Austin Butler criticised for referring to ex Vanessa Hudgens as just a friend in Elvis interview

13 January 2023, 16:46

Austin Butler talks intense preparation to be Elvis

Sam  Prance

By Sam Prance

Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens dated for almost 10 years before calling it quits in 2020 and Vanessa came up with the idea for Austin to play Elvis in a movie.

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Austin Butler is coming under fire after referring to his ex Vanessa Hudgens as just a "friend" in a new interview about Elvis.

Fans of Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens will already know that the two stars used to be in a longterm relationship. After both starring in various Disney Channel productions, Austin and Vanessa began dating in 2011. Over the next decade, the couple regularly appeared in public and on red carpets together. However, they ultimately decided to breakup in 2020.

Now, Austin is facing criticism after playing down his relationship with Vanessa and calling her a "friend" in a viral video.

READ MORE: Austin Butler didn't see his family for three years to play Elvis

Austin Butler refers to ex Vanessa Hudgens as just a friend in Elvis interview
Austin Butler refers to ex Vanessa Hudgens as just a friend in Elvis interview. Picture: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images, George Pimentel/Getty Image

Earlier this week (Jan 10), Austin Butler appeared on The Hollywood Reporter's Actors Roundtable and, in the video, he opens up about what led him to pursue the role of Elvis.

Austin explains: "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. 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.'"

He then continues: "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'."

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Fans were quick to work out that the "friend" that Austin was referring to is none other than Vanessa who previously told the same anecdote on Live with Kelly and Ryan in 2019.

Vanessa said: "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.'"

She added: "Then in January, he was sitting at the piano 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.'"

Vanessa Hudgens Knew Playing Elvis Was Her Boyfriend's Calling

As a result, fans have been criticising Austin for failing to mention Vanessa by name, or at least describing her as his "girlfriend-at-the-time". One person shared a clip of his remarks with the caption: "him calling vanessa hudgens a “friend” PLEASEEEE". Another added: "he’s so disgusting im sorry" and "he’s soooo disrespectful".

Others argued that he wouldn't have got the part if it weren't for Vanessa. Someone tweeted: "He would still be on the CW if it weren’t for her lol". Another wrote: "look at you boy i invented you. i know vanessa and her friends are blasting that song."

As it stands, Austin is yet to address the backlash. We shall update you if he does.

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