Priscilla Presley: Who She Is Outside of Her Marriage to the King of Rock and Roll
Priscilla Presley was formerly Priscilla Wagner before she married one of the most famous stars of all time. She has lived an unbelievably interesting life as the wife of The King of Rock and Roll. During the height of Elvis’s career, they were seen as one of the most iconic couples in the world.
Only recently has Priscilla come out with her own side of the story. Some of the secrets she revealed about their relationship are shocking. While Elvis Presley was a fascinating legend and made a name for himself that will go down in history, Priscilla is fascinating in her own rite. Check out these little known facts about Priscilla’s gripping life.
Priscilla was born in 1945 in Brooklyn, New York. Tragically, her father was killed when she was only a few months old. He was a U.S. Navy pilot and died in a plane crash. Her mother then remarried an Air Force officer.
Throughout her youth and teenage years her family moved around a lot. This was as a result of her stepfather being an AirForce officer. It was when the family moved to Germany that Priscilla met Elvis.
Priscilla was only 14 when she and Elvis met
Elvis and Priscilla met at a party in Germany while Elvis was in the army. She described “The King” as being an awkward and embarrassed boy, but she was the one who was a child. She was only 14 years old when they met! Meanwhile, Elvis was 25.
They spent a lot of time together while Elvis was in Germany but spent a few years apart when he moved back to Memphis. Eventually, Priscilla joined him and they were married in 1967 in Las Vegas. The ceremony took all of 8 minutes.
Priscilla made Elvis nervous
It’s hard to imagine the King of Rock and Roll being nervous, but apparently Priscilla had that effect on him. He had already gained popularity by the time he met his future wife but he was still intimidated by the young girl.
Apparently, when he first tried to woo her he was unsuccessful and Priscilla was unimpressed. Priscilla apparently didn’t even like Elvis at first and was unimpressed by his fame and talent. But he did eventually manage to gain her affections.
Elvis was in a relationship when he met Priscilla
Elvis was already a star when he met the young Priscilla and he happened to have a girlfriend at the time! He was dating an actress named Anita Wood and apparently their relationship was pretty serious.
She wasn’t allowed to visit Elvis while he was in Germany. She had heard rumors of Elvis and Priscilla but didn’t want to believe it could be true. When she confronted Elvis, he asked her to keep it a secret because he didn’t want to get in trouble about being in a relationship with the young girl.
Priscilla’s parents were against the relationship
In the beginning, Priscilla’s parents did not support the relationship with Elvis. After all, she was only 14 years old when they met and he was a grown man. Priscilla came home late and her parents were upset.
They felt that Elvis was a bad influence but Elvis was able to convince them to let him continue to see their daughter. From then on they approved of the relationship.
Priscilla moved into Graceland 3 years after they met
Graceland is Elvis’s estate in Memphis, Tennessee. She moved in 3 years after the two met even though the two were not actually together the entire time. They were apart for a few years while she was still in Germany.
Elvis convinced her to finish high school in the States and live with him in his estate. She trusted Elvis and stated that she didn’t think he would have asked her to make that move if he wasn’t committed.
She studied acting
Priscilla studied acting while she was married to Elvis. She made a few television appearances here and there, but didn’t really catch a break until she landed a role in the famous soap opera Dallas.
Dallas was one of the most popular night-time soap operas of the time. She ended up winning a Soap Opera Digest Award in 1984. It was positive that Priscilla made her own achievements that were outside of her famous rock and roll husband.
They had a daughter
Elvis and Priscilla had one child together. Lisa Marie Presley was born a year after they were married. Lisa Marie is the sole heir to her dad’s estate. She followed in his footsteps, starting her own music career and releasing 3 albums.
Lisa Marie has been married a total of 4 times. Two of which were extremely high profile: Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage. She now has four children.
Priscilla was strict with Lisa Marie
Lisa Maria has admitted that her dad, Elvis, was a “fun dad”. She even felt like she needed to protect her famous father and keep him safe. When one parent is fun, the other usually has to be the strict one who enforces the rules.
She explained in an interview that she was the disciplinary. It was important that Lisa Marie have boundaries because she would inevitably be in the spotlight. But she worked very hard in the divorce to make sure her daughter understood that everyone would still get along.
Elvis cheated on Priscilla regularly
The relationship was not necessarily a healthy one. Elvis regularly cheated on Priscilla early on in their relationship. He was famously unfaithful with his co-star, Anne-Margret, from Viva Las Vegas.
This was not the most positive start to the relationship. Elvis had begged her parents to let Priscilla move in with him and marry him. But both of them were eventually unfaithful in their marriage.
Priscilla became the housewife
After they got hitched, Priscilla became a typical housewife despite her young age. She said that she loved “playing house”. She cooked and cleaned for the rockstar. Occasionally she would even make desserts for the king.
She liked that she was in charge of taking care of her husband at the young age of 21. In an interview she stated that she took pride in the fact that they didn’t need maids or housekeepers to pamper them.
Pressure to be perfect
It’s no secret that women were under pressure to be perfect in the 1960s. This was especially true for Priscilla, who was under a constant spotlight. She often stayed in the house to avoid scrutiny and media attention.
She has since adjusted to the cameras being in her face as it comes with the territory of being married to one of the most iconic rock stars of all time.
She always wore makeup
Priscilla was constantly trying to please her husband because she wanted to be the perfect housewife and because she wanted to avoid his anger. She always wore makeup, even when it was just the 2 of them.
She never let him see her without makeup and constantly wore lipstick. She wanted to keep some things to herself and that was one of them.
She didn’t see him perform until after they were married
You’d think being married to the rockstar would mean seeing him perform on stage all the time. But Priscilla actually never saw Elvis perform live on stage until after they were married.
She said it didn’t bother her and she wasn’t one to complain. She loved being his wife and being the one to take care of him. When she finally saw him on stage she understood why people found him so captivating.
Priscilla wrote a memoir
Elvis was not the only talented one in the marriage. Outside of acting in soap operas, the young Priscilla also wrote a bestselling memoir. The book was called Elvis and Me and was eventually turned into a movie which she produced herself.
The book provided an intimate look into the relationship she had with Elvis and people ate it up! At the time, the public were obsessed with the couple and they were happy to get a sneak peak into their personal lives.
Priscilla and Elvis separated due to the affairs that they both had during their relationship. Elvis’s career was experiencing a resurgence and he was with other women. Priscilla had an affair with her karate instructor.
Although they decided they were not meant to be married any longer, they remained close friends. When they left the courthouse where they finalized their divorce, they walked out hand in hand.
They were only married for 6 years
Interestingly, although there has been so much attention on their marriage, it only lasted a total of 6 years. Most people are surprised by this because they know so many stories about the couple.
Their daughter, Lisa Marie was born exactly 9 months after the day they got married. When she was born, their intimate life basically disappeared. When Priscilla filed for divorce; however, she stated that she needed to find herself and become her own person.
She was devastated by the news of his death
Although Priscilla and Elvis had separated years before his passing, Priscilla was devastated by his death. While they had a pretty tumultuous relationship, she explains that “love is deceiving” and her heart was broken when she heard of his passing.
She explains that Elvis was an essential part of her life. Since they had met when she was so young, he was a major part of her entire adult life. Her love for him was a motivating factor in preserving his legacy after he died.
Elvis was possessive of her
Priscilla has admitted that Elvis was very possessive of her in their relationship. He was never shy to express his opinion, even on her fashion choices. She said he would say when he disapproved of the color she was wearing.
This was the first red flag that gave way to other problems in their relationship. Priscilla explained that she was basically Elvis’s “living doll, to fashion as he pleased”. He even asked her to dye her hair black to match his.
He had anger management issues
His control issues were accompanied by anger management as well. She said that it could be very scary because his anger would come seemingly out of nowhere without warning.
Priscilla would try to figure out what the cause of his anger was but there was often no reason at all. She said in an interview that he picked up a gun on more than one occasion.
Priscilla saved his fortune when he died
When Elvis died, his net worth was $5 million, which surprised a lot of people. Everyone thought “the king” would be worth a lot more. Priscilla devised a plan to rebuild his estate and his fortune.
Many people tried to convince her to sell Graceland and liquidate the benefits. But she maintained it and passed it on to her daughter when she was of age. She turned it into a tourist attraction to save Elvis’s fortune.
She became business woman after Elvis’s death
Priscilla was the chairman and CEO of Elvis Presley Productions until her daughter turned 21. She has put out fashion lines and fragrances alongside her hairdresser. She also runs a popular clothing store.
When Elvis’s property was handed over to her daughter she found ways to make her own money, proving that she could make it all on her own. In this way she was able to step out of her late husband’s shadow and find who she was outside of being “Elvis’s wife”.
She started a fragrance line
In the late 1990s, Priscilla embarked on yet another business venture. She started a fragrance line in addition to the clothing line and skin-products. For her entire life she has continued to work hard and have an entrepreneurial spirit.
She is far more than a housewife! Acting, writing, producing, and running businesses takes a special kind of person. In 2022 she also announced that she would co-produce a musical theater production based on her relationship with Elvis.
Priscilla and her daughter are scientologists
Celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, and John Travolta are not the only scientologists in Hollywood. They actually became involved in the religion through John Travolta. He made an appearance for Lisa Marie’s birthday because he was a fan when she was young.
They got to talking about the religion from there and Priscilla and her daughter decided to become scientologists. Before this, Elvis had also considered joining the Scientologists but never followed through with it.
She was against her daughter’s relationship with Michael Jackson
Interestingly, Lisa Marie followed in her mom’s footsteps by marrying one of the most famous musicians of all time: Michael Jackson. She saw some of the warning signs that she experienced in her marriage to Elvis and was concerned.
She didn’t know what Michael Jackson’s intentions were and worried that he had an agenda with her daughter. She worried about her relationship not only because she’s a mom but because she didn’t want her daughter to go through some of the things she went through being married to a rockstar.
Priscilla had custody of Lisa Marie’s daughters
Lisa Maria was in a very difficult custody battle with her ex-husband Michael Lockwood for quite a long time. This came after the tragic passing of her son Benjamin Keough.
As the custody battle dragged on and became more volatile, Priscilla actually assumed custody of the twins Finley and Harper. They were living with her for over 9 months but did spend time with both their parents during this time as well.
She had a son
Long after Elvis had passed away Priscilla was in a relationship with an Italian screenwriter named Marco Garibaldi. They lived together from 1984 to 2006 but never married. They had a son in 1987.
Her son, Navaronne Garibaldi is a musician and is the lead singer of the band Them Guns. He is now happily married. He and the rest of the family have had to get used to media scrutiny.
The Elvis movie
In June of 2022 a movie was released about the rise of Elvis. Elvis is played by actor Austin Butler and Priscilla is played by Olivia DeJonge. Olivia explained what it was like playing Priscilla and how important it was that she portray her accurately.
To prepare for her role as Priscilla she watched tons of interviews of the legend. She explained that at the end of the day it was a love story and she wanted to do the story justice. She also explained that she understood the toxicity of the relationship and she celebrated that Priscilla got out of the relationship so she could grow on her own.
How Priscilla was portrayed in the movie
Olivia Dejonge wanted to play Priscilla accurately in the movie and make sure her story was told in a respectful way. She could relate to being in love and wanting to give everything to the person the way Priscilla had for Elvis.
She wanted to make sure Priscilla came across as supportive and full of life because she was playing her in her younger years. It was important that she wasn’t just 2 dimensional because she was such an interesting character.
Priscilla’s reaction to the Elvis movie
She was originally nervous when she found out about the biopic. She had her doubts about how the story would be told, because her story has been told for her by other people for so many years.
She went to see the film with a long time friend of Elvis and explained in an interview that she had nothing but praise for the film. She stated, “At the end we went, ‘Wow, this is Elvis’”. A glowing review from Priscilla was certainly a huge boost for the film and its creators.
She’s gone through many hair transformations
When she was young she had blond hair and that changed when she met Elvis. Elvis wanted the two to match so he asked her to dye her hair black. During their relationship she mostly styled in a large beehive style which she said could take hours!
She then switched to a brunette hair color. Now, she is known for sporting the iconic red locks. She’s had almost every hair style there is and rocked each and every one. She’s a style icon!
Priscilla was known for her iconic fashion looks
One of the most iconic photos of Priscilla was taken at the Memphis International Airport in 1963. She wore a dress with a matching cape and leather gloves. She’s holding a small white dog in the image.
Apparently the poodle in her arms was a Christmas gift from Elvis the year before. In response to the outfit she explained that in that time people really dressed up. You rarely saw people underdressed. She loved capes at the time and still loves them to this day.
Her Wedding Dress
The images from the Presley’s wedding are perhaps the most widely circulated photos of them on the internet. She wore a unique trapeze style dress with sheer sleeves. Her veil was larger than life.
She explained that what she loved about the dress was that it was very feminine and matched Elvis’s suit. She was also drawn to it because it was lightweight and flowy. She looks back on these photos of her dress and wedding day very fondly.
The fuchsia dress
Another iconic Priscilla Presley look came after the birth of their daughter. The family was photographed together when their daughter, Lisa Marie was brought home from the hospital. The bright pink fuchsia dress was purchased from Neiman Marcus.
It had a pointed collar and long sleeves. The dress ended just above her knee and is very recognizable. So much, in fact, that it was recreated for the Elvis movie. Olivia DeJonge, who played Priscilla, can be seen wearing an exact replica of this look.
The divorce outfit
The Presleys famously walked hand in hand out of the courtroom when they got divorced. Obviously, many photos were taken of them that day as it was the end of an ear for one of the most iconic couples of the time.
She wore a patchwork style dress while leaving the Santa Monica courtroom. She had also stopped doing her iconic black puffy hairstyle. Elvis had requested that she wear her hair in that way because it matched his.
Her boutique in the 1970s
She opened her own clothing store in Beverly Hills in the 1970s. The store was called Bis & Beau and featured high-end 70s clothes. One infamous look from the store is this full denim outfit.
The wide-leg jeans and matching jacket are covered in swirling rhinestone patterns. The stones were hand-studded. She is very proud of this look, mentioning to Vogue that she believes they were “ahead of [their] time” with this outfit.
Denim on denim
The denim matching set above was not the only time she sported jeans. The 1970s were in full effect and denim was in. In this image by her pool in Beverly Hills she wore a full denim swimsuit.
While we don’t necessarily think denim and the pool go hand in hand, she knows more about fashion than we do! She paired it with a gold chain and a blow out hair style.
She attended the 2022 Met Gala
The Met Gala is known for iconic outfit looks from high-fashion designers. Priscilla attended the 2022 gala in an all-black Prada outfit. The floor-length gown features gold sequin cuffs on the upper arms of the sleeves.
She paired it with a thick black headband. Interestingly, she attended the gala with Baz Luhrmann (who produced the movie Elvis) and the other stars of the Elvis movie.
Her Elvis movie premiere outfit
In recent years, she has been seen wearing a lot of Prada. She wore a classic burgundy dress to the Elvis premiere at the annual Cannes film festival. It features sequin embellishments all over and is very elegant. She commented that it was a little out of her comfort zone.
She liked that the dress almost matched her hair. She stated, “I’m usually dressed in black, so this was different for me, but I love it. And I got to keep it too, so I’m really happy”. She continues to wow with her fashion!