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Whatever Happened To Ashley Tisdale?

It's been a while since we heard from actress and musician Ashley Tisdale, who once rocked our world in Disney Channel productions and with a number of hit singles. Though Tisdale didn't become a household name until after the new millennium, she started her career at three years old, truly growing up in the Hollywood scene. After some vocal work on "A Bug's Life," "An All Dogs Christmas Carol," and the English dub of "Whisper of the Heart," Tisdale soon ventured further into the live-action realm, which ultimately led to her big break.

In 2005, Tisdale struck gold after landing the role of Maddie Fitzpatrick in the Disney Channel Original Series "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody." Quickly becoming a fan favorite, Tisdale's Maddie was a poor Tipton Hotel employee who became best friends with Brenda Song's London Tipton and remained the ever-constant crush of Zack Martin (Dylan Sprouse). Even though she didn't follow her castmates into the sequel — "The Suite Life on Deck" — she returned for an episode in 2009 to round out her time as the character.

To this day, Maddie remains one of Tisdale's most prominent roles and is often considered the character that really launched her career. Of course, there's another Disney Channel icon played by Tisdale out there who is arguably even more popular, but we'll get to her in a moment. If you've been wondering what ever happened to Ashley Tisdale, then you've come to the right place. 

She thrived in High School (Musical)

Only a year after being cast as Maddie on "The Suite Life," Tisdale nabbed another Disney Channel role that changed the trajectory of her career. Playing Sharpay Evans in the very first "High School Musical," Tisdale got to show off her vocal talents through "What I've Been Looking For," "Bop to The Top," and, arguably the most notable tune, "Stick To The Status Quo," which highlighted Sharpay's dominance over the East High student body. No doubt, Sharpay couldn't have been more different than Tisdale's "Suite Life" character, but that's what made her stand out.

The TV movie proved such a hit that Disney took the show on the road as the cast (sans Zac Efron, who was shooting "Hairspray") toured the nation for "High School Musical: The Concert." Unsurprisingly, Disney didn't want to lose their grip on the young stars, so "High School Musical 2" — which boasted her character's new summer single, "Fabulous" — was released over a year later. A third film, titled "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," opened theatrically in 2008, confirming that the tried-and-true brand still had some life in it.

Several years later, Disney produced a direct-to-video spin-off starring Tisdale. Titled "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure," the spin-off paired Tisdale with Austin Butler as Sharpay traveled to New York City to make it big on Broadway. To this day, it's the only Disney Channel Original Movie released on home video prior to premiering on television.

She soon became a pop star

From there, it looked like Tisdale's career could only go up. After starring in a popular Disney television series and co-headlining "High School Musical," Tisdale felt inspired to further exercise her vocal talents. Building on her work as Sharpay, Tisdale took a turn to develop her first studio album, "Headstrong," which dropped in 2007, charting at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. The album featured hit singles like "Good To Be Me" and "He Said She Said," which also found their way to the now-defunct Radio Disney.

Tisdale's second studio album, "Guilty Pleasure," dropped only two years later and boasted the single "It's Alright, It's OK." Though it didn't do as well as the first album (peaking at No. 12 on Billboard), the actress-turned-singer still made waves, with the album selling 25,000 copies in just the first week. You know, back when physical releases were still the norm. But after 2009, Tisdale took a break from her career as a pop star, and wouldn't release another album for a decade.

"... I always said I was not going to do music just to put something out there. It'd have to mean something," Tisdale told Paper ahead of the release of her 2019 album "Symptoms." Unlike her prior releases, Tisdale shares co-writing credit on each of her third album's tracks, including singles "Love Me & Let Me Go" and "Voices In My Head." The album was described as "highly personal" and received positive critical reviews.

She ventured back into animation

Early in Tisdale's career, she participated in some animated projects that helped prepare her for her time with Disney, but following her previous successes with Disney, the actress returned to the recording booth for a brand new animated series. That's right, you know the one. Premiering in 2007 just after "High School Musical 2," the animated "Phineas and Ferb" arrived on Disney Channel (and later its sister channel Disney XD), featuring Tisdale co-starring as the titular characters' older sister Candace. 

Always trying to get her younger brothers (voiced primarily by Vincent Martella and Thomas Brodie-Sangster) "busted" for their wild and dangerous adventures, Candace comes across as a little crazy to her mother, but when her brothers are in peril, she's always there to help. An instant hit for Disney, "Phineas and Ferb" ran for nearly a decade before ending in 2015. Since then, the show's second feature film, "Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe," debuted on Disney+ in 2020.

Due to the ongoing popularity of the series, and the reaction to "Candace Against the Universe," the show was renewed for two additional seasons in 2023. Tisdale's highest-profile character, Candace was inspired by Jennifer Grey's character in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," who likewise is always out to get her seemingly un-bustable brother. The dynamic between Phineas, Ferb, and Candace is a fun one for sure, and although they're often at odds, they make everything right in the end.

She returned to television for Hellcats

Following her second studio album and just before the release of "High School Musical 3," Tisdale landed the role of Savannah Monroe in the college cheerleader series "Hellcats" opposite one half of the "Aly & AJ" duo, Aly Michalka. Premiering on the CW during its fall 2010-11 season, the series was executive produced by none other than Tom Welling of "Smallville" fame and based on the book "Cheer: Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders" by Kate Torgovnick.

Unfortunately for Tisdale, although the series got a full season order, it was promptly canceled after its freshman year. Starting strong with 3 million viewers, the show ended with a measly 1.6. Nevertheless, Tisdale brought her all to the role of cheerleading captain Savannah, who is a bit more layered than the actress's previous roles. But the cancelation of "Hellcats" opened the door for other television roles, particularly guest appearances on shows like "Sons of Anarchy," "Raising Hope," and the Robin Williams-led "The Crazy Ones."

Upon the show's induction onto the CW's streaming platform, the CW Seed, "Hellcats" found a new generation of viewers. "It was one of those shows I was shocked didn't go further," Tisdale told MediaVilliage in 2019. "But it's been great to hear about the positive [response] it's getting, you just never know." Despite her love for the show, she emphasized that she hasn't revisited "Hellcats" since its cancelation, describing it as "a fun soapie cheerleader show."

Her journey as a producer

Ever since Tisdale started her music career, she's made sure to receive the credit she was due. Beginning with the documentary "There's Something About Ashley: The Story of Headstrong," which chronicled the making of her first studio album, the actress-turned-singer secured a co-executive producer credit. This quickly transitioned into a full-blown executive producer credit with her TV movie "Picture This," in which she starred opposite heartthrob Robbie Amell. Then, Tisdale's career took another strange turn.

Soon after, the newly minted producer started Blondie Girl Productions, working alongside her sister Jennifer Tisdale. Their first big project, the reality docu-series "Miss Advised," only ran for eight episodes. Nevertheless, it jumpstarted the next phase of Tisdale's career, and from there she partnered up with her former "High School Musical" castmate (and best friend) Vanessa Hudgens for "Vanessa & Ashley: Inner Circle," which detailed Vanessa's life and their friendship. She also executive produced her "HSM" spin-off "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure" in 2011.

In 2014, Tisdale returned to Disney Channel with Blondie Girl Productions for the TV movie "Cloud 9," and soon after executive produced the Emily Osment-led sitcom "Young & Hungry," which ran for five seasons on Freeform from 2014-2018. A series finale movie was originally announced after the cancelation but was soon scrapped. Oh, and then there was "Daphne & Velma," the sub-par live-action "Scooby-Doo" spin-off feature that Tisdale produced in 2018. Unsurprisingly, Blondie Girl Productions hasn't produced much since.

She killed the Scary Movie franchise

Just as Tisdale rode high with "High School Musical," "Scary Movie 4" premiered in theaters, branding itself as "the fourth and final chapter of the trilogy." By all accounts, it seemed like the "Scary Movie" series had finally come to an end, but somehow the franchise was resurrected again from the grave, only to be thrown right back into it. In 2013, Tisdale landed the lead role in "Scary Movie V," a slot traditionally reserved for Anna Faris, who failed to appear this time around.

Playing Jody Sanders, Tisdale parodies her way through a variety of blockbuster-adjacent cliches referencing horror movies like "The Cabin in the Woods," "Paranormal Activity," "Black Swan," and "Mama." Strangely, "Scary Movie V" also mocks a few non-horror flicks too, including "Planet of the Apes" and "Inception." Unfortunately for Tisdale, "Scary Movie V" was the furthest thing from a hit. Max Nicholson of IGN gave the flick a 1/10, noting that it's "painfully flat, stupid and vulgar, as well as moderately racist. To say this script was written by monkeys would be an insult to all those monkeys in a room with typewriters."

With this in mind, it shouldn't come as a surprise that "Scary Movie V" essentially murdered the franchise. While its infinitely more enjoyable contemporary franchise "Scream" has recently found new life, "Scary Movie" died a brutal death with Tisdale at the helm. It's not her fault, though, the movie was just horribly written.

She played Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Around the same time as "Scary Movie V," Tisdale ventured back into animation, albeit outside of the traditional Disney style. Though she still played Candace on "Phineas and Ferb," Tisdale also starred in the computer-animated series "Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch," which premiered on The Hub Network in 2013. Tackling the longtime Archie Comics character, Tisdale gave Sabrina Spellman new life after the character had been off the air for a number of years. 

"She's practicing her craft and having a blast," teased promos for the series, which only ran for 26 episodes. While the art style and animation might've left a lot to be desired, Tisdale's version of Sabrina Spellman delights. Like other interpretations, "Secrets of a Teenage Witch" forced Sabrina to balance her human and witch halves all while juggling new world-ending adventures. Sadly, Tisdale's "Sabrina" series got the axe after MoonScoop Group — best known for the "Code Lyoko" animated series — rebranded itself following a series of legal troubles. Not exactly the finest end to our favorite Teenage Witch, but hey, at least Netflix revived the property in 2018 (though without Tisdale's involvement).

Currently, the complete "Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch" series lives on the Kabillion Channel's YouTube channel, which offers a plethora of children's animated projects entirely for free. But be warned, things might get a little witchy.

Other film and TV projects went nowhere

Following the cancelation of "Hellcats," the failure that was "Scary Movie V," and the end of "Phineas and Ferb's" original run in 2015, Tisdale fought to maintain a solid acting career in both film and television. After cameoing as herself in the 2014 rom-com "Playing It Cool," the actress landed the role of Danni Giordano in the TBS sitcom "Clipped," which centered on a group of barbershop co-workers. The series only ran for 10 episodes. Tisdale's next main role came in Dennis Quaid's "Merry Happy Whatever," but that one only lasted eight episodes.

In 2018, Tisdale won the role of Jenny Kenney on the CBS sitcom "Carol's Second Act." While this series was also canceled after its first season, it ran 26 episodes, making it the actress' longest-running live-action part since "Hellcats." In addition, Tisdale appeared in episodes of "Truth Be Told," the "MacGyver" reboot, and her Freeform series "Young & Hungry" as Logan Rawlings, a character she later revisited for the short "73 Questions with Logan Rawlings," which she also executive produced.

But, as always, Tisdale has had some of her best luck in animation. During that time, she voiced Apple in the short-lived web series "Ginger Snaps," Cinderella in the 2018 feature "Charming," and the Stealth Elf in nearly 40 episodes of "Skylanders Academy." Additionally, she occasionally reprises her role as Candace Flynn and even landed a part in 2023's "Baby Shark's Big Movie!"

She dabbled in video games

In 2019, Supermassive Games and Bandai Namco Entertainment launched a series of video games called "The Dark Pictures Anthology." Each game highlights a different horror and features well-known stars in their leading roles. "Man of Medan" boasted Shawn Ashmore of the "X-Men" movies fame, while "Little Hope" starred Will Poulter, who recently made a name for himself with "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3." The third installment, "House of Ashes," features Tisdale as its lead, the hardened CIA operative Rachel King. 

Throughout the game (though released in 2021, the story unfolds in 2003), King is sent to the Iraqi desert where she and her team stumble upon an ancient temple filled to the brim with vampiric creatures. "I've always wanted to do an action film, and I am living out my action dreams doing this," Tisdale revealed to Bandai Namco Europe in 2021 while promoting the game. "I've never done a horror film." For Tisdale, a horror fan herself, "House of Ashes" was a dream come true.

The game itself received mostly positive reviews, with the general consensus arguing that "House of Ashes" was a step in the right direction for the anthology series. Since it's an anthology installment, Tisdale didn't return for the next "Dark Pictures" game, but here's hoping that she'll consider more video game (or possibly horror) roles in the future. After all, from what we've seen in "House of Ashes," she's a natural.

She started a family

Aside from her full-time career, Ashley Tisdale, like all celebrities, leads a personal life. In 2013, she started dating musician Christopher French — a composer and lead singer of the band Annie Automatic — and only a year later, they married in a small, private ceremony that included most of her "High School Musical" castmembers, minus Zac Efron who was unable to attend. Though she's still publically known as Ashley Tisdale, the actress also goes by "Mrs. French."

In 2020, Tisdale took to Instagram to announce that she was pregnant with a girl, and in March 2021, Jupiter Iris French was born to the French duo. Their lives would never be the same. A year later, Tisdale spent some time on the "Not Skinny But Not Fat" podcast, where she got candid about her home life following Jupiter's birth. "I mean, it's a rollercoaster of a ride. No one prepares you for it," she explained. "Everyone prepares you for the baby and no one prepares you for what your [marriage] is gonna go through, and so, it's just wild."

Like many in the film industry, Tisdale often works professionally with members of her family. Aside from Blondie Girl Productions, a venture she undertook with her sister Jennifer, Tisdale has also collaborated with her husband on a variety of projects, most notably "Daphne & Velma" and "Young & Hungry," both of which French composed for.

She started her own wellness brand

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Ashley Tisdale founded a wellness brand called Frenshe, which aims to "uncomplicate wellness and empower our audience to their best, authentic selves." "Really, where I see wellness ... is self-love," Tisdale revealed on "The Blonde Files" podcast in 2022. "You have to have self-love." Though Frenshe — primarily aimed towards women — started as Tisdale's platform for sharing her own journey to "a balanced, non-toxic life," both physically and mentally, it didn't take long for Frenshe to become something more.

The Frenshe brand boasts more than 144K followers on Instagram, and in recent years has expanded to also include Frens(he), a male-focused brand to supplement the female-led original. Tisdale's brand soon influenced the creation of a Target-exclusive line of clean personal care products titled "Being Frenshe," which include candles, fragrances, moisturizers, and body/hair care items. The brand's website also hosts a variety of blog posts and sub-sections, among them entire pages devoted to lifestyle, wellness, interiors, beauty, and more.

No doubt, Ashley Tisdale has been up to a lot since she rose to Disney stardom, and while not every project pans out, she's had an enduring and successful career in Hollywood that has proven itself time and again. One thing is clear, though, whatever Tisdale does next, we'll be tuning in. Bring on the "Phineas and Ferb" revival!