-year-old singer-songwriter perfectly captures what an artist is supposed to do in their work: “carry the emotional weight for other people. That’s what’s so great about Olivia’s album. She was able to articulate the feelings that she felt in a way that works on behalf of other people.”
The 20-year-old artist also says he’s learned a thing or two from Carpenter, whom he first reached out to via Instagram DMs per his label Warner Records’ advice about recording a song. “I was like, that’s terrifying. I’m not going to DM her,” he tells GQ. “I’ve never DM’d anybody. I don’t DM people.”
While he has plenty of admiration for Rodrigo and Carpenter, Bassett isn’t shy about his appreciation for Harry Styles either. In May, Bassett gushed about the “Watermelon Sugar” singer in a video interview with Clevver News before stating, “This is also my coming out video, I guess.” A day later, he opened up about his sexuality in a heartfelt message about how he’s long been judged for it while denouncing “toxicity, hatred and negativity” about who someone chooses to love. In talking to GQ, Bassett affirms he is “happy to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community” and why he does not feel rushed to identify with any preferred label about his sexuality.
“There are plenty of letters in the alphabet. … Why bother rushing to a conclusion? Sometimes your letter changes, sometimes you try a different one, other times you realize you’re not what you thought you were, or maybe you always knew,” he states. “All of these can be true. I’m happy to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community because they embrace all. Don’t let anyone tell you love isn’t love. They’re the ones who probably need it the most.”