Austin Butler gives ex Vanessa Hudgens credit for inspiring him to pursue ‘Elvis’
By Lisa Respers France, CNN
People on the internet can calm down now as Austin Butler has acknowledged that his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens, is the “friend” he credits for encouraging him to play Elvis.
As Butler rides the awards season wave with nominations for his performance in the title role in Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” some people were upset that Butler shared a story during The Hollywood Reporter’s Actors Roundtable in which he recounted how a friend suggested the role.
“People always ask me, ‘Had you for years thought you looked like Elvis?’ And I’d say, ‘I don’t really think I look that much like Elvis,'” Butler said. “That never crossed my mind. 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.'”
Cue plenty on social media remembering that Hudgens, who dated Butler from 2011 to 2020, told a similar story to Ryan Seacrest during an appearance on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” in 2019.
“It’s so crazy because December we were driving along and we were listening to Christmas music and then an Elvis Presley Christmas song came on,” Hudgens said on the program. “He had just dyed his hair dark. He’s a natural, like, blonde blonde, and I was looking at him and he was singing along and I was like, ‘Babe, you need to play Elvis.”
In a recently published interview with the Los Angeles Times, Butler confirmed that his “friend” was Hudgens.
“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,” he said.
He is currently dating model Kaia Gerber, while Hudgens has been seeing professional baseball player Cole Tucker.
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