The Love Drama Behind Olivia Rodrigo’s New Viral Song “Drivers License”

Katie Barrow, Writer

I’m sure you’ve listened to Olivia Rodrigo’s hit song “drivers license,” but do you know the depths of the dramatic love triangle behind this song? 

Olivia Rodrigo released “drivers license” on Friday, Jan. 8, which beat Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” by breaking the record for the largest single-day streams of a song by a female artist on the US Spotify. This hit also reached the #1 song in the world on iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify.

Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett star in Disney Plus’s show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series as Nini and Ricky. E! News says that fans suspect that they were in a relationship outside of the show and split up because Rodrigo shared in a TikTok during August that she had a “failed relationship.” 

Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett on the set of HSMTMTS.
Source: Nerds and Beyond

People Magazine refers to an interview with Olivia Rodrigo, where she talked about how Joshua Bassett taught her how to drive, connecting to the over-arching theme of her song. She says, “We celebrated and we went to In-N-Out, and I couldn‘t drive actually. I was 16, but I didn’t have my permit. And so, he took me in his car, and we drove around the In-N-Out parking lot, and that was my first time driving.”

Another clue that this song is most likely about Bassett is that his songs “Common Sense,” from April, and “Anyone Else,” from July both mention a breakup, and a lyric in “drivers license” is “Guess you didn’t mean what you wrote in that song about me.”

Joshua Basset is currently dating Sabrina Carpenter. They both posted TikToks of their Halloween costumes as Sharkboy and Lavagirl back in November.

The album cover for “drivers license.”
Source: UMusic

Rodrigo hints at Carpenter in her song when she changed the lyrics from “brunette girl,” to “blonde girl.” The following lyric is “She’s so much older than me/She’s everything I’m insecure about.” This most likely refers to the 4-year age gap between 17-year-old Rodrigo and 21-year-old Carpenter.

Bassett posted on his Instagram story on Saturday praising the song and congratulating Rodrigo, which makes some fans question if he didn’t get the memo. 

Franklin High Schoolers are raving about “drivers license.” Tess Bower, a sophomore, says that the song “brings you through a story that has a deeper meaning.” She said she watched HSMTMTS and has been following the cast for a long time, so she “understands what she’s singing about at a personal level.”

Bassett is releasing a new song “Lie, Lie, Lie” on Thursday, Jan. 14, so stay tuned because this may be about Olivia Rodrigo!