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Austin Butler has finally revealed why he referred to his ex Vanessa Hudgens as a ‘friend’ in a past interview while discussing how he landed the role of Elvis.  

After sparking outrage on social media for seemingly downplaying their nine-year relationship, which ended in 2020, the Dune: Part Two star, 32, explained his decision not to call the High School Musical actress, 35, by name actually came from a place of love.

‘I felt that I was respecting her privacy in a way and not wanting to bring up a ton of things that would cause her to have to talk,’ he explained to Esquire

He continued: ‘I have so much love and care for her. It was in no way trying to erase anything.’

The Anaheim native went on to same as someone who values their ‘own privacy so much’ that he ‘didn’t want to give up anybody else’s privacy.’ 

Austin Butler finally reveals why he called ex Vanessa Hudgens a ‘friend’ in THAT viral interview as apologetic Elvis star says: ‘I learned a lesson’

Austin Butler has finally revealed why he referred to his ex Vanessa Hudgens as a ‘friend’ in a past interview while discussing how he landed the role of Elvis

Butler and Hudgens dated for nine years, before their shock split in 2020 (seen above in 2019 at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party)

Butler and Hudgens dated for nine years, before their shock split in 2020 (seen above in 2019 at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party)

Ultimately, he sees the flub as a ‘lesson’ he ‘learned.’ 

Butler also made a rare remark about his current romance with supermodel Kaia Gerber, who he began dating in late 2021. 

‘I’m happy,’ he said about their relationship. 

As for the public fascination about his love life, the actor admitted that he understood because he always wants ‘to know about other people too.’ 

‘I want to know about Daniel Day-Lewis’s life,’ he mused. 

He and Cindy Crawford’s daughter were first linked following her split from Jacob Elordi. 

In December 2021, they were seen taking a yoga class together, but held off on making their red carpe debut until the 2022 Met Gala, which takes place on the first Monday in May each year. 

After sparking outrage online for seemingly downplaying their past relationship, the Dune: Part Two star, 32, explained his decision not to call the High School Musical actress, 35, by name actually came from a place of love

After sparking outrage online for seemingly downplaying their past relationship, the Dune: Part Two star, 32, explained his decision not to call the High School Musical actress, 35, by name actually came from a place of love

'I felt that I was respecting her privacy in a way and not wanting to bring up a ton of things that would cause her to have to talk,' he explained to Esquire

‘I felt that I was respecting her privacy in a way and not wanting to bring up a ton of things that would cause her to have to talk,’ he explained to Esquire

He continued: 'I have so much love and care for her. It was in no way trying to erase anything'

He continued: ‘I have so much love and care for her. It was in no way trying to erase anything’

Last year, the Golden Globe winner was slammed for referring to his former partner as just a pal while speaking about his journey to portraying the late King of Rock and Roll in Baz Luhrmann’s musical biopic, Elvis.

During a Hollywood Reporter roundtable, he recalled that a month before learning Luhrmann was casting for Elvis, Hudgens had a ‘clairvoyant moment’ about his future. 

‘I was looking at Christmas lights and there was an Elvis Christmas song on the radio and I was with a friend of mine,’ he said. ‘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.”

‘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.”

Soon after the interview was posted, many took to Twitter to label him ‘disgusting’ and ‘disrespectful’ for leaving her out.

The Anaheim native went on to same as someone who values their 'own privacy so much' that he 'didn't want to give up anybody else's privacy'

The Anaheim native went on to same as someone who values their ‘own privacy so much’ that he ‘didn’t want to give up anybody else’s privacy’

Ultimately, he sees the flub as a 'lesson' he 'learned'

Ultimately, he sees the flub as a ‘lesson’ he ‘learned’

Elsewhere in the interview, Butler was coy about his relationship with supermodel Kaia Gerber

Elsewhere in the interview, Butler was coy about his relationship with supermodel Kaia Gerber

In 2019, Hudgens famously shared the exact same story during an appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan.

Hudgens, who was still romantically involved with Butler at the time, recalled, ‘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.”

‘Then in January, he was sitting at the piano,’ she continued.

'I¿m happy,' he said about his love life (pictured with Gerber in April 2023)

‘I’m happy,’ he said about his love life (pictured with Gerber in April 2023)

‘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.”

Butler nabbed the role in July 2019 alongside Tom Hanks, who played Elvis’ infamous manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

Filming kicked off in Australia on January 28, 2020 but would come to a screeching halt just two months later after Hollywood was shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shoot resumed in Queensland in September 2020 and wrapped up in March 2021. Elvis was released in June 2022.



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