"I Have So Much Love And Care For Her": Austin Butler Broke His Silence On The Vanessa Hudgens "Friend" Backlash

    “Oh, yeah, I learned a lesson with that one."

    You probably already know that Austin Butler has been dating Kaia Gerber since the end of 2021.

    And if you're celeb-brained enough to know that, then you probably also know that Austin was in a relationship with Vanessa Hudgens from 2011 to 2018.

    The former couple on the red carpet

    So, let's take a trip back to Oscars season 2023, when Austin was doing a Hollywood Reporter roundtable interview after his ballyhooed performance in Elvis.

    During the interview, Austin talked about a moment that suggested his taking the role of Elvis Presley was a thing of destiny. "I was going to look at Christmas lights with a friend," he said, "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 as Elvis

    People online noticed that Vanessa told a similar story on Live with Kelly and Ryan back in 2019 — meaning that, when Austin recounted the story, he was referring to Vanessa as a "friend."

    View this video on YouTube

    Live With Kelly and Ryan

    So, in a new interview with Esquire, Austin was asked about how his referring to Vanessa as a "friend" raised some eyebrows online — and he explained why he did it. And it makes a lot of sense, tbh.

    “Oh, yeah, I learned a lesson with that one," he said. "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."

    Vanessa and Austin on the red carpet

    "I have so much love and care for her. It was in no way trying to erase anything.”

    Elsewhere in the interview, Austin refused to talk much about his relationship with Kaia for the sake of their privacy — and he also said that was part of why he didn't mention Vanessa specifically in the interview last year.

    “I value my own privacy so much. I didn’t want to give up anybody else’s privacy.”

    There you have it! Read the entire interview here.