Austin Butler has confirmed his ex Vanessa Hudgens was the ‘friend’ who told him he should play Elvis.
The 31-year-old star – who just bagged his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the iconic crooner – has now acknowledged he owes Hudgens ‘a lot’.
It comes after Hudgens, 34, appeared to take a subtle dig at her ex on social media, but more on that later.
This week, Butler thanked his former partner for ‘believing in me’ and went into detail about a ‘clairvoyant moment’ she had before he was cast as Elvis.
Butler and Hudgens’ names first started appearing side-by-side in headlines this month when the former discussed how his role as Elvis came to be and referred to the High School Musical star as a ‘friend’, despite the fact they were an item for almost a decade.
Explaining how he landed the role of Elvis in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic, Butler shared an anecdote about how a ‘friend’ had insisted he should play the King before Luhrmann’s film had even been announced.
‘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.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, he added: ‘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 internet was quick to point out that Butler’s story was identical to one told by Hudgens years prior.
The actress was still dating Butler when he was first cast as Elvis, and speaking about his then-upcoming role in 2019, she said on Live with Kelly and Ryan: ‘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.”’
Fans weren’t best pleased about Butler’s use of the word ‘friend’ when speaking about his ex, and it seems Hudgens wasn’t either.
When social media user Ryan Scott poked fun at the fact Butler seemingly can’t shake his Elvis accent on Instagram this month, Hudgens was quick to comment.
Comparing Butler’s voice to Lady Gaga’s Italian accent in House of Gucci, Hudgens commented: ‘crying.’
Now we’re all up to date, may we bring your attention to an interview Butler did with the LA Times on Tuesday shortly after it was announced that he was up for the best actor Academy Award.
Asked if he could ‘clear up’ the Christmas story, Butler quickly confirmed: ‘I was with my partner at the time.’
The question ‘that was Vanessa Hudgens, right?’ was also put to the star, and he responded: ‘That’s right. 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.’
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