Looking back. Austin Butler made a rare comment about his past nine-year romance with Vanessa Hudgens, which ended in early 2020.

While promoting his upcoming movie Elvis — set to premiere on June 24 — the actor, 30, spoke with GQ and reflected on how his life has taken a turn since being cast and subsequently playing music legend Elvis Presley. In the article, published on Wednesday, May 25, the writer noted that Austin “politely” responded to a question about his and Vanessa’s breakup.

“Life is full of changes, and you’ve got to find a way to constantly be evolving and growing,” the Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood star responded, playing coy.

He and the High School Musical actress, 33, first sparked romance rumors in 2011 and made their first red carpet appearance months later in February 2012. Throughout their relationship, the duo kept things out of the public eye, but were often photographed posting together at events. In August 2019, Vanessa told Life & Style that the keys to their long-term love were “communication, trust and patience.

While they made it work for nine years, news of their split broke in January 2020. Us Weekly was first to report the news with a source telling the publication, “Vanessa and Austin are officially broken up, and Vanessa has been telling those close to her about their breakup.”

Austin Butler Reflects on ‘Evolving and Growing’ Before Vanessa Hudgens Split: 'Life Is Full of Changes'
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

However, there doesn’t seem to be any bad blood between the two following their split. Austin even referenced his ex during an April 2022 interview with Vogue, sharing that Vanessa was the one who had an “epiphany” and told him, “You need to play Elvis.”

Vanessa has since moved on with MLB star Cole Tucker while Austin has made headlines for his romance with Kaia Gerber.

Previously, a source told Life & Style in December 2021 that Vanessa is “totally cool” with Austin having moved on with Kaia. “She and Austin didn’t work out. It happens,” the insider added, noting that the Tick, Tick … Boom actress is “crazy” about her man.

That same month, a separate source confirmed to Life & Style that Austin and Kaia, 20, were “dating.” At the time, the insider added, “It’s still really early,” noting that “so far, it’s going very well.”

“She’s taking it slow, she doesn’t want to rush into anything, but she and Austin are really into each other,” the source added. “Austin is older than her by 10 years, but she likes that. They‘re having fun getting to know each other better, and they make a really cute couple.”