As his 30th birthday edged into view, Zac Efron was ready to get serious—ideally with a woman adept at being her authentic self.
Despite more than a handful of relationships in his periphery, "I didn't think much about settling down until recently," he admitted to Cosmopolitan in 2017. "Now that I'm getting closer to my 30s, I'm around some great relationships and I've seen expert couples at work. I'm realizing that you have to find your own happiness before you can make somebody else happy."
Having experienced a healthy mix of couplings both long-term (hello, Zanessa!) and of the decidedly casual variety (who can forget his spell of summer lovin' with Michelle Rodriguez?) he had a solid-ish idea of what he was looking for. "I think the most important thing for me in a relationship is honesty," he noted to Glamour. "In the beginning, sometimes girls don't show their genuine personalities."
Other than a healthy dose of candor and a lack of gameplay, he just felt he'd know when the right girl entered his universe. Asked to describe his dream woman while promoting his buddy comedy That Awkward Moment with Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan in 2014, he told E! News, "I have an open mind. You don't know, there's one out there that you meet, you don't know why, but they're perfect."
And as he celebrates his 33rd birthday today, he may have just stumbled upon his ideal woman. The star of Netflix's globe-trotting romp Down to Earth had popped into Byron Bay General Store & Cafe this June when he left with more than a bite to eat. "Zac met Ness earlier in the summer," a source told People of his new flame, Australian model Vanessa Valladares. "He started seeing her in July and they have been together ever since," an insider told E! News. "She spends the night at his rental house all the time. They have fun together."
That much was apparent when the two ventured out for a casual oceanfront lunch Sept. 4 hand-in-hand.
Should the union pan out, it'd be a bit of a change of pace for Efron who's made a bit of a habit out of romancing his costars. (Which is hard to find fault with considering how else does Zac Efron meet an eligible partner? The one time he tried his hand at Tinder, "nobody swiped me!" he admitted to The Sunday Times. "They thought it was fake.")
In fact, it's become so expected that his chemistry with leading ladies might turn out to be of the method-acting variety that everyone from Emily Ratajkowski to Taylor Swift has had to dispel the notion that they were a thing. He and the 10-time Grammy winner only voiced parts in the 2012's computer-animated musical fantasy The Lorax and still Swift had to tell Ellen DeGeneres, "He's awesome, but we are not a couple."
However, plenty of other coworkers have found themselves transfixed with the California native's seemingly painted-on abs, piercingly blue eyes, perfectly swept locks—and did we mention his abs? Here's your comprehensive guide to all of the ladies who have fallen under Efron's spell.
As for he and Valladares, while the two share a love of nature, a passion for travel and an affinity for work in front of the camera, it remains to be seen if she has passed Efron's toughest test: the approval of his 28-year-old equally-easy-on-the-eyes sibling Dylan Efron.
"If I'm dating someone, one of the few people I need to weigh in on the situation is my brother," the actor explained to Cosmo. "We live together, and we're different in a lot of ways, but he's really grounded. He lived a more normal life than I did growing up, so he's a great barometer for me. He'll be like, 'Are you sure you're happy? Is this what you really want?' Having my little brother around is a really great thing."
Hopefully Valladares will agree.
(Originally published March 21, 2019, at 3 a.m. PT)