"I grew up doing theater, and this has always been a passion of mine, and you were on American Idol, and you won, and I was like, 'That's it, I'm going on American Idol, and then that next week, I got an audition for High School Musical and booked it, so then I was like, 'Well, never mind,'" she told Clarkson. "I was like, 'I'm doing it,' and you were the catalyst."
While it's been 16 years since Hudgens first graced the halls of East High School, Hudgens said she still remembers all her auditions for the big role.
"I remember all the auditions, definitely, 'cause there were a lot of them," she recalled. "There were, like, three, but I remember them distinctly."
"I remember meeting Zac [Efron] for the first time, meeting Lucas [Grabeel] for the first time," Hudgens added. "Me and Ashley [Tisdale] had already met 'cause we did a commercial together a month prior. But it's wild. The time just keeps flying."
With so many reboots and revivals in the works, ET spoke to Hudgens back in November about the possibility about bringing the OG High School Musical cast back together, but Hudgens said it wasn't likely.
"It was such a beautiful moment in time that so many people do hold so close and near and dear to their hearts, that, I don't know. It's scary to mess with something like that, because it is so beloved." Hudgens suggested, "Someone's got to write a script and send it to all of us, and if we like it, then who knows?"
"It's so weird to me that it's that long ago, because I feel like when I go to work, and when I -- especially when I get to do a musical, I still feel the same excitement and joy and passion for it as I did then," Hudgens shared. "I feel like my job -- it turns me into a big kid. I get to be a big kid because I'm playing pretend."
"The childlike wonder of it all, it never dies, and I'm still so humbled and so grateful for all the opportunities and all the adventures I've had," she added.