She was just 14 years old when she first met Elvis Presley who thought she resembled his deceased mother.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on August 8, 2022. It has since been updated.
When Elvis Presley married Priscilla Presley in 1967, they became the most glamorous couple of the 20th century. The King had finally found his bride, the one he would grow old with. Everything seemed perfect, but some things were hidden behind the veil of a happy marriage.
Priscilla was just 14 years old when she met Elvis in Germany while he was serving in the U.S. Army in 1959. Even though initially she wasn't impressed by him as much as her friends were, Elvis found himself falling head over heels for the young beauty. “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.
She didn't have many hopes for a second date but then Elvis surprised her with a callback. However, the pair's regular meet-ups did create a problem for the young girl's parents which was resolved the day they met the 24-year-old Elvis. All it took was his charms, his conviction that he would take care of their daughter, and his uniform.
The crooner was attracted to Priscilla mainly because she reminded him of his mother Gladys who he had lost recently. He also liked that she was young and impressionable. "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 Pricilla. He once told his friend Rex Mansfield that the beauty was "young enough that I can train her any way I want," according to Biography.
After Elvis finished his enlistment in 1960, he left Germany and invited Priscilla to Los Angeles in 1962. This was the time when he started dressing her up to his liking. She wore clothes that Elvis purchased for her to look like an adult and wear makeup because she knew his preferences, "I like a lot of makeup." She wrote, "When I put on my brocade gown, my transformation from an innocent teenager to a sophisticated siren was complete."
Eventually, the two married in 1967 in an 8-minute ceremony and thus began the journey of a happily married life. Or was it? Priscilla was 21 when she tied the knot with Elvis and moved to Graceland. Talking to Guardian, she revealed, "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.’"
After the birth of daughter Lisa Marie Presley in 1968, things only got worse. She was no longer attractive to him and he kept breaking her heart with infidelities. "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, as per Express UK and it seems like it was true, even though the child she'd had was his own.
The once "kind, gentle and always attentive" Elvis had become someone else. "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.
Priscilla also recalled how she tried to maintain the spark in her relationship by dressing up for him and never let him see her without makeup. "He never wanted to see me getting dressed. He wanted to see the result of getting dressed," she said.
After six years of marriage, Priscilla found herself in a mid-life crisis where she was struggling to find her identity as a woman that had vanished somewhere between pleasing Elvis and being the woman that he wanted her to be. "I didn't have my teenage years as a normal girl, obviously, so I had to adapt," she said on 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 only at the age of 27 that she discovered that she was more than what Elvis had trained her to be. "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.
Stating that Elvis was "the love of my life," she revealed 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."
On August 16, 1977, at the age of 42, Elvis died due to cardiac arrest which is considered to have been caused due to his years of drug abuse.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by (L) Graham Denholm, (R) Keystone