LIFE

Priscilla Presley Talks Meeting Elvis At Age 14 And Sets Record Straight On Why She Divorced Him

by Caralynn Lippo
Caralynn is a writer, native New Yorker, TV enthusiast, and dog mom to Hobbes.

Elvis is undoubtedly one of the most iconic figures in pop culture history.

Often called the “King of Rock and Roll” (or just “the King”), the legendary crooner’s signature look and many hit songs are instantly recognizable, even to the most casual Elvis fans. Sadly, Elvis died in 1977 at only 42 due to a heart attack brought on by years of prescription drug abuse, joining the scores of music legends who died far too soon.

Like any noteworthy figure in the public eye, Elvis’ renown meant that there have been many myths and legends surrounding his life and death in the 40 years since he passed away. Now, his ex-wife Priscilla Presley is intent on setting the record straight about some of the most common misconceptions about Elvis — particularly when it comes to the beginnings of their infamous relationship.

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Thumbnail Photo: Getty Images / Hulton Archive // Wikimedia Commons

Priscilla first met Elvis when she was only 14 years old in 1959.

The singer was then 24.

The pair met at a party at Elvis’ home in Germany, while he was serving in the US Army.

“There are so many books that have been written about Elvis that (have) so many untruths, fables, myths, altered information, false information, that at this time I would like to clear a lot of that up,” Priscilla told App.

“And, to be honest with you, I don’t want somebody else writing my book and doing the same thing to me that they’ve done with Elvis, putting their own perspective in. I want to be the one to do that.”

Priscilla also told App that the circumstances of the beginning of their notorious relationship are one of the biggest misconceptions about Elvis.

Despite speculation that it was Priscilla’s dad who pressured the young girl to have a relationship with the famous singer, Elvis’ ex flatly denied anything of the sort and said it was quite the opposite.

“When Elvis left Germany to come back to the states after serving his time in the Army, my father said, ‘Now let’s back to our life,’ and that he was happy that he was gone,” Priscilla said.

But in spite of his departure and return to America, Elvis and Priscilla kept in touch for years following their initial meeting and brief courtship.

“Elvis kept in touch with me as I wrote him letters as well for two years, so my parents saw that there was something that was going on and it was more than just friendship,” she explained.

Eventually, in 1967, the two married when Elvis was 32 and Priscilla was 21.

Their daughter, Lisa Marie, was born in 1968.

After several years filled with affairs on both ends, the pair separated in 1972. They amicably divorced in 1973, famously walking hand-in-hand out of the courthouse after the judge granted their petition.

In an interview with Loose Women back in November 2016, Priscilla clarified that she didn’t divorce Elvis because she no longer loved him, calling him the love of her life.

“I needed to find out what the world was like, really, it was one world. But the greatest thing about our relationship was that we still loved each other,” she explained.

Elvis died just four years after the divorce. In all the years since, Priscilla has worked tirelessly to promote his legacy.

She also claims that she was “a loner” in her initial attempts at opening Graceland, Elvis’ mansion in Memphis, to the public as a tourist destination in 1982. “Nobody backed me up,” Priscilla told App.

Priscilla also debunked the idea that Elvis was “an overnight success.”

“It didn’t happen the way maybe you would read it where he just came on the scene and that was it. Elvis worked high schools. He worked auditoriums. He worked at malls. He worked at tiny venues in the beginning. You look back and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I had no idea,'” she explained.

“He was on the Louisiana Hayride, which would stop at malls or certain areas of a town, whether it be a park or somewhere. It’s (about) hard work and not giving up. You never know what the next day will bring.”

Priscilla is committed to keeping Elvis’ legacy alive and is currently giving a series of talks about her life with the King.

“I feel somewhat personally somewhat responsible because I knew him so well, I knew what his aesthetics were, I knew the music he loved and liked,” she told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

She adds, “I just wanted to share that with people and let people know what an amazing human being he was, not just as an artist and musician but as a human being.”

What do you think of Priscilla’s revelations about her relationship with Elvis?

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