The Heartbreaking Truth About Elvis and Priscilla Presley's Love Story

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Elvis Presley's Family Reunites for "Elvis" Premiere

Not all epic emotion stories are long.

Almost 45 years aft his death, Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley remain embedded successful our civilization arsenic a unit, from the footage of their 1967 wedding, the bouffant-sporting bride's kohl-rimmed eyes gazing astatine her heartthrob husband, to their family photos with daughter Lisa Marie.

The bully times didn't past forever, to accidental the least, but Priscilla remains the keeper of Elvis' legacy. She became a co-executor of the "King of Rock and Roll's" estate after the decease of the singer's father, Vernon Presley, successful 1979 and has been instrumental successful keeping Graceland up and moving arsenic a tourer destination (though pilgrimage tract whitethorn beryllium much accurate) and her ex 1 of the highest-earning deceased celebrities of each time. 

But adjacent if Vernon had handed the keys to the castle to idiosyncratic else, it's not arsenic if the acquisition of being successful emotion with 1 of the most magnetic people ever to locomotion the world was conscionable going to slice away.

"He was specified an interaction successful my life, successful each way," Priscilla told Entertainment Tonight in 2017. "He was my mentor, helium was my confidant. I wrote this successful my publication [Elvis and Me]. He was everything. In my publication I wrote 'my God,' due to the fact that I lived and breathed him."


How Did Elvis Presley and Priscilla Meet?

Priscilla Beaulieu was 14 erstwhile she archetypal met Elvis Presley astatine a enactment successful West Germany successful September 1959.

The teen's father, Navy aviator Lt. James Wagner, died successful a level clang erstwhile she was six months old. The Beaulieus—mom Ann, U.S. Air Force serviceman stepdad Capt. Paul Bealieu, Priscilla and 5 younger half-siblings—moved astir a lot, arsenic subject families often do, Wiesbaden being lone their latest stop.

Elvis was 24. He had been drafted into the U.S. Army successful March 1958, a regular-guy crook of events that the "Hound Dog" vocalist disquieted would enactment a damper connected his skyrocketing career. It had hardly been a year-and-a-half since he'd made his world-rattling debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, sending his fans into hysterics and scaring the puritanical types with his swiveling hips, and helium had already sold millions of records and purchased his 18-room Memphis mansion known arsenic Graceland.

He had a inclination toward excess arsenic his lavish location decor and bespoke wardrobe would aboriginal attest, but he was besides a mama's lad with an old-fashioned streak—especially erstwhile it came to ladies acting similar ladies (even portion boys would beryllium boys). The decease of his mother, Gladys, connected Aug. 14, 1958, was a immense stroke that galore adjacent to him said helium ne'er got over.

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In a first-person relationship for People in 1985 coinciding with the merchandise of her memoir, Priscilla recalled being introduced to Elvis astatine his rental house adjacent the Army basal successful Bad Nauheim: The star asked her, "Well, what person we here? What are you, astir a inferior oregon elder successful precocious school?" When she told him she was successful ninth grade, helium chuckled and said, "Why, you're conscionable a baby."

Then helium strolled implicit to the soft and started singing. "I saw Elvis trying to get my attention," Priscilla remembered. "I noticed that the little effect I showed, the much helium began singing conscionable for me. I couldn't judge that Elvis Presley was trying to impressment me."

She was just wearing "a small sailor dress" that night, she aboriginal remembered to UPI, due to the fact that she could inactive hardly judge she was going to meet Elvis.

Priscilla was invited backmost to his location for different gathering. And another. On that 3rd night, helium invited her upstairs to beryllium alone, she recalled to People, assuring her, "I curse I'll ne'er bash thing to harm you. I'll dainty you conscionable similar a sister."

When Did Elvis Start Dating Priscilla?

Her parents didn't similar it astatine all, but erstwhile it became wide she wasn't going to enactment away, Priscilla's stepfather insisted they astatine slightest conscionable the man, and erstwhile Elvis came for dinner, dressed to impressment successful afloat uniform, Paul leveled with him: What bash you want?

"'Well, sir, I hap to beryllium precise fond of her,'" Priscilla remembered the antheral whose little fractional was censored during his 3rd quality on The Ed Sullivan Show telling her father. "'She's a batch much mature than her property and I bask her company. It hasn't been casual for me, being distant from location and all. It gets kinda lonely. I conjecture you mightiness accidental I request idiosyncratic to speech to. You don't person to interest astir her, Captain. I'll instrumentality bully attraction of her.'"

Despite their technically unconsummated relationship, they became "deeply involved," Priscilla told People. "Something successful his Southern upbringing had taught him that the 'right' miss was to beryllium saved for marriage. I was that girl. At the aforesaid time, helium molded maine into his woman. I wore the clothes, hairstyle and constitution of his cautious choosing."

Early connected she also started to resent having to stock him with truthful galore admirers.

"It was lone precocious successful the evening, erstwhile we were successful his bedroom, that I was genuinely happy," she told People. Where, she described, they'd buss and speech for hours. Priscilla has maintained that they ne'er had enactment until their wedding night.

But she started to person occupation keeping up successful school, and one night helium gave her a fistful of pills to assistance her enactment awake the adjacent day. She didn't instrumentality them, lone uncovering retired later it was Dexedrine—amphetamines, that is, which Elvis started utilizing erstwhile helium got to the Army.

When Did Elvis and Priscilla Reunite?

When Elvis returned to the U.S. successful March 1960, Priscilla was informed by paparazzi that Elvis had started dating Nancy Sinatra (the archetypal of galore stars he'd beryllium linked to) before she got a telephone from him. Three weeks aft helium near Germany, helium yet did get successful touch, and truthful began Priscilla's "state of suspended animation," she told People, "waiting for his infrequent calls."

Sometimes it would beryllium a fewer weeks, sometimes more. They hadn't talked successful months oregon seen each different successful 2 years, Priscilla recalled, erstwhile successful February 1962 helium invited her to alert retired to Los Angeles. Once they'd convinced her dad, Elvis sent her a round-trip first-class summons for a two-week stay.

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Yet adjacent aft immoderate cuddle clip erstwhile she archetypal arrived, helium told her she couldn't enactment overnight astatine his location and had a subordinate of his entourage thrust her to the location of immoderate friends. Priscilla aboriginal recovered retired that helium had lone precocious shipped his supposedly former girlfriend Anita Wood back to Memphis, and helium was trying to debar his impermanent from retired of municipality being contiguous for immoderate late-night telephone calls.

But the visit, including a decadent roadworthy travel to Las Vegas, wherever Elvis bought her much apparel and fto her cognize that he would cognize if she was with immoderate feline different than him, was intoxicating enough.

When Did Priscilla Presley First Move to Graceland?

Priscilla spent Christmas of 1962 at Graceland, and erstwhile she went backmost to Germany, she told her parent that Elvis wanted her to determination to Memphis to decorativeness precocious school. 

Priscilla could unrecorded with his begetter and stepmother, Elvis told Paul.

"Declaring his intentions honorable, helium swore that helium loved and needed and respected me," Priscilla told People. "In fact, helium couldn't unrecorded without me, helium said, intimating that 1 time we'd marry. In that light, determination was small my parents could bash but accidental yes, and yet they did."

Priscilla did determination successful with Vernon and Dee Presley, technically, portion she attended the all-girl Immaculate Conception Cathedral High School successful Memphis, but spent truthful overmuch clip astatine Graceland with Elvis, she was yet conscionable living there.

"People person said, 'Oh my gosh, I can't judge your parents fto you spell with this stranger,'" Priscilla said on Good Morning America in 2017. "But it was a precise guiltless time. I liked him precise much. I surely felt safe...We cannot comparison it to today. We inactive had morals, precocious standard. There was a batch of care."

But Elvis was besides making aggregate movies a year, each with beauteous starring ladies, and adjacent if helium wasn't having arsenic galore flings with his co-stars as rumor would person it, helium besides wasn't surviving the beingness of a antheral who was spoken for.

Life astatine Graceland "was lonely" for her successful those archetypal years, Priscilla admitted to Closer Weekly in 2017. Elvis' precise progressive manager, Col. Tom Parker, didn't privation it known that his invaluable lawsuit had a dependable girlfriend, for fearfulness they'd springiness up their ain hopes of being with Elvis and halt buying records, and determination weren't adjacent immoderate pictures of the brace astir the house.

Parker was "kind" to her, Priscilla added, but "he conscionable didn't privation [fans] to cognize I was 'the one.'"

And yet sometimes Elvis picked her up from schoolhouse successful a limo and flew her retired to L.A. erstwhile helium was making movies. "It was a life-style truthful outrageous," Priscilla told People in 1978, "that I'm conscionable thankful I've travel retired sane."

Ultimately Elvis ne'er veered from the people helium decided connected with Priscilla, getting down connected 1 genu successful her chamber astatine Graceland soon earlier Christmas successful 1966 and proposing with a 3 1/2-carat diamond surrounded by 20 much diamonds, the ringing by Memphis jeweler Harry Levitch. 

The Original Elvis-Themed Las Vegas Wedding

Trying to support everything nether wraps arsenic overmuch arsenic possible, Parker had the betroth

ed duo alert from Palm Springs to Las Vegas astatine astir midnight on May 1, 1967, their wedding day. Frank Sinatra loaned his backstage jet.


They got their licence astatine astir 3 a.m., Priscilla remembered to Closer, and tied the knot successful a country astatine the Aladdin Hotel successful beforehand of 14 people, the ceremonial officiated by Nevada Supreme Court Judge David Zenoff. A speedy property league and a champagne meal for 100 guests followed downstairs. (They aboriginal threw a bigger enactment astatine Graceland.)

"My wedding was precise unusual," Priscilla recalled past year, per Vogue. "It was the radical closest to us, and private, and that's however we wanted it. We didn't privation a instrumentality club. We didn't privation a circus."

After the ceremony, Elvis quipped, "Well, I conjecture it was astir time. With the beingness I had, I decided it would beryllium champion to wait."

Magma Agency/WireImage

What Was Elvis and Priscilla Presley's Marriage Really Like?

Nine months to the time aft they became hubby and wife, their daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, was calved successful Memphis.


Elvis was a doting, loving father, Priscilla told Closer, but helium didn't alteration diapers—"That wasn't a man's job"—and had a hard clip watching the babe eat, owed to the inevitable drool. He did, however, bargain Lisa Marie a fur overgarment erstwhile she was 3 and manus retired $5 for mislaid babe teeth. When helium bought his ain pitchy successful 1975, helium christened it the "Lisa Marie."

But "with Elvis," Priscilla explained to People in 1978, "my beingness was his life. He had to beryllium happy. We ne'er disturbed him. My problems were secondary."

Moreover, she recalled to People last September, "Women gravitated to him, truthful I would beryllium tense erstwhile helium had to spell places alone. I would adjacent spell with him to get his teeth cleaned! I ever had an oculus connected him due to the fact that everyone successful the satellite was aft him."

While they were married, though, "I was ever acceptable to greet him astatine the doorway and pamper him," she said. "I loved taking attraction of Elvis precise much. I loved tending to him. I loved feeding him. We would babe talk, due to the fact that you person to person your ain connection erstwhile you person that galore radical around. It was a bully life. It was different, but it was ours."

Why Did Elvis and Priscilla Divorce?

Elvis was a chronic cheater and, eventually, Priscilla told Closer, she stepped out, too. She tried to disregard what was happening for "as agelong arsenic I could," she said. "But I did cognize that determination was immoderate finagling going on."

His medicine cause usage besides became much of a problem, and Priscilla said on Good Morning America recently that seeing a country successful the caller Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic Elvis in which her younger aforesaid (played by Olivia DeJonge) tells her hubby (an "unbelievable" Austin Butler) to question assistance for his "dependency" touched a nerve.

Gary Null//NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

"It was getting much and much frightening arsenic clip went by," Priscilla recalled, "where helium conscionable was like, rebelling."

Elvis besides had a temper, and wasn't utilized to anyone telling him no.

"If helium saw idiosyncratic helium didn't similar connected the TV, he'd get his weapon retired and stroke it up," Priscilla said. "Then helium would archer his daddy to spell get different TV."

Did Elvis and Priscilla Presley Have a Friendly Divorce?

When their divorcement was finalized successful 1973, they near the courtroom manus successful hand. Priscilla was inactive lone 28. (The Naked Gun star went connected to marry Marco Garibaldi successful 1984. They welcomed lad Navarone successful 1987 and divorced successful 2006.)

Priscilla brought Lisa Marie to 1 of Elvis' Las Vegas shows aboriginal that year, and arsenic portion of a agelong off-the-cuff monologue that had go portion of his enactment of late, the entertainer paid tribute to his ex ("She's a beauteous chick, I'll archer you for sure, boy") and told the assemblage they remained "the champion of friends." 

"Our divorcement came about, not due to the fact that of different antheral oregon different woman," helium continued, "but due to the fact that of the circumstances involving my career. I was traveling excessively much, gone excessively much...I didn't deliberation it was just to her."

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He joked astir their $2 cardinal divorcement settlement, aft which helium gave her a achromatic mink coat—and she gave him, helium bragged, a $42,000 Rolls Royce.

"That's the benignant of narration we have," helium quipped.

Priscilla told People in 1978 that she continued to spell to Graceland with Lisa Marie "like we were ne'er divorced. Elvis and I inactive hugged each other, inactive had love. We would accidental ‘Mommy said this' and 'Daddy said that.' That helped Lisa to consciousness stable. There was ne'er immoderate arguing oregon bitterness."

Looking backmost decades later, "I genuinely cherish the large times," she told People last year. "As you turn up, determination are ever fears and insecurities. But arsenic you get older you recognize it all."

Sadly, Elvis didn't get overmuch older. Hooked connected pills, surrounded by yes-men and eating capable fried peanut food and banana sandwiches to guarantee that combination would always be referred to arsenic "The Elvis" ever after, his health started to deteriorate. The surviving legend died of a bosom onslaught astatine Graceland connected Aug. 16, 1977, erstwhile helium was lone 42.

What Happened to Priscilla Presley After Elvis Died?

Priscilla was heartbroken.

"We ne'er thought he'd pass," she reflected to Entertainment Tonight in 2017 up of the 40th day of Elvis' death. "We conscionable never, ever had that successful our minds."

That time she was headed retired connected an errand with her sister erstwhile their begetter called and told her that Elvis' longtime roadworthy manager, Joe Esposito, was trying to get successful interaction with her.

"The archetypal happening I thought astir was [Lisa Marie], due to the fact that my girl was visiting and was expected to travel location that time due to the fact that schoolhouse started, truthful I was trying to unreserved home," Priscilla said. "I deliberation I ran each reddish light. I felt this urgency, truthful erstwhile I pulled into my driveway, my telephone was ringing and I ran successful and could hardly get the cardinal successful the doorway trying to get to the phone. And past it was Joe and helium told maine the news, and it was truthful devastating that I conscionable went to my country and tried to contemplate however this happened, and what happened, and conscionable stayed determination until they sent a level for me.

"They sent a pitchy to come, and going into that location and proceeding each the people—especially his father, who I will, to this day, inactive retrieve him crying successful specified grief, howling—that it inactive resonates the nonaccomplishment and the impact."

Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock

Priscilla has applauded Butler's all-out turn as her tirelessly impersonated and yet wholly unsocial ex-husband in Elvis, penning connected Facebook successful April aft a backstage preview that it was "a existent communicative told brilliantly and creatively that lone Baz, successful his unsocial creator way, could person delivered."

The lone idiosyncratic live who truly knows what happened betwixt her and Elvis down closed doors, Priscilla also attended the film's premiere astatine the Cannes Film Festival and earlier this period Lisa Marie and granddaughter Riley Keough joined her for the U.S. premiere held astatine Graceland.

Priscilla said connected Good Morning America June 17 that she was "pleasantly surprised" by De Jonge's portrayal of her, appreciating that the quality "was delicate and...caring and...a small beardown with him arsenic well."

But admittedly, Priscilla said, "I'm sitting determination watching this movie and going, 'God I privation helium could spot this.'"

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