“It just brought up some of those old memories, and I was like, ‘Olivia, why? Why?’” the Dancing with the Stars judge said.

By Janine Puhak
May 14, 2021 05:30 PM
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Derek Hough hit the brakes after hearing Olivia Culpo's hit single "Driver's License" for the first time, joking it brought back memories of the difficult ride for his license.

The choreographer and Dancing with the Stars judge, 35, shared the funny story on the latest episode of the PEOPLE Every Day podcast, explaining why the teenage milestone was especially difficult to achieve for him in the U.K.

Derek Hough
Credit: Kevin Mazur/2020 MTV Movie & TV Awards/Getty

Hough left home at 13 to attend the prestigious London dance school Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts with his sister Julianne, and the ballroom dance prodigies spent many of their formative years in England. During that time, the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star told host Janine Rubenstein it took him no less than four tries to pass his driver's license test.

While recently working on season 2 of the hit Disney+ show, Hough joked it was painful to hear costar Rodrigo's popular song because the milestone took so long for him to achieve.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
| Credit: Fred Hayes/Disney

"Honestly, it traumatized me," he joked. "Getting my driver's license was such a traumatic experience that [when] she's like, 'Got my driver's license.' I'm like, 'Aah!' It took me four times, four times pass my test because in England you can't drive automatic. It has to be stick shift ... It was all 'gotcha' moments!"

Hough speculated that because public transit in the U.K. is so sophisticated, authorities intentionally make it tricky to pass the driving test.

"They make it really, really, really hard for you to pass your test because they just don't want you driving," he said. "It just brought up some of those old memories, and I was like, 'Olivia, why? Why?'"

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In the latest season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, the professional dancer plays Zack, the new theater teacher at East High's rival school. Getting into character brought back another rush of memories for Hough, who described himself as a loner at his London high school.

Hough said the experience was atypical to a traditional American school, as everyone wore uniforms and he spent his nights at dance practice and weekends at competitions.

"I've never been to a prom," Hough admitted, but alluded that there may have been a few stolen kisses at the lockers when no one was watching.

"I did my own thing, and during breaks I would go to the art room by myself and draw and paint and something while everybody else would be hanging out," he said. "So, I was a loner, to be honest with you."

Season 2 of the High School Musical spinoff premieres Friday on Disney+.

Check out more from Hough's interview on PEOPLE Every Day, airing now on iHeartMediaApple podcastsSpotifyStitcher or wherever you listen to your podcasts.