When Priscilla Beaulieu was just 14 years old, she met “the King,” and her life was altered forever. Marriage to the late Elvis Presley proved to be complicated, difficult, yet ultimately rewarding, as Priscilla Presley turned Elvis’s life and music into a profitable entity that seems immortal. Going from a self-admitted “living doll” to the founding president of the Elvis Presley Empire, here are 52 facts that transformed Priscilla Presley.
Priscilla Presley Facts
1. Bad Boy
After Elvis Presley joined the army, he got stationed in a town in Germany called Bad Nauheim. One night in 1959, Presley had a party at his rented place in Bad Nauheim that would change his life.
2. A Minor Niner
Priscilla Beaulieu was a 14-year-old girl in the ninth grade when she first met Elvis. He was 24 years old.
3. Stepdad Needs Full Intel
Priscilla hadn’t been invited to the party where she met Elvis. He had invited an air force serviceman and his wife, who knew Priscilla and figured the teenager would enjoy meeting a genuine teen idol. She was only allowed to go to Elvis’s party after her military stepfather got a full reference on the serviceman from his commanding officer.
4. Good Ship Lollipop
Priscilla wore a girlish, white-and-navy colored sailor dress to Elvis’s party. He was captivated by her immediately—and his interest didn’t falter after she admitted she was only 14 years old.
5. Hidden Musical Meanings
When Elvis first met Priscilla, he played his own songs for her—most notably, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” She was sufficiently impressed, but when she left the party, she didn’t think it would ever happen again.
6. The Borough of Homes and Churches
Priscilla Presley was born Priscilla Ann Wagner in the borough of Brooklyn on May 24, 1945. Sadly, her father, James, perished in a plane crash just months after Presley’s birth.
7. Inexperience Preferred
Elvis told a friend named Rex Mansfield that he was attracted to Presley’s youth and inexperience, saying he could “train her any way I want.”
8. First Base
Elvis invited Presley to visit him again at his rented house in Germany. During that second meeting, he invited Presley into his bedroom. Allegedly, all they did was kiss.
9. The Third Degree
Presley went on four “dates” with Elvis before her parents demanded to meet him in person. Her military stepfather pointedly asked Elvis why a star like him was so interested in a teenage girl.
10. Presley Persuaded
When Priscilla’s stepfather asked Elvis why he was interested in a teenager, Elvis turned on his notoriously magnetic charm. He apparently responded, “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 worked. Her parents were sufficiently wowed, and they allowed her to continue dating Elvis.
11. Pseudo-Girlfriend Secret
From the moment that Priscilla and Elvis met, until he left Germany, they spent a great deal of time together. But their relationship was private, due to their considerable age difference. Elvis was everything to ninth-grader Presley—her schoolwork and sleep habits began to suffer.
12. Elvis Pumped the Brakes
While the relationship between Elvis and Priscilla was kept entirely private, he also denied her wish to consummate the relationship. Elvis told her, “Someday we will, Priscilla, but not now. You’re just too young.”
13. A Little Something
It was obviously fatiguing on ninth-grade Priscilla, secretly dating a 24-year-old star. Elvis noticed her fatigue, and his solution was to offer her pills. Elvis told her, “I want you to take these; they’ll help you stay awake during the day.” At that time, she didn’t do it.
14. Color-Coded Correspondence
Elvis’s enlistment was over in March 1960 and he left Germany. Although her parents warned her that Elvis would likely forget her, she faithfully wrote him a steady stream of letters. She mailed each letter in a pink envelope, making her correspondence easy to spot in the flood of fan mail Elvis received.
15. Hopefully It Wasn’t Collect
Priscilla kept on sending letters to Elvis in the US. Although her parents figured their atypical relationship was over, Elvis shocked everyone when he called her at home in Germany.
16. More of that Presley Persuasion
Elvis turned on the charm again with Priscilla’s parents, and he began asking her to visit him in Los Angeles. In 1962, her parents finally relented, and she traveled alone to America, and Elvis.
17. Viva Las Vegas
When Priscilla arrived in the US to see Elvis, he surprised her with a side trip to Las Vegas.
18. Blinded by the Lights
While visiting Las Vegas, Priscilla had to quickly adjust to Elvis’s habit of staying up very late. She began taking sleeping pills in the day, and amphetamines at night, trying to keep up with him.
19. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
Elvis totally reinvented Priscilla after she arrived in the US. Her own clothes were discarded; replaced with revealing clothing chosen by Elvis. He had her teeth capped, and her hair dyed jet-black to match his. He also demanded that her hair be teased into that exaggerated 60s bouffant style, and she was always heavily made up because Elvis liked “a lot of makeup.”
Priscilla Presley has since admitted that Elvis never saw her barefaced or without hair done.
20. A Christmas Gift Suggestion
Elvis took Priscilla home to Graceland for her first Christmas back in the US. Elvis had a houseful of friends and family over for the holidays, and he gave Priscilla a diamond ring during the festivities. Whether or not he was implying an engagement, Elvis didn’t officially propose to her until 1966.
21. More Like Finishing School
Elvis wanted Priscilla to complete her high school education in Memphis, so she wanted that too. It was a hard sell convincing her parents back in Germany, but Elvis told them that Priscilla would be living with his father and stepmother. He also implied to her parents that marriage was inevitable.
22. A Pill Popping Doll
The Beaulieus allowed Priscilla to finish high school in Memphis. She did initially move in with Elvis’s father and stepmother—but not for long. All too soon, she was living at Graceland with Elvis. She popped the pills he gave her, barely managing daytime classes followed by late nights at his side. Priscilla admitted to feeling like Elvis’s “living doll.”
23. His Peculiar Passion
Priscilla’s purity was extremely attractive to Elvis. So much so, he still wouldn’t consummate their relationship after she’d moved into Graceland. He allegedly satisfied his passion for her by sharing intimate, seductive Polaroids and fantasy scenarios. Priscilla wrote in her book, Elvis and Me, that Elvis was very passionate—but not overly intimate. He told her, “I’m not saying we can’t do other things. It’s just the actual encounter. I want to save it.”
24. A Live-in Lolita
Priscilla became a poorly kept secret in entertainment gossip circles as Elvis’s “live-in Lolita.” Not only did he leave her behind at Graceland while he made movies elsewhere, he never stopped sleeping with unknown, “girl next door” fans, as well as many of the leading ladies from his films.
25. Pop the Question Already
Colonel Tom Parker managed Elvis’s career like a calculating puppet master. By 1966, Parker was stewing about the negative publicity that could ruin Elvis if he didn’t marry Priscilla. Parker started badgering Elvis about the morality clause in his record contract, saying marriage was the only way out.
26. Making It Real
In 1966, Elvis once again had a large congregation of family and friends over to Graceland for Christmas Eve. This time, he heeded his manager’s badgering; proposing to Priscilla with a massive engagement ring.
27. May Day, May Day
Various accounts have documented that Elvis felt completely pressured into marriage. His cook at Graceland even claimed that she found him crying about the upcoming wedding. She gently suggested that he call it off, but Elvis replied, “I don’t have a choice.”
28. Her Side of the Story
Other sources claimed that Priscilla Presley forced Elvis down the aisle, or that her stepfather wanted to have him charged with abducting a minor. In a 1973 interview, Priscilla said that she and Elvis had been perfectly fine just living together—but it wasn’t considered “nice” then for unmarried couples.
29. All the Wedding’s a Stage
On May 1, 1967, Elvis and Priscilla became Mr. and Mrs. Presley in Las Vegas. The entire wedding was staged as a publicity event by Elvis’s manager. The ceremony was barely eight minutes long, followed by a frenzied press conference, and finally a breakfast reception, mainly for business associates, that had a price tag of $10,000.
The manager even controlled the guest list, cutting off many of Elvis’s close friends. This caused deep rifts in Elvis’s circle of friends for years.
30. Finally, Home Plate
Nearly eight years after they’d met, and five years after she’d left Germany to live with Elvis at Graceland, Mr. and Mrs. Elvis Presley finally consummated their strange relationship on their wedding night.
31. Playing Wife
Following a short honeymoon, Elvis and Priscilla spent the first few weeks of marriage on his private Mississippi ranch. Some of his friends came and went, but as Priscilla later explained, there were “no maids or housekeepers to pamper us.” Priscilla delighted in “playing house,” cooking, cleaning, and taking care of Elvis.
32. That Stork Was On It
The timing says it all—it’s all but certain that the Presleys conceived on their wedding night. On February 1, 1968—precisely nine months after they got hitched—Lisa Marie Presley made her birthday suited debut.
33. Pre-Baby Jitters
Accounts vary, but apparently both Priscilla and Elvis were rattled by an early pregnancy. She was so fearful that a baby would get in the way of the closeness they’d developed, she considered abortion. Elvis was more concerned that his career would suffer. When Priscilla reached her seventh month, he even asked for a trial separation. The separation wasn’t permanent, and the marriage was back on before Lisa Marie was born.
34. No-Fly Zone
Before they were married, Elvis confided his dysfunction to Priscilla that he couldn’t “make love to a woman who’d had a child.” That phobia became a reality after she had her daughter, Lisa Marie. Elvis continued to sleep with other women, but a new, independent Priscilla was awakening.
35. Aloha Trouble
A frustrated and unfulfilled Presley sought affection outside of her marriage. She and Elvis did renew their vows in Hawaii, but a paradise backdrop wasn’t enough. “My life was his life,” she later said. “My problems were secondary.”
36. Dance Class Turned Life Lesson
After marriage and baby, Elvis started touring again, and Priscilla was again left behind. Instead of wallowing, she began forming an identity. She took dance classes away from the mansion, and she quickly realized that “women have their own life.”
37. Butterfly Leaving the King’s Cocoon
The divorce of Elvis and Priscilla Presley was finalized on October 9, 1973. But it was so amicable, the two left the courthouse holding hands! Presley admitted years later that she didn’t divorce Elvis because she didn’t love him anymore. As Presley stated, Elvis “was the love of my life, but I had to find out about the world.” They maintained joint custody of their daughter, and they often spent time together.
38. Complicated Man Beneath the King
Presley has given glimpses into the complicated man behind the charismatic King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. She’s revealed how vulnerable, generous, and extremely sensitive Elvis was, calling him “complete as a human being.”
39. The King Bows to No-one
Decades after Elvis’s fatal, drug-related heart attack, Presley appeared on a new documentary and gave her side of the story on the King’s tragic end. Presley said that family and close friends often tried to get Elvis off substances, but he stubbornly refused. Presley added that any time someone tried, “you’d be out of there faster than a scratched cat.”
40. Did He Do It?
In the Elvis documentary, Presley revealed her shocking belief that the King took his own life. The documentary revealed that “suicide notes” had been found, and they appeared to be in Elvis’s handwriting. Sadly, the notes say things like “I’m sick and tired of my life,” and that losing Priscilla was “the greatest mistake of my life.”
41. Memories of Gladys
Elvis had no shortage of ardent female fans by the time he met Priscilla, and he’d already bedded many women. But he was taken by Priscilla’s resemblance to his late mother, Gladys Presley, whom Elvis adored.
42. He’s Lucky He Didn’t Get Chopped Up
In the early 1970s, Priscilla embarked on a passionate affair with Mike Stone, her karate instructor. She told Elvis she was leaving him, and Elvis discovered her affair. A furious, wounded Elvis allegedly wanted to put a hit out on Stone, but he eventually talked himself out of it. Not that Stone didn’t deserve a non-fatal karate chop! Priscilla ended up dumping him after he dealt her a heartbreaking betrayal.
He sold the story of their affair to a tabloid.