Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler have been – or had been – together nine years. Us Weekly reported yesterday that it’s over. And she happened to have a premiere last night, so she showed up in basically a wedding dress, the ultimate just-single girl declaration: I’m marrying myself!

I can appreciate that. The dress is not my favourite, and it’s a little over-the-top (a lot over-the-top), but we always say that clothes can set a mood and be a form of expression, a communication too. If this was what she was feeling for the occasion, for that particular night for what needed to be said without words, I dig it. And, frankly, seeing her look the way she looked, creating the fashion moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me that the news of the split was timed perfectly to drop just hours ahead of the premiere. It’s certainly a way to take control of the story, non? 

As for the story…

Nine years is a Young Hollywood eternity, and they’re so young, it’s actually amazing that they were together that long. Gossip, however, is always influenced by timing. And the timing here is curious. Austin is about to break big – he was just in Once Upon a Time …in Hollywood, now an Oscar-nominated Best Picture, and a few months ago was cast in the most important role of his career: playing Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic, to begin shooting soon in Australia with a release date of October 2021 so they might have some award season hopes for it as that’s the same weekend that A Star is Born opened. 

When Chris Pratt and Anna Faris broke up, a lot of people knee-jerked that it was because of his success in becoming a big movie star. That was NOT the reason but the assumption was there. Because it happens, both in real life and screen life. Success can change people. Success can change relationships. So… is that what people are thinking about Vanessa and Austin?

Or, given again that they were so young when they first fell in love, and nine years is a really long time for that stage in your life, is it just that their relationship ran its course? 

I was kinda sad about this, surprisingly. Didn’t know I cared that much about them until there was no longer a them. I even texted Kathleen about this – she had no idea – and she was sad too. And then “Priscilla” came to mind. And now, well, even more eyes are on this movie. Or they will be. 

Last night all eyes were on Vanessa. That dress was impossible to miss.