Austin Butler Seemingly Credits Ex Vanessa Hudgens With Pushing Him To Do ‘Elvis’ Movie

Vanessa Hudgens also once shared a similar story to Austin's where she said she sparked the idea for him to play Elvis Presley in 2018.

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Austin Butler seemed to reference a conversation with ex-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens that inspired him to play late rock legend Elvis Presley. “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,'” the 31-year-old said on The Hollywood Reporter’s Actors Roundtable series. While he didn’t name Vanessa and simply referred to his ex as a “friend” the story lines up with a past story the High School Musical alum has told where she did name her ex-boyfriend of eight years.

Austin 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 film went on to earn Austin the biggest accolades of his career, including a major win at the 2023 Golden Globe Awards where current girlfriend Kaia Gerber, 21, was by his side.

Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens dated for eight years before their 2020 split. (Shutterstock)

Vanessa, 34, also recounted her side of the story in a 2019 interview months before their 2020 split. “Last December, we were driving along and we were listening to Christmas music, and then an Elvis Presley Christmas song came on,” she explained 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.'”

She then remembered the coincidence of her ex-partner sitting in front of a piano, and persisting him to audition for the film Elvis. “Then in January, he was sitting at the piano,” she went on. “And he’s playing and he’s singing and I’m like, ‘I don’t know how, but you need to figure out how you can play Elvis. Like, I don’t know how we get rights or what we do, but you need to play him.'”

Austin Butler is seen as Elvis Presley in biopic ‘Elvis.’ (Shutterstock)

Back in 2019, Vanessa was “over the moon” about him landing the role in Elvis. “I AMMMM OVERRRR THE F—— MOOOOOOOOONNNNN. I CAN’T WAIT… SO PROUD OF MY HONEYYYYY!!!” she wrote with heart eye emojis on Instagram.

Vanessa and Austin were first linked romantically in 2011 when they attended a birthday party for Ashley Tisdale‘s sister. The relationship also marked Vanessa’s first public one after splitting from ex Zac Efron, who also starred on High School Musical with her and Ashley. Austin and Vanessa dated solidly for eight years before splitting in 2020. Back in 2019, Vanessa was “over the moon” about him landing the role in Elvis. Austin has been dating Kaia in Jan. 2022, while Vanessa is in a relationship with baseball pro Cole Tucker as of 2020.

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