Vanessa Hudgens says Austin Butler split 'catapulted' her to true love

Vanessa Hudgens feels "grateful" for her split from Austin Butler because it "catapulted" her to "the right person".
The 35-year-old 'High School Musical' star struck up a romance with the 'Elvis' actor back in 2011 and they dated for almost a decade before splitting in 2020 and Vanessa went on to find true love with husband Cole Tucker - who she married in December - and she believes her past romance helped contribute to her current happiness.
During an appearance on the 'She Pivots' podcast, Vanessa explained: "I feel like so much of my character was built from my break-ups ... I feel like my last break-up has really catapulted me to a very, very special place, obviously.
"It pushed me to the right person which I'm so grateful for because he's just the most supportive, real understanding human being that I've ever met."
It comes after Austin previously insisted he wasn't "trying to erase" his relationship with Vanessa by labelling her a "friend".
The actor seemingly downplayed their romance in a roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter last year when he explained a "friend" told him he was destined to play Elvis Presley on screen.
However, Austin later insisted he simply wanted to protect his ex-girlfriend's privacy. He told Esquire magazine: "I felt that I was respecting her privacy in a way and not wanting to bring up a ton of things that would cause her to have to talk.
"I have so much love and care for her. It was in no way trying to erase anything. I value my own privacy so much. I didn’t want to give up anybody else’s privacy."
Austin - who is now dating actress/model Kaia Gerber - previously sparked a social media debate when he seemingly referenced Vanessa in the 2023 interview by saying: "The month before I heard that Baz [Luhrmann] was making the ['Elvis'] 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.’ Then my agent called and said, ‘So Baz Luhrmann is making an Elvis film …'”