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The Queen of Rock and Roll

Posted 12/08/2023 by Amelia Mendoza-Stancer

Elvis and Priscilla Presley celebrating one of the happiest days of their lives after tying the knot. photo by Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Everyone has wanted to marry their celebrity crush at some point, but Priscilla Presley lived the “dream” when she married Elvis.

From the ‘50s until his death in the ‘70s, Elvis Presley was a famous musician and actor. He was very popular among the female audience, and it seems that every girl wanted to marry him. Only one, however, would be “lucky” enough to be able to call herself Mrs. Presley.

At the age of 14, Priscilla née Beaulieu was living in West Germany. Her father was stationed there as an Air Force Officer, and it just so happened that Elvis Presley was also living there while he was serving in the U.S. Army. In Priscilla’s memoir, Elvis and Me, she writes about sitting in a restaurant one night when a serviceman, Currie Grant, came up to her and asked if she was a fan of Elvis. When she replied with yes, he proceeded to invite her to a party. Priscilla’s parents were hesitant at first, but with much convincing from Grant, they allowed her to go. 

According to Time Magazine, once Priscilla arrived at the party, Grant introduced her to Elvis, who was 24 at the time. When Elvis asked Priscilla if she was a junior or senior, she replied that she was only in ninth grade. After learning this, Elvis laughed and exclaimed, “Why, you’re just a baby!” Despite the 10-year age gap, Priscilla said she didn’t feel like a victim. However, she became emotional when she watched the film Priscilla and realized how young she was when she started to get involved with Elvis.

After serving in the military, Elvis returned to the United States. By 1962, Priscilla had visited him at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, for spring break and Christmas. Once she returned to Germany after spending the New Year celebrating with Elvis, she told her mom that he wanted her to move in with him. Priscilla’s parents were concerned about the relationship that their 16 year-old daughter had at the time, but after threatening her parents, saying that she would find a way to live with Elvis, they had no choice but to let her go. However, they did have two conditions: Priscilla and Elvis were not allowed to stay in the same house and Priscilla had to graduate school. Elvis would end up following through with only one of those requests. 

After Priscilla had moved into Graceland, Elvis enrolled her into a Catholic school. Due to Elvis’ wild hours, however, she began struggling to keep up. Priscilla did end up graduating, but only thanks to another girl in her class named Janet. Janet was a straight-A student who happened to be a huge fan of Elvis, and when Priscilla invited her to one of his parties, she let Priscilla copy her answers.

There is a scene from the new movie, Priscilla, in which Elvis urges Priscilla to take a mysterious pill to help her sleep only for her to wake up two days later. In her memoir, Priscilla describes how Elvis gave her two large red pills after her flight from Germany to Graceland, to help her relax. These pills were the same ones Elvis took to help him sleep while he was serving in the army. “I’m sure the thought never entered his mind that they could be harmful to him or me,” Priscilla stated to People Magazine. When she woke up from being out for two days, Elvis revealed that he had given her two 500 milligram tablets of Placidyl (Ethchlorvynol), a drug that is used to help cure insomnia.

The couple eventually got married in 1967 when Priscilla was 21 and had their daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, a year later, but their relationship soon started to become rocky. When Elvis was filming one of his movies, Viva Las Vegas, Priscilla was worried that he would start an affair with his co-star Ann-Margret. Elvis denied that anything was going on between them. The last straw was when Elvis suggested that Priscilla should stop seeing him in L.A. while shooting the follow up of Viva Las Vegas. Priscilla confronted him, throwing a flower vase across the room and shouting about her hatred for Ann-Margret. Elvis proceeded to give her an ultimatum: “I want a woman who’s going to understand that things like this might just happen. Are you going to be her—or not?” Priscilla soon after decided that she would be the woman Elvis wanted. When Elvis returned to Graceland two weeks later, he told her that the affair between him and Ann-Margret was over. The couple would go on to have their own affairs.

In Priscilla’s book Elvis and Me, she writes about Elvis’ temper tantrums in which “he’d blow some minor grievance out of all proportion.” In one instance, Priscilla criticized a song he was asked to record and he threw a chair at her. “He was truly a master at manipulating people,” expressed Priscilla. Following an incident in which Elvis summoned Priscilla to his hotel room and forcefully assaulted her, she made the executive decision to leave him for good. The couple divorced in 1973 but remained close until Elvis’ death in 1977.

Priscilla Presley’s unwavering strength and resilience in the face of challenges have been an inspiration to many. From being Elvis’ wife to establishing her own identity through grace and determination, she serves as a powerful example for others. She continues to inspire and influence trends even today.