Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler split after more than eight years together

By Jodi Guglielmi
January 16, 2020 08:40 PM
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Throughout their nearly nine-year relationship, Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler discussed taking the next big step together.

“They had talked about an engagement before they split up,” a source tells PEOPLE.

But over the course of their romance, the stars faced their fair share of struggles, according to a separate insider.

“They really loved each other and have been through some of their toughest life moments together,” adds the insider.

Credit: Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

Unfortunately, “busy work schedules and travel definitely put a strain on the relationship,” says the source. “They were a wonderful couple and it’s really sad that it didn’t work out.”

Hudgens, 31, and Butler, 28, called it quits after more than eight years together, PEOPLE confirmed earlier this week.

The Bad Boys for Life actress and the Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood actor first got together in 2011. Fans first speculated about a breakup when neither Hudgens nor Butler posted photos celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve together in 2019.

The pair had been long distance as they filmed projects in different countries. Hudgens has starred in a number of Netflix Christmas movies recently, shooting The Princess Switch: Switched Again in the U.K. in November 2019. And Butler will play Elvis Presley in an untitled biopic that’s currently in pre-production.

“Communication is key,” Hudgens, who also judges So You Think You Can Dance, told PEOPLE in March 2017. “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.”