Austin Butler was left with a “lot of turmoil” in his mind in the wake of his mum’s cancer death.
The ‘Elvis’ star, 32, was left so devastated when his mother Lori was killed by the disease on 12 September, 2014, aged 50 – a month after his 23rd birthday and following his months as her primary caregiver while she lived with him while fighting the illness.
He told the new issue of Esquire about how he took a break from acting as he crumbled with grief: “I had a lot of turmoil in my mind. I needed time to metabolise some of those emotions.”
Days after his mother’s funeral, Austin was due on set for ‘The Shannara Chronicles’ in New Zealand and despite his grief he turned up – with his Esquire profile saying he would go back to his hotel room every night after filming to “sob into his pillow”.
Once filming wrapped on the fantasy drama show’s second and final season, Austin decided to take a break from acting and considered quitting showbusiness.
He spent eight months out of the spotlight before he was offered the chance to make his Broadway debut in the 2018 revival of ‘The Iceman Cometh’ alongside Denzel Washington, 69.
Austin added to Esquire about his decision to go back to acting: “I just said, ‘I’ve got this feeling of what I need to do – of the only type of thing I want to do.
“I want to get to explore certain parts of myself that I haven’t had the opportunity to.’
“I knew it was a yes (to going back to acting) if they would take me (for ‘The Iceman Cometh’.)
“This was exactly what I wanted to do.”
Austin – who was nominated for a best actor Oscar for playing ‘Elvis’ in Baz Luhrmann’s epic 2022 biopic of the singer – added about being amazed by his mum’s kindness as she fought illness: “She would say, ‘Austin, on your way to the hospital today, go and pick up flowers for all of the nurses.’
“What a beautiful lesson for me to have: How do you still think of others even when you’re hurting?”