Zac Efron Through the Years

From dreamy teen heartthrob to leading man! Zac Efron has done everything from musicals to comedy to crime thrillers during his career, and his love life has been just as interesting as his work.

The actor first won over audiences as Troy Bolton in Disney Channel’s High School Musical, which premiered in 2006. Efron became a household name overnight and reprised his role in 2007’s High School Musical 2 and 2008’s High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

The up-and-comer’s onscreen romance with Vanessa Hudgens’ Gabriella Montez translated beyond the cameras when the pair began dating in real life. The costars were together for three years, but the relationship ended in 2010.

Meanwhile, Efron attempted to shed his squeaky-clean image, venturing into raunchier roles. After expected turns in Hairspray and 17 Again, he tried his hand at humorous movies intended for older audiences, from Neighbors to Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates to Dirty Grandpa.

As his career continued to evolve, Efron stuck with comedy (i.e. Baywatch) but also returned to musical films (ahem, The Greatest Showman) and turned serious (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile).

In the meantime, the Beach Bum star made time for love. He had fast flings with Michelle Rodriguez and Lily Collins before dating Sami Miro for nearly two years. Efron was also linked to Olympian Sarah Bro in 2019.

“Dating is something I’ll never be able to do,” he told The U.K.’s The Times in 2016. “As in the dictionary definition of dating, because one way or another I’ve impacted that person’s life and they’ll soon realize it. … A date has to be very long to dispel whatever people think of me.”

His love life aside, Efron proved his passion for his craft. “We have the ability to change the world with cinema. I love acting, I study it every night — Enter the Dragon, Se7en. It’s been a struggle,” he said at the time. “From day one, I wanted to do authentic work. It wasn’t about money. It wasn’t about fame. It wasn’t about Instagram.”

Scroll to revisit his years in the spotlight!

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