Austin Butler Owes Ex Vanessa Hudgens for 'Elvis' Inspiration After Labeling Her as Just 'Friend'

The first-time Oscar nominee confirms that the 'friend' who encouraged him to portray Elvis Presley before he nabbed the role in Baz Luhrmann's biopic was his ex-girlfriend Vanessa.

AceShowbiz - Austin Butler has finally acknowledged Vanessa Hudgens' part in his glowing performance in "Elvis". The Golden Globe-winning actor has credited his ex-girlfriend for encouraging him to portray Elvis Presley before he nabbed the role in Baz Luhrmann's biopic.

In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, the 31-year-old said that Vanessa supported him to seek out the role years ago when they were a couple. "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.

The former "The Carrie Diaries" star also confirmed that it was the "High School Musical" star that he was referring to as a "friend" when speaking in the recent The Hollywood Reporter's Actors Roundtable. "That's right," he said when asked if he meant Vanessa, adding, "I was with my partner at the time."

During the THR conversation, Austin recalled how Vanessa encouraged him to pursue the role of Elvis, but didn't mention her name at the time. He said, "The month before I heard that Baz [Luhrmann] was making the movie, I was going to look at Christmas lights with a friend. 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.' "

"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.' "

Recently, Vanessa weighed in on Austin's fake Elvis accent after he's trolled for still speaking in his "Elvis" voice at the Golden Globes. The 34-year-old actress, who dated Austin from 2011 until their split in January 2020 or late 2019, was caught commenting on a joke about her ex-boyfriend's fake accent.

An Instagram user reposted Page Six's tweet quoting a voice coach who praised Austin's "genuine" "Elvis" accent that might remain "forever." @ryinskott captioned the post, "He went to the Lady Gaga school of Oscar campaign acting." The "Rent: Live" star apparently found the joke amusing as she wrote in the comment section, "Crying."

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