It's one thing to be watched by 250 million people around the globe. It's quite another thing to be the latest X-rated Internet star.
Vanessa Hudgens apologized Friday for posing in various states of undress, including completely naked, for pictures that found their way online this week, a day after confirming the shots in question were indeed of her, and not doctored in any way.
"I want to apologize to my fans, whose support and trust mean the world to me," the 18-year-old High School Musical star said in a statement to E! News. "I am embarrassed over this situation and regret having ever taken these photos. I am thankful for the support of my family and friends."
In light of the naughty nature of these pics and the fact that Hudgens' fan base is largely comprised of kids between the ages of two and tween, it was questionable whether the Walt Disney Co., which has had the biggest basic-cable movie of all time with High School Musical and HSM2, would be able to offer the same support.
But according to Hudgens' rep, Jill Fritzo, all rumors that the singer-actress has been given the boot from future HSM productions are untrue. And the Disney Channel appears to be sticking by its leading lady.
"Vanessa has apologized for what was obviously a lapse in judgment," said network spokeswoman Patti McTeague. "We hope she's learned a valuable lesson."
Meanwhile, the blogosphere is ablaze with supporters and naysayers, some of whom don't think there's anything really wrong with a little exhibitionism, while still others are warning Hudgens, "Don’t turn into a Britney!"
"Well, there goes another one of my daughters [sic] favorite celebrities," wrote a user by the name of savage on starpulse.com. The concerned parent was joined by kimberlyishere, who wrote, "From now on my sisters will not be watching HSM."
"This is sad really, a few weeks ago she was on all the talk shows and interviewing with many magazines talking about how she was nothing like paris, britt, lindsey," opined stevg, "but i guess that the pressure and spotlight of hollywood caught up to her."
But according to bigd1808, "It's not like she's going around making sextapes and doing drugs, drinking, or misbehaving and such, she's just doing what any average teenage girl wants to do for their boyfriend."
The context in which Hudgens took the pictures is unknown, but the National Enquirer, which first reported their existence, quotes a source who says the photos were shot by Hudgens herself, using a camera phone facing a mirror.
She is currently dating HSM costar Zac Efron.