From New Year 2021, E! reported that Vanessa Hudgens had a new girlfriend. A source told the outlet that Hudgens, then 32, was exclusively dating Pittsburgh Pirates baseball player Cole Tucker, then 24. “They are boyfriend and girlfriend,” a source told the outlet. “They rang in the new year together.” News of their romance came about a year later her separation from Austin Butler after almost nine years together.
On Valentine’s Day 2021, Hudgens and Tucker were Instagram official: The actress posted a photo of the two kissing. She included the caption: “It’s you, it’s me, it’s us. @cotuck ❤️💋🤟🏽”
Tucker provided a favor:
Since then they have gone from strength to strength.
Ahead, everything we know about Hudgens’ new love, including where they stand in October 2022 and proof that Tucker has seen her fair share of High School Musical.
Hudgens and Tucker’s romance has been going strong for over a year and a half, with the couple spending Halloween 2022 together.
Tucker and Hudgens have attended awards shows together, including the Screen Actors Guild Awards in February 2022.
But they did a different kind of dressing up for Halloween 2022. Hudgens shared a photo of the two’s costumes on her Instagram. “Happy Halloween from Sting and Miss Argentina 🎃,” she wrote.
Tucker is a regular on Hudgens’ Instagram and appeared in a selfie on Oct. 10 leading up to their big outfit reveal.
Hudgens has shared why she and Tucker work so well in interviews and on her social media.
A few months after their romance went public, Hudgens had no qualms about talking about her beau Entertainment tonight in September 2021 and what makes their relationship work so well. “We’re like, we’re very similar, we’re very similar. We’re so weird, it’s wonderful,” Hudgens said.
She also paid tribute to him on his birthday in July 2022 and shared more about their life together. “Who’s a big birthday?! @cotuck is 😍🥳🥰 I hope you don’t mind me putting it into words… how about wonderful lives are now yours in the world. TOO FULL 😉🤟🏽🥂💋 Happy birthday darling ♥️”
He is a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Tucker was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates as their shortstop in 2014. According to Baseball referencehe was the 24th pick in the 1st round and did his thing professional debut in April 2019. The 6’3″ player has switched between shortstop and outfielder positions as a Pirate. However, he suffered a concussion in the fall of 2020 that sidelined him for the rest of the season, according to CBS Sport.
In December 2020, Hudgens reportedly visited Tucker in her hometown of Phoenix, as noted by Daily mail. She shared a photo of herself and friend GG Magree hanging out at the city’s Papago Park Amphitheater. “Really hot girl sh*t🤘🏽” Hudgens captioned the photos.
He and Hudgens have been linked since November 2020.
Rumors of the pair’s romance started on Nov. 21 when Hudgens wrote, “Date night 💖” along with a photo of herself holding a pink rose.
That same night, the couple was spotted by paparazzi posed outside the Canyon Country Store in Los Angeles. That Daily mail ran pictures. The following evening, Tucker and Hudgens enjoyed a dinner date at Pace in Laurel Canyon.”They had a romantic dinner outside under the stars,” an eyewitness told the magazine. “They shared wine and food and had an amazing two-hour meal. Vanessa was giddy with laughter. She looked over at Cole and couldn’t hold back her smile.”
Hudgens most recently dated an actor Butler before their split in January 2020. Although they reportedly discussed getting engageda source said E! that they were “separated for now” but had to “see what happens. They have such a history and deep connection that they could find their way back to each other. Right now, she felt he should go and be single and see, if that’s what he really wants.”
By the end of that month, Hudgens was spotted with Los Angeles Lakers player Kyle Kuzma. “They are seeing each other but taking things slow and just having fun at this point,” a source shared People back then.
His brother Carson is also an MLB player.
Cole is not the only Tucker family member to become a professional baseball player. His younger brother Carson was a 2020 first-round shortstop drafted by the Cleveland Indians, according to MLB. Cole has only supported his younger brother, tells the outlet“Like, Carson Tucker is my favorite player and I root for him and root for him and follow his moves. I just try to be as much a part of the process as I can and put my big brother hat on and take my baseball cap on, just because I have a lot of experience with the process.”
His love for High School Musical is well documented.
Another important thing to note about Tucker: he is well versed in all things High School Musical. A scroll through his Twitter reveals that Tucker retweeted High School Musical-related memes i both July and August 2020. He also tweeted, “Looking for: A girl down to watch High School Musical with me and scratch my back,” back in January 2012, as revealed by MLB.
As for the inspiration behind his enviable curls? Tucker told Athleticsvia MLB that he was influenced by Corbin Bleus baseball player HSM character, Chad Danforth. “I thought Corbin Bleu was the coolest person on earth, and he had hair like I have now — those long curly curls,” Tucker shared. “When I was in fourth grade, I was like, ‘Man, I want to grow my hair out.’ I’m going to look like Corbin Bleu and it’s going to be the coolest thing ever.’ I did and I still do. I sound like such a nerd right now, but that’s really what happened. It kind of became my thing.”
He is a movie buff.
While Tucker and Hudgens are in different fields, he knows a thing or two about filmmaking. That Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Tucker “always tries to predict Oscar winners” and asked him about his favorite baseball movie. Film with the best love story went to Bull Durhamstarring Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon. Field of dreams was his pick for the most overrated baseball movie, and The sandlot was his favorite for children. “This movie reminds me the most of what it’s like to be a kid and just want nothing more than to play ball with your friends,” Tucker said of The sandlot. “As we grow up and baseball becomes a job, it’s important to look back and remember how much fun it is just to play the game.”
He plays instruments.
Perhaps another thing Hudgens and Tucker bond over is music. Although he doesn’t have a hit solo album like his rumored partner, Tucker enjoys playing instruments off the field. He has shared photos on Instagram showing off his drumming skills and custom painted guitar.
Tucker and Hudgens follow each other on Instagram and became IG official on Valentine’s Day.
Hudgens and Tucker became Instagram official as a couple on Valentine’s Day.
But before the big moment, they followed each other and interacted on the ‘gram. Hudgens in particular liked Tucker’s photos and even commented on them on occasion. Just before news of their dating broke, Hudgens liked Tucker’s latest post, a photo dump with the caption “Winter vacation.” Hudgens commented, “Last picture faveeeee 😍❤️” and “Damn and Mr. b’s hook. Call me biased.”
Tucker and Hudgens were still doing well in March 2021.
Hudgens gave a rare look at the two’s private relationship on March 15, 2021. She posted a selfie of the two along with the caption, “This makes me happyyyy.”
And Tucker spoke about Hudgens to the press in early March, according to KDKA. He jokingly told reporters at Spring Training Friday for his team that “I have a girlfriend and she’s cool.” He then added: “She’s amazing. I love her, but I don’t want to be treated differently than Mitch [Keller] to bring his wife down, or Ke’Bryan [Hayes] to get his girlfriend to come down.”
He also referenced the media attention behind them, saying: “She’s great. She’ll be around. You’ll see her, but you saw the headline, it is what it is.”
Savannah Walsh is an editorial fellow at ELLE.com.