Joshua Bassett says he suffered septic shock and heart failure days after ‘Drivers License’ came out: ‘I’m sure stress had a part in it’

Joshua bassett olivia rodrigo
Joshua Bassett and Olivia Rodrigo. Image Group LA/Disney Channel via Getty Images
  • Joshua Bassett told GQ that he was hospitalized in January for septic shock and heart failure.
  • He said he became “very ill” just two days after Olivia Rodrigo released “Drivers License.”
  • The two Disney+ stars are believed to have dated, and many presume Bassett inspired the song.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Joshua Bassett recently said he was hospitalized in January shortly after the release of “Drivers License,” Olivia Rodrigo’s hit breakup song that fans speculate he inspired.

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 Rodrigo when she was 17. The costars were believed to be in a real-life relationship for some time, though neither of them 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. But she has said that her songwriting tends to be intensely personal and that “Drivers License” is based on a true story.

More recently, Bassett has stepped out with Sabrina Carpenter, the 22-year-old singer who previously starred on “Girl Meets World.” The pair even wore matching Halloween costumes in 2020, which further stoked speculation they were dating.

Carpenter released a song called “Skin” in the middle of the “Drivers License” frenzy.

Fans think Rodrigo’s “blond-girl” lyric points to Carpenter, who all but confirmed this suspicion with her own lyrics: “Maybe you didn’t mean it / Maybe ‘blond’ 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.”