How Vanessa Hudgens Discovered Her Nude Photos Leaked Online

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In 2007, nude photos of Vanessa Hudgens were leaked to the public. The High School Musical alum has openly talked about how the compromise of her privacy made her feel at the time.

How did she find out her nude photographs?

The breach of privacy occurred a year after High School Musical was released. She was 18 at the time and found out via her manager while she was on holiday in Australia.

Lucas Grabeel, Monique Coleman, Corbin Bleu, Ashley Tisdale, Zac Efron, and Vanessa Anne Hudgens of "High School Musical" attend the 2006 Teen Choice Awards ceremonyLucas Grabeel, Monique Coleman, Corbin Bleu, Ashley Tisdale, Zac Efron, and Vanessa Anne Hudgens of “High School Musical” attend the 2006 Teen Choice Awards ceremony on August 20, 2006, at the Gibson Amphitheatre, Universal City, California (Credit: s_bukley / Shutterstock)

“We heard some story was going to break in the tabloids, and I was like, What?!? A few days later, the picture came out while I was on vacation in Australia. Thank God, I wasn’t home —it would have sucked if I was at home. So I got to be away from LA for about a millisecond. But when I came back, it got kind of crazy,” Hudgens told Seventeen in 2008.

Vanessa Hudgens rose to fame portraying Gabriella Montez along with Zac Efron as Troy Bolton in the High School Musical film seriesVanessa Hudgens rose to fame portraying Gabriella Montez along with Zac Efron as Troy Bolton in the High School Musical film series (Credit: Disney)

The Disney actress issued an apology to her fans and expressed regret for taking the photos.

“I want to apologize to my fans, whose support and trust means the world to me. I am embarrassed over this situation and regret having ever taken these photos. I am thankful for the support of my family and friends.”

Where did the picture come from?

The Thunderbirds actress worked with the police to find the individual who leaked the images.

Hudgens sent the images to Drake Bell before she became a famous face. He claims to have not received them, but someone must have.

A hacker named Ryan Collins is believed to have obtained Vanessa Hudgens' nude photos through a phishing schemeA hacker named Ryan Collins is believed to have obtained Vanessa Hudgens’ nude photos through a phishing scheme (Credit: Who is Danny / Shutterstock)

According to BBC, the individual who released images online was Ryan Collins, a Pennsylvania man and married father of two. He operated a phishing scheme where he sent emails to celebs that looked like communication from Apple or Google.

He would ask for usernames and passwords, and he appears to have got some. In 2016, Ryan Collins was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for hacking over 100 Apple and Google e-mail accounts.

Media response to the incident

Despite not being responsible for the leaked images, Hudgens had to pay a hefty price in terms of negative media exposure. Although this was a major breach of privacy for the actress, the media focused more on the scandal and why she’d taken the nude photos.

Hudgens’s career was going well; she was shooting High School Musical 3: Senior Year opposite Zac Efron, her then-boyfriend. National Enquirer originally released the pictures, and they quickly spread across the internet.

Perez Hilton apologized to Vanessa Hudgens for publishing her nude photosPerez Hilton apologized to Vanessa Hudgens for publishing her nude photos (Credit: Kathy Hutchins / Tinseltown / Shutterstock)

Perez Hilton, the prominent celebrity blogger, was one of the many sites that published the pictures. He later issued an apology video about releasing the pictures of Hudgens on his blog, Perez Hilton.

“So going forward, I will not post any intimate photos like that. I just think it’s the right thing to do, for them, for me, for everybody, to not perpetuate that.”

Hudgen speaks about her invasion of privacy

Hudgens spoke up about the traumatizing time during an interview with Cosmopolitan.

The star told the outlet, ”It was a really traumatizing thing for me. It’s really (expletive) up that people feel like they are entitled enough to share something that personal with the world.”

Hudgens opened up about how the leaked photos made her feel, noting how fans often feel entitled to their favorite celebrity’s privacy.

“As an actor, you completely lose all grip of your own privacy, and it’s really sad,” she said.

Vanessa Hudgens was filming the 2008 American musical film High School Musical 3: Senior Year with her then-boyfriend Zac Efron when her nude photos were leakedVanessa Hudgens was filming the 2008 American musical film High School Musical 3: Senior Year with her then-boyfriend Zac Efron when her nude photos were leaked (Credit: Disney)

“It feels like that shouldn’t be the case, but unfortunately, if enough people are interested, they’re going to do everything they can to get to know as much about you as they can, which is flattering, I guess, but then people take it too far and end up divulging things that should be personal.”

She continued, talking about the lack of boundaries between fans and celebrities.

“I think that is because there’s a disconnect when you see your favorite actress on the screen, and you see them now on your TV in your homes, and you can watch them whenever you want,” she said.

“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.”

Vanessa Hudgens in a custom blue off-the-shoulder Vera Wang dress at the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards Vanessa Hudgens in a custom blue off-the-shoulder Vera Wang dress at the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards held at Barker Hangar on June 5, 2022, in Santa Monica, California (Credit: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock)

Hudgens has learned a major lesson from experience, telling Seventeen, “With the Internet these days, you don’t have a personal life. Nothing is private: Everyone knows everything, and they can find out everything about you. You’re not as safe as you think you are, and you have to be aware of the people you’re around.”

“I was just open with her, and she was just so cute. She was like, ‘Well, everyone can be naked if they want to,'” Hudgens added about her supportive mom.

“My parents are very supportive of me. And they know I’m a teenager, and yes, kids do stupid things sometimes.”

Vanessa Hudgens slicks her hair back at the 2016 People's Choice AwardsVanessa Hudgens slicks her hair back at the 2016 People’s Choice Awards held on January 6, 2016, at the Microsoft Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles (Credit: WENN)

Vanessa Hudgens was hard not to notice at the 2016 People’s Choice Awards.

The then-27-year-old actress stood out on the red carpet at L.A.’s Microsoft Theatre, wearing a metallic gown from Kayat’s Resort 2016 collection.

Vanessa Hudgens flaunts her toned body in a metallic Kayat dress on the red carpetVanessa Hudgens flaunts her toned body in a metallic Kayat dress on the red carpet (Credit: WENN)

She flaunted her toned legs as well as her sexy back and a hint of cleavage in the shimmering dress that featured a low-cut v-neckline, a thigh-high slit, and a crisscross back.

Vanessa Hudgens shows off the strappy back of her slinky metallic Kayat dressVanessa Hudgens shows off the strappy back of her slinky metallic Kayat dress (Credit: WENN)

Vanessa — known to overaccessorize — styled the risky floor-length gown with a matching Pluma Italia choker, Jack Vartanian earrings, Noudar rings, and Bavna bangles.

Vanessa Hudgens goes monochrome and metallic in a sultry Kayat dress at the People's Choice AwardsVanessa Hudgens goes monochrome and metallic in a sultry Kayat dress at the People’s Choice Awards (Credit: WENN)

She carried a silver Rodo clutch and added a few inches to her petite frame with a sexy pair of black strappy sandals.

Vanessa Hudgens channels a '90s Gothic vibe on the red carpet of the People's Choice AwardsVanessa Hudgens channels a ’90s Gothic vibe on the red carpet of the People’s Choice Awards (Credit: FayesVision / Adriana M. Barraza / Brian To / WENN)

The “Grease” star added a hint of ’90s Gothic vibe to the look by wearing her hair in a slicked-back style and sporting dark smoky eye-makeup with frosted pink lipstick.

Vanessa Hudgens wears a dress from Kayat's Resort 2016 collectionVanessa Hudgens wears a dress from Kayat’s Resort 2016 collection (Credit: FayesVision / Adriana M. Barraza / Brian To / WENN)

Vanessa picked the Stuart Weitzman “Myex” sandals for her feet.

These suede sandals feature crisscross straps, back zipper fastenings, open toes, and 4.5-inch heels.

Vanessa Hudgens's feet in strappy Stuart Weitzman sandalsVanessa Hudgens’s feet in strappy Stuart Weitzman sandals (Credit: WENN)

These sandals are no longer available in black, but you might want to check out the striped version at Nordstrom and Zappos.

Striped Stuart Weitzman "Myex" Strappy SandalsStriped Stuart Weitzman “Myex” Strappy Sandals, $485

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