In 2007, High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens became the victim of a nude photo leak at just 18 years old. The now 31-year-old actress opened up about the incident in a recent interview with Cosmopolitan UK, explaining fame doesn't take away one's right to privacy.
"It was a really traumatizing thing for me. It's really fucked up that people feel like they are entitled enough to share something that personal with the world," she told the magazine. "As an actor, you completely lose all grip of your own privacy and it's really sad."
She continued: "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."
Following the leak, Hudgens issued a public apology to her fans, stating she was "embarrassed" by the ordeal and regretted "having ever taken these photos." Cosmo reports Hudgens was forced to release the statement and take responsibility for the leak, despite the fact that she was the victim.
"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 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."
Hudgens, unfortunately had to grapple with more nude photo leaks in both 2009 and 2014. But, as pointed out by Cosmo writer Nocila Fahey, the incidents have seemingly given Hudgens more emotional strength. Case in point: Hudgens' no-holds-barred take on the sexism within Hollywood.
"I have been talked to in ways that are not appropriate. I have been in situations where I’ve been talked to in inappropriate ways, but right then, in that moment, I was the person to just say, 'No. Why would you say that? You’re completely out of line,'" she said. "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. Then, if they don’t respect that, they can go fuck off. If someone doesn’t like that, literally they can fuck off. As long as you hold your ground, no one will bring you down."
You can read Hudgens' full Cosmo UK cover story here.