Austin Butler and his lingering Elvis accent didn’t take home the Oscar for Best Actor last night, but the star got attention for his (brief) reunion with the woman who believed he should pursue the Elvis role: his ex-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens. Hudgens and Butler were photographed together while exiting the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Butler was talking to Sharon Stone, while Hudgens walked right past him, ignoring him. What’s less clear is whether the two interacted inside the party or had a moment beyond that.
Butler attended the Academy Awards with his agent but posed at Vanity Fair‘s event with his girlfriend of over a year, Kaia Gerber. He explained his Oscar date choice on the red carpet, saying on ABC’s pre-show, per People, “I’ve got my best friend here with me, who is also my agent. And I owe my career to him, so as a thank you, I wanted him to be by my side tonight.”
Hudgens herself is recently engaged to MLB player Cole Tucker. Hudgens and Butler dated for nine years; they broke up while Butler was filming Elvis. While Butler initially described Hudgens as the “friend” who encouraged him to chase after the Elvis role; he eventually course-corrected after that approach generated online scrutiny.
“That’s right [that my partner at the time, Vanessa Hudgens, encouraged me to play Elvis],” he said after the Los Angeles Times‘ reporter pressed him on it in January. “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.”
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.