Austin Butler shares ongoing heartache over family tragedy

"My mum was my best friend..."
Austin Butler
Austin Butler

Elvis star Austin Butler has shared his ongoing heartache over a family tragedy that left him devastated when he was just 23.

The 32-year-old actor spoke to Adelaide Now about his cherished memories of his mother and “best friend”, Lori.

Lori died in 2014 following a battle with cancer.

Austin Butler
Austin Butler has spoken about the death of his mother (Credit: Getty)

Austin Butler on his late mum

‘If I describe her, she was a person who was just so kind to everybody that she came in contact with and I hope to be even just a little bit like her in that way,” Butler told the publication.

“If you came into contact with her… your day was a little bit better,” the star added.

“She was such a bright light and so I think there’s a lot of things that I learned from her that I admire so much. And my dad’s the same way, he’s just always kind.

 “I just have to credit my parents you know, my mum was my best friend.”

Austin Butler with mum Lori and Vanessa Hudgens in 2012
Austin Butler with mum Lori and then-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens in 2012 (Credit: Getty)

Speaking to The Times in August 2023, Butler revealed how the smell of orange blossom evoked a powerful memory of his mother.

“Because in my childhood home there was this orange tree in the backyard and I remember so vividly when the tree would bloom,” he said.

“My mother and I would go in the backyard and pick oranges and then go inside to make orange juice. And that really hit me.”

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Butler’s mum had a far-reaching impact on the actor – who got his big break appearing as a child star on Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel and now appears in new film The Bikeriders.

He previously told how he owed his mum “everything” because she “quite her job and drove me to auditions and took me to acting classes”.

In January 2023, at an actor’s roundtable discussion hosted by the The Hollywood Reporter, Butler spoke candidly about the impact of her loss.

Austin Butler
Austin Butler is seen at Jimmy Kimmel Live on June 17, 2024 (Credit: Getty)

“After my mum passed away, I went straight to New Zealand to start shooting a young-adult TV show [The Shannara Chronicles],” he said.

“A lot of people enjoyed the show, and I had fun doing horseback riding and that sort of thing, but I’d go home and cry every night.

“I was dealing with grief, but it was also this feeling that I wasn’t aligned with something that felt truly fulfilling,” he continued.

“I got done with that show, once they canceled it after two seasons, and I said, ‘I would rather not work as an actor than ever do something like that again.'”

A period where he started “sinking into a deeper and deeper depression” followed.

“It was about six or eight months of that. Then my agent called and said, ‘You’ve got to put yourself on tape for The Iceman Cometh. Denzel [Washington]’s doing it on Broadway,'” Butler said.

“And that’s the moment that changed my career,”

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