"I owe her for everything because she quit her job and drove me to auditions, and took me to acting classes," Austin Butler said.
Austin Butler is remembering the challenging time he went through while grieving his mother and returning to work. The 31-year-old Elvis actor shared details on the passing of his mother Lori, who passed away from cancer in 2014, when he was 23 years old, at The Hollywood Reporter's new Actor Roundtable discussion. Butler described feeling insecure about acting during that time and the painful experience of filming The Shannara Chronicles for MTV while grieving for his late mother.
Butler stated his mother recognized his acting talent when he was a young star on Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel. "My mom saw that in me, and I owe her for everything because she quit her job and drove me to auditions, and took me to acting classes. Then I started working." he shared, per PEOPLE.
Butler started to question everything about his craft when his mother passed. "I started falling in love with the craft. But I was stuck in a lane of doing Nickelodeon and Disney. Then I moved on to young-adult TV shows. After my mom passed away, I'd never experienced pain like that before, and I started to question it. Suddenly I was around doctors and people that were hurting a lot in hospitals, and I thought, 'Is acting a noble profession? Should I be doing this or should I give myself in some way that can help people who are dealing with cancer or something like that?'"
"After my mom passed away, I went straight to New Zealand to start shooting a young-adult TV show," he continued, referencing Shannara Chronicles. "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," he recalled.
Butler recalled, "I was dealing with grief, but it was also this feeling that I wasn't aligned with something that felt truly fulfilling. 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.'" Butler decided to then take a break, but over time, he "started slipping into a deeper and deeper sadness."
He revealed that approximately six to eight months after this began, his agent contacted him about Elvis. "I went in the room, and they gave me the job in the room. And that’s the moment that changed my career," he shared.
Butler paid tribute to the late Lisa Marie Presley, with whom he worked closely while filming Elvis, in a statement to PEOPLE. He shared that his "heart is completely shattered" for her children and mother after "the tragic and unexpected" death. He added, "I am eternally grateful for the time I was lucky enough to be near her bright light and will forever cherish the quiet moments we shared."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Gareth Cattermole