In 2007, at the height of High School Musical fame, nude photos of Vanessa Hudgens leaked without her permission. She became one of the first of many celebs to deal with a massive privacy breach, an experience she calls “traumatising,” when she opened up about it in an interview.
“It’s really fucked up that people feel like they are entitled enough to share something that personal with the world,” Hudgens told Cosmopolitan UK while reflecting back on the experience. “As an actor, you completely lose all grip of your own privacy and it’s really sad.”
In the years that have followed, stars like Jennifer Lawrence and former Representative Katie Hill, have also been victims of a nude photo leak. Hudgens theorised about why people feel so comfortable infringing on the privacy of celebs and other public figures.
"I think that is because there’s a disconnect when you see your favourite actress on the screen, and you see them now on your TV in your homes, and you can watch them whenever you want,” she told the publication. “There’s almost – I don’t want to say lack of respect because that sounds negative – but it just makes you feel like you know them even though you don’t.”
Since 2013, 46 states, a U.S. territory and, Washington DC have passed anti-revenge porn laws, according to nonprofit the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. Back in 2007, however, public condemnation for “revenge porn” wasn’t a thing, so criticism fell solely on a then 18-year-old Hudgens.
She released a statement to the press expressing “regret having ever taken these photos,” and apologising to her fans. Fortunately, despite the traumatising experience, Hudgens has managed to move on with her life and career.
Should anything like that 2007 invasion of privacy happen again, Hudgens is clear that she won’t hesitate to speak out.
“I’m the type of person in any situation, whether it’s an audition or in work, if I feel uncomfortable, I’m going to walk away or let that person know they’re making me feel uncomfortable,” she said. “Then, if they don’t respect that, they can go fuck off…as long as you hold your ground, no one will bring you down."