Olivia Rodrigo The Pop Star and Actress Rise to Fame


| LAST UPDATE 10/17/2021

By Chloe Becker

Olivia Rodrigo's talent was easy to spot from the time she was a child, but after skyrocketing to fame, she learned that life in the public eye would reveal a lot more than she intended...

A Natural Born Talent

Born Olivia Isabel Rodrigo in California on February 20, 2003, her parents knew she was destined for the stage. But, the family never could have expected the events that would transpire thanks to their daughter's talents.

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Paul Archuleta / Contributor via Getty Images

By the age of 6, Olivia was already a star student in her acting and singing lessons. With this experience under her belt, the young child felt ready to take things to the next level. That's how she soon found herself on a set getting her hair and makeup done for the first time.

Finding Her Place in Hollywood

Around that time, Rodrigo started acting in commercials for the well-known clothing company Old Navy. As her picture-perfect personality began to spread across the states, she soon took on more roles. In fact, fast forward a few years, and in 2015, Olivia made her official acting debut.

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Mike Windle / Staff via Getty Images

The young actress starred as Grace Thomas in An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success. Thanks to this lead role, more and more people began to learn Olivia's name. This soon led to more widespread attention, and inquiries about more acting gigs came rolling in.

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She Left Her Home and Moved to L.A.

The following year, Rodrigo got an offer that required her to move from her hometown to Los Angeles. Amazingly, she had landed the role of Paige Olvera on the Disney Channel series Bisaardark. And she did such a good job in the first season that she was asked to stay on for 2 more!

Olivia Rodrigo Bisaardark DisneyOlivia Rodrigo Bisaardark Disney
Frank Trapper / Contributor via Getty Images

But, even after that show ended, Olivia wasn't done with Disney. In fact, she then signed on to play Nini Salazar-Roberts in the Disney+ production, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. It was then that Rodrigo met her co-star and friend, Joshua Bassett. And here's where the story starts getting juicy...

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Olivia and Josh Meet

Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett met on the set of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and became close when they wrote a song together. After Olivia had written a song called "All I Want" for the Disney+ show, she was asked to team up with Joshua for round 2.

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Kevin Winter / Staff via Getty Images

Together, they co-wrote Just for a Moment for the show and almost instantly, they had a connection of creative energy. Fans picked up on this change right away, but even though they couldn't depict exactly what was happening, many of them shipped whatever was occurring behind the scenes.

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On-Screen Romance

In the coming months, loyal watchers of HSM:TM:TS fell in love with the on-screen romance of Rodrigo and Bassett's characters, Nini and Ricky. And, it was possible that some real, unscripted emotions had started to peek through as well! Especially when Josh's feelings finally came out...

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Jenny Anderson / Stringer via Getty Images

In the show, the pair play a high school couple who broke up after Nini confessed her love for Ricky on their one-year anniversary. Ricky began to panic in the heartfelt scene, but eventually, in an emotional confession, he told Nini that he loves her too.

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An Unscripted Confession

In the scene, Ricky told Nini, "I've loved you since the first time...you wrote a song about clouds, a silly little song about clouds. I love you. And that night in your room when you told me you loved me, I meant to say it...And I've kicked myself every day since then because I didn't say it. But I do. I love you." Hmmm....

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Slaven Vlasic / Contributor via Getty Images

Fans immediately wondered if this on-screen admittance has something to do with their off-screen relationship as well. A potential answer came when Joshua interviewed with the LA Times and explained how he improvised the entire scene. "It was really a magical moment," the actor gushed.  

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Olivia's Heartfelt Reaction

Olivia was shocked by the emotion and passion that came from the improvised moment during filming. In response to the whole ordeal, she told the LA Times, "I love him so much. He's my best friend, so that really made the acting authentic and really truthful. It was like I wasn't acting." Okay, pause; let's back up for a second...

Olivia Rodrigo LA TimesOlivia Rodrigo LA Times
Instagram via @oliviarodrigo

Soon after their LA Times interviews, fans couldn't stop talking and wondering about what happened (just like us.) Were the pair just best friends doing some spot-on acting? Or were they not-so-secretly head over heels for each other and had finally admitted it on television?

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Breaking Down the Clues

HSM:TM:TS lovers began to obsess about the idea of these co-stars being real-life lovers. Thus, they kept a close eye on their social media accounts to see if any hints were to be found. So, when fans started to notice that Olivia's feed was not just full of music, but also had many appearances of Joshua, ears perked up.

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Jason Mendez / Contributor via Getty Images

Rodrigo and Bassett began using special pet names with each other online; Liv and Joshy. Clearly, the "friends" were getting much closer. However, no one but them knew the truth behind their relationship off-set. Or, at least that's what they thought...

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Songs With Deeper Meanings

Many Rodrigo fans followed her every step, from Old Navy billboards to taking over the screen. And, some had started to wonder what connections there were to be found between her on-screen activity and her music. With this in mind, many others noticed the chemistry the pair had outside of when cameras were rolling.

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Instagram via @oliviarodrigo

Some of Olivia's song lyrics even seemed to point right at her costar Joshua. Looking at the series of events, Some thought her line, "I guess you didn't mean what you wrote in that song about me," referred to lyrics within a couple of new songs Josh released. But, no one knew for sure...or did they?

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A Possible Love Triangle

Speculation about Joshua and Olivia's budding relationship began to quiet down when Josh started to cozy up to another costar of HSM:TM:TS, Sabrina Carpenter. These two were spotted together out in public where a bystander reported apparently seeing him kiss Sabrina on the forehead.

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Gotham / Contributor via Getty Images

And, when they began to post TikTok videos together, fans grew curious if Olivia was out of the picture or if this was some sort of love triangle. While Josh and Sabrina were busy doing whatever they were doing, fans couldn't forget his improv love admittance. But, Olivia couldn't be distracted from her work in the studio.

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Release of "Drivers License"

After Rodrigo signed with Interscope and Geffen Records to release her debut single, Drivers License, Olivia skyrocketed to the top of the charts. Literally. Within a week, her song became critically acclaimed, and people across the world were learning her lyrics.

Drivers License Olivia RodrigoDrivers License Olivia Rodrigo
Instagram via @oliviarodrigo

Drivers License went on to break Spotify's record twice for most daily streams ever for a non-holiday song! The first time, it had more than 15.7 million global streams, and the second time, it reached more than 17 million. So, what was all the hype over Olivia's song about?

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Was There a Hidden Message?

As fans learned the lyrics, they began to break down the words and read between the lines. Was there a message Rodrigo was trying to send without directly saying it? Here's what was found: In the song, Olivia hints at a "blonde girl" who her ex-boyfriend left her for – a widely understood reference to Sabrina Carpenter. 

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Instagram via @oliviarodrigo

The lyrics read, "And you're probably with that blonde girl / Who always made me doubt / She's so much older than me / She's everything I'm insecure about." Again, fans thought of Carpenter due to her having several years on Rodrigo and her new supposed fling with Bassett. But, meaningless rumors couldn't distract Liv.

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Number 1 on the Charts

In an interview with Billboard, the young singer said, "I totally understand people's curiosity with the specifics of who the song's about and what it's about, but to me, that's really the least important part of the song." Instead, Rodrigo urged people to focus on the bigger picture of the song's message and success.

Billboard Olivia Rodrigo SongBillboard Olivia Rodrigo Song
Instagram via @oliviarodrigo

The singer was more focused on her song debuting at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the charts in other parts of the world as well! Rodrigo told the New York Times, "It's been the absolute craziest week of my life...My entire life...shifted in an instant." But, Olivia's time behind the mic wasn't over yet.

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Josh and Sabrina's Song

The swarming love triangle rumors had yet to die down, so when it was revealed that this time around, Sabrina and Joshua would be joining forces to write a song for HSM:TM:TS, fans flipped out. Fast forward a bit and We Both Know was being teased and talked about on TV.

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Jesse Grant / Stringer via Getty Images

"It's a collaboration very dear to my heart that I'm excited about," Sabrina exclaimed in an interview. "[Joshua and I] did it a while ago now. I guess you'll have to see!" With Rodrigo still working on her music and the new song coming out, many fans couldn't decide which hit they were more excited about.

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More Music and Success

But, when Olivia hit fans with her second musical release, she won hearts over tenfold. Deja Vu dropped in 2021 and debuted at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. And, as if that wasn't enough; before people were over the shock of how much they loved this new song, she hit repeat and did it all over again!

Deja Vu Olivia RodrigoDeja Vu Olivia Rodrigo
Instagram via @oliviarodrigo

"Uhhhhhh so drivers license is the number one song in the world rn. never in my wildest dreams did I expect this. thank u guys so much for listening. I can't believe this is real life," Rodrigo posted to her Instagram. It seemed that she didn't even realize the immense talent she was putting out!

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Soaking in the Moment

Well, she needed to get used to it fast because as the stars aligned, making space for her, Olivia set herself up for immense fame thanks to the work she already put out. In addition to the releases and wins we just mentioned, the young singer was just getting started.

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Instagram via @oliviarodrigo

Liv had been hard at work in the recording studio. And, the drop of her third single, Good 4 U, rounded out Rodrigo's first album, Sour, and quickly took over the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. This feat made musical history as she became the first artist to launch their first 2 releases at the top 10 of the Hot 100 list.

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Famous Acknowledgements

While people scrambled to put the pieces together of what all of this love triangle rumor madness and musical success meant, Olivia was more concerned with the accolades she received from some famous musicians. For starters, Robin Murray of the band Clash referred to Olivia as "One of Gen Z's finest artists."

Olivia Rodrigo Famous CommentsOlivia Rodrigo Famous Comments
JMEnternational / Contributor via Getty Images

If that wasn't enough to make the young woman believe anything was possible, Charlie Gunn from The-Forty-Five called Rodrigo's album, Sour, "The greatest coming-of-age album since early Taylor Swift or Lorde." Wow! Then, another name popped up and joined the Olivia praise train...Can you guess who?

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Joshy Showed Support for Liv

If you guessed her costar Joshy, you'd be correct! "SUUUUUUPER late on this but I love this song so much," Basset wrote on his Instagram story. "The world better watch out for the album!!!!!" he said of Olivia's recent releases of the time. Josh showed support, but fans were confused if it was genuine or not, because...

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Jason Mendez / Contributor via Getty Images via Getty Images

According to Rodrigo's Good 4 U lyrics, "Well, good for you, I guess you moved on really easily / You found a new girl, and it only took a couple weeks..." some fans thought it was a dig at Josh. But, because neither he nor Olivia had ever addressed if they actually dated or not, fans were left to their assumptions.

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Josh's Comeback

With Olivia focused on her musical successes, it turned out that Josh and Sabrina actually followed her lead. In fact, Josh dropped Lie, Lie, Lie, just after Liv's big musical successes. On his Insta, he explained that he wrote the song after finding out "A friend had been lying about me behind my back for a long time..."

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The 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards / Contributor via Getty Images

Fan's gears began to turn because, simultaneously, Sabrina dropped the song Skin, that many believed to be a clap back to Liv's song. Carpenter's lyrics said, "Maybe we could've been friends / If I met you in another life / Don't drive yourself insane." Then, fans picked out one big thing...Drive? "Drivers License?" Hmm...

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Sabrina's "Dig" Lyrics

More of Sabrina's lyrics included what fans felt were hints to both Olivia and Joshua. "You can try / To get under my, under my, under my skin / While he's on mine / Yeah, all on my, all on my, all on my skin / I wish you knew that еven you / Can't get under my skin if I don't let you in," she sang. Now, let's break it down.

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Jon Kopaloff / Stringer via Getty Images

Fans speculated that Carpenter's lyrics were directed at Olivia. As if she was singlehandedly spreading the rumors that all of their social media followers came up with. It also seemed that Sabrina was throwing her recent closeness with Joshua in Rodrigo's face. Without confirmation or denial, fans were left in the dark.

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Fans Ate Up the Rumors

Without a word relationship-wise from Olivia, Joshua, or Sabrina about who was dating, just friends, or a mix of the two, fans had no choice but to speculate. But, after things got a bit carried away online, Sabrina finally took to her platforms to shut down rumors of writing a "diss track" about Olivia earlier on in the year.

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JC Olivera / Stringer via Getty Images

"["Skin"] isn't calling out one single person, she affirmed. "Some lines address a specific situation, while other lines address plenty of other experiences I've had this past year. It also shows that many things have actually gotten under my skin, and I'm still learning to not give other people so much power over my feelings."

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Avoiding Drama

Remember when we mentioned how Sabrina and Joshua wrote a song together? Despite how well it may have turned out and how excited they were about it, Josh decided to cut it from the EP he dropped. Was this because the swirling drama was too much? Or because he didn't want to hurt Olivia? Well, Josh soon gave the real reason...

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Jason Mendez / Contributor via Getty Images

"I didn't want my EP to be overshadowed by some other narrative that people were trying to make, he told Billboard. "I really want the focus to be on the art instead of some of the talk and the chatter. You shouldn't live to please everybody, but at the same time, there are ways to be sensitive to situations," he continued.

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Josh Shared Big News

Clearly, something was going on. But what was it? Well, with fans finally wrapping their minds around the fact that Josh and Olivia were seemingly not dating, and neither were he and Sabrina...Bassett told the world some big news in an interview with Clevver News...

Josh Bassett Coming OutJosh Bassett Coming Out
Amy Sussman / Staff via Getty Images

"I think [Harry Styles] is a nice guy, doesn't say too much, but when he talks, it matters. Also, he's hot, you know? He's very charming too...This is also my coming out video, I guess," he said in the interview. So, the love triangle didn't exist after all! But would fans be able to write off the idea once and for all? 

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Gearing Up for Season 2

Despite all of the costar and musical drama, the show must go on, which is why Joshua and Olivia have now begun to gear up for the second season of HSM:TM:TS. To keep fans excited, Disney released a new song from the show called "Even When/The Best Part," another duet between Olivia and Josh. And if you ask Josh?

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Charley Gallay / Stringer via Getty Images

He's thrilled about it! In fact, he even told Billboard, "I'm stoked to see how it all came together and really think people are gonna love it!" So, what is Olivia to do now with all of this drama under her belt as a rising star in the Hollywood world? 

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Taking Her Wins and Moving On

While she may have gained an enormous amount of fans thanks to her debut break-up album, we can guess that she'll start covering more content matter in the music to come. And, with the second season of HSM:TM:TS on the way, we can only imagine that she has more to juggle than silly rumors and the lot...

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Rodrigo Varela / Stringer via Getty Images via Getty Images

So, what came next for the young star? Well, on May 15, Olivia appeared on SNL for a musical performance and absolutely blew people away with her stage presence. Variety Magazine even said that the smile she gave at the end of her last note seemed like she knew she absolutely nailed her performance. 

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"This Is My Life"

When Olivia was interviewed by the staff at Elle Magazine, she was questioned about how it feels to be a musical artist who has fans dissecting every line of her songs. She replied in what was described as an honest tone when she said, "It's truly any songwriter's dream."

Elle Magazine Olivia RodrigoElle Magazine Olivia Rodrigo
Instagram via @oliviarodrigo

"There's something so powerful in being vulnerable and open, like, 'This is my life, and I'm f****** sad.' Or, 'I'm insecure,'" Olivia continued. But, at the end of the day, Rodrigo expressed that all of these things are what "Makes songwriting so special." And boy, has she opened her life up to the world!

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A Young Superstar

With her time modeling, acting on set, and in many shows throughout the years, Olivia has racked up over 10.8 million followers on Instagram, 1.1 million followers on Twitter, and 7.4 million followers on TikTok. All in all, she's a young superstar on track to make a big impact on the industry.  

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JMEnternational / Contributor via Getty Images via Getty Images

Rodrigo's YouTube channel following has skyrocketed to over 6.2 million subscribers after releasing music videos for her new tunes. And, with all of her success, Olivia doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon! So, how much has this music mogul racked up when it comes to dollar bills? Well...  

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Rodrigo's Net Worth

All things considered, adding up her song sales, TV show earnings, and merchandise sales, magazine appearances in Billboard the New York Times, and on the cover of Elle, Olivia Rodrigo's net worth has been estimated by Celebrity Net Worth to be approximately $4 million.

Olivia Rodrigo Net WorthOlivia Rodrigo Net Worth
Instagram via @oliviarodrigo

This includes what we can imagine are pretty shiny and exciting cash-outs from appearances on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and more. But despite what she has earned thus far, the humble young woman seems to still remember how her story all began.

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Looking Back

"The point of music is to move you," Rodrigo told Elle Magazine. That could possibly be why she took such a liking to the life path. And, as it turned out, all Olivia wanted to do as a young child was create. "I realized that songwriting was something that people do, and it's a craft," she recalled.

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Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor via Getty Images via Getty Images

Maybe Rodrigo's next album will include some of her earlier songs that have merely been scribbled into her notebooks as a young girl. Either way, we've seen a snippet from her early unpublished track titled "I Am More," with the catchy chorus, "I am more than I could ever show / I am more than the girl you think you know."

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She's A Star

We bet that Olivia has more up her sleeves than we know! On her official website biography page, she divulged, "I spent most of quarantine writing songs in my living room and producing them in a garage." She continued, "["Drivers License"] was always a really special song to me but I never expected the response it got...

Drivers License Olivia RodrigoDrivers License Olivia Rodrigo
Instagram via @oliviarodrigo

"...It absolutely blew my mind, and I still to this day refuse to believe it all actually happened." From the sound of it, Rodrigo might be just as surprised as we are with her fast track to fame. At just 18-years-old, she has certainly set the bar high for herself already!

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