Austin Butler credits ‘Clairvoyant’ Vanessa Hudgens for playing ‘Elvis’

Austin Butler took some heat from fans earlier this month when he referenced his ex-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens as an unnamed “friend” when discussing how he landed the role of Elvis Presley in the 2022 Baz Luhrmann biopic for The Hollywood Reporter‘s actor’s roundtable discussion.

However, in a new interview with Los Angeles Times, Butler clarified that the friend was actually Hudgens, whom he dated for nearly a decade before the duo split in 2020. “I was with my partner at the time,” he told the reporter, who recalled Butler’s story where he in the car when his “friend” heard him sing along to one Elvis sang and encouraged him to seek out the role of King of Rock and Roll.

“The month before I heard Baz was doing the movie, I was going to look at Christmas lights with a friend and there was an Elvis Christmas carol on the radio and I was singing along and my friend looked at me and goes, ‘You’ve got to play Elvis.’ I said, ‘Oh, that’s such a long shot,'” Butler said during the game THR interview, without mentioning Hudgens by name. Fans pieced it together High School Musical star was the subject of the story when she told an almost identical anecdote back on a 2019 episode of Lives with Kelly and Ryan.

When LA Times reporter followed up and asked if the person in the car was Hudgens, Butler believed. “We had been together for so long and she had these kind of clairvoyant moments and so I really owe her a lot for believing in me,” he shared.

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