American actor Austin Butler thanked his ex-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens for believing in him when he took up the role of Elvis Presley in his 2022 instant-hit, Elvis.
During The Hollywood Reporter's Actor’s Roundtable, the 31-year-old star referred to Hudgens as a "friend" while discussing how he landed his role in Baz Luhrmann's directorial film, Elvis.
However, while speaking with The Los Angeles Times, Butler revealed that the "friend" was in fact Vanessa Hudgens when the reporter asked about his previous anecdote on landing the role of the King of Rock and Roll:
“I was with my partner at the time. We’d been together for so long and she had this sort of clairvoyant moment and so I really, I owe her a lot for believing in me."
Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens first sparked romance rumors in 2011 after the latter broke up with her former High School Musical co-star, Zac Efron. On January 14, 2020, Us Weekly confirmed their split after nine years of being together.
What did Austin Butler say about Vanessa Hudgens and why did they break up?
While speaking on The Hollywood Reporter's Actors Roundtable, Austin Butler recalled the time a "friend" encouraged him to audition for the role of Elvis Presley in Luhrmann's directorial biopic, stating:
“The month before I heard that Baz was making the movie, I was going to look at Christmas lights with a friend, and there was an Elvis Christmas song on the radio and I was singing along, and my friend looked over at me and goes, ‘You’ve got to play Elvis.’ I said, ‘Oh, that’s such a long shot.'”
Fans were able to connect the story with Vanessa Hudgens as she shared a similar anecdote while appearing on a 2019 episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan.
Butler and Hudgens first crossed each other's paths in 2005 on the set of Disney's High School Musical. But they did not begin dating until 2011 when Hudgens split from Efron.
The duo did not confirm their relationship for long, however, in 2018, Hudgens stated the key to their successful relationship:
“Communication is key. It’s so easy to let things get lost in the shuffle or to, kind of, push things down because you don’t think they really bother you. But if anything even remotely bothers you, you gotta talk about it.”
Austin Butler also gushed about his then-partner Hudgens in July 2019, calling her an inspiration. While speaking with E! News, he said:
“It’s hard for me to even put into words what that girl means to me. I am so inspired by her every day and I just love her to my core.”
However, they broke up in 2020. Although they never revealed what went behind their split, sources close to the couple told E! News that it was because of their busy schedules.
At the time, while Hudgens was busy shooting for The Princess Switch 2 in Europe, Austin was filming Elvis.
“They’re just shooting on two different continents and it’s a matter of distance. There is no bad blood at all, and they have a lot of respect for each other.”
Austin Butler is currently dating model Kaia Gerber, while Hudgens is in a relationship with Pittsburgh Pilot baseball player Cole Tucker.