Behind Close Doors: What REALLY happened between Elvis and Priscilla Presley


The King of Rock and Roll, or simply Elvis, was one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. Guys wanted to be like him, and girls wanted to be with him. And indeed the popular heartthrob had no problem getting the attention of the ladies. It was his heart that was hard to catch. That was true until Priscilla Presley got into the picture.

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While Priscilla Presley was beautiful and successful in her own right, she became mostly known as the one who finally stole Elvis' heart. Many women were jealous, thinking her to be the happiest woman in the world. However, being the wife of the "King" is not always easy. Behind close doors, Priscilla was suffering emotionally and physically, but no one would talk about it. The pristine image of the industry's royal couple had to be preserved.

The beloved King

It was very hard not to fall in love with Elvis. The singer and actor not only had the voice and the carisma of a star, but his military service also gave him the reputation of a patriot and an American symbol.

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He knew how to walk the line between being a star and part of the crowd. People regarded him as one of them and felt connected.

Priscilla was also a fan

Priscilla was like all the other american girls, crazy for Elvis. Like everyone else, she listened to his music and dreamt of getting noticed by him.

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She too fell for the charming and perfect image. It was hard to imagine there was something dark hidden behind those smiling eyes and approachable smile.

First Date

Elvis was drafted into the U.S Army in 1958, and the media went crazy. While positioned in a German base in Friedberg, he met 14 year old Priscilla. Elvis himself was 23 at the time.

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The significant age difference didn't stop them from starting to date, though they did take their time with marriage.

Priscilla's Parents were worried

Even though the couple didn't find the age difference problemetic, Priscilla's parents didn't love the idea that their little girl will start dating a 23 year old musician.

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Priscilla was aware of her parents' feelings, but the emotions and admiration were too strong to seprate them.

Elvis won them over

Elvis' charm not only helped him impress the crowds, but also to bring the parents' around.

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He also pulled a few tricks, such as appearing at Priscilla's parents' home dressed in uniform. It turns out not only girls like uniforms, but parents do to. At the end, they had no choice but to accept the young love.

Priscilla the rebellious

Though the parents agreed to accept the romance, they still didn't like the pace it was going at. After only one year of relationship, Elvis and Priscilla wanted to live together in Memphis.

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Priscilla acted like the typical teenager that she was and pulled the known "You are ruining my life" phrase when her parents disapproved. Turns out her act was pretty convincing and the parents gave in.

The Beautiful beginning

In the beginning everything felt like magic. The young love was blossoming and they only had eyes for eachother. Priscilla enjoyed Elvis' full attention and she mentioned how they would listen to music together. She felt she was the only one in his life.

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But it turns out not all good things last forever. Priscilla will soon discover that she will need to learn to share.

And so it starts

Elvis was still a women's man and as part of his shows he would bring women up and kiss them on the lips. The women will take it as a sign of affection and came back after the show, looking for more.

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Priscilla didn't like that. All of sudden she had to take the back seat and accept the fact that she was not the only woman who wanted the King's love.

Dealing with rumors

Both Priscilla and Elvis had careers that requried traveling from time to time, and more often than not they couldn't accompany eachother. While Priscilla would be off in location doing a photo shoot, the tabloids started filling with rumors about other girls Elvis was involved with.

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It started with rumors of flirtting, and sometimes would go even further. Priscilla would find it very hard to deal with and often feared of losing him.


One of these women that the tabloids loved linking to Elvis was Ann-Margret. Known as the 'Female Elvis', Ann-Margret was considered one of the most desired and beautiful women at the time. She later also went on to star with Elvis in the film "Viva Las Vegas".

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Everyone believed the rumors were true, including Priscilla, except she, as opposed to everyone else, didn't really like the idea. Elvis kept on denying it.

The confirmed affair

Among all of the made up stories, one of them had to be true. Joyce Bova met Elvis while on vacation in Vegas and the two clicked immediately. Though Presley and his wife were somewhat distant at the time, the affair was still considered scandalous.

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According to multiple sources, the affair also led to a pregnancy that terminated in abortion, all behind Elvis' back. Elvis kept on promising to Bova that he will leave Priscilla for her and tried to convince her to move to Graceland with him.

Money can't buy everything

Though elvis was behind many love songs, it looks like his emotional intelligence levels were not the highest.

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He often wanted to avoid confrontations and deep conversations, and would instead buy presents to clear the mood. After all, communication was not his best forte.

Control Freak

Elvis was not only a poor communicator, but also was not very keen to let things go. According to Priscilla, he was very controlling and had to be involved in all of the small details.

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From her clothes, hairstyles, and choices, he felt it necessary to force his opinions and be the one to make the final decision. Priscilla, however, was so in love and thought it meant he just loved her so much.

Liked it short

As opposed to many boyfriends, Elvis liked it when his girlfriend and later wife showed her "assets". He often encouraged her to wear short skirts and revealing neck-lines.

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Considering the fact that he kept her very close to him and acted like the jealous type, he loved the more provoking look. Many thought it to be very odd.

Center of attention

With all the attention given to him, it was hard to find room for anyone else.

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Priscilla often complained she felt invisible, even to him.

When depression hits

No matter how successful he was and how much love he received from the crowds, when the episodes of depression would hit, they would hit him hard. He would stay in bed for days, sometimes weeks, and there was nothing anyone could do.

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His state of mind was completely career dependant and even the smallest drop in success will take him down into a black hole. No one, not even his wife, could save him from himself.

Anxiety and Drugs

The Rock and Roll life, paired with the depression episodes, led Elvis to a serious drug abuse. He would take sleeping pills every night out of fear of not falling asleep.

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Elvis didn't just keep the bad habit to himself. He would also give Priscilla sleeping pills to help her fall asleep. He never called himself an addict and claimed nothing was illegal about his activity. All the pills after all were prescribed.

His rage

Elvis looked always looks so calm and in a good spirit on stage, that it was hard to believe that behind the scenes he had a raging temper. When his madness got to him it was hard to predict how he would behave.

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Since he had enough money to replace anything that got broken during his rage moments, it didn't stop him from destroying anything that was in his way.

The victim of his rage

Objects were not the only things that suffered from Elvis' anger episodes. Since he had to maintain a cheerful appearance on stage, the only place where he could lose control was at home, in front of his wife.

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He would even get physical with her when she dared contradicting him or not like what he sang. She was once reported to have a black eye after a confrontation with him.

Saving herself for marriage

Even though Priscilla was with Elvis since she was 14, he was still concerned about her being a virgin at the time of their marriage. For the six years they lived together, he wouldn't sleep with her.

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While the couple waited for her to reach an appropriate wedding age, they would instead act out his fantasies while taking pictures.

From a girl to a woman

Lisa Marie, their daughter, was born in the beginning of 1968. The new Presely princess that was supposed to bring them closer together did exactly the opposite. Elvis found it hard to understand that Priscilla is no longer his little girl, but a mother now.

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His control tendencies made him competitive with the baby for attention. He was no longer the center of the house. There was something else that his wife had to take care of. He didn't know what his place in the house was and wasn't able to accept his wife new role.

Need Out

The stress, heavy atmosphere, the abuse, and the affairs understandly led to a break in the relationship, and 4 years after the wedding, Priscilla filed for divorce.

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Officially, she said that she couldn't handle the sharing of him with the world, especially the women, and that all the rumers of infidelity broke her trust.


When it came to food, Elvis wasn't any easier. He was a germaphobe and didn't like to eat outside of his own house. It was so extreme that when he couldn't avoid it, he would bring his own silverware with him.

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As for drinking, Elvis calculated very carefully where to sip from. He would gather that most people don't drink from the part closest to the handle, and so that was the spot he chose.

Peggy Lipton

Peggy Lipton was another woman whose name got connected with Elvis. The American actress, who is also the mother of the actress Rashida Jones, had an affair with Elvis while he was still married to Priscilla.

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When describing him, she doesn't sound too impressed. He seemed more like a teenage boy to her than a man. She also named his serious drugs problem as an issue in their relationship.

Not the marrying kind

Years later, while reminiscing about their marraige, Priscilla noted that there were all the signs that Elvis is not the marrying kind.

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She wanted a family with him so much that she decided to ignore everything else and just go forward with it. She said she doesn't believe he is able to be monogamous.

She didn't stay behind

When it comes to infidelity, Priscilla was not so inoccent herself. She had her fair share of affairs as well. She began an affair with Mike Stone, a karate instructor that Elvis recommended to her.

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Elvis, obviously, didn't like that. He became paranoid and started suspecting in anyone that would get close to her. Anyone that was Stone's friend became a threat and Elvis couldn't handle it.

More suspicions

In april 7, 1968, Elvis Presley and Tom Jones posed for a portrait together with Priscilla. Tom Jones demonstrated affection towards Elvis' wife by placing his arm around her.

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It was very hard to ignore Priscilla's beauty and everyone, including Elvis' friends found it hard to not notice.

Marriage is over

Presley and his wife filed for divorce on August 18, 1972. They stayed in close relations, though Elvis moved on fairly quickly and had multiple girlfriends.

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They both said that even though the romantic relationship didn't work, they still had eachother's friendship. They continued talking on the phone and share thoughts.

Breaking the Silence

The people's love for Elvis, kept Priscilla mostly quite. Elvis didn't want his reputation to get ruined and made her promise not to share any details about their private life with the public. It was only after his death that she started talking. The fans didn't like that.

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People said that she shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but Priscilla couldn't hold it in anymore. Throughout her life she felt lonely, not able to share her true feelings. Finally, she felt like she could let things out.

One King, One Queen

Even though Elvis had many women in his life, Priscilla is the only one considered to be his queen.

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He never married any of the other girls as he too felt that the title of his queen only belonged to her.

Beauty Queen Crush

Only 5 months after Elvis and Priscilla splitted, Elvis started dating Linda Thompson, a songwriter and Memphis beauty queen. They moved in together shortly after that.

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Their relationship didn't start randomly. Elvis planned it all. He fell in love with her beauty and had it organized that she would come to a premiere with him and sit right by his side.

Better to be cautious

Thompson didn't say yes so easily. She didn't know what was his status with Priscilla and didn't want to come in between their relationship.

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Elvis was determined to show her that he is as free as a bird and that she had nothing to worry about.

Classy Move

Elvis went for the cheesy, hollywood chick-flick move and tried the yawn and stretch tactic during the movie.

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When he noticed she was not yet impressed and not entirely his, he made sure she knew Priscilla is out of his life.

Linda's Point

After learning he was divorced, it wasn't hard to convince Linda to give Elvis a chance. For the rest of the movie screening the couple was kissing and looking very comfortable with eachother.

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The only criticism Linda had was that she claimed Elvis should have never married Priscilla since she wasn't a southern girl. And guess who was?

Persistent Elvis

Elvis would chase Linda. Her beauty mesmerized him. Linda, however, was playing hard to get. When Elvis invited her for a day at Graceland, she didn't respond. Unfortunately, he didn't have her direct phone number, but only that of her aunt's.

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At the end he managed to track her down and invited her to come to Vegas with him. Linda was impressed and finally agreed.

More than one woman

Though Elvis was very much into Linda, he found it hard to be with only one woman. She herself admitted that he cheated on her with multiple women. Out of the 4 years of their relationship, she claimed he was only faithful for one.

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On his frequent Vegas trips Elvis would invite many women to the hotel he stayed in. He would reserve multiple rooms to accomodate the women. He would go even further and book the rooms in different floors to avoid encounteres between them.

Common Thread

Priscilla and Linda, though very different in some aspects, did both share the experience of saving Elvis's life multiple times. His drugs abuse continued and he couldn't be left alone.

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One time he passed out into a bowl of boiling soup and Linda had to pull him out and call a doctor. She literally saved his life. And this is only one incident.

Reversed clock

Since Elvis took sleeping pills and would go to sleep very late at night, he would often sleep through most of the day. Linda described it as leaving like a vampire.

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Linda, who accompanyed Elvis almost everywhere at this point, would alter her lifestyle as well. Waking up at 9pm and going to bed at noon became quite regular.

Elvis was unstoppable

Elvis' impulses was the driving force in his life. When he got excited with and idea, he would go for it, jumping head first. He was also very impulsive with money and would often shower his romantic partners with gifts.

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Linda thought it just meant he loved her a lot. She enjoyed the gifts and the generousity and it took her time to realize it is not a behaviour that could be sustained without horrible repercussions.

The inevitable end

Similar to Priscilla, Linda also found it hard to keep up with Elvis. After 4 years of intensive dating, Linda started feeling that she is getting lost in the relationship and she needed normality back in her life. One of the events that led to this conclusion was when Elvis suggested he continue touring without her.

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Linda was already familiar with Elvis' behavior and knew it meant one thing. There was another woman involved. Linda in fact went back home, were she ended their relationship in a letter.

The Dad

Even though he had many women in his life, there was one that stole his heart right away and his love to her was unconditional. It was his daugther Lisa Marie.

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Born in 1968, she was Elvis' and Priscilla's daughter. elvis loved her very much and would always take good care of her when she was around. However, his special hectic lifestyle prevented him from fully being the father he wanted to be.

Always with friends

Elvis wa not only surrounded by women, but also by many friends. Everyone loved him and they spent a lot of time together. His busy schedule didn't prevent him from always being there for them when they needed him.

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His kindness and loyalty to his friends were wonderful. Unfortunatelly, it took away from the time and attention those closest to him got.

After Thompson

As his relationship with Thompson was getting to an end, Elvis was already looking for the next woman to enter his life. And that woman was Inger Alden. She claimed that all the reports about his problematic misconduct were false and he was never expressing any feelings of depression around her.

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She was very protective of the image some people were left with after his death and categorically denied any obssessive behaviors. She did acknowledge his sensitivity with food, but that's about it.

Being his own victim

Of all the people that suffered from Elvis' behavior and habits, Elvis was the one who got the worst of it. All these women that claimed they were physically and emotionally abused had the option to, and eventually did, leave him and went on with their lives.

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It was Elvis who had to live with the consequences of his behavior. His destructive lifestyle ended up ruining his health and he passed away from a heart attack in 1977, when he was only 42.

The king of pop was scared

Lisa Marie, Elvis' daughter, met Michael Jackson in 1975, when she was 7 years old. The families were on friendly terms. They began an adult relationship in 1992 and eventually married.

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Michael, who knew of the road that led to the distruction of the King, told Lisa Marie that he feared he would also die young, like her father. Unfortunately, he was not wrong in his prediction.

Drugs Yes, alcohol No

This fact is quite surprising, but considering the fact that Elvis had a drug abuse problem, he stayed away from alcohol. The reason possibly is that he saw the effects of alcohol first hand as quite a few of his relatives were alcoholics.

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For some reason, the same logic was not applied to drugs. He was trying so hard to not become an alcoholic, but his addictive personality led him to drugs instead.

Priscilla's New Love

As was mentioned, Priscilla herself was not completely faithful to Elvis, but she found it harder to find love again. She found it hard to keep him out of her life, and they remained very close friends. Some people just work better this way.

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Priscilla did date a few other people after the divorce, including Robert Kardashian for a short period of time. But the relationship didn't last. Like with Elvis, the two remained friendly.

Blast from the past

Remember our hint from before that something will happen between Priscilla and Tom Jones? The two did end up dating much later in life, but looks like Elvis noticed some affection between the two even before.

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Their shared experiences and acquaintances were a good common thread, but the relationship did not hold for long.

The young date

Priscilla's beauty was magnatizing and all through the years she kept her youth. That is why age was less of an issue for her when it came to dating.

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That is why it seemed only natural that she would date someone who is 25 years younger than her. She did look very young anyways.

Linda Thompson's new guy

Linda Thompson didn't stay behind when it comes to finding a new love after Elvis. She was indeed devestated when her love, and later close friend, Elvis passed away. But she did rebuilt her life.

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You can probably tell from the picture that Linda's new love was no other than the Olympic medalist Bruce Jenner. Looks like everyone stayed in the same circles. Priscilla with a Karadashian, Linda with a Jenner...

Even Elvis liked him

When Linda and Elvis were still dating, Bruce Jenner was one of the Olympics' stars. While watching it together, Elvis acknowledged the fact that Bruce was good looking.

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Interestingly enough, turns out Linda was thinking the same.

The next generation

Elvis died too soon and didn't have a chance to meet Lisa Marie's kids, his own grandchildren.

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Lisa Marie went on to have 4 children, and Priscilla turned from being a beautiful mother to stunning grandmother.

Riley Keough

The actress, model and producer Riley Keough is the eldest grandchild of Elvis and Priscilla. She appeared in movies such as Magic Mike and Logan Lucky. She recently also played Laurie Lake in the successful show "Riverdale".

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The beautiful actress took some of her mother's and some of her father's beauty and continued the legacy of great looks.

The look-alike grandson

If you found it hard to see Elvis in Riley Keough's face, take a look at his grandson, Ben Keough. He looks just like him. Not just the same features, but also the expression is similar.

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That is odd considering they never met. Some things just go through the genes.

Elvis will live forever

Some people just find it hard to believe that Elvis is no longer with us and conspiracy theories about his fake death still exist. Priscilla on her part, helps to keep him alive by annually celebrating his birthday.

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She does the all deal, celebrations, cake, and all. Fans gather around her to cut the cake and honor the King.

Taking over the legacy

Though their relationship ended in divorce, the mutual love between Elvis and Priscilla never ended. Priscilla took it upon herself to continue the legacy of the father of her children. She did so by becoming the chairwoman of Elvis Presley Enterprises.

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Under her influence, Graceland became a popular site for tourists and people come from all over the world to see it.

Priscilla Today

Priscilla did a lot throughout her life. She had both an acting career and business achievements. She has two kids and a handfull of grandchildren. She was the ambassador of the Dream foundation that helps terminally ill adults and their families. She became an animal rights activist. She even appeared in season 6 of Dancing with the Stars.

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She has a square named after her in Norway, on the street where her grandfather was born. And above all, she has her own legacy, separate from that of Elvis.