What You Never Knew About Austin Butler

Austin Butler has been our television crush ever since he made his debut on The Disney Channel back in the early 2000s. Since then, he has gone on to take on some pretty iconic roles in television and film, and has continued to make our hearts swoon with his incredibly good looks. You may remember him being featured in shows like "Hannah Montana," "ICarly," and "Zoey 101" always playing the cute boy that comes in and steals the main character's hearts (via IMDb). Now, he's making film history with his breakthrough role as "Elvis," portraying the music icon directed by Baz Luhrmann.


Butler's portrayal of the "Hound Dog" singer is huge for his career, and we are equally as excited to watch him sing and dance to some classic songs! Before you run to watch his grand performance, though, there are quite a few things you should know about the actor, like how his nine-year relationship with a fellow celebrity ended, how he got chosen to play Elvis, and why he was hospitalized after filming. 

He lost his mother when he was in his 20s

Austin Butler was born on August 17, 1991 in Anaheim, California, making him a 30-year-old Leo king by the time "Elvis" premiered. He grew up right around the corner from Disneyland, and although he told Vogue that his family "didn't have much money" growing up, his mother would always treat the family to Disneyland season passes. In 2014, Butler sadly lost his mother, Lori, to cancer (via Page Six). 


Both Butler and the King of Rock 'n' Roll lost their mothers when they were just 23 years old. When appearing on "Today," Butler explained that this made him feel even more connected to Elvis Presley. "When I learned about his mom — and then knowing that we were the exact same age — that just hit me," he said. "It was just one of those things where you know the stars are aligning and that just became the most personal thing."

He got his start on popular Nickelodeon and Disney shows in the early 2000s

Like many actors just starting out in the entertainment industry, Austin Butler began appearing on many popular television shows across Nickelodeon, CW, Disney Channel. During the mid-2000s, he played a heartthrob in shows like "Zoey 101," "ICarly," "Hannah Montana," "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide," and "Wizards Of Waverly Place" (via IMDb). Not to mention, he starred as Sebastian Kydd in "The Carrie Diaries" and Peyton Leverett in "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure" alongside Ashley Tisdale. 


As much as we loved seeing him in these types of roles, Butler wasn't always too thrilled about them at the start of his career, and even contemplated quitting altogether. "I was sort of embarrassed about some of the things that I had to do — but I had to cut my teeth somewhere," Butler told Vogue in April 2022. "So I decided to treat each one of these jobs as a way to grow." 

Aside from television roles, he's starred in plenty of projects

In addition to starring in numerous shows, Austin Butler was cast in films such as "Dune," "Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood" and Netflix's "Dude." Oh, and he was even on Broadway! In 2018, he made his stage debut back in the revival of "The Iceman Cometh," playing the role opposite Denzel Washington, according to Playbill. However, his biggest project, as of this writing, was Baz Luhrmann's "Elvis."


Butler's breakout role in the film was even given the stamp of approval from the Presley family. Presley's granddaughter, Riley Keough, spoke at a Variety Women in Motion panel at the Cannes Film Festival and claimed that watching the movie "was a very emotional experience" (via People). "I started crying five minutes in and didn't stop," she said. "There's a lot of family trauma and generational trauma that started around then for our family. I felt honored they worked so hard to really get his essence, to feel his essence. Austin captured that so beautifully."

Priscilla Presley, the late singer's only daughter, also approved of the film. As she wrote in an Instagram post, "I relived every moment in this film. Beautifully done Baz, Tom, Austin and Olivia."


Yes, he even sings

We already know that Austin Butler is an incredible actor, but he's quite the talented vocalist, too. According to Vogue, he even taught himself how to play the piano and guitar growing up. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Butler opened up about how he put everything into this role, and he detailed the training he did to prepare for the singing aspects of the film. "When I began the process, I set out to get my voice to be identical. That instills fear. So that got the fire burning," Butler said. "For a year before we started shooting, I was doing voice coaching." 


The Director of "Elvis," Baz Luhrmann, also confirmed that you'll hear Austin Butler's singing in the film. In an Instagram post of Butler performing "Trouble" dressed as Elvis during a screen test, Luhrmann explained, "I feel I haven't been clear enough in conveying that Austin sings all of the young Elvis in the movie ... Even before his two years of vocal studies I feel that Austin is channeling the vocal qualities of Elvis." 

He's been linked to plenty of A-list celebs

Austin Butler's dating history may be small, but his past relationships are filled with plenty of popular celebrities. Butler and "High School Musical" star Vanessa Hudgens began dating back in 2011 and were together for almost a decade, according to Us Weekly. The actors split right before their anniversary in January 2020, leaving fans speechless and basically questioning if love is even real (via PopSugar). Although Butler has remained quite quiet about the breakup, the "Elvis" star finally addressed the split in an interview with GQ – kind of. "Life is full of changes," he said, "and you've got to find a way to constantly be evolving and growing."


After their tragic split, Butler was rumored to be dating actress and "Elvis" costar Olivia DeJonge, but neither confirmed whether or not this was true. He was later linked to Lily-Rose Depp in August 2021, but yet again, that was not officially confirmed. As of December 2021, Butler is confirmed to be dating model Kaia Gerber, beginning a month after her split with "Euphoria" actor Jacob Elordi (via People). 

He is best friends with Ashley Tisdale

The duo we never knew we needed! Austin Butler and Ashley Tisdale have been close friends for over a decade. The two starred in Disney's "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure" together in 2011 and have been close ever since.


For Butler's 30th birthday, Tisdale posted a sweet tribute to him on her Instagram, expressing how much she loves him and appreciates his friendship. "You've been my best friend since you were 15 so that's 15 years strong of friendship," she wrote. "I am beyond proud of you and everything you're accomplishing but most importantly proud of the person you are." 

In January 2022, Butler finally had the chance to meet Tisdale's daughter, Jupiter (via People). Tisdale shared the interaction on her Instagram feed with a series of posts of Butler holding her little girl, and the two hugging after so much time apart. Tisdale shared how although he didn't get to be with her while she was pregnant, the two actors stayed virtually connected until they were able to reunite again. "He didn't get to see me pregnant in person because it's been two 1/2 years since he's been home but this guy FaceTimed me throughout and it felt like he was there," she wrote.


He beat out Harry Styles and other celebrities for the role of Elvis

The competition for the role of "Elvis" was really intense, and Austin Butler beat out a lot of top contenders for the part. According to The New York Times, Harry Styles, Miles Teller, and Ansel Elgort all auditioned for the role of Elvis Presley, but Butler won out.


"Elvis" Director Baz Luhrmann revealed why he didn't give the part to Harry Styles while appearing on the "Fitzy & Wippa" podcast (via People). Luhrmann said it wasn't that Style isn't a suitable actor (he very much is), but because he is already a massive star. "The real issue with Harry is, he's Harry Styles. He's already an icon," Luhrmann explained. "I think Harry and I came to a place, genuinely I mean, he was just desperate to put the suit on and explore, he's such a great spirit and I have nothing but great things to say about Harry Styles." 

Styles was ultimately okay with Luhrmann's decision. On "The Howard Stern Show," the star said, "I feel like if a director feels like I'm not the best person for the role then it's better for them and it's better for me. If they think the movie's going to be better with someone else then I don't want to do it because I don't want to be the not-as-good version."


He had a hard time coming out of character after finishing Elvis

Austin Butler put his entire heart and soul into preparing for his breakout role and gave the performance of a lifetime. During a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival, Butler opened up about what it took to take on the role of the iconic singer (via People). "I basically put the rest of my life on pause for two years," he said, "and I just absorbed everything that I possibly could." He expressed how he "went down the rabbit hole of obsession" and dedicated all of his time and energy to mastering the character and learning everything there was to know about the King of Rock 'n' Roll over the course of his life.


Although Butler's dedication benefited his performance, he admitted that this wasn't the best for him on a personal level. "You can lose touch with who you actually are, and I definitely had that when I finished Elvis — not knowing who I was," he told GQ

Even after filming ended, Butler struggled to shake Elvis Presley's iconic southern accent. "At this point, I keep asking people, 'Is this my voice?'" Butler told Entertainment Tonight. "It's one of those things where certain things trigger it. When you live with something for two years, and you do nothing else, I think that you can't help it. It becomes a fiber of your being."

Austin Butler was hospitalized after Elvis

Taking on the role of Elvis Presley took an emotional and physical toll on Austin Butler. Immediately after wrapping up filming for the highly anticipated film, the actor experienced a scary hospitalization. In an interview with GQ, Butler said, "The next day [after filming ended] I woke up at 4 in the morning with excruciating pain, and I was rushed to hospital. My body just started shutting down the day after I finished Elvis." Butler was later diagnosed with a virus that presents with symptoms similar to appendicitis. 


Although he was bedridden for a week, Butler soon moved onto a new project. According to BuzzFeed News, Butler flew to London after he was fully recovered and began working on "Masters of the Air" for which he actually had to go through boot camp training.

Despite switching gears to an entirely different project, Butler admitted that he was still able to channel the King. "I was like, 'This is what Elvis felt when he was put into the Army,'" he said. "You know, performing, and the glamour of it and hearing screaming fans, and then suddenly you're just dressed like everybody else in those fatigues."

He was the face of Prada's Spring 2020 campaign

You can add modeling to the lengthy resume of Austin Butler. Listen, we knew it was only a matter of time before Butler began modeling — have you seen that face?! In January 2020, the "Elvis" actor became the face of Prada's Spring 2020 men's campaign alongside Frank Ocean and film director Nicolas Winding Refn. Prada considered the group a "trinity of contemporary creatives, pivotal cultural personalities of now and archetypes of the hyper fragmented mindset of tomorrow" (via Teen Vogue).


Refn, Ocean, and Butler each created their own individual acronyms from the Prada brand by using words to describe their own goals and aspirations in their careers. For Butler, that is "Pursue Randomness And Dichotomies, Always" according to GQ. In a statement from Prada provided to GQ, the brand explained, "Each of these men use words to define themselves: the lyrics of a song, the words of a script. They are a blueprint, a template for life."