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How Vanessa Hudgens encouraged Austin Butler to play Elvis - and who he has dated since

The couple's break up shocked fans

austin butler vanessa hudgens relationship
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz ColonOnline News WriterNew York
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Austin Butler has been melting hearts since his roles on Sharpay's Fabulous Adventures and The Carrie Diaries in 2011 and 2013, respectively, but it's his role as Elvis in Baz Luhrman's critically-acclaimed film that truly landed him heartthrob status.

MORE: Elvis and Priscilla Presley: the ultimate rundown of the couple's most stylish moments

However, as the actor continues to become increasingly more popular, some longtime fans can't help but get nostalgic when they think of who was always rooting for him as he paved his way into Hollywood, and that is his former girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens.

The longtime couple broke hearts when they announced they were breaking up in 2020, after dating for nine years. They met through their mutual best friend, Ashley Tisdale, Vanessa's co-star in the High School Musical trilogy, and Austin's in its spin-off, Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure.

WATCH: Austin Butler as Elvis Presley

MORE: Austin Butler reveals heartbreaking connection to Elvis Presley ahead of biopic release date

Two years after their shocking split, more attention falling on the behind-the-scenes of the making of Elvis led fans to resurface a clip in which the Tick, Tick, Boom actress details how excited she was for her then boyfriend to land the part.

Speaking on Live! With Kelly and Ryan back in 2019, she grew immediately giddy talking about his big break, and said: "I'm so, so proud. He has always been so inspiring to me… It's so crazy because last December we were driving along and we were listening to Christmas music and then an Elvis Presley Christmas song came on. "

She explained: "He had just dyed his hair dark and I was looking at him and he was singing along and I was like, 'Babe, you need to play Elvis,'" just a month before the movie was announced.

vanessa hudgens austin butler elvis movie© Photo: Getty Images

The two first started dating in 2011

Since the video resurfaced following its premiere, fans of the former couple were even more heartbroken to know she wouldn't be by his side as what she called "his calling" came to fruition. So who was?

MORE: Vanessa Hudgens looks unbelievably chic in a strapless Schiaparelli gown

MORE: Vanessa Hudgens shares secret to her super toned legs - and it only takes 30 minutes

The first woman to be linked to Austin since the split was in fact his Elvis co-star, Olivia DeJonge. Though neither confirmed whether they were dating, the two were spotted cuddling up together at a movie theater in late 2020.

austin butler kaia gerber relationship dating© Photo: Getty Images

Austin and current girlfriend Kaia made their debut at the Met Gala 

A year later, he was linked to yet another bombshell, Lily-Rose Depp, when photos were snapped of the two sharing a kiss after a night out in London.

Finally, the woman who was right by his side as he premiered the long awaited biopic, Kaia Gerber. The two drove the internet crazy with their PDA on both the Met Gala red carpet and at Cannes, and it appears as if they are still going strong.

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