Joshua Bassett opens up about past trauma: 'I finally found the courage'

·2 min read

Joshua Bassett is ready to introduce himself and not have the songs by his ex, Olivia Rodrigo, define who he is anymore.

"I feel like a lot of this last year people haven't seen me as a human being," the "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series" actor, who turns 21 this month, admitted in a vulnerable interview with GQ.

After Rodrigo's "Drivers License" came out, Bassett said he began receiving death threats and was afraid to leave his New York City home.

"I would see TikToks with like 50 million views and 10 million likes saying, 'If I ever see that kid on the street, I'm going to f------ kill him," Bassett recalled. "It's hard to see that."

MORE: 'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' star Joshua Bassett opens up about his sexuality

He also recalled the time he was at a coffee shop and the staff repeated Rodrigo's songs until he got up and left.

Bassett has since moved out of NYC -- now saying he lives "nowhere" -- and said he's learning to cope with the mental and emotional scars of the past year, which he said caused some long-repressed memories to come flooding back.

"I experienced sexual abuse a lot in my childhood," he confided to GQ. "I didn't remember that until last year, which is pretty insane. I buried it so far." He also said he was "routinely abused" by a "much older man" when he was a teenager.

Bassett said he plans to unpack his trauma through a series of "heavy talks" on an upcoming podcast, to "help people who are experiencing that." He said he intends to release it next year.

The "Lie Lie Lie" singer dropped three new songs on Friday, which seem to reference his famous ex: "Set Me Free," "Crisis" and "Secret."

"I finally found the courage to speak up for myself," Bassett said. "I'm not here to expose people. It was eating me alive, and I couldn't keep it in anymore."

If you or someone you know is in need of help, the National Sexual Assault Hotline -- 800-656-HOPE -- is free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also use the hotline's chat online option.

Joshua Bassett opens up about past trauma: 'I finally found the courage' originally appeared on

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