Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler’s Complete Relationship Timeline

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Vanessa Hudgens + Austin Butler's Romance TimelineGeorge Pimentel - Getty Images

First linked in 2011 through High School Musical costar Ashley Tisdale, Hudgens and Butler are one of the celebrity couples who've left a lasting mark on pop culture.

The pair's near-decade-long relationship was studded with numerous red-carpet and music festival appearances, sweet public shout-outs, romantic vacations, and affectionate social media posts. And despite calling it quits in 2020 (and finding new romances with baseball athlete Cole Tucker and model Kaia Gerber, respectively), Hudgens and Butler have remained on amicable-ish terms.

Ahead, look back on the pair's sweet, cinematic nine-year romance—from their first public appearance together to their most recent public statements about one another that suggest a lasting, special bond.

January 2023: Hudgens reacts to a meme about Butler.

Hudgens publicly responds to the recent memes surrounding Butler's seemingly sustained Elvis Presley drawl during his acceptance speech at the 2023 Golden Globes.

Voice coach Irene Bartlett speaks about Butler's lasting Presley accent following his starring role in Baz Luhrmann's Elvis, telling ABC Gold Coast, "What you saw in that Golden Globes speech, that's him. It's genuine, it's not put on. I feel sorry people are saying that, you know, it's still acting [but] he's actually taken [the voice of Presley] on board."

Instagram user @ryinskott then posts a series of reactions to Bartlett's comment—and whom should show up in the comments but Hudgens, who simply writes, "Crying."

May 2022: Hudgens reunites with Butler at the Met Gala.

The now exes make separate appearances at the 2022 Met Gala, where she serves as one of the hosts throughout the event's livestream. The two are not seen interacting with one another throughout the event, as Butler spends the majority of time with current girlfriend Kaia Gerber.

The Elvis star also talks about his starring role in his Elvis Presley biopic alongside cast members during an interview with Keke Palmer.

September 12, 2022: Hudgens addresses their split.

Hudgens references her long-term relationship with Butler and the special connection they share in an interview with NYLON, while hinting that further details may appear in a future memoir.

"The public only sees so much. I've also been through two very long life-changing relationships, and no one really knows what happened except for me," she says, adding, "When I write my memoir, it'll be amazing."

May 2022: Butler addresses their split.

For the first time, the actor publicly, albeit briefly, speaks on his breakup with Hudgens during his cover interview with GQ.

"Life is full of changes," he simply says, "and you've got to find a way to constantly be evolving and growing."

January 2020: They break up.

Following long-standing speculations of a split from their uncharacteristic social media silence during Christmas and New Year's, sources finally confirm that Hudgens and Butler have officially called it quits after nearly 10 years. Per the insiders, the long-distance circumstances finally caught up to them, with Hudgens working overseas filming Netflix's The Princess Switch 2 and Butler in production for Elvis.

"They're just shooting on two different continents and it's a matter of distance," an insider tells E! News. "There is no bad blood at all, and they have a lot of respect for each other."

"They really loved each other and have been through some of their toughest life moments together," a source also tells People. "Busy work schedules and travel definitely put a strain on the relationship. They were a wonderful couple and it's really sad that it didn't work out."

August 17, 2019: Hudgens celebrates Butler on his 28th birthday.

Hudgens shares a heartfelt note to Butler on Instagram for his 28th birthday.

"To my love, my other half, my constant inspiration and supporter. My best friend. My everything. 28 is going to be 🔥🔥🔥," she captions a simple selfie of her and Butler.

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July 23, 2019: They attend another premiere.

The two make a glamorous appearance at the premiere of Butler's July 2019 film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

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Hudgens shares a snap on Instagram of her and Butler ahead of the event, writing, "And we're OFF!!!! To the @onceinhollywood premiere with my man of the hour @austinbutler."

July 15, 2019: Hudgens raves over Butler's Elvis casting.

The actress celebrates Butler on social media after he officially lands what will become his Golden Globe–winning titular role in Baz Luhrmann's 2022 biopic, Elvis.

"I AMMMM OVERRRR THE F—— MOOOOOOOOONNNNN. I CAN'T WAIT 😍😍😍😍😍😍 SO PROUD OF MY HONEYYYYY!!!" she writes in a post on Instagram featuring a screenshot of the breaking news.

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During a 2019 appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan, Hudgens reveals that she had been the one to point out to Butler that he would make a great Elvis.

"[Butler] had just dyed his hair dark. He's a natural blond, and I was looking at him, and he was singing along and I was like, 'Babe, you need to play Elvis,'" she said at the time.

Years later, Butler would also recall the moment Hudgens first encouraged him to take on the role, though he references her at that point as just a "friend."

"The month before I heard that Baz [Luhrmann] 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,'" Butler says in January 2023 on The Hollywood Reporter's Actors Roundtable.

February 14, 2019: Hudgens celebrates seven years with Butler.

In a sweet Valentine's Day post on Instagram, Hudgens shares a sweet tribute to Butler commemorating their seven years and counting together.

"7 years strong 😍," she captions a throwback photo of Butler dipping her at a glamorous event.

March 23, 2017: Hudgens gets real about long distance.

Hudgens shares the key to making her long-distance relationship work with Butler in light of Butler's filming schedule in New Zealand for MTV's The Shannara Chronicles.

"Just communication, communication is key," Hudgens tells People. "I think that if anything's bothering you, don't hold it in. Always bring it up and just talk about it. Uncensor yourself and just be open."

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Proving the validity of her words, Hudgens shares a sweet throwback photo on Instagram of her sharing an affectionate kiss with Butler earlier in the week.

"Missing this guy," she writes in the caption.

July 2016: Ashley Tisdale talks double dating with Hudgens and Butler.

Tisdale, who has costarred with both Hudgens and Butler, tells People what it's like for her and her husband, Christopher French, to frequently double date with Butler and Hudgens.

"I mean, it's great because Austin was my best friend since way before they got together, so it's just nice to have your two best friends be in a relationship," Tisdale says. "A lot of the time we do dinner parties at one of our houses, and we all cook dinner together and have a bunch of girls over. Sometimes we do a themed night. [Hudgens] loves a good theme. One time we watched the Victoria's Secret model show and I had onesies for everyone."

February 2016: They immortalize their love.

The two accidentally get in trouble with the law after carving their names into a red rock during a trip to Sedona, Arizona. After Hudgens shares a photo of their etched names on Instagram, the post sparks investigations from the Red Rock Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest. Hudgens later deletes the photo and pays a $1,000 fine for vandalization.

January 31, 2016: Butler mourns with Hudgens.

Butler extends his heartfelt emotional support to Hudgens publicly over the passing of her father, Greg Hudgens, who fought a long battle with stage-four cancer.

On Twitter, Butler shares that he was moved by Hudgens's performance as Rizzo in Grease Live!, which she dedicated to her father due to the film's significant role in her childhood.

"From the first time I saw it, I kind of just remember it being a part of my childhood," Hudgens tells People ahead of the performance.

"WOW @VanessaHudgens singing 'Worst Things' had me in tears," Butler writes. "Just brilliant #GreaseLive."

August 30, 2015: Butler talks making Hudgens happy.

Butler opens up about how he tries to make Hudgens happy during a conversation with Entertainment Tonight on the MTV Music Awards red carpet.

"It's important to put that other person first," Butler tells the outlet. "If you're constantly looking for ways that you can make them happy, and they're constantly looking for ways that they can make you happy, then you kind of lift each other up as much as possible and you can't go wrong."

September 12, 2014: Hudgens mourns with Butler.

Hudgens emotionally supports Butler following the tragic passing of his mom, Lori Butler, from cancer. "Lori Butler, my mom, my hero, & my best friend passed away this morning," Butler shared at the time on Twitter. "Lets all celebrate her. I love you and will miss you every day Mom."

Retweeting the message, Hudgens adds, "I miss you already mama. #ripLoriButler #celebrateLori Spread the love for Lori."

August 18, 2014: They make their Instagram debut.

Butler first appears on Hudgens's Instagram when she shares a sweet birthday tribute to him. The post features a sweet selfie of the two smiling outside in dark shades.

"Yesterday was the love of my life's birthday," Hudgens writes in the caption. "Happy birthday to the man with the kindest heart, beautiful soul, crazy talent and best looks I've ever seen. He never stops inspiring me in every aspect of life and always lifts those around him up higher. I thank god so greatly for blessing the world 23 years ago by creating Austin Butler."

April 2012: They take Coachella.

The couple is spotted at Coachella, where they reportedly pack on the PDA and cozy up at the Smoke & Mirrors Party at the Guess Hotel in La Quinta, California.

"They held hands the entire afternoon," a source tells People. "They were extremely lovey-dovey."

This won't be the only time the two take on a music festival together. Months later in August, Hudgens and Butler make an appearance at Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco. And per another source, "[Hudgens] seemed to be having the time of her life. ... You could tell that she's really into music and felt good having her boyfriend by her side."

And they return to Coachella once again in 2019.

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February 3, 2012: They make their red-carpet debut.

The two show out on the red carpet for the first time as a couple for the premiere of Hudgens's film Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.

<span class="photo-credit">Steve Granitz - Getty Images</span>
Steve Granitz - Getty Images

September 2011: They make their first public appearance.

Hudgens and Butler first link through Hudgens's longtime friend and High School Musical costar Ashley Tisdale, who worked with Butler on her starring HSM spin-off, Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure, in which Butler plays onscreen love interest Peyton Leverett.

Hudgens and Butler are later spotted out together for the first time at the birthday party of Ashley Tisdale's sister, Jennifer Tisdale, getting cozy and sharing a kiss.

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