Vanessa Anne Hudgens (born December 14, 1988) is an American actress and singer. She is best known for her role as Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical film series.She pursued a solo music career and released her debut album V on September 26, 2006. The album debuted at number twenty four in the U.S.and was later certified Gold. Hudgens released her second album, Identified in July 1, 2008 in the U.S. She has three upcoming films: Bandslam, in theaters August 14, 2009,Beastly in 2010, and Sucker Punch! in 2011. Early life Hudgens was born in Salinas, California, and lived all over the West Coast – from Oregon to Southern California. with her parents, Gina (née Guangco) and Gregory Hudgens and a sister, Stella Hudgens.Hudgens and her family moved to Los Angeles after she won a role in a television commercial.Hudgens's father is an American of Irish and Native American descent, and her mother, who grew up in Manila, is of Filipino, Spanish, and Chinese descent.Both sets of Hudgens' grandparents were musicians. Career Early career Starting at the age of eight, Hudgens performed in musical theater as a singer, and appeared in local productions of Carousel, The Wizard of Oz, The King and I, The Music Man, and Cinderella, among others.Hudgens was not able to finish her high school in Orange County High School of the Arts after being home schooled after her seventh year.After home school, she went to England and studied drama and music at Kingsbrook Business and Enterprise College and graduated college.She appears in Thirteen as Noel and in Thunderbirds. She guested in television shows such as Quintuplets, Still Standing, The Brothers García, Drake & Josh and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. 2006-2007 In early 2006, Hudgens's breakout role has been playing the fictional character Gabriella Montez in the Disney Channel movie series High School Musical. With this performance, Hudgens and co-star Zac Efron won the 2006 "Best Chemistry" award at the Teen Choice Awards for their roles. In the movie, she contributed five songs in the soundtrack. Hudgens established a music career under Hollywood Records, citing that Celine Dion and Alicia Keys are her musical influences, were the reason why she pursued a music career.On September 2006, the release of her debut album entitled V, charted on the Billboard 200 at number twenty-four on the chart, with 34,000 copies sold that week, with "Come Back to Me" the first single, and the follow-up was "Say OK". V was certified Gold on February 27, 2007and Billboard readers chose it as the seventh best album of the year.Hudgens was named Female Breakout Singer of the year at the 2007 Teen Choice Awards.She is also ambassador to Neutrogena products. As promotion for the album, she was the opening act for The Cheetah Girls during their The Party's Just Begun Tour.Later on, she participated in the nationwide High School Musical: The Concert tour in fall 2006, performing the songs from the soundtrack album as well as the three songs from her debut album.She sang the duet "Still There For Me" with Corbin Bleu for his debut album. Hudgens also appeared on the High School Musical 2 soundtrack. In December 2007, she sang to the president, in the White House with other singers. 2008-present Her sophomore album, Identified, was released on July 1, 2008, selling more than 22,000 copies during the first week, debuting at #23 on the Billboard 200. At the same time, she went on the Identified Summer Tour to promote her albums in the U.S. and Mexico.She also performed at the 81st Academy Awards in a musical number with other young actors and singers. Hudgens reprised her role as Gabriella in 2008's High School Musical 3: Senior Year and appeared on the movie's soundtrack. On January 11, 2008 it was announced that Hudgens would star in the comedy, Bandslam. Hudgens plays 15-year-old Sa5m, the 5 is silent, explained as an awkward outsider;the film will be theatrically released on August 14, 2009.Hudgens' upcoming projects include roles in Sucker Punch, which will release in 2011, she plays the role of Blondie.She will play Linda in the film adaptation of Beastly, which is scheduled for a 2010 release. Personal life and public image In an October 2007 interview she said she is dating her High School Musical series co-star Zac Efron and had been since the filming of High School Musical, and was spotted spending time together filming High School Musical 3: Senior Year at Utah, according to Hudgens' interview with Cosmogirl magazine. Hudgens was included in Forbes richest list in early 2007, it was posted in Forbes website, that Hudgens was included in Young Hollywood's Top Earning-Stars.On December 12, 2008, Hudgens was ranked #20 in the list of Forbes "High Earners Under 30". She was featured in mainstream lists and magazines which included ranking number 62 at FHM's Sexiest Women in the World of 2008 and number 42 in the 2009 list.Hudgens is also featured in Maxim' lists.She was included in People's annual "100 Most Beautiful People" 2008 and 2009 lists. Controversies Nude photo scandal On September 6, 2007, controversy erupted after provocative photos of Hudgens surfaced online. Two showed her posing in suggestive lingerie, and another showed her nude. A statement from her publicist claims that the photo was taken privately and it was unfortunate that they were released on the Internet.Hudgens later apologized, saying that she was "embarrassed over the situation" and regretted having "taken [those] photos." Despite early speculation that Hudgens would be dropped from High School Musical 3 due to the scandal,The Walt Disney Company denied the reports, saying, "Vanessa has apologized for what was obviously a lapse in judgment. We hope she's learned a valuable lesson." Lawsuits Brian Schall sued Hudgens last 2007 for an alleged "breach of contract", that according to the suit, Schall claims he advanced costs and expenses on Hudgens’ behalf for her songwriting and recording career.Hudgens was later sued by music producer Johnny Vieira, who claims she reneged on a deal to share her earnings with him after he helped make her a star. Hudgens was ordered to pay Vieira's attorneys $1,500 in fees. The case was settled on May 2, 2009 out of court on unreleased terms.