Olivia Rodrigo Admits It Was 'Really Hard' Watching People 'Dissect' Her Love Life
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Olivia Rodrigo still isn't used to people's interest in her love life. In an interview for the September issue of GQ, the 18-year-old pop star admits that she tries to stay off social media and remain oblivious to the public's opinion of her personal life.
Rodrigo's romances became a topic of social media fascination with the release of her debut single, "Drivers License." The song is thought to be about her breakup with her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series co-star, Joshua Bassett, though neither party ever confirmed they were ever together.
Subsequent songs off of her debut album, Sour, furthered speculation, as many were rumored to be about Bassett's supposed new flame, Sabrina Carpenter.
"I try not to look at stuff like that, to be completely honest. I like to think that if there's actually something that I should know about, my team would tell me," she says. "It was really hard for me to watch people on TikTok and stuff that dissects my 17-year-old love life. That was really weird. But again, I think I understood the curiosity. It doesn't affect me; it doesn't matter. It doesn't affect my songwriting and my life."
Through her whirlwind year, Rodrigo has come to realize that feelings of insecurity or fear over public opinion can be largely avoided by simply staying off of social media, an activity she only allows herself to do 30 minutes daily.
"It helps to not look at that s**t... You're literally not meant to know what everyone is saying about you at all times," she says. "... Something that I learned very early on is the importance of separating person versus persona. When people who don't know me are criticizing me, they're criticizing my persona, not my person. But that's really difficult, though, too, because my persona is being as genuine and honest as I possibly can, so it's this weird dichotomy."
As for the current state of her love life, Rodrigo says that she briefly gave dating apps a go. "I had Raya for a second, and it was so vomit," she says of the experience. "Like, I could not."
"I'm so happy for the first time in so long, I just don't want to f**k with it, you know what I mean?" she adds. "I just love my girlfriends and love my job and am exactly where I've always wanted to be. Everything else is just icing on the cake."
Just days after her GQ interview, Rodrigo was spotted displaying some PDA with 24-year-old producer Adam Faze in Los Angeles.
While questions about her love life won't stop swirling anytime soon, Rodrigo is more focused on trying to wrap her head around her breakout year, something she's grateful came during lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think it was actually awesome, because there was this lack of pressure," she explains. "If there was a concert and I could see that 'Drivers License' was being sung by thousands of people, I feel like I would've gotten in my head more than I did."
Now that the world is slowly starting to open up again, Rodrigo is experiencing her first fan encounters, all while celebrities like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Cardi B continue to sing her praises.
"Someone came up to me the other day and was like, 'Sorry if this is weird, but I had sex to the entirety of your album.' And I was like, 'What the f**k? That's crazy.' That was the weirdest experience I've ever had," Rodrigo says. "I was flattered, of course. I appreciate that she was bold enough to come up to me and tell me that too. I was like, 'You want to have sex to the breakup songs?'"
"It's just really cool to go out and have people be like, 'I really like your music -- that got me through a hard time in my life,'" she continues. "People would come up to me and be like, 'Oh, I love the character they put on the show,' and that's so awesome. But it's a totally different experience when someone's like, 'Oh, it's a vulnerable piece of your heart.'"
Hoping to separate her acting and music careers, Rodrigo asked that Daniel Nigro, her co-writer and producer on Sour, not watch her on HSMTMTS.
"I've always just wanted to be taken seriously as a singer-songwriter -- not that being an actor takes away from that at all. I wanted him to know me for me and not the side character that I was playing," she explains. "I also just get really self-conscious about stuff like that, on a human level. I hate it when my friends listen to my songs or watch anything related. I'm just like, 'I don't want you to. Just talk to me.' I get insecure about it."
Rodrigo's connection with the audience through her music is something she's passionate about maintaining as she thinks ahead to what she wants her career to look like in 10 years.
"Hopefully I'll still be putting out music that I like, and it'll still resonate with other people," she says. "I've always wanted to be a songwriter that writes songs for other people too."
As for acting, Rodrigo's "not sure" if that's something she'll continue to do.
"I really don't know where my career's going to go in the next five years or in the next 10," she admits. "I'm really grateful that I get to be doing both now. I just think it's about finding projects and writing songs I feel really passionate about."
Whatever it is she does, Rodrigo is committed to staying true to herself.
"My image today is not going to be the image that I'll probably like tomorrow. And I think that's also the fun part of being an artist, that you get to create images that evolve over time," she says. "But as a young girl, that was really daunting to me."
"I felt like if it wasn't able to be seen by other people and it wasn't consumable over the internet or over other mediums, then it wasn't worthwhile. That's increasingly more prevalent in people: the constant desire to always need to share so much of yourself. You're not a cool person if people on the internet don't think you're a cool person," Rodrigo continues. "That was a mindset that I had to get out of, but I'm definitely out of that now."
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