When Elvis Presley was conscripted into the US Army in 1958 he wasn’t expecting to meet the love of his life. While stationed in Friedberg, Germany, he was introduced to Priscilla Presley (née Beaulieu) through friends when she was just 14-years-old. In the years that followed, the King’s young sweetheart visited the USA and eventually moved in with him in Graceland.
But as their relationship continued to blossom, Priscilla lost control of her life.
Priscilla remembered getting to the USA and moving in with the King of Rock and Roll in her memoir, Elvis and Me. And, despite being surrounded by money and fame, not everything behind the scenes was as perfect as it looked.
She wrote: “I mean, you lived his life. You saw the movies he wanted to see. You listened to the music he wanted to listen to. You’d go to places that he would go… I honestly didn’t have my own life … so I really kind of lost myself.”
The young woman not only lost her identity but her sense of individuality, as well. She called herself “Elvis’s doll, his own living doll, to fashion as he pleased”.
Elvis “frowned upon” chipped nail polish and patterned dresses, and insisted that she looked better with long hair. “You need to apply more makeup around your eyes,” he would tell her, according to her memoir. “Make them stand out more. They’re too plain naturally. I like a lot of makeup. It defines your features.”
Priscilla explained: “He taught me everything. How to dress, how to walk, how to apply makeup and wear my hair, how to behave, how to return love – his way. Over the years, he became my father, husband, and very nearly God.”
She said she had to “adapt” and “follow” what he did. And the young woman was even convinced she didn’t need any further education after she finished high school.
Despite Priscilla’s insistence, her relationship with Elvis was not perfect. And in 1973 they got divorced. But there was still a lot of love between them. Even at the moment their marriage came to an end, they were still incredibly close.
Once they had signed their divorce papers Elvis held Priscilla’s hand and serenaded her with Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”.
Priscilla wrote in her memoir that she did not hold any resentment towards the Blue Suede Shoes star.
Priscilla explained: “I did not divorce him because I didn’t love him. He was the love of my life, but I had to find out about the world.”
Despite their rocky start, they cultivated a good relationship built from love. And they still remained on good terms – if not for one another, for the sake of their child, Lisa Marie Presley.
They were great friends until the day Elvis died, on August 16, 1977. Even after his death, Priscilla organised the vigil that took place at Graceland, and still, to this day, looks after his legacy.