Austin Butler’s parents: The actor’s upbringing detailed

Elvis Presley’s family and the audience at the Cannes Film Festival applauded Austin Butler’s portrayal of the music icon for 12 minutes. “From my understanding, it was the longest ovation received for a film,” Elvis’ ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, wrote on Instagram. “Actor Austin Butler’s performance as Elvis was mesmerizing.”

According to Elvis director Baz Luhrmann, Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, was equally blown away by Austin’s performance. “Austin caught his humanity,” Luhrmann said, “his kindness. I felt so moved by that.”

Austin told reporters that the support of Elvis’ family meant everything and that he was relieved when they responded positively to his performance. As you’ll see below, Austin and Elvis shared a similar traumatic experience that allowed him to better portray the legend. 

Austin’s parents divorced when he was seven years old

Austin Butler was born on 17th August 1991 to Lori Anne and David Butler in Anaheim, California. He grew up alongside his older sister Ashley midway between Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. 

David was a real estate appraiser, and Lori Anne ran a daycare at home. The couple divorced amicably when Austin was seven, forcing him and Ashley to spend the rest of their childhoods shuttling between two houses. 

Butler told Vogue that his family wasn’t wealthy, but his mother spent big on Disneyland season passes for him and Ashley. 

Butler lost his mother to cancer in 2014

Lori Anne lost her battle with cancer in 2014. Austin told Smooth Radio that he lost his closest friend: “And she was my best friend. I’ve never experienced that type of unconditional love, and I probably never will, of a mother – a ‘sense,’ is what I mean.”

Butler was 23 when he lost Lori Anne, and so was Elvis when he lost his beloved mother. Austin felt a responsibility to bring out Elvis’ grief as accurately as possible because he understood what Presley would have felt. He continued:

“It ends up feeling sort of like this love letter to my mom, and to Elvis and his mom, you know? Because that’s the biggest void I’ve felt in my life, losing her.”

Austin said acting out those scenes wasn’t easy as they forced him to face his grief. Butler said:

“Those are the scenes you kind of dread, because it’s so painful. It’s like walking into a burning building. You’re like, ‘I just don’t want to go in there’. But once you’re there, it also doesn’t feel like playing pretend, you know? It feels so real.”

Austin said he felt exhausted after some days on set, but he appreciated those difficult moments as they helped him work through his emotions. Butler said on Today:

“It was just one of those things where you know the stars are aligning and that just became the most personal thing.”

Austin didn’t see his family and friends for three years while filming Elvis

Austin Butler immersed himself so deeply into his Elvis performance that he had no time for family and friends. The actor said he didn’t see his family and friends for three years:

“I didn’t see my family for—it turned out to be three years. I didn’t see any one of my friends for that entire time. So, it was like the rest of my life, suddenly, I compartmentalized.”