High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens quickly learned the repercussions of being famous when photos of her posing naked last September. She made her first post-scandal appearance at Us' Hot Hollywood event later that month.
"It was very traumatic, and I am extremely upset it happened," she tells February's Seventeen. "I hope all my fans can learn from my mistake and make smart decisions."
She says her manager first informed her the shots were leaked.
"We heard some story was going to break in the tabloids, and I was like, 'What?!?' A few days later, the picture came out while I was on vacation in Australia," she says. "Thank God, I wasn’t home — it would have sucked."
And how did she explain the photos to mom?
"I was just open with her, and she was just so cute," Hudgens says. "She was like, 'Well, everyone can be naked if they want to.' [Laughs] My parents are very supportive of me. And they know I’m a teenager, and yes, kids do stupid things sometimes."
Hudgens says she learned a valuable lesson: "It’s very unfortunate because with the Internet these days, you don’t have a personal life. Nothing is private: Everyone knows everything, and they can find out everything about you... you have to be aware of the people you’re around."
She can count on boyfriend Zac Efron for support (both are set to star in the third HSM movie).
"He always makes me happy," she tells the magazine. "He literally knows exactly what to do to make me laugh."
Are the two ready to get hitched?
"No," she insists. "It’s fun having a boyfriend."
"But only time will tell," she adds. "I’m still young, and I have my girlfriends and I have my family. I think that it’s definitely important to have balance."