The Real Reason Vanessa Hudgens And Zac Efron Broke Up

Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, affectionately known as "Zanessa," were a match made in Disney heaven. The two met on the set of High School Musical in the mid-2000s and the rest, of course, quickly became history.

For awhile, Efron and Hudgens seemed to be in it for the long haul. Then, at the end of 2010, the couple suddenly called it quits. What went wrong? Here are a few clues.

They were essentially put together

In 2005, Hudgens and Efron found themselves on the set of High School Musical which would go on to be the launching pad for both their acting careers and, of course, their relationship. However, as it turns out, the two didn't exactly become romantic naturally. In fact, they may have had a bit of a push from Disney.

Producers paired up the two to read for the parts of Troy and Gabriella at their audition; because of their unbelievable chemistry, they remained as a pair for the entire audition process. After the fact, Efron revealed that he was a bit surprised that he never got paired with anyone else.  "For all of the partner things, me and Vanessa always got paired up," he said at a Disney Channel event in 2007. "I was like, 'They're not trying us with other people.'"

While it might really have just been fate that the two young, lovebirds ended up together, it also seems like Disney producers might have been playing Cupid. Seeing as the two split just two years after the release of the final movie in the HSM franchise, it's very possible that their chemistry was always more out of convenience than anything else. 

Her leaked photo scandals

Hudgens was left red-faced by not one but two nude photo scandals over the course of her relationship with Efron. The first photos hit the Internet in September 2007 and rumors began to swirl that she would be dropped from High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Whoever said there's no such thing as bad publicity has clearly never been a Disney Channel darling. The leak was made even more controversial by the fact that the actress had allegedly emailed nude photos to former Nickelodeon star Drake Bell a few years earlier. 

It seems that the actress did not learn her lesson the first time as she found herself in the middle of yet another photo scandal in August 2009. Although he never really made any public statements about the leaks, it seems that Efron stood by his leading lady. However, given his squeaky clean image at the time, Efron couldn't have been thrilled about being dragged into the middle of such a controversial news story. It also probably put at least a little bit of a strain on a relationship having NSFW photos of his girlfriend floating around the Internet – especially if the photos weren't necessarily meant for him. 

Her jealousy got the best of her

Dating one of the hottest celebrities in the world is all fun and games until you realize one little problem: there are millions of other girls who want your man too. That was a lesson that Hudgens found out the hard way. In March 2015, she opened up to The New York Times about what it was like to date the former teen heartthrob and share a bit of insight as to why they split. Apparently, the actress got to a point in their relationship when she was completely over dealing with Efron's, uh, dedicated fans and didn't like the person that she was becoming as a result. 

"I went through a phase when I was really mean because I was so fed up," she said. "Girls were running after him, and I was giving them death stares. Then I realized that's not what that's about. 'Spread the love, be a good person, they support you, be nice.' " 

It seems like the brown-eyed beauty realized that being a green-eyed monster was not a good look and got out of the relationship at just the right time. We can't blame her for getting jealous; one only needs to check out some of the pictures that Efron posts for his 28.3 million Instagram followers to see that he has only gotten hotter, and more popular, over the years – definitely would not have gotten any easier, girl! 

The High School Musical franchise came to an end

To the dismay of HSM fans everywhere the last installment of the franchise hit theaters in 2008. It was the end of an era and many feared that it would also be the end of Zanessa. While it's not impossible for couples who meet on set to stay together, it's also not the super popular thing to do. Between the tabloids constant claims that the two were headed for Splitsville to no longer being on the set that brought them together, it seems like Efron and Hudgens' fate was sealed the second the credits stared rolling on the final movie.  

Their careers started taking them in different directions

After spending the better part of three years dancing and singing the days away together on the same set, it was finally time for Efron and Hudgens to go their own ways and focus on life post-HSM. However, it seems that distance doesn't always make the heart grow fonder. Hudgens told Shape that the couple's busy work schedules that sometimes sent them to opposite ends of the world really took a toll on their relationship. 

"Long-distance relationships are hard no matter what," said Hudgens. "When you don't have face-to-face time, it's just different. Having an iPhone helped, but it just wasn't the same." 

Efron's first big gig following the end of HSM was the leading role in the comedy 17 Again, while Hudgens nabbed a supporting role in the movie Bandslam. So while Hudgens was shooting her film down in Texas, her beau was back in California. Things can get a bit tricky when you and your famous other half are more than a dressing room apart for the first time in your relationship. When the pair called it quits in 2010, they were still trying to make the distance work, even though Hudgens was in Hawaii shooting Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, while Efron was shooting The Lucky One in New Orleans. 

He didn't plan on getting serious anytime soon

Although Efron was very serious about taking his acting career to the next level after High School Musical wrapped, it seems that he wasn't nearly as concerned with taking the next step in his relationship – at least not anytime soon. In 2009, Efron told GQ that marriage definitely wasn't happening anywhere in the near future for him. 

"I'm definitely not getting married," he said. "In this business, you're either getting married or they want you to be pregnant. I'm not getting married until I'm 40. If ever. The thought never crossed my mind."

Meanwhile, Hudgens had her sights set on a slightly different future. She told Shape that she hoped to be married with a baby by the time she's 30. At the time of writing, Hudgens is 28 years old so current long-time boyfriend Austin Butler better get ready to pop the question pretty soon.

Who knows if their conflicting views on marriage ended up being the straw that broke the camel's back? Still, it probably didn't bring help to bring the already distant couple any closer together. 

He was ready to break out of the Disney mold

There's a certain stigma that surrounds former Disney Channel stars. While some stars Disney alums graduate and go on to bigger and better things, other get stuck in Disney limbo. For some, Disney limbo results in taking some pretty extreme measures to show the world that they're no longer part of the Mickey Mouse club (i.e. swinging around half-naked on a wrecking ball). However, for others it's as simple as breaking up with their long-time significant other to reinvent their public image (i.e. the Zanessa split).

According to a US Weekly source, the break-up might have been a bit more strategic than either Efron or Hudgens let on. 

"He wants to put his whole High School Musical past behind him and be known as a sexy solo actor like Leonardo DiCaprio," said the source. "He was ready to experience life as a single man." Ouch!

They started having to compete at the box office

It's one thing to have to compete with your significant other for time in the bathroom in the morning, it's another to have to compete to fill seats at the movie theater. In 2010, shortly before the couple shared the news with the world that they had broken up, they almost shared a release date. Due to a shuffling around of release dates, Efron's movie Charlie St. Cloud ended up completely taking over the release date of Hudgens' movie Beastly while her release date was pushed back to March 2011. Efron told MTV News that he was the one who had to break the news to his then-girlfriend, who admitted she "didn't think it was fair" for them to have movies coming out on the same day.

In the long run, it seems like Hudgens got the short end of the stick on two counts. Not only was her release date pushed back, but Efron didn't even attend her premiere since they were long broken up by the time Beastly was released. Hudgens, however, did attend Efron's Charlie St. Cloud premiere which would be one of the couple's last public appearances before they broke up. Classy!