Blake Lively has an unexpected connection to High School Musical

Blake Lively has it all. She’s beautiful, she’s talented, she’s married to Ryan Reynolds — and she has a surprising connection to the ’00s phenomenon High School Musical. And no, it’s not the kind of connection we have just because we’ve seen the movie 50 times and kissed our Troy Bolton posters every night. No, this is a real connection.

We know Blake runs in elite Hollywood circles, so she’s had a few clashes with the cast of the massive Disney Channel Original Movie trilogy over the years. Blake was photographed with Sharpay Evans herself, Ashley Tisdale, in 2010, and the Daily Mail reported that Blake and Gabriella Montez, actress Vanessa Hudgens, both attended Anna Wintour’s prestigious Pre-Met Gala party in May. But it’s not really one of those main stars that Blake has a close but unexpected connection with.

In fact, there’s one actor who appeared in all three movie musicals that Blake (who, by the way, was once banned from Disneyland!) is so close to that she actually calls him family. It’s time to get your head in the game, Coach Bolton.

Blake Lively’s brother-in-law played Coach Bolton

Yes! It turns out that Blake Lively’s secret “High School Musical” connection is with Coach Bolton’s actor Bart Johnson. Johnson is Blake’s brother-in-law as he is married to her sister, Teen Witch star Robyn Lively, according to BuzzFeed. It sounds like the in-laws get along really well, too, since Johnson had the cutest things to say about the former “Gossip Girl” actor on Instagram in December 2016, when he called her “my sister and best friend.” . He also included a snap of himself and Blake attending her husband Ryan Reynolds’ Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony, proving this is a very close-knit extended family.

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But while not many people know that Serena van der Woodsen is related to Coach Bolton (now there’s a crossover we’d love to see!), these two haven’t exactly made a secret of their family ties. In fact, in August 2021, Johnson shared the most adorable birthday message for his sister-in-law, captioning an Instagram photo of them together in celebration of their 30th birthday: “Your birth was really quite radical and blessed my life more than I could ever have imagined.” You were such a great friend… I cherish every minute of it. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without you.” But he wasn’t quite done gushing there. The super cute caption continued, “Thank you for being you, for your love and beautiful heart and for inspiring me and my family every day.”

Blake Lively is responsible for Bart Johnson’s marriage

Bart Johnson opened up about his close relationship with Blake Lively in August 2021, revealing on the Crazy Stupid Fangirls podcast that Blake is pretty much to blame for his romance with Robyn Lively. Johnson was then tutoring Blake in an acting class organized by Blake and Robyn’s father, and the boy helped him get her big sister’s attention because she had a boyfriend at the time. “Blake really helped me get to know her,” Johnson shared, revealing that for years she would give him information about her sister in acting class so he could impress Robyn. “Blake and I had the best relationship, she’s like my little sister,” he said.

Teetotal Blake even poked fun at her connection to the High School Musical franchise, which not everyone knows, and referenced the film’s school mascot on Instagram when wishing Johnson a happy birthday in December 2020. The “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” star shared a throwback photo of her dancing with her fellow actor as a child, and captioned it, “Happy birthday to my original dance partner @bart_johnson[.] Bet you all didn’t know I’m the original WILDCAT. I love you brother.”

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