Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler's Relationship Timeline

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler were first linked in 2011 and dated for over 8 years before splitting up in 2020

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler attend the 'Second Act' World Premiere at Regal Union Square Theatre, Stadium 14 on December 12, 2018 in New York City
Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/FilmMagic

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler dated for over eight years before they called it quits in 2020.

The actors were first linked in 2011, and went on to share plenty of sweet moments throughout their romance, including joint red carpet appearances, Coachella weekends and romantic vacations.

Due to their busy schedules and the demands of both of their respective acting careers, their relationship was often long distance — something Hudgens spoke candidly about.

"Just communication, communication is key," the actress told PEOPLE in 2017 about how she and Butler made it work.

Ultimately, the distance and scheduling concerns proved to be too much and they parted ways in 2020.

Since their breakup, Butler has been linked to model Kaia Gerber while Hudgens found love again with professional baseball player Cole Tucker.

Fans can't help but reminisce on their nearly decade-long relationship, though.

From supporting each others' careers to dressing up in iconic Halloween costumes, here is a complete timeline of Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler's relationship.

September 2011: Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler are spotted together for the first time

Jerod Harris/Getty
Jerod Harris/Getty

In September 2011, Hudgens was spotted cozying up to Butler at a birthday party for Ashley Tisdale's sister, Jennifer. Butler had just recently starred in Disney's Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure alongside Tisdale.

The potential new relationship came almost one year after Hudgens' breakup with her High School Musical costar, Zac Efron, and a few months after she was spotted with actor Josh Hutcherson.

January 2012: Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler go on a double date

Months later, the pair was seen again, this time at a restaurant in Los Angeles on a double date with fellow Disney star Danielle Panabaker and her boyfriend.

February 3, 2012: Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler hit the red carpet for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Austin Butler and actress Vanessa Hudgens arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Journey 2: The Mysterious Island' at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on February 2, 2012 in Hollywood, California
Barry King/FilmMagic

The couple made their red carpet debut at the premiere of Hudgens' new film, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.

April 2012: Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler attend Coachella together

Hudgens and Butler attended their first Coachella together later that year, and did not shy away from PDA at the festival. PEOPLE reported that they were seen cozying up together at the Smoke & Mirrors Party at the Guess Hotel in La Quinta, California.

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

August 2012: Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler attend Outside Lands Festival

The music-lovers then attended the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. "She seemed to be having the time of her life," an observer told PEOPLE. "You could tell that she's really into music and felt good having her boyfriend by her side."

May 2013: Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler party in Las Vegas

In the spring of 2013, Hudgens and Butler took a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate a friend's birthday, and PEOPLE reported that they "couldn't keep their hands off each other."

"The couple was very cute together," a source said. "They were seen dancing a lot throughout the night. They were sipping on cocktails and being cuddly and affectionate and were spotted kissing non-stop throughout the evening. They were listening to the Bingo Players, who deejayed that night."

The couple was joined by Kelsey Grammer and his wife, Kayte Walsh, who were also celebrating their mutual friend's birthday.

August 18, 2014: Vanessa Hudgens celebrates Austin Butler's birthday on Instagram

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler
Vanessa Hudgens Instagram

The pair became Instagram official in August 2014 when Hudgens posted a sweet birthday tribute for her beau on Instagram.

"Yesterday was the love of my life's birthday. Happy birthday to the man with the kindest heart, beautiful soul, crazy talent and best looks I've ever seen," she wrote. "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."

September 12, 2014: Vanessa Hudgens supports Austin Butler after his mother passes away

Vanessa Hudgens (L) and Austin Butler attend the Los Angeles premiere of LD Entertainment's "Dog Days" held at Westfield Century City on August 5, 2018 in Century City, California
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Butler lost his mother to cancer in 2014. He posted a heartfelt message on Twitter that read, "Lori Butler, my mom, my hero, & my best friend passed away this morning. Lets all celebrate her. I love you and will miss you every day Mom."

Hudgens showed her support and retweeted the message adding, "I miss you already mama. #ripLoriButler #celebrateLori Spread the love for Lori."

August 30, 2015: Austin Butler opens up about his relationship with Vanessa Hudgens

Vanessa Hudgens (L) and Austin Butler attend the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

At the MTV Music Awards, Butler spoke to Entertainment Tonight about his relationship and revealed how he and Hudgens made it work.

"It's important to put that other person first," he said. "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."

January 31, 2016: Vanessa Hudgens's father passes away and Austin Butler shows his support

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler arrive at Knott's Scary Farm and Instagram's Celebrity Night held at Knott's Berry Farm on September 29, 2017 in Buena Park, California
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

In January 2016, just hours before she was set to perform in Grease: Live, Hudgens revealed that her father had passed away after battling stage four cancer. Hudgens then shared that she would be performing the three-hour live telecast in his honor.

Before her performance, the actress told PEOPLE about how much the original movie meant to her. "From the first time I saw it, I kind of just remember it being a part of my childhood," she said.

Butler supported his girlfriend on Twitter writing, "WOW @VanessaHudgens singing 'Worst Things' had me in tears. Just brilliant #GreaseLive."

February 2016: Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler get in trouble in Sedona

Source: Vanessa Hudgens/Instagram

Just weeks after Grease: Live, Hudgens and Butler took a trip to Sedona, Arizona, where they found themselves in hot water after carving their names and a heart into one of the red rocks. Hudgens posted the carving to Instagram, sparking an investigation by the Red Rock Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest. Hudgens deleted the post from Instagram and paid a $1,000 fine.

July 2016: Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler take a trip to Italy

In July 2016, the pair took a romantic road trip through Italy, stopping at many scenic travel destinations like Cinque Terre, Portofino and Florence. Hudgens documented the trip on her Instagram, sharing snaps of the couple throughout their travels.

July 2016: Ashley Tisdale talks about double dating with Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler

Later that month, Tisdale spoke to PEOPLE about her friendship with Hudgens and Butler, each of whom she was close with before they were a couple.

"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," she said. Tisdale added that she and her husband Christopher French often went on double dates with Hudgens and Butler.

"We do dinner parties," she shared. "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 – she loves a good theme. One time we watched the Victoria's Secret model show and I had onesies for everyone."

March 23, 2017: Vanessa Hudgens opens up about making long distance work

While Butler was filming MTV's The Shannara Chronicles in New Zealand, Hudgens spoke to PEOPLE about how the couple maintains their long-distance relationship. "Just communication, communication is key," Hudgens said. "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."

Earlier that week, Hudgens shared a picture of her and Butler kissing on Instagram with the caption, "Missing this guy."

December 2017: Vanessa Hudgens shuts down engagement rumors

Vanessa Hudgens
Vanessa Hudgens Instagram

After Hudgens posted a photo showing off a new haircut and a ring on her left hand, rumors began swirling that she and Butler were engaged.

However, the actress quickly shut down the speculation on Twitter, writing, "Guysssss. I'm not engaged! I posted a pic. Not to show off my ring that I happened to throw on that finger after a long day of filming but to show off my haircut Lol."

July 18, 2018: Vanessa Hudgens shares her favorite photo with Austin Butler

In the summer of 2018, Hudgens sat down with PEOPLE for a segment of "Inside My Instagram" and looked back at some of her favorite Instagram pictures throughout the years.

For her favorite photo of her and her boyfriend, Hudgens chose a snap of the pair at the opening night of The Iceman Cometh, Butler's Broadway debut.

"The floor is blurry for some reason, I don't know how that happened, but our faces are in focus," she said of the photo. "And we're standing on the stage — his first Broadway stage! I'm just so proud."

February 14, 2019: Vanessa Hudgens shares a Valentine's Day tribute to Austin Butler

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler
Vanessa Hudgens Instagram

On Valentine's Day, Hudgens posted a sweet Instagram tribute that celebrated their seven-year romance. "7 years strong 😍" she captioned a photo of Butler dipping her at a formal event.

April 2019: Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler attend Coachella again

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler
Vanessa Hudgens Instagram / Eric Unger

Hudgens and Butler attended another Coachella together in 2019. In an Instagram photo from the weekend, Hudgens donned a bright orange wig while Butler showed off his newly dyed black hair.

July 15, 2019: Vanessa Hudgens celebrates Austin Butler's new role

Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens attend Jeremy Scott collection during the September 2017 New York Fashion Week: The Shows on September 8, 2017 in New York City
John Lamparski/WireImage

In the summer of 2019, it was announced that Butler would take on the role of Elvis Presley in Baz Lurhmann's biopic about the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Hudgens shared the news on Instagram and expressed how proud she was of him.


July 23, 2019: Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler attend the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premiere

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler attend Sony Pictures' "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" Los Angeles Premiere on July 22, 2019 in Hollywood, California

Later that month, the couple hit the red carpet to celebrate Butler's role in Quentin Tarantino's film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Hudgens shared a snap of the pair ahead of the event.

"And we're OFF!!!! To the @onceinhollywood premiere with my man of the hour @austinbutler," she captioned the post.

August 2019: Vanessa Hudgens celebrates Austin Butler's 28th birthday

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler
Vanessa Hudgens Instagram

Hudgens posted a sweet birthday tribute on Instagram in honor of Butler's 28th birthday. "To my love, my other half, my constant inspiration and supporter. My best friend. My everything. 28 is going to be 🔥🔥🔥," she captioned a photo of the two of them.

October 2019: Vanessa Hudgens posts her and Austin Butler's throwback Halloween photos

In October 2019, Hudgens posted a handful of the couple's best Halloween costumes throughout the years, including a throwback of them dressed as Jack Skellington and Sally from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.

January 2020: Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler break up

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler

After a few quiet months from the couple, a source confirmed to PEOPLE in January 2020 that Hudgens and Butler had split. Fans had started speculating about a breakup when neither of them posted photos celebrating Christmas and New Year's Eve together.

A source later told PEOPLE that the pair had discussed an engagement prior to breaking up. "They really loved each other and have been through some of their toughest life moments together," the source said. "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."

Shortly after news of their split broke, a source told PEOPLE that Hudgens was embracing the single life.

"The breakup isn't easy, but she's not one to sit around and mope," the source shared. "She's living it up and having fun. She seems really happy and excited about life, honestly."

May 2022: Austin Butler is asked about his breakup with Vanessa Hudgens

In an interview with GQ ahead of the release of Elvis, Butler made a rare comment about his breakup with Hudgens.

When asked about the split, the actor responded, "Life is full of changes, and you've got to find a way to constantly be evolving and growing." While he didn't directly mention Hudgens, it was the first time he spoke about the couple's split publicly.

September 12, 2022: Vanessa Hudgens discusses her "life-changing" relationships

In an interview with NYLON, Hudgens opened up about her past relationships and the challenges of navigating breakups in the public eye.

"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 said, seemingly referring (in part) to Butler. "When I write my memoir, it'll be amazing."

January 10, 2023: Austin Butler refers to Vanessa Hudgens as a "friend" when retelling story about Elvis role

In 2019, while appearing on Live with Kelly and Ryan, Hudgens recounted the time she and Butler were in the car singing along to an Elvis Presley Christmas song.

"He 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 told the hosts.

Years later, Butler retold that same story during The Hollywood Reporter's Actors Roundtable — but with one major difference. He refrained from mentioning Hudgens by name, instead referring to her as 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 said.

January 19, 2023: Vanessa Hudgens reacts to a joke about Austin Butler

Hudgens shared her thoughts on her ex's continued use of his Elvis Presley accent.

An Instagram user, whom Hudgens follows, posted a screenshot of a Page Six article about Butler. The title read: "Austin Butler's 'Elvis' accent is 'genuine,' might remain 'forever': voice coach."

The user paired the image with a caption that said, "He went to the Lady Gaga school of Oscar campaign acting."

In the comments section, Hudgens simply wrote, "crying."

January 24, 2023: Austin Butler credits Vanessa Hudgens for "believing" he could play Elvis

After much backlash, Butler clarified that Hudgens was in fact the "friend" he was referring to during The Hollywood Reporter's Actors Roundtable.

"That's right. I was with my partner at the time," he told the Los Angeles Times, making it clear that Hudgens was the one who first suggested he play Elvis.

Butler added: "We'd been together for so long and she had this sort of clairvoyant moment and so I really, I owe her a lot for believing in me."

March 12, 2023: Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens are seen outside the same Oscars afterparty

Following the Oscars 2023 ceremony, Butler and Hudgens crossed paths outside the Vanity Fair Oscars party in Beverly Hills, California. The former Disney star walked by as Butler chatted with Sharon Stone.

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