Before he was the star of Baz Lurhman’s Elvis biopic, Butler was in a relationship with fellow Disney Channel actor Hudgens for nearly a decade, until their split in 2020. The 30-year-old actor has since been romantically linked to 20-year-old Gerber, the daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford. Now, fans have noticed a surprising link between Hudgens and Gerber in a resurfaced picture that’s making the rounds on social media.
Twitter user @KNVee was the first to share the image, which was taken at the 2007 red carpet premiere of High School Musical 2. Hudgens, who was 20 years old at the time, is pictured bending down to shake hands with then-six-year-old Gerber. “His ex meeting his new gf,” they captioned the photo.
In another picture from the event, Hudgens is seen standing beside the model’s mother, Crawford, along with her brother Presley Gerber. The image went viral when user @agapethamar quoted the original tweet with the caption, “I’m crying I thought this was a meme but it really is Vanessa Hudgens meeting Kaia Gerber pls Austin Butler is so nasty for this”.
“This is crazy omg,” one person tweeted in response to the photo, while another said: “I have nothing against age gap couples (as long as they are legal) but this picture of Vanessa Hudgens meeting Kaia Gerber is THE FUNNIEST thing I’ve ever seen.”
Hudgens and Butler were first spotted together back in 2011, after High School Musical co-star Ashley Tisdale introduced the pair. Butler had starred in Disney’sSharpay’s Fabulous Adventure alongside Tisdale, while Hudgens had broken up with Zac Efron one year prior.
In 2012, Hudgens and Butler made their red carpet debut as a couple. Since then, they have been pictured cozying up at Coachella festivals and posting birthday tributes for each other on Instagram. The couple even sparked engagement rumours in 2017 after Hudgens posted a picture of herself with a ring on her left hand.
im crying i thought this was a meme but it really is venessa hudgens meeting kaia gerber pls austin butler is so nasty for this 😭 https://t.co/ZuxzCnjTWy
— the summer agapé turned petty (@agapethamar) August 5, 2022
Hudgens shut down the engagement rumours on Twitter at the time, 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."
In 2019, after it was announced that Butler would play the role of Elvis Presley in Luhrman’s biopic about the rock star, Hudgens posted the news to her Instagram account and shared her excitement for Butler. “I AMMMM OVERRRR THE F***ING MOOOOOOOOONNNNN. I CANT WAIT,” she wrote. “SO PROUD OF MY HONEYYYYY!!!”
Just six months later, it was confirmed that Hudgens and Butler had split. A source later told People that the pair had discussed an engagement prior to breaking up, but admitted that their “busy work schedules and travel” put a “strain on the relationship.”
"The breakup isn’t easy, but she’s not one to sit around and mope," the source said about Hudgens. "She’s living it up and having fun. She seems really happy and excited about life, honestly."
Ahead of the release of Elvis, Butler spoke briefly to GQ about his breakup with Hudgens for the first time, although he did not name the Spring Breakers actress. “Life is full of changes, and you’ve got to find a way to constantly be evolving and growing,” he said.
In November 2020, Hudgens was spotted holding hands with Cole Tucker and has been dating the MLB player ever since. Meanwhile, Butler has had a series of relationships, from Elvis co-star Olivia DeJonge to actress and model Lily-Rose Depp. In May 2022, Butler made his red carpet debut with Gerber at the Met Gala.