Austin Butler CONFIRMS ex Vanessa Hudgens was ‘friend’ who predicted Elvis role


Austin Butler is crediting ex-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens for manifesting his career-defining Elvis Presley portrayal… before Baz Luhrmann’s biopic was even announced.

The actor, 31 – who is up for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for playing ‘The King’ – originally told THR it was a ‘friend’ who had encouraged him to pursue the role.

Butler received backlash for seemingly downplaying his nearly nine-year relationship with Hudgens.

But now, in a new interview with the LA Times, he confirmed that the ‘friend’ was in fact the actress/singer, 34.

Manifesting: Austin Butler is crediting ex-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens for manifesting his career-defining Elvis Presley portrayal… before Baz Luhrmann’s biopic was even announced; seen in 2019

The actor, 31 - who is up for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for playing 'The King' - originally told THR it was a 'friend' who had encouraged him to pursue the role; seen in Elvis (2022)

The actor, 31 – who is up for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for playing ‘The King’ – originally told THR it was a ‘friend’ who had encouraged him to pursue the role; seen in Elvis (2022)

‘That’s right. I was with my partner at the time,’ Butler replied after the outlet asked him to clarify.

‘[Hudgens and I had] been together for so long, She had this sort of clairvoyant moment and so I really, I owe her a lot for believing in me,’ he said.

Butler, who has since won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for the role, recalled the moment Hudgens told him ‘you gotta play Elvis’ to THR earlier this month.

But he did not mention the High School Musical alum by name nor did he refer to her as his former girlfriend.

‘The month before I heard that Baz [Luhrmann] was making the movie, I was looking at Christmas lights and there was an Elvis Christmas song on the radio and I was with a friend of mine,’ he said.

It was her: But now, in a new interview with the LA Times , he confirmed that the 'friend' was in fact the actress/singer, 34; seen in July 2019

It was her: But now, in a new interview with the LA Times , he confirmed that the ‘friend’ was in fact the actress/singer, 34; seen in July 2019

‘I was singing along and my friend looked over at me and said, ‘You gotta play Elvis.’ I said, ‘Oh, that’s such a long shot.”

‘A couple of weeks later, I was playing the piano,’ he continued. ‘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.”

Soon after the interview was posted on January 10, many took to Twitter to label him ‘disgusting’ and ‘disrespectful’ for leaving her out.

'[Hudgens and I had] been together for so long, She had this sort of clairvoyant moment and so I really, I owe her a lot for believing in me,' he said; seen in 2019

‘[Hudgens and I had] been together for so long, She had this sort of clairvoyant moment and so I really, I owe her a lot for believing in me,’ he said; seen in 2019

Winner: He has since won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for the role and is up for an Academy Award; seen in January 2023

Winner: He has since won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for the role and is up for an Academy Award; seen in January 2023

Back in 2019, Hudgens famously shared the exact same story during an appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan.

Hudgens, who was still romantically involved with Butler at the time, recalled, ‘Last December, we were driving along and we were listening to Christmas music, and then an Elvis Presley Christmas song came on.’

‘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.”

‘Then in January, he was sitting at the piano,’ she continued.

‘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.”

Recollection: Butler recalled the moment Hudgens told him 'you gotta play Elvis' to THR earlier this month. But he did not mention the High School Musical alum by name nor did he refer to her as his former girlfriend; seen in Elvis (2022)

Recollection: Butler recalled the moment Hudgens told him ‘you gotta play Elvis’ to THR earlier this month. But he did not mention the High School Musical alum by name nor did he refer to her as his former girlfriend; seen in Elvis (2022)

Backlash: Soon after the interview was posted on January 10, many took to Twitter to label him 'disgusting' and 'disrespectful' for leaving her out of his story

Backlash: Soon after the interview was posted on January 10, many took to Twitter to label him ‘disgusting’ and ‘disrespectful’ for leaving her out of his story

Butler nabbed the role in July 2019 alongside Tom Hanks, who played Elvis’ infamous manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

Filming kicked off in Australia on January 28, 2020 but would come to a screeching halt just two months later after Hollywood was shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shoot resumed in Queensland in September 2020 and wrapped up in March 2021. Elvis was released in June 2022.

Though he has been highly praised for his portrayal, Butler has been equally mocked for hanging onto Elvis’ thick Memphis drawl despite being a California native.

Recently, Hudgens appeared to throw shade at her ex over his dramatic voice change after she commented on a post about whether his accent was ‘genuine’ that joked: ‘He went to the Lady Gaga school of Oscar campaign acting.’

Roast: Vanessa Hudgens appeared to throw shade at her ex-boyfriend after he got ruthlessly mocked over keeping his Elvis accent for Baz Luhrmann’s biopic

Roast: Vanessa Hudgens appeared to throw shade at her ex-boyfriend after he got ruthlessly mocked over keeping his Elvis accent for Baz Luhrmann’s biopic

Public shade: Fans were quick to catch this sly comment from Vanessa, which implied she was 'crying' laughing at the joke

Public shade: Fans were quick to catch this sly comment from Vanessa, which implied she was ‘crying’ laughing at the joke

Fans were quick to notice that Hudgens replied underneath that she was ‘crying,’ perceived as crying with laughter at the jibe.

The post came from social media influencer Ryan Scott, who boats nearly 40,000 followers on Instagram.

The joke is a reference to the over-the-top lengths that Lady Gaga went when campaigning for an Oscar nomination for her role in House of Gucci, which did not fare well for the pop singer

His caption calls back to the way the A Star is Born actress was notoriously mocked for her subpar Italian accent while portraying Patrizia Reggiani.

At the time, a dialect coach who worked on the film with her costar Salma Hayek noted that the New York-raised Gaga’s accent sounded ‘more Russian.’

His defense: Austin has said multiple times that the accent is 'in his DNA' after working on the lauded film for two-three years

His defense: Austin has said multiple times that the accent is ‘in his DNA’ after working on the lauded film for two-three years

Star-studded: Butler nabbed the role in July 2019 alongside Tom Hanks, who played Elvis' infamous manager, Colonel Tom Parker; (L-R) Austin Butler, Helen Thomson, Tom Hanks and Richard Roxburgh in Elvis (2022)

Star-studded: Butler nabbed the role in July 2019 alongside Tom Hanks, who played Elvis’ infamous manager, Colonel Tom Parker; (L-R) Austin Butler, Helen Thomson, Tom Hanks and Richard Roxburgh in Elvis (2022)

And much like Butler, Gaga — real name Stefani Germanotta — insisted in a British Vogue profile that she ‘lived as [Reggiani] for a year and a half. And I spoke with an accent for nine months of that.’

Coming to Butler’s defense shortly after his Golden Globe win, his voice coach Iren Bartlett said ‘What you saw in that Golden Globes speech, that’s him. It’s genuine, it’s not put on.’

‘I feel sorry people are saying that, you know, it’s still acting [but] he’s actually taken [the voice of Presley] on board,’ she said, adding that the change might be permanent: ‘I don’t know how long that will last, or if it’s going to be there forever.’

Fans have been confused about the voice change since filming for Elvis wrapped nearly two years ago.

Irene further explained why Austin still sounds like he did in the movie: ‘Because of COVID shutdowns, he was working on it all the time and it’s difficult to switch off something you’ve spent so much focus [and] time on.’

Moving on: Since their split, both Vanessa and Austin have found themselves in new long-term relationships; pictured with girlfriend Kaia Gerber

Vanessa is a little more than two years into her romance with MLB star Cole Tucker, 26

Moving on: Since their split, both Vanessa and Austin have found themselves in new long-term relationships



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