A little less conversation? Not for Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens, who have continued to talk about each other following their 2020 breakup.
Though the Elvis star and the High School Musical actress didn’t waste time moving on — Butler has been dating Kaia Gerber since December 2021, while Us Weekly confirmed Hudgens’ engagement to Cole Tucker in January 2023 — the former pair have paid tribute to their past romance (and each other).
In September 2022 — two years after Us confirmed the pair had split — the Broadway alum called her relationship with Butler “life-changing.”
“The public only sees so much,” Hudgens told Nylon at the time, referring to her romances with Butler and Zac Efron. (Hudgens and Efron dated from 2006 to 2010.) “I’ve also been through two very long life-changing relationships, and no one really knows what happened except for me. When I write my memoir, it’ll be amazing.”
Included in that memoir could also be the story of how Butler was inspired to play the role of Elvis Presley, for which he won a 2023 Golden Globe. While declining to mention Hudgens by name, the Zoey 101 alum told the tale of how a “friend” encouraged him to portray the rock ’n roll icon in a nearly word-for-word retelling of the version Hudgens revealed in 2019.
“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,’” the Carrie Diaries alum revealed to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Actors Roundtable in January 2023. “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.’”
Four years prior, while gushing about her then-boyfriend on Live With Kelly and Ryan, the Rent: Live star told the cohosts how she and Butler “were driving along and we were listening to Christmas music, and then an Elvis Presley Christmas song came on.”
Hudgens recalled: “He had just dyed his hair dark — he’s a natural blonde — and I was looking at him and he was singing along and I was like, ‘Babe, you need to play Elvis.’”
Butler, for his part, gave credit where credit was due in a later interview with the Los Angeles Times, referring to the “friend” he first mentioned as his “partner at the time.” He added: “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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Keep scrolling for everything Hudgens and Butler have said about each other post-split: