Much has been spoken about Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll. The icon lived a grand life in his Graceland Mansion in Tennessee. But, in a tell-all article written for People, the King’s widow, Priscilla Presley opened up about what it was like her to live the singer.
Married to Elvis for 14 years from 1967 – 1973, Priscilla was barely a teen when they met in Germany for the first time. Elvis, who was 24 at the time, was serving in the U.S. Army in 1959, when he fell in love with Priscilla, who was just a 14-year-old girl at the time.
She said, “I saw Elvis trying to get my attention. I noticed that the less response I showed, the more he began singing just for me. I couldn’t believe that Elvis Presley was trying to impress me,” Priscilla wrote for People. As a girl so young, it was a little confusing for her.
From then on, the couple met regularly. However, the famous Elvis Presley regularly meeting their daughter did not go down well with Priscilla’s parents. But Elvis’ smooth words and charm did the work.
When asked why he liked Priscilla, Elvis said, “Well, sir, I happen to be very fond of her. She’s a lot more mature than her age and I enjoy her company. It hasn’t been easy for me, being away from home and all. It gets kinda lonely. I guess you might say I need someone to talk to. You don’t have to worry about her, Captain. I’ll take good care of her.”
But that’s not all he liked her for. According to Priscilla, the ‘King’ liked that she was young and impressionable. This was corroborated by his friend Rex Mansfield’s statement, who said Elvis once told him Priscilla was “young enough that I can train her any way I want”, as per Biography.
And “train” her, he did. Elvis “would describe his ideal woman and tell me how perfectly I fit this image. He liked soft-spoken brunettes with blue eyes. He wanted to mold me to his opinions and preferences. Fidelity was very important to him, especially on the woman’s part,” revealed Priscilla.
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Once his enlistment was done in 1960, Elvis went back to the US while Priscilla and her family stayed on in West Germany. He invited her to Los Angeles in 1962, and she was overjoyed. After a lot of conditions set by her parents, she finally arrived in the US to spend time with him. This was the time when he started dressing her up to his liking. He took her shopping for glamorous clothes and shoes. And the called for a makeup artist to come and have the young teenager dolled up. “I like a lot of makeup,” he said.
Priscilla wrote that the makeup artist “teased and twisted up my hair with one long curl falling in front of my left shoulder. Then he applied makeup so heavily that you couldn’t tell if my eyes were black, blue, or black and blue. That was what Elvis wanted.” Continuing, she said, “When I put on my brocade gown, my transformation from an innocent teenager to a sophisticated siren was complete.”
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A couple of years after this trip, the two got married in 1967. According to Guardian, Elvis pretty much controlled everything that she wore, what she did, and what interests she pursued. “He was very opinionated on what he wanted, ‘I don’t like [this] color that color. Brown isn’t good for you. Green looks horrible, color dull color with no spark to it,’” she said.
After they were married, things just went downhill. Priscilla became pregnant almost immediately after marriage, according to Biography, which deeply concerned Elvis because of the effect fatherhood would have on his career. He even asked for a trial separation when Priscilla was seven months pregnant.
After their daughter, Lisa Marie was born, Priscilla noticed that Elvis resisted sleeping with her. “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,” recalled Priscilla. It was seemed as if he had married her only for her beauty. She tried hard to keep the marriage together. “He never wanted to see me getting dressed. He wanted to see the result of getting dressed.”
“I didn’t have my teenage years as a normal girl, obviously, so I had to adapt,” she said in an interview with Loose Women in 2016. She added, “So I just kind of followed what he did. I mean, you lived his life. You honestly didn’t have your own life… So you really kind of lost yourself. As a woman, I didn’t really know who I was.”
It was at age 27 that she realized how much he controlled her. Talking about how the thought dawned on her, she said, “I realized that I don’t know who I am, my considerations were his considerations, my fears were his fears… I found myself revealing things that he would say to me,” she said.
“We literally lived in a bubble,” she said and added, “I should have realized I was marrying an entourage and only had a share in its leader. It had to end,” reported Country Living. Despite their divorce, she stated that Elvis was “the love of my life,” and shared the reason she divorced him was that, “I needed to find out what the world was like… but the greatest thing about our relationship is that we still loved each other.”
Priscilla went on to become a businesswoman, who opened her own clothing boutique and own range of fragrances. On August 16, 1977, Elvis died at the age of 42 due to cardiac arrest, which is considered to have been caused due to his years of drug abuse. Priscilla became the executor of his estate, Graceland Mansion. She saved the estate from going into bankruptcy and ruin by turning it into the tourist attraction it is today.