Former Disney star Vanessa Hudgens, who shot to fame after starring as Gabriella Montez in High School Musical is crediting Australian Megachurch Hillsong for strengthening her "own personal relationship with Jesus."
Even though she was born a Catholic, 26-year-old Hudgens admitted to The New York Times that she "never felt very connected to it" and she thanks her boyfriend and fellow actor Austin Butler, 23 for reigniting her faith through Hillsong.
"It feels like Arcade Fire — it's epic like that," she said about the worship band Hillsong United. "They really focus on you having your own personal relationship with Jesus, which is wonderful."
Hudgens struggled with her faith and personal insecurities when she was younger, especially when she was dating High School Musical co-star Zac Efron, who played the popular jock Troy Bolton.
"I went through a phase when I was really mean because I was so fed up," Hudgens said. "Girls were running after him, and I was giving them death stares. Then I realised that's not what that's about."
Since then, the actress has learned to "spread the love, be a good person, be nice," and Hillsong has a lot to do with that.
Millions of Christians all over the world sing Hillsong's songs every Sunday, and some of their more popular congregations in New York, Los Angeles, and Sydney generate weekly attendances of over 100,000.
People love Hillsong for its youthful and upbeat energy, slick production, and club-like atmosphere.
Its celebrity followers include Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, The Carrie Diaries actress AnnaSophia Robb and model Hailey Baldwin. The church also has a lot of NBA bigwigs who are huge fans - Kevin Durant, Jeremy Lin, Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony, and Landry Fields.