Priscilla Presley was thrust into the limelight when she married Elvis in 1967. And while the couple were man and wife for just six years, they are often thought of as one of the most glamorous celebrity couples of all time. However, as we’ll soon find out, there was a lot more to their relationship than meets the eye.
40. Priscilla’s father was a U.S. Navy pilot who died when she was six months old
Priscilla was born in May 1945 to parents Ann Lillian Iversen and U.S. Navy pilot James Wagner. Sadly, the latter died in a plane crash when the young girl was just six months old. Ann later married Air Force officer Paul Beaulieu – who subsequently raised Priscilla as his own.
39. Priscilla didn’t learn her biological father’s true identity until she was older
Young Priscilla long believed that Paul was her real father – given how young she had been when her mother Lillian remarried. The future actress later discovered that this was not the case when she stumbled upon an old box of keepsakes. However, Priscilla’s mom allegedly urged her to keep the “family secret” from her half-siblings.
38. Priscilla moved around a lot as a child
Priscilla’s family often relocated in those early days due to Paul’s work in the Air Force. This nomadic lifestyle affected her as a child, and she disliked the upheaval that came along with it. In later life, the businesswoman revealed that as a child she often worried about fitting in and wondered if she would ever have long-term friends.
37. Priscilla was 14 years old when she met Elvis
Priscilla and her family moved to Germany when Paul was transferred there in the 1950s, and it was there that she first met Elvis. At the time of their introduction, Priscilla was only 14 while the singer was 25 and serving in the U.S. Army. However, by all accounts, he appeared to be smitten with the young teen from the get-go.
36. Elvis was nervous upon meeting Priscilla
Elvis was already famous by the time he met Priscilla – with hits like “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Heartbreak Hotel” already under his belt. With that in mind, you’d have thought that 14-year-old Priscilla might have been starstruck. But it seems that Elvis was more nervous about meeting her and apparently acted like an awkward schoolboy around the teenager.
35. Priscilla thought Elvis was “gross” before they met
In those early days, Priscilla wasn’t really a fan of Elvis at all. In 2017 she told Australia’s Today show, “Obviously I’d heard of Elvis. One of my best friends had a fan club that you could join and she showed me the magazine. And when she showed me the inside, Elvis was signing this blonde woman across her breasts. I looked at that and [thought], ‘There’s no way I could be a part of this fan club. It’s really gross.’”
34. Priscilla’s parents didn’t approve of their romance at first
Priscilla returned home late on the night of her first meeting with Elvis – much to her parents’ concern. As a result, they insisted that the teen would not see Elvis again. However, the singer was eager to meet with her once more and promised them that he would bring her home on time from then on. Priscilla’s mom and dad eventually gave in and allowed their daughter to meet with Elvis regularly.
33. Priscilla became Elvis’ shoulder to cry on
Elvis met Priscilla shortly after his mother Gladys’ passing, and it seems he found solace in the young teenager’s company. She later told Today, “I saw him at probably one of the most vulnerable times of his life. Losing his mother and then of course being drafted – which was devastating at the top of his career. So, he poured his heart out to me.”
32. Elvis kept in touch with Priscilla even after he left Germany
When Elvis left Germany in March 1960, Priscilla believed that she’d never see the star again. Furthermore, the singer’s rumored romance with Nancy Sinatra seemingly confirmed to her that the relationship was over. However, Priscilla and Elvis continued to communicate over the phone for two years until they finally reunited.
31. Elvis was unfaithful to Priscilla in the early years of their relationship
Priscilla eventually relocated to Memphis in 1963. She later moved in with Elvis, and the latter promised her parents that he would marry their teenage daughter. However, the singer was regularly unfaithful in the early years of their relationship and even had an affair with his Viva Las Vegas co-star Ann-Margret.
30. Elvis proposed to Priscilla in 1966, but she may have forced his hand
Elvis finally popped the question to Priscilla before Christmas 1966. However, it has been reported that she threatened to tell the press about their relationship if he refused to marry her. Moreover, Priscilla’s father is also rumored to have threatened Elvis – by accusing him of taking a minor across state lines for sexual purposes.
29. Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding lasted just eight minutes
Priscilla and Elvis finally tied the knot at Las Vegas’ Aladdin Hotel in May 1967. The wedding was an intimate affair and designed to maximize as much press interest as possible. Apparently, it was over in eight short minutes – after which the happy couple attended a press conference before heading to their breakfast reception.
28. Priscilla claimed that she remained a virgin until her wedding night
While she and Elvis had been an item for quite some time before they married, Priscilla claimed that she remained a virgin until their wedding night. In her 1985 memoir Elvis and Me, she recalled how the star had told her, “I’m not saying we can’t do other things. It’s just the actual encounter. I want to save it.”
27. Priscilla threw herself into her new role as a wife
Priscilla enjoyed washing, cleaning and cooking for Elvis, and she committed herself to her role as a housewife. According to Peter Guralnick’s 1999 book Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, the future businesswoman explained, “I loved playing house… Here was an opportunity to take care of him myself. No maids or housekeepers to pamper us.”
26. Elvis allegedly controlled much of his wife’s life
Priscilla has claimed that Elvis was pretty possessive in their relationship – even dictating what she wore and her interests. In 2015 she told British newspaper The Guardian, “He was very opinionated on what he wanted. [Elvis would say], ‘I don’t like you in that color. Brown isn’t good for you. Green looks horrible, it’s a dull color with no spark to it.’”
25. Elvis was apparently paranoid about Priscilla aging
Even though Priscilla was ten years Elvis’ junior, she said that the singer was eager to prevent his wife from aging. Priscilla told the publication, “I remember sitting down doing my homework. And when I would look up at him, he would slap me on my forehead and say, ‘Don’t do that, it gives you wrinkles on your forehead.’ I didn’t even think about wrinkles back then!”
24. Priscilla claimed that Elvis had a hot temper
According to Priscilla, Elvis would shoot his .357 Magnum at the television if something he saw annoyed him. She told The Guardian, “It’s funny now… But scary at first. Very scary. There was no warning. Maybe he was in a bad mood that day, or maybe he would just see someone he didn’t particularly care for so he’d just pick up the gun…”
23. She never let Elvis see her without make-up
During her marriage to Elvis, Priscilla was eager to maintain some “mystique” for her husband. And during a 2016 appearance on the British talk show Loose Women, she revealed that she always wore makeup in front of him and never got ready with him watching. Priscilla explained, “There are things you keep to yourself.”
22. Priscilla didn’t see Elvis perform until 1968
For many years, it appears that Elvis kept his professional and personal lives separate, and Priscilla apparently didn’t watch him perform until a year after they married. In 2017 she told the U.K.’s Good Morning Britain show, “Did I complain? Never. I loved being his wife. I loved taking care of him. So, when I saw him on stage it was like, ‘Oh my god I get it.’”
21. Priscilla wasn’t happy to fall pregnant soon after her wedding
Priscilla discovered that she was expecting shortly after she married Elvis. At the time, she was worried that a baby would ruin the bond she’d finally established with her husband. She even discussed abortion with the singer, but neither of them could go through with terminating the pregnancy. Their only daughter, Lisa Marie, was eventually born on February 1, 1968 – exactly nine months on from their wedding.
20. Priscilla said marriage to Elvis was a “bubble”
Following their marriage, Priscilla struggled to adjust to life in the spotlight. She later told Loose Women, “We didn’t go out. He didn’t like eating in restaurants because people would take pictures of him and he didn’t want to be shot… putting a fork in his mouth. We literally lived in a bubble.”
19. Priscilla later had an affair with her karate instructor
Priscilla took up karate on Elvis’ recommendation, but her new hobby would lead to the downfall of their marriage. After taking lessons with Mike Stone, Priscilla soon embarked on an affair with her instructor. And while she was still in love with Elvis, the businesswoman claimed the extramarital relationship forced her to rethink her marriage.
18. Elvis allegedly wasn’t interested in Priscilla sexually
According to Priscilla, Elvis was not overly intimate with her, and this caused a great deal of distress. In her book Elvis and Me, Priscilla wrote, “He had mentioned to me before we were married that he had never been able to make love to a woman who had a child… I [was] beginning to doubt my own sexuality as a woman. My physical and emotional needs were unfulfilled.”
17. An incident in a hotel room was the final straw for Priscilla
Amid her affair with Mike, Priscilla claimed that Elvis called her to his hotel suite and “forcefully made love” to her, according to an extract in Elvis and Me. Although Priscilla later said that she’d overstated the incident, she claimed that his attempts to show sexual interest in her were too little too late.
16. Elvis reportedly wanted to have Mike Stone killed
The couple subsequently separated in 1972, and Elvis filed for divorce on January 8, 1973 – his 38th birthday. However, the singer is said to have become paranoid about his estranged wife’s lover Mike. And according to reports, he stated, “There’s too much pain in me… Stone [must] die.” Elvis’ bodyguard apparently looked into arranging a contract killing of Mike, but the singer later backed down.
15. Priscilla received a handsome payout on her divorce from Elvis
Priscilla’s received a cash payment of $725,000 following her divorce from Elvis in October 1973. She was also awarded child and spousal support from her ex-husband. Furthermore, the businesswoman received half the income generated from the sale of their Beverly Hills property and a five percent stake in Elvis’ publishing companies.
14. The pair remained friends after their divorce
Following their split, Priscilla and Elvis remained close friends – even leaving the courthouse holding hands on the day that their divorce was finalized. The former couple shared custody of their daughter Lisa Marie and raised her together, until Elvis died of a heart attack at the age of 42 in August 1977.
13. Priscilla struggled to believe Elvis had died
When news of Elvis’ sudden death reached Priscilla she struggled to take it in. Speaking with Today in 2017, she revealed, “It was shocking, it was like everyone else not believing it. The phone call I got from Joe Esposito [Elvis’ manager], it was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Because we would kid around all the time y’know. And [he] was in the hospital lots of times and he always made it through.”
12. Priscilla says that Elvis was a lonely figure
In a 2017 appearance on Good Morning Britain, Priscilla claimed that – despite his extraordinary fame – Elvis was lonely deep down. She said of her late ex-husband, “He really was alone. He really didn’t have a peer, not with a group and not really with anyone.” And in the same interview, Priscilla also said that Elvis had his “demons.”
11. Priscilla became the executor of Elvis’ estate following his death
In 1979 – two years after Elvis’ death – Priscilla became the executor of the late singer’s Graceland estate on behalf of his only heir: Lisa Marie. At the time, the property cost more than $500,000 a year to run, which meant that the latter’s inheritance fell to just $1 million. So, Priscilla had to figure out a way to make Graceland profitable.
10. She helped to turn Graceland into a successful tourist attraction
In order to make Graceland pay, Priscilla took inspiration from other famous museums and homes. With the help of CEO Jack Soden, she then transformed Elvis’ former home into a tourist destination. It opened as an attraction in June 1982, and within four weeks the estate had made good on its investment.
9. Priscilla had several other business ventures
Until Lisa Marie was 21, Priscilla was the president and chairwoman of Elvis Presley Enterprises. And under her tenure the trust came to be valued at over $100 million. Furthermore, Priscilla has also launched fashion and fragrance lines and owned a successful clothing boutique with her stylist Olivia Bis.
8. Priscilla has also enjoyed a successful acting career
In the 1980s Priscilla found new fame as an actress – memorably starring as Jenna Wade Krebbs in Dallas. The role even won her a Soap Opera Digest Award in 1984. Then over the following decade she also appeared in three Naked Gun movies alongside Leslie Nielsen. More recently, Priscilla was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in 2008.
7. Priscilla had a number of serious relationships following her split from Elvis
Priscilla lived with Mike Stone until 1975 following her divorce from Elvis. Since then, she has dated a number of high-profile men: including the financier Kirk Kerkorian, photographer Terry O’Neill and lawyer Robert Kardashian. Furthermore, in 2017 she was romantically linked to Sir Tom Jones, though Priscilla later insisted that she was just friends with the Welsh singer.
6. Priscilla has a son
For 22 years, Priscilla lived with the Italian screenwriter and computer programmer Marco Garibaldi. The couple welcomed their son Navarone in March 1987, when Priscilla was still starring in Dallas. Priscilla and Marco split in 2006, and Navarone went on to become the frontman of the rock band Them Guns.
5. Priscilla was worried about Lisa Marie’s relationship with Michael Jackson
In 1994 Lisa Marie followed in her mother’s footsteps by marrying one of the biggest artists on the planet: Michael Jackson. However, despite the parallels between her relationship with Elvis, Priscilla had her doubts about her daughter’s union. She later told The Guardian, “I just didn’t know if it was authentic or not. I just worried about if she was doing the right thing. I worried about… his agendas.”
4. She is a member of the Church of Scientology
Priscilla has been part of the Church of Scientology for many years. However, in 2017 it was reported that she had left the controversial religion. These rumors were subsequently denied by a representative of Priscilla’s, who told People that she was still a member.
3. Priscilla’s charity work
Since 2003 Priscilla has served as an ambassador for the Dream Foundation. The organization grants wishes to terminally ill adults. In 2014 Priscilla told CNN, “I’ve been blessed to work with [the] Dream Foundation. The organization has impacted me in so many ways. I think when you see and experience someone’s dream with them, it lives on within you. It’s life-changing.”
2. Elvis has allegedly communicated with Priscilla from beyond the grave
In 2015 Priscilla told The Guardian that Elvis’ sometimes communicates with her. She explained, “When I go to Graceland, my gosh, I can walk in that door and see him walking down the stairs, I can hear laughter, I can hear the music playing in the music room. It’s a very surreal feeling. But it’s not scary, it’s beautiful.”
1. She looks back on times with Elvis fondly
Priscilla is still reminded of Elvis even today; after all, he’s one of the biggest selling artists of all time. In 2016 she told British newspaper The Telegraph, “I’ll be in a store and ‘White Christmas’ will be playing and hearing his voice still has an impact. Because even after all these years, I can visualize where we both were when I first heard it, and I’ll carry those memories with me always.”