Vanessa Hudgens says 2007 nude picture hack was 'traumatizing'

Though there has been marked progress in public reception after such leaks, the stigma against women whose personal photos are leaked nonetheless endures.
Image: Vanessa Hudgens
Vanessa Hudgens attends the Harper's Bazaar celebration of 'ICONS By Carine Roitfeld' at The Plaza Hotel during New York Fashion Week in Manhattan, New York, on Sept. 6, 2019.Caitlin Ochs / Reuters file

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By Gwen Aviles

More than a decade after her nude pictures were leaked, actress Vanessa Hudgens called the invasion of privacy "traumatizing," marking a reversal from her public apology at the time.

"It was a really traumatizing thing for me," she said in a recent interview with Cosmopolitan UK. "It’s really f----d up that people feel like they are entitled enough to share something that personal with the world."

The "High School Musical" star was 18 when the pictures leaked in 2007 and she faced public backlash, including accusations that she wasn't a good role model for her young Disney Channel fans.

“Gabriella and Troy coo, they make googly eyes, they barely kiss," The Associated Press wrote in a 2007 story about the leak. "They certainly don't show off nude pictures.”

As the pictures circulated on the internet, Hudgens issued a public apology, saying she was "embarrassed over the situation" and regretted taking the photos. Yet her recent comments, which mark an about-face from her initial expression of regret, come after more people realize she was a victim of a crime.

After actress Jennifer Lawrence's personal photos were posted on the message board 4chan in 2014, a situation she defined as a "sex crime," more people displayed their support, signaling a change in societal attitudes. Perez Hilton, who initially shared Lawrence's pictures, issued an apology, stating that his actions were "wrong."

Hudgens said people feel entitled to her personal information as an actor, but the pictures crossed a line. Years after the leak, her lawyer Christopher Wong said that the photos continued to "resurface."

"As an actor, you completely lose all grip of your own privacy and it’s really sad. 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," Hudgens told Cosmopolitan.

Post-Disney Channel, Hudgens, 31, starred as Candy in the 2013 cult classic "Spring Breakers" and as Zoe in the 2018 film "Second Act" alongside Jennifer Lopez. As of late, she has become a fixture in Netflix's holiday movie series, leading in "The Princess Switch" and "The Knight Before Christmas."