Joshua Bassett Opens up About Sexual Abuse in His Childhood

  • Joshua Bassett recently told GQ, “I experienced sexual abuse a lot in my childhood.”
  • “I didn’t remember that until last year, which is pretty insane,” he added. “I buried it so far.”
  • Bassett said his new song “Set Me Free” was partially inspired by processing this trauma.

Joshua Bassett revealed that he “experienced sexual abuse a lot” throughout his childhood.

“I didn’t remember that until last year, which is pretty insane. I buried it so far,” he said during a recent interview with GQ. “And when I was a teen, a much older man routinely abused me, and I wasn’t able to see it for what it was at the time.”

According to GQ’s Willa Bennett, Bassett broached the topic “out of nowhere” in the midst of their conversation in November.

On Friday, the Disney star released a new song called “Set Me Free,” which he said was partly inspired by processing this trauma.

Bassett described the song as “an anthem for me and the sort of people who’ve held pain and power over me my whole life,” adding, “You’ve taken so much from me, but you don’t get to take all of me.”

He also said he’ll discuss the topic further on a podcast episode, expected to launch next year, in hopes that it will “help people who are experiencing that.”

“Set Me Free” also seems to address “all the crazy PR over the year,” ostensibly sparked by the release of Olivia Rodrigo’s debut single “Drivers License.”

“I don’t know what I did to deserve all of this / I don’t wanna be rude or on the defensive / But I’ve been going through it too,” Bassett sings to open the song. In the second verse, he adds, “It’s been a fucking year.”

It’s widely assumed that “Drivers License” was inspired by Bassett, which neither musician has confirmed or denied.

Fans speculate that Bassett and Rodrigo were a real-life couple while starring as love interests on “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.”

Bassett told GQ that Rodrigo hasn’t spoken to him since “Drivers License” came out in January. He also said he received harassment and death threats online after her emotional breakup song became a surprise hit.

“I have a right to stand up for myself,” he said.

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