Austin Butler: I owe ‘clairvoyant’ ex Vanessa Hudgens for ‘Elvis’ role

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Austin Butler is finally crediting his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens, for his first Oscar nomination.

While chatting with the Los Angeles Times, the “Elvis” actor admitted it was Hudgens that convinced him to try out for the coveted role after previously referring to her as his unnamed friend.

“I was with my partner at the time,” he explained. “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.”

Hudgens, 34, and Butler, 32, dated for nearly a decade before calling it quits in 2020.

Butler and Hudgens split in 2020 after nearly a decade together.

Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens in all-black.
Butler and Hudgens split in 2020 after nearly a decade together.


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Before their split, the then-couple was driving when the “High School Musical” star realized Butler was made to play Presley.

“Last December, we were driving along and we were listening to Christmas music, and then an Elvis Presley Christmas song came on,” Hudgens said back in 2019 on “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”

“He had just dyed his hair dark. He’s a natural blond, and I was looking at him and he was singing along and I was like, ‘Babe, you need to play Elvis.’”

Austin Butler kissing his Golden Globe.
Butler previously referred to Hudgens as just his “friend.”
NBC via Getty Images

Yet when Butler retold the same story on the Hollywood Reporter’s “Actors Roundtable” last month, fans noticed he minimized Hudgens’ role in the tale.

“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.

Hudgens knew Butler had to play the King of Rock after hearing him sing an Elvis song in the car.

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley
Hudgens knew Butler had to play the King of Rock after hearing him sing an Elvis song in the car.


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He continued, “A couple of weeks later, I was playing the piano. I never really sang for any of my friends or anything. That same friend was there and I was playing the piano. She said, ‘I’m serious. You gotta figure out how you can get the rights to a script.’ Then my agent called and said, ‘So, Baz Luhrmann is making an Elvis film.’”

The snub apparently didn’t sit right with the actress, who went on to joke about Butler’s lingering Elvis accent following his Golden Globes speech.

After Ryan Scott shared a funny Instagram post comparing the actor’s new voice to Lady Gaga’s Italian accent from “House of Gucci”, Hudgens commented “crying.”

Austin Butler and Kaia Gerber.
The “Elvis” star is now dating Kaia Gerber.
Getty Images for The Met Museum/

Speaking of exes, the Times also asked Butler whether or not he has given Jacob Elordi, who dated Butler’s now-girlfriend Kaia Gerber for over a year, any advice on playing the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in the upcoming biopic, “Priscilla.”

“No, I haven’t,” Butler revealed. “I’ve met him before, but we haven’t spoken about that at all…I wish him all the best.”


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