It’s been nearly 10 years since Austin Butler‘s mom Lori died of cancer in 2014, when the Elvis actor was just 23 years old. In an exclusive clip shared with Billboard from Butler’s upcoming conversation with Willie Geist on Sunday TODAY, the Golden Globe-winning actor revealed how his beloved mother would feel about his success.
“I think she’d be very proud,” Butler shared, choking up and visibly teary-eyed. “She sacrificed so much. She quit her job to drive me to auditions and drive me to acting classes. She’d wait outside and drive all the way back down to Orange County.”
He added that Lori wanted to be an actress herself back when she was in high school. “I think I’m sort of getting to live this life for both of us, in that way,” he added. “She was my best friend and I think she’d be happy.”
On the influence that his mother had on him as he continues his acting journey, Butler praised Lori’s benevolent personality. “She was also just the most kind person,” he said. “She lit up every room and she was so vibrant. She was just nice to everyone. There’s so many things that — I just want to make her proud. I want her to live through me and the lessons that she taught me and the way that she was.”
Watch the clip below, and catch the full interview on NBC News’ Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist on Feb. 19. Geist is also slated to interview a Oscar nominees Brendan Fraser and Michelle Yeoh.