‘Elvis’ Star Austin Butler Says He Owes Ex Vanessa Hudgens “A Lot For Believing in Me”

Austin Butler’s girlfriend Kaia Gerber’s ex-boyfriend, Jacob Eordi is also set to star as Elvis in the movie 'Priscilla.'

Austin Butler is giving credit where credit is due. Fans of the Elvis actor have known for ages that it was ex-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens who pushed Butler to step into the gyrating hips of the rock’n’roll legend, and who rallied behind him during the audition process for Baz Luhrmann’s biopic.

Now with a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination under his cape Butler is calling his “friend” out by name.

Speaking about his most recent career milestone with the Los Angeles Times, Butler admitted the anonymous, supportive friend he was referring to during The Hollywood Reporter’s Actors Roundtable was in fact his ex, Hudgens.

“I was with my partner at the time,” Butler told the outlet after confirming the actress by name. “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.”

A clip of Butler’s THR interview went viral when the actor coined his friend’s manifestation as the catalyst for his transformative journey to becoming Elvis Presley.

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“But the month before I heard that Baz [Luhrmann] 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,’” Butler recalled.

He continued, “Then my agent called and said, ‘So Baz Luhrmann is making an Elvis film …’ The hairs just stood up on my arms. It made me go, ‘All right. It’s Everest. I don’t know if I’m good enough. But I’ve got to give it everything.’”

Butler’s friend could have been anyone, but longtime fans of the actor did a little sleuthing and discovered the timeline of events match to when he was still dating Hudgens, who shared a near replica of this story on Live with Kelly and Ryan in 2019.

While the two exes have had a rather amicable breakup, in the public eye at least, some fans think Hudgens is stirring the pot after responding to a fan’s Instagram comment mocking Butler’s lingering Presley accent.

In the post shared by Comments by Celebs, Hudgens wrote “Crying” under user @ryinskott’s comment that reads, “He went to the Lady Gaga school of Oscar campaigning,” in reference to a Page Six story that states Butler’s Elvis accent may be a forever thing.

Butler and Hudgens went public with their romance in 2011. They dated for nine years before breaking fans’ hearts everywhere with their shocking split in 2020. Hudgens is currently dating Colorado Rockies player Cole Tucker.

Conversely, Butler has been romantically linked to model Kaia Gerber since the 2022 Met Gala. Ironically, Gerber’s ex-boyfriend, Jacob Elordi, is also set to star as Presley in the upcoming Priscilla biopic about the singer’s wife.

“I just wish him all the best, you know,” Butler told Variety on the Golden Globe red carpet. “We haven’t spoken, but I hope he has a great time.”

Filming is currently underway for Priscilla, which is expected to hit theaters sometime in 2024. Meanwhile, fans can stream Elvis on HBO Max now.

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more