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The 20-year-old actor, who stars alongside Rodrigo on the Disney+ series “High School Musical: The Musical: The series,” told GQ that he “started getting very ill” two days after the single came out on January 8.
“I thought it was, like, food poisoning or whatever. It got worse, it got worse, it got worse, it got worse,” he said.
Bassett said he was eventually hospitalized with “unimaginable pain” on January 14, the day he released his own single, “Lie Lie Lie.”
Bassett said he suffered septic shock and heart failure, adding, “I’m sure stress had a part in it.”
“[The doctors] told me that I had a 30% chance of survival. They told me that if I had not checked into the hospital within 12 hours, I would have been found [dead] in my apartment,” he said, adding that he “didn’t have any energy to be able to focus on anything but staying alive.”
Many fans presume that Bassett inspired “Drivers License”, which was written almost entirely by a 17-year-old Rodrigo. The costars were reportedly in a real-life relationship for some time, though neither have confirmed this.
The song broke several streaming records within days of its release, debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100, and remained there for eight consecutive weeks.
Rodrigo has declined to identify any exes or inspirations for her debut album, “Sour,” which deals largely with themes of heartbreak and betrayal. However, she has said that her songwriting tends to be intensely personal, and that “Drivers License” is based on a true story.
Bassett reportedly moved on to date Sabrina Carpenter, who released a song called “Skin” in the midst of the “Drivers License” frenzy.
Fans think Rodrigo’s “blonde girl” lyric points to Carpenter, who all but confirmed this suspicion with her own lyrics: “Maybe you didn’t mean it / Maybe ‘blonde’ was the only rhyme.”
Bassett told GQ 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.”
“[Everyone] is asking me about Sabrina and Olivia,” he said. “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.”