Austin Butler is low-key in the High School Musical cinematic universe.
There’s nothing sweeter than a friendship brimmed with nostalgia, and that’s what Ashley Tisdale and Austin Butler have. You may have not known this, but the Elvis star and the High School Musical alum’s friendship goes way back to the days of early-2010s Disney Channel, AKA the channel’s most iconic and irreplaceable era. Even more impressive, their bond is still strong well over a decade later.
Currently, Butler’s having a pretty major career moment. He recently starred in the Baz Luhrmann-directed Elvis biopic. The film premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival on May 25 and arrived on the big screen on June 24. This might be Butler’s first major leading film role, but he certainly isn’t new to acting.
In fact, Butler likely wouldn’t be the leading man he is today without Tisdale. She gave him one of his first big acting breaks nearly a decade ago (Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure) and reportedly set him up with one of his most-famous exes (Vanessa Hudgens).
Over the years, Tisdale specifically has vocalized her close friendship with Butler, regularly posting about him on Instagram. There aren’t quite BFFs like these two, and their friendship timeline is inspiring.
July 2009: Aliens In The Attic
In 2009, Tisdale was already a Disney Channel star, having appeared on the series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, as well as in all three of the iconic High School Musical films. Plus, who could forget her 2007 debut album, Headstrong, and its single, “He Said She Said?” Not me.
Meanwhile, Butler was jumping around appearances on classic teen shows like Hannah Montana, iCarly, and Zoey 101. He and Tisdale officially teamed up in 2009 for Aliens In The Attic, a film about two families that discovered aliens trying to take over the world. According to IMDB, this friendly sci-fi flick was Butler’s first movie role.
On the tenth anniversary of the family-friendly movie in 2019, their co-star Ashley Boettcher posted a throwback collage of stills from the film on Twitter. In the photos, Tisdale and Butler both sported very swoopy bangs. Oh, aughts-era hairdos. I miss them.
April 2011: Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure
In 2011, two years after boppin’ to the top of High School Musical, Tisdale returned one last time as the pink-tastic diva Sharpay for a stand-alone film, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure. Even better, she brought Butler along for this jazzy ride. I can’t deny a good reunion.
This whimsical movie followed Sharpay as she relocated to New York City to pursue her musical dreams. There, she meets Peyton (Butler), a student filmmaker who helps her enter the theater world.
2011 - 2021: Off-Screen Adventures
Tisdale reportedly introduced Butler to her then co-star, and Hudgens and Butler reportedly began dating in 2011 before calling it quits in January 2020.
During this period, Butler and Tisdale were occasionally photographed together at Hollywood events alongside Hudgens and Tisdale’s boyfriend-turned-husband, Christopher French. For example, they were spotted at HBO’s 2014 Golden Globes party in 2014.
The foursome also attended the 2016 Cloud Forest Institute in Santa Monica.
August 2021: Happy Birthday, Austin.
Come 2021, over a decade after Tisdale and Butler first became friends, Butler’s career had taken off in a major way. A few years earlier, in 2019, he was very publicly cast as the King of Rock and Roll in the Elvis biopic.
Still, in 2021, Tisdale (who by this point was deep into her still ongoing era of frequent Instagram posts) celebrated a different, more personal milestone for Butler. On Aug. 18, she posted in honor of his 30th birthday.
“I can’t believe your 30!!! Welcome to the club buddy!” Tisdale began the lengthy post, which included a photos of the duo over the years. “You’ve been my best friend since you were 15 so that’s 15 years strong of friendship! I am beyond proud of you and everything you’re accomplishing but most importantly proud of the person you are.”
Tisdale also lowkey took credit for his career, as she should. “PS remember that one time I convinced you to be in my Disney movie Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure? Well look at you now!!” she said. Icon behavior.
January 2022: Multi-Generation Love
A few months later, in January of this year, Tisdale and Butler reunited after nearly two-and-a-half years apart. In an Instagram post on Jan. 27, Tisdale shared photos of Butler meeting her daughter, Jupiter Iris.
“He didn't get to see me pregnant in person because it's been two 1/2 years since he's been home but this guy FaceTimed me throughout and it felt like he was there,” she wrote, mentioning that he also reached out the morning after she welcomed her daughter. Tisdale gave birth to her daughter with French in March 2021.
The singer shared a few more touching shots of Butler and Jupiter before ending with a photo of her embracing Butler. “He's one of my best friends and to see him with Juju is so special ❤️,” she wrote. Ugh, my heart can’t deal.
With such a sweet bond as this, I wouldn’t mind seeing another Butler shoutout from Tisdale. Or, to be honest, for him to post one for her. They’re the ultimate friendship goals.