AceShowbiz - Austin Butler thinks of his late mum when he smells orange blossom. The "Elvis" actor, 31, was heartbroken and fighting depression when he lost his mum Lori on September 12, 2014, aged 50 after a cancer battle, and has opened up about how he treasures childhood memories with her.
"Interestingly it is the orange blossom," he told The Times in a chat to promote his new Yves Saint Laurent fragrance when asked what the earliest smell he remembers.
"Because in my childhood home there was this orange tree in the backyard and I remember so vividly when the tree would bloom. My mother and I would go in the backyard and pick oranges and then go inside to make orange juice. And that really hit me."
Austin's new fragrance contains notes of orange blossom, which he said made the tie-in with YSL more meaningful for him. The actor has also revealed he questioned if he should leave acting and if it was a "noble profession" after his mother died when he was in his early 20s.
Austin, who started as a child actor on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, then moved on to teen dramas before making his Broadway debut in the 2018 revival of "The Iceman Cometh", told The Hollywood Reporter, "I started at about 12. I just stumbled into extra work. I was an incredibly shy kid."
"If that kid knew that I was sitting around all my heroes right now, talking like this in public, he wouldn't believe it. But being around other actors, suddenly I felt like I'd found my tribe."
"I started wanting to be around other people. 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."
He added when his mother died of cancer he had "never experienced pain like that before." Austin added, "I started to question. 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?' "
Austin also said after his mum's death he went to New Zealand to film a young adult TV show, but would "go home and cry every night." He said, "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 cancelled it after two seasons, and I said, 'I would rather not work as an actor than ever do something like that again.' "
He took time off from acting in his mid-20s but said he started "sinking into a deeper and deeper depression" for around six or eight months. His break then came when he landed a role in a revival of "The Iceman Cometh", hailing it as "the moment that changed my career."