While we all talk about Oscar nomination snubs, can we also take a moment to talk about Hollywood exes snubbing each other? More specifically, Austin Butler earning the wrath of the internet for not acknowledging ex-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens’ role in his journey to his Golden Globe-winning performance as Elvis.
*Alexa, play “Not Gon’ Cry” by Mary J. Blige*
Well, before we all call him nothing but a hound dog, Austin is finally giving Vanessa her flowers by admitting she was the “friend” who encouraged him to audition for the Baz Luhrmann epic.
Speaking this week with The LA Times, Austin clarified his earlier comments made during a recent Actors Roundtable facilitated by The Hollywood Reporter where he said it was a non-descript “friend” who encouraged him to audition for the role, finally admitting that yep, it was Vanessa.
"That's right," he said. "I was with my partner at the time."
“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 added.
Austin is currently dating Cindy Crawford’s daughter Kaia Gerber, and the two were seen smooching like wild the night he won his Golden Globe for Best Actor. During his acceptance speech, he did not thank Vanessa for her encouragement.
The furor over the perceived snub began when Austin recounted his journey toward nabbing the role of the “Suspicious Minds” crooner during the Actors Roundtable, and refused to mention Vanessa by name.
"The month before I heard that Baz was making the movie,” he recalled, “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.’”
He continued, "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.'"
If you’ve heard this story before, it’s because the High School Musical star told nearly the identical story during a 2019 appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan, when the two were still an item.
"Last December, we were driving along and we were listening to Christmas music, and then an Elvis Presley Christmas song came on," she told the hosts. “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. "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.'"
The perceived Vanessa-erasure was amped up when Instagram user @ryinskott posted a screenshot of Page Six’s update on Austin’s ongoing Elvis accent despite the film wrapping over two years ago: “Austin Butler’s accent is ‘genuine’ and might remain ‘forever'” per his vocal coach.”
The user captioned the post, “He went to the Lady Gaga school of Oscar campaign acting.” Instagram account Comments By Celebs noticed that Vanessa commented, “Crying.” As in, crying with laughter at the irony of it all.
One fan in the comments section even went so far as to say, “Credit where credit is due, Vanessa made him.”
So the saying is true: behind every great man is a great woman, but just don’t erase her from history!