Growing up, Gen Z was obsessed with High School Musical and Vanessa Hudgens, who played Gabriella Montez, scholastic decathlon champion turned star on the stage. In 2011, Hudgens and her ex Austin Butler, star of the 2022 Elvis biopic, first met at Ashley Tisdale’s sister’s birthday after Butler and Tisdale co-starred in High School Musical’s spin-off, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure. Turns out the world really is small.
Since then, the couple had gone on multiple dates on the red carpet, at Coachella, and other romantic locations. After a long eight years together, they finally broke up in 2020 due to distance with their conflicting filming schedules.
Though Butler has had many acting endeavors throughout his career — personally, I knew him from The Carrie Diaries where he played Sebastian Kydd — he really rose to fame when he played Elvis in the biopic under the same name. Since then, he has won some awards, including the AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Film, People’s Choice Award for Movie Star of the Year, and most recently, a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama. In fact, it was the Golden Globes that had viewers realizing that he’s still using his Elvis accent.
When asked about his accent, both Butler and Irene Bartlett, his voice coach for the film, had their own explanations for his voice. Butler told Entertainment Tonight, “‘When you live with something for two years, and you do nothing else, I think you can’t help it. It becomes a fiber of your being.’” As for Bartlett, she told Today, “‘What they wanted was a true connection with the personality of Elvis and his story, and that’s what Austin worked on. What you saw in that Golden Globes speech, that’s him. It’s genuine. It’s not put on.’” However, she said she’s unsure of whether the accent will be permanent or if it will fade with time.
Ever since that night, people have been making memes about the accent. An Instagram post by Ryan Scott took a screenshot of a Page Six tweet about Butler’s accent and captioned it with “He went to the Lady Gaga school of Oscar campaign acting.” The general public was having a laugh with the post and comparing Butler with other actors that had claimed to speak with an accent the entire time they were filming. What nobody expected, though, was that Hudgens was going to comment on the post. She responded to the post with, “Crying,” and the internet went wild.
This is the first time we’ve heard Hudgens comment on Elvis since the film’s release in June 2022.
All of this internet drama started when Butler was doing a Hollywood Reporter roundtable talking about his experience getting the role of Elvis. He told them, “‘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 looks over at me and goes, ‘You’ve gotta play Elvis!’ And then a couple of weeks later, I was playing the piano… That same friend was there, and I was playing the piano. She said, ‘I’m serious–you gotta figure out how you can get the rights to the script…” I guess we now know how Hudgens felt about being referred to as a friend.
Whether you actively followed Hudgens and Butler’s relationship until their breakup or just know about them from what you’ve seen on social media, there’s no denying that the High School Musical alum has made her opinion on his accent clear. We may never know whether Butler will still have his Elvis accent a decade from now, but it does give me and the rest of the internet a good laugh for now.