“I Always Had a Little Bit of Makeup. He Wanted to See the End Result.” The True Story of Elvis Presley’s Marriage

10 months ago

When Priscilla first met Elvis, she was just 14, while he was a decade older at 24. But this seemingly love-at-first-sight affair was short-lived. Elvis aimed to mold Priscilla into his vision of the perfect woman, shaping her to his liking. Here’s a deeper dive into their relationship, which, at first glance, appeared to be the stuff of romance.

The beginning

Priscilla and Elvis first crossed paths in Germany in 1959. At the time, Elvis, aged 24, was serving in the U.S. Army, while 14-year-old Priscilla resided there with her family. On one occasion, mutual acquaintances invited the young girl over to Presley’s place, where she immediately caught the eye of the singer. He performed several songs exclusively for her, despite her candid revelation of being merely a 9th grader.

“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,” recollects Priscilla.

Given the significant age gap, Priscilla had reservations about the superstar reaching out again. Yet, against her expectations, he opted to continue their interaction. A few days later, her parents felt it imperative to personally meet the man who had so captivated their daughter’s interest. Reflecting on that day, Priscilla remembers Elvis arriving immaculately dressed in his military attire, much to her father’s appreciation. Priscilla’s father and her prospective beau found common ground, and her parents subsequently granted them permission to continue seeing each other.

Priscilla herself was a striking beauty. Elvis wasn’t the first young man to be taken by her allure. During her school days, she had a bevy of boys trailing after her, and on one occasion, someone even swiped her photo from the school notice board.

Given their age gap, the couple couldn’t freely and openly date. Yet, it seemed that neither found this to be an issue. In fact, Elvis relished in Priscilla’s youthfulness. He viewed it as an opportunity to shape the ideal wife for himself. Sharing his perspective with a close confidant. He once told his friend: “She’s young enough that I can train her any way I want.”

Elvis frequently expressed to Priscilla how she epitomized his vision of the perfect woman and how she could wholly embrace that role. “On nights when his mood was calm and peaceful, he 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 into his opinions and preferences. Fidelity was very important to him, especially on the woman’s part.”

Marriage and family life

In 1960, Elvis left Germany, while Priscilla and her family stayed. The two continued their relationship but only tied the knot several years later, in 1966. Their decision to wed was partly due to the mounting public pressure that Elvis found increasingly challenging to bear. Priscilla recalls spending those years in a constant state of anticipation, living from one rendezvous to the next, always awaiting his call. Meanwhile, whispers of his alleged affairs reached her ears.

Post-marriage, the artist persisted in his quest to craft his vision of the perfect wife. Priscilla, who later called herself “Elvis’s living doll” put porcelain caps on her teeth, improved her posture, dyed her hair black, and put it in an updo to match the image of the King.

In 1968, the couple welcomed their daughter, Lisa Marie. Priscilla recalls that after her birth, Elvis’s affections towards her noticeably waned. He continued his liaisons with other women, leaving Priscilla at home, where she would often stumble upon a plethora of love letters addressed to her husband. Eventually, she grew weary of this situation.

“My life was his life. He had to be happy. My problems were secondary. I want to grow. I want to do things,” she said in one of her interviews. She admits that she never appeared before his eyes without makeup and never got dressed in front of him: “I always had a little bit of makeup. He wanted to see the end result.”

Divorce and the King’s decline

Ultimately, Priscilla’s patience reached its breaking point in 1972. They divorced and shared custody of their daughter. After so many years, Priscilla finally began to live life on her own terms. For Elvis, however, things took a darker turn.

The singer developed harmful habits and faced financial struggles. Following his split with Priscilla, he had multiple romantic entanglements and even proposed to Ginger Alden. However, their wedding was not meant to be. In 1977, Elvis was discovered dead at the age of 42. The news was a crushing blow to Priscilla, who found it hard to come to terms with his untimely departure.

Even after their split and the challenges in their marriage, Elvis and Priscilla maintained a tight bond. She fondly recalls his calls, where he’d open up about his concerns, and she valued each of these conversations deeply. Post-divorce, Priscilla embarked on her journey as an actress and entrepreneur. While she never remarried, she did enter a lasting relationship and welcomed her son, Navarone.

To manage financial obligations and avoid parting with the family home, she decided to open Graceland’s doors to the public. The iconic residence has since risen in fame, ranking just behind the White House as the most visited house in the U.S. Priscilla continues to honor the memory of Elvis, participates in tributes dedicated to his legacy, and regards him as “the love of her life.”

Read the story of Goldie Hawn, who, after two failed marriages, found the love of her life in Kurt Russell, with whom she has happily been for many years.


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