Austin Butler has thanked his ex-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens for pushing him to take on the lead role in Elvis.
While speaking to the Los Angeles Times for an interview published on Tuesday, the current Oscar nominee credited the High School Musical star with encouraging him to take on the role of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's biopic.
"I was with my partner at the time," he recalled, before confirming he was referring to Vanessa.
Austin 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."
The 31-year-old received backlash earlier this month when he recalled the story during The Hollywood Reporter's Actors Roundtable but referred to Vanessa as his unnamed friend.
"The month before I heard that Baz 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,'" Austin told his fellow actors.
"A couple of weeks later, I was playing the piano," he continued. "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.'"
The actress shared a similar story in 2019 when they were still together. They split up in 2020 after a nine-year relationship.
Austin is now dating model Kaia Gerber, while Vanessa is in a relationship with baseball star Cole Tucker.