If you were born after the 1990s, chances are that the Disney Channel was a significant part to your childhood. Shows such as Lizzie McGuire, That’s So Raven, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Even Stevens, and Hannah Montana were incredibly popular in the 2000s, as well as original TV movies like High School Musical and The Cheetah Girls.
However, what was happening behind the cameras was just as interesting – or, sometimes, even more – as what was happening on TV. The Disney Channel stars were all teenagers or in their 20s, which means that they were developing friendships and relationships outside of the scope of their professional lives. Some of the most iconic couples of the 2000s decade came from the Disney Channel lineup of actors, even if some of those relationships didn’t turn out to last a long time.
On the other hand, not everybody who met on the Disney Channel and then hung out was actually a couple. In many cases, entertainment news outlets tried to make certain friendships look like something that they were not. Some of these people were simply friends, despite various attempts from the media to make them look like romantic duos.
You don’t need to have Raven’s visions to discover which of your favorite Disney Channel stars were dating and which pairs of actors were simply friends. The evidence is out there, and it’s time to uncover the truth.
These are 10 Disney Channel Stars Who Dated In Real Life (And 10 Who Are Just Friends).
20 DATED: ZAC EFRON & VANESSA HUDGENS
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens met in 2005 while auditioning for High School Musical, and went on to date until 2010. Their five-year relationship had a very high profile during the 2000s decade and preceded the “teenage co-stars who are also dating” craze that came later with the relationship formed by Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in 2008 after the release of Twilight.
Unfortunately, the romance between Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens did not last forever.
On a recent interview, Hudgens went as far as saying that they are not even on speaking terms. However, it is good to know that both Zac and Vanessa have been enjoying their lives and having prominent careers in their own regards, leaving their High School Musical days in the past.
19 JUST FRIENDS: LUCAS GRABEEL & ASHLEY TISDALE
One of the rumors that came out of the success of High School Musical was that, if Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens are dating, of course there had to be something between Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel. Those rumors were somwhat creepy because, unlike Zac and Vanessa, who played a couple on screen, Ashley and Lucas played siblings.
Well, not only were those rumors not true, but it turns out that Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel actually hated one another during the filming of High School Musical. Thankfully, they were able to overcome that beef over time, and eventually became friends. Still, there was never any romance there. If anything, it was just a “frenemies” situation.
18 DATED: NICK JONAS & SELENA GOMEZ
Selena Gomez made her television debut on Barney & Friends in 2002, but it was in 2007 that she got her own TV show on the Disney Channel: Wizards of Waverly Place. What was also happening around that time was the ascension of the Jonas Brothers, who released four studio albums between 2006 and 2009 and got a Disney Channel show called JONAS L.A. in 2009. Furthermore, the Jonas Brothers were signed to Hollywood Records, a musical label owned by Disney that had a very close relationship to the Disney Channel stars, including Selena Gomez.
So of course Nick Jonas, the youngest of the Jonas Brothers, met Selena Gomez. And of course they dated.
Just like most relationships between a Jonas brother and a Disney Channel star, it did not last very long.
17 JUST FRIENDS: LEO HOWARD & OLIVIA HOLT
The media really, really tried to treat the relationship between Olivia Holt and Leo Howard as something romantic. The two actors met during Kickin’ It, a series that aired from 2011 to 2015, and very quickly developed a great friendship that has lasted many years. Leo Howard went on to appear on the second season of Shake It Up, whereas Olivia Holt played the protagonist in I Didn’t Do It.
Despite keeping themselves inside the Disney Channel loop, however, their relationship was never actually romantic.
They were just friends.
As a matter of fact, Olivia Holt chose Leo Howard to play her ex in the music video for her single “History,” which is definitely a move that only great friends could make.
16 DATED: MILEY CYRUS & NICK JONAS
Yes, Nick Jonas dated both Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus, and he is aware that it’s all kind of awkward.
To be fair, Nick Jonas’ relationship with Miley Cyrus came first. As a matter of fact, Miley was Nick’s first kiss.
In her book Miles To Go, Miley Cyrus referred to Nick Jonas as “prince charming.”
In 2008, after their breakup, Miley released a song titled “7 Things,” which is about Nick, according to several sources.
Now, years later, both Nick Jonas and Miley Cyrus have become huge popstars who were able to put their drama to rest. However, this relationship still has mild repercussions, as Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez were never able to become good friends again after both being involved with Nick.
15 JUST FRIENDS: SELENA GOMEZ & DAVID HENRIE
Selena Gomez and David Henrie played brother and sister on Wizards of Waverly Place, a Disney Channel series that aired between 2007 and 2012.
Despite portraying siblings on screen, fans were quick to jump to the conclusion that there had to be a fling between the two of them.
Well, David Henrie got married in 2017 to Maria Cahill, and Selena Gomez called her co-star a “big brother.” Clearly, there is nothing to see here as far as a romance goes. The Disney Channel stars have yet to work together again since the end of Wizards of Waverly Place, but as Selena dedicates herself more and more to music, it seems improbable that it will happen any time soon.
14 DATED: BRITNEY SPEARS & JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
They would go on to become two of the biggest pop stars on Earth, but when it comes down to it, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake met on the 1989 revival of The Mickey Mouse Club, which was both an ABC and a Disney Channel series. Furthermore, that Mickey Mouse Club reboot also included Christina Aguilera and Ryan Gosling, who went on to become huge contemporary stars as well.
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake began dating in 1999, years after meeting on The Mickey Mouse Club, and turned out to have one of the highest-profile relationships in the history of popular culture. Then, they broke up in 2002, and were unable to develop a healthy friendship since.
13 JUST FRIENDS: NICK JONAS & DEMI LOVATO
One famous Disney Channel actress with whom Nick Jonas did not have a fling with was Demi Lovato.
It makes sense, because Demi worked and fell in love with another Jonas brother at the time.
However, not only did Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato not date, they are actually great friends. After the Jonas Brothers band ended, Demi picked Nick as a creative director for her “Neon Lights Tour” in 2014. Then, in 2015, Nick and Demi formed a music label called Safehouse Records. In 2016, they toured together on the “Future Now Tour,” which yielded 47 shows.
Overall, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas represent one of the strongest and long-lasting friendships to have come out of the Disney Channel.
12 DATED: BELLA THORNE & GREGG SULKIN
Bella Thorne and Gregg Sulkin are two Disney Channel stars who have shared an on-and-off relationship throughout the years. They both appeared on the third season of Wizards of Waverly Place, and Bella went on to star her own show, Shake It Up, between 2010 and 2013. In 2017, Gregg Sulkin was cast on Marvel’s Runaways as Chase Stein.
After breaking up with Gregg Sulkin, Bella Thorne was spotted with Scott Disick, who was divorced from Kourtney Kardashian. However, things with Scott did not work out, and Bella was once again seen hanging out with Gregg.
Unlike other rumored romances, the Bella Thorne-Gregg Sulkin relationship is an example of a very confirmed couple formed by Disney Channel stars.
11 JUST FRIENDS: MONIQUE COLEMAN & CORBIN BLEU
Because Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens dated, Disney Channel fans wanted every single duo in High School Musical to also develop a romance. However, this couldn’t be further away from the truth.
Rumors that there was a relationship between Monique Coleman and Corbin Bleu were completely false and simply a consequence of fans speculating.
Yes, their characters Taylor and Chad did end up together by the time that High School Musical 3 ended, but that romance was only on screen.
Even in 2016, ten years after the original High School Musical was released, Monique Coleman and Corbin Bleu were spotted together with their significant others, having double dates. Clearly, this is only a friendship between co-stars.
10 DATED: JOE JONAS & DEMI LOVATO
Another high-profile relationship between a Jonas brother and a Disney Channel star was between Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato. The pair met and fell in love while shooting Camp Rock, an original TV movie where they played each other’s love interest.
On her 2017 documentary Simply Complicated, Demi Lovato revealed that their first kiss was on camera, and that their relationship only lasted “a month or two.” Unlike Joe Jonas, who had been successful with the Jonas Brothers for a couple of years, Demi was just starting out in 2008, when Camp Rock was released. Unlike many other Disney exes, these two have showcased a friendly and supportive dynamic in recent years.
9 JUST FRIENDS: SOFIA CARSON & CAMERON BOYCE
Descendants co-stars Sofia Carson and Cameron Boyce are often seen together, but that’s because they are actually really close friends. As a matter of fact, when Cameron turned 18, Sofia professed her love for him on social media, even referring to her co-star as a “little brother.”
This is because Sophia is six years older than Cameron.
According to C arson, she and Cameron Boyce have been friends since he was 14. Thus, this is a friendship that has been going strong for over five years. After the success of Descendants 2, a third installment is already in the works at the Disney Channel, once again featuring Sofia as Evie (the Evil Queen’s daughter) and Cameron as Carlos (Cruella De Vil’s son).
8 DATED: DOVE CAMERON & THOMAS DOHERTY
Unlike Sofia Carson and Cameron Boyce, there are Descendants 2 co-stars who actually date in real life: Dove Cameron and Thomas Doherty. As a matter of fact, it seems like Dove is convinced that she will marry Thomas one day.
The couple met on the set of Descendants 2, which was released in 2017, and has since been inseparable. On Thomas Doherty’s birthday, Dove Cameron shared a lengthy message about her boyfriend on Instagram, saying: “You save me from myself every day.”
Recently, rumors surfaced that the couple might’ve broken up. However, Dove Cameron was quick to shut down them down, tweeting that she and Thomas Doherty are fine and madly in love.
7 JUST FRIENDS: ZAC EFRON & ASHLEY TISDALE
Yeah, Ashley Tisdale is still very close to Vanessa Hudgens. And sure, Zac Efron is no longer on speaking terms with Vanessa Hudgens. But that does not mean that Tisdale and Efroncan’t be friends, right?
The two of them met during High School Musical, and their friendship has endured for many years, despite the fact that their careers have taken very different directions. When Ashley Tisdale got married, Vanessa Hudgens was not only in attendance, but she was also a bridesmaid. Conversely, Zac Efron was unable to attend Ashley’s wedding due to shooting commitments, but made the effort of publicly congratulating her on social media.
When speaking about Zac Efron, Ashley Tisdale has said that she “grew up” with him. Thus, the actress has a special place in her heart for their friendship.
6 DATED: JOE JONAS & AJ MICHALKA
In 2006, the Jonas Brothers were starting to put out music under the Disney-owned Hollywood Records label. However, there was another teen group among siblings that was already a success: Aly & AJ.
Due to their Disney and Disney Channel connection, Joe Jonas and AJ Michalka ended up meeting, and then engaged in a brief romance.
As a matter of fact, AJ Michalka has revealed that Joe Jonas was her first kiss. In hindsight, it seemed like they were a perfect match for one another: both Disney Channel stars, both in bands with their siblings, both actors and musicians whose audience was kids and teens. However, like most Jonas romances from that time, this relationship did not go very far.
5 JUST FRIENDS: BEN SAVAGE & DANIELLE FISHEL
Talk about a friendship! Boy Meets World co-stars Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel have been friends since the show first aired in 1993. Danielle’s character, Topanga Lawrence, was initially only meant to be a recurring character. However, from season 2 and on, she became a significant part of the series. On the Disney Channel reboot Girl Meets World, Ben and Danielle played husband and wife.
In 2018, as news broke that Danielle Fishel had become engaged to Jensen Karp, Ben Savage took to social media to congratulate them. “Congratulations to my favorite TV wife on her engagement,” Ben wrote on his Instagram.
The two actors were an on-screen couple during the span of 25 years, and off screen, they have been great friends.
4 DATED: BRADLEY STEVEN PERRY & SABRINA CARPENTER
Girl Meets World star Sabrina Carpenter and Good Luck Charlie’s Bradley Steven Perry met due to their Disney Channel proximity, then proceeded to date for a while. However, rumors started to surface in 2015 that they had broken up.
In 2016, Carpenter released a new song called “Smoke And Fire,” which was all about a doomed relationship that had to come to an end.
Carpenter is still signed to Disney-owned Hollywood Records, but has not been as active of an actress on the Disney Channel. Conversely, Bradley Steven Perry is still featured on the Disney Channel on occasion, having had recurring roles in properties such as I Didn’t Do It and Descendants: Wicked World.
3 JUST FRIENDS: COLE SPROUSE & DEBBY RYAN
Every fan of The Suite Life On Deck remembers the couple Cody and Bailey, who were portrayed by actors Cole Sprouse and Debby Ryan. However, unlike their on-screen relationship, Sprouse and Ryan are just great friends who happened to meet while working together on the Disney Channel.
They worked together for three years on The Suite Life On Deck. On Twitter, Ryan has stated that she and Sprouse “have a friendship like none other.” For his part, Sprouse has been dating Riverdale co-star Lili Reinhart.
Sprouse attended Ryan's 25th birthday party in 2018, showing that their friendship is going strong.
Not every on-screen couple has to become a couple in real life as well. They are living proof of that.
2 DATED: SHANE HARPER & BRIDGIT MENDLER
Good Luck Charlie co-stars Bridgit Mendler and Shane Harper dated for four years after meeting on the set of the show. In 2015, the couple went through breakup, but details were kept somewhat private. Thus, it was only when Mendler gave out an interview mentioning that she was single that fans realized that the couple had broken up.
In 2016, Harper invested on his musical career and released a single called “Like I Did,” which he all but confirmed was about Mendler. In the song, Harper sings, “Tell me, is he everything you wanted? / Tell me, does he love you like I did?” However, because Mendler was single at the time, some argue that the song could possibly not be about her.
1 JUST FRIENDS: ROSS LYNCH & LAURA MARANO
Ross Lynch and Laura Marano were a couple on Austin & Ally, but outside of the show, they’re really just good friends. During an interview with J-14, Ross stated that he and Laura are “kind of like a married couple.” However, he just meant that they bicker and watch out for each other like a married couple, not necessarily that they share a romance.
Even in 2018, years after Austin & Ally ended, Ross Lynch and Laura Marano are still spotted together somewhat regularly, having brunches and hanging out with other co-stars from the show. Austin & Ally fans may have wanted to believe that there was something here, but truth be told, there isn’t.
Did we miss any Disney Channel stars who dated? Let us know in the comments!