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Olivia Rodrigo Opened Up About Speculation Over Her Private Life And Explained Why She Changed The Lyrics To "Blonde" In "Drivers License"

"I write my songs and people can say whatever they want to say about it."

Posted on May 20, 2021, at 10:47 a.m. ET

Olivia Rodrigo is gearing up to unleash her debut album, Sour, into the world this week after seeing stratospheric success since the release of her debut single earlier this year.

JC Olivera / WireImage

Back in January, the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series actor was thrust into the mainstream after she dropped "Drivers License" — a song that will likely be the biggest success of 2021.

Almost immediately, the heartbreak anthem stormed the world, breaking a whole bunch of streaming records before reigning supreme at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks. The song has currently been streamed almost 800 million times on Spotify and has more than 200 million views on YouTube.

But with success came speculation as fans wondered who Olivia was singing about. And they soon settled on a likely subject — Olivia's Disney costar, Joshua Bassett.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Rumors claimed that the pair had dated and then broken up, with Joshua then pictured out with Sabrina Carpenter, who seemed to fit the description of the lyrics: "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."

This theory wasn't helped after fans realized that an earlier version of "Drivers License" had slightly different wording, instead describing the blonde girl in question as brunette. This only seemed to confirm to fans that the older blonde girl Olivia was singing about was 22-year-old Sabrina.

For their parts, both Sabrina and Joshua released songs of their own that appeared to be thinly veiled rebuttals to "Drivers License" and all three had their say, in varying degrees of subtlety, when asked about the potential drama in interviews.

But, speaking to Nylon in a recent interview, Olivia explained why she'd changed the lyrics from brunette to blonde, revealing that it was all part of keeping her music honest.

"I'm a super specific songwriter. I always have been," the 18-year-old said. "I think the most impactful songs are specific. Broad storytelling just isn't fun in any art medium."

However, although Olivia went on to explain that she thinks drama can sometimes detract from the songwriting itself, she added that she understood people's curiosity and has had similar feelings herself when listening to songs by artists such as Taylor Swift.

"There have been some songs where I've gone back and made revisions to make it a little less specific because sometimes, I think, the drama takes away from the songwriting," she said. "I completely understand people's curiosity. I get so curious about my favorite songwriters and the meaning behind their songs. But songwriting and singer-songwriter music in particular is so special because you can be as specific as you want, but there's still [space to] fill in the blanks."

"Lots of the time, people will fill in the blanks with details from their own life," she went on. "If they don't want to, they can fill it in with details of my life and if that's what makes it impactful to them, that's fine. As long as the song means something to you, it’s all good."

"I don't take it personally, really," Olivia said of the speculation surrounding her private life. "I completely understand. And you know, lots of times, it isn't malicious. Most of the time, I guess. It's none of my business."

David M. Benett / Getty Images

"I write my songs and people can say whatever they want to say about it," she added. "[They can] think whatever they want to think about my life and that's just part of it. It doesn't really bother me. I also try to stay off of social media and not look at that stuff."

You can read Olivia's full interview with Nylon here.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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