What probably seemed like a sweet memento of young love at the time has quickly devolved into a nightmare of legal issues and social media outrage. Authorities are investigating a heart, inlaid with the words “Austin + Vanessa,” which was recently carved into the federally protected red rock outside of Sedona, Arizona. The graffiti was brought to the attention of the Coconino National Forest after its image was posted to Instagram by 27-year-old actress/musician Vanessa Hudgens. Do you think she could be the Vanessa?:
The photo, which has since been deleted, was uploaded on Sunday alongside a message from Hudgens to her Instagram followers: “Happy Valentine’s Day boo boo bears.” It was posted along with several images of the actress and her 24-year-old boyfriend Austin Butler seemingly hiking through the red rock area, and all included the hashtag “#sedonadreams.”
Assuming that heart was carved into the rock by Hudgens and Butler—and not some other, less beautiful Austin and Vanessa pairing—it could land them in some genuine legal trouble. Defacing a natural feature on U.S. Forest Service land is a crime punishable with a potential $5,000 fine and up to six months in jail. “This incident is currently under investigation, so there is not much I can share specifically since I am not privy to the details of an investigation until it is complete,” Coconino National Forest spokesman Brady Smith tells Us Weekly. “However, I can say that the issue of people carving their names and other things in rocks in the Sedona and surrounding area is always a challenge we face, and try to inform people about its destructive nature. We have found that when one person carves something, it encourages others to carve.”
It seems unlikely, though, that Arizona officials will throw the book quite so hard at the actress who brought so much emotion and pathos to the character of Rizzo in Fox’s Grease: Live. “People make mistakes, whether knowingly or unknowingly,” Smith says of the incident, while also acknowledging that there likely weren’t any signs nearby warning against such permanent declarations of love. Predictably, citizens of the internet have been somewhat less sedate in their response. “Go deface your own property stupid a$$ bitch,” one person wrote in the comments of a different Hudgens post. “Moron!!! STAY AWAY FROM SEDONA if you can’t respect it!!” someone else wrote in the comments of another post. Hudgens herself has not yet commented on the incident.