Watch: Bella Thorne Spills on Her Dating Life
Between 2010 and 2013, the then-teenage stars played BFFs on the Disney Channel series Shake It Up!. But behind the scenes, things were shaken up for real between the actresses, Bella, 23, recalled to Us Weekly, in comments published on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
"It's like we said [in] a couple interviews when we were younger, how we explained how in the first season we weren't friends and it took us those other two seasons of becoming so close," she said. "[It was hard] not having someone pitted against you [before] and then all of a sudden, now everyone is pitting you against each other. That fed into our heads. It made us not [be] friends in that first season."
However, the actress and "SFB" singer said that she and Zendaya worked things out in a "beautiful talk in the middle of a sound stage" as they filmed an episode of the Disney Channel series Good Luck Charlie in 2011. Bella told Us Weekly, "We were really able to put our cards out on the table and understanding each other."
Zendaya, 24, and Disney have not commented on Bella's remarks, which echo comments she made in an interview with preteen and teen outlet J-14 in 2015.
"Zendaya and I were put in a very unfortunate position where we were kind of forced to compete against each other [during Shake It Up], which made the whole first season of the show just very awkward for us," Bella said at the time. "We wanted to love each other, but yet we were constantly being put against each other. It was, ‘Who's better at this?' and ‘Who's better at that?'"
She continued, "And then second season we kind of just had this tell-all talk where we started crying and really just put everything out there on the table, and that's when we became best friends."
Bella and Zendaya did in fact act like besties off the set. In 2011, Bella told the BBC, "Z is not even my best friend. She's my sister and I couldn't do anything without her."
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The pair's onscreen friendship was so popular with fans, who often dubbed them "Zella," that it helped them land another side project, a 2012 Disney Channel Original Movie titled…Frenemies. Meanwhile, Bella and Zendaya promoted Shake It Up! at home and abroad, meetings fans and signing autographs at places like a supermarket in England and a shopping mall in Dubai.
"Zendaya and I make a new favorite friendship memory every single day," Bella told Seventeen magazine in 2012. "Even our handshakes are based off of memories! But more than anything, I love traveling with Zendaya. It gives us the chance to talk for hours. We watch funny videos on my computer, talk, and laugh so hard."
Bella and Zendaya were occasionally pitted against each other by the press and social media, when it came to their looks. In 2013, Seventeen's prom issue featured dual covers, each featuring one of the actresses.