Austin Butler holds his memories with the late Lisa Marie Presley close to his heart. During an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, recalled meeting Presley for the first time during a visit to Graceland for an early screening of Elvis. The actor said the two had an “immediate” connection, and Preseley even opened up parts of the mansion to him that most outsiders never see, including Elvis’ bedroom.
“I’ve never had an experience where I met somebody and felt an immediate depth of relationship to them,” Butler told Fallon.
Presley died unexpectedly earlier this month at the age of 54 after suffering cardiac arrest.
“She was a person who didn’t really have anything to prove and wouldn’t open up to everybody, and she just opened up to me, and we got so close, so fast,” Butler continued. “So, yeah, it’s just devastating.”
The actor’s appearance on the show follows his nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards for his portrayal of Lisa Marie’s father, Elvis Presley. She was present at the time that he accepted a Golden Globe award for the role just two weeks prior but died just a few days after the ceremony.
“It’s weird in moments like this, because it’s so bittersweet,” Butler said. “I mean, so much great stuff is happening, but it’s really … I’m just devastated for her family and for her to not be here celebrating with us. Just to get to be with her at the Golden Globes, like, I’ll never forget that for the rest of my life.”
Presley left Butler with a collection of memories he says he will continue to cherish long after this chapter of his career, including their first interaction at the Graceland estate. “[I] get goosebumps,” he told Fallon about seeing Elvis’ bedroom for the first time. “That was after we screened the film and the bedroom, you know, his bedroom is a place that most people never get to see. And she said, ‘I want to show you something.’ And she took me up there we just sat in his bedroom. And up there, he’s not Elvis, he was just dad, you know?”
He added: “And so, to hear those stories, I truly will treasure that forever.”