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Priscilla Presley tried her hand at various businesses after her break up from Elvis, including performing in the soap opera Dallas. She also helped to turn Graceland into a tourist attraction to hand their daughter, Lisa Marie, a decent inheritance. Her relationship with Elvis, however, was her entrance into the fame game – so how long were they together?
Priscilla and Elvis Presley were married from 1967 to 1973, so for six years in total, although they separated in 1972.
However, Elvis had been in Priscilla’s life for a very long time, during her most formative years, as they met when she was just a teenager.
Priscilla, then Priscilla Beaulieu, lived in West Germany with her family, who had moved there due to her stepfather’s army job.
When Elvis went into military service, he met the young girl there and became infatuated with her, and was desperate to bring her to Graceland to live with him.
In the early 1960s, Elvis convinced the Beaulieu family to let their teenage daughter move to the USA, but on the condition she lived with Elvis’ father and step-mother Dee, at a home purchased by Elvis at the back of Graceland.
This, according to Priscilla, only lasted a couple of weeks, after which time she had moved into Graceland proper.
Despite this, Priscilla said Elvis was not sexual towards her during this time, though she described him as a “passionate man.”
In her memoir, Elvis and Me, she said the pair did not have sex until their wedding night on May 1, 1967, where they married in Las Vegas, Nevada, in front of a huge press pack.
Their daughter Lisa Marie was then born exactly nine months later on February 1, 1968, in Memphis.
According to Priscilla, Elvis became fascinated with the occult and addicted to prescription drugs, which she believes changed his personality.
She began taking karate lessons from Mike Stone, on Elvis’ suggestion, after the couple met in 1968 at the Mainland vs Hawaii Karate Championships.
Soon, Priscilla began an affair with Mike and in 1972 she left Elvis to move in with the teacher.
Priscilla said, as chronicled in Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, when she told him about Mike, Elvis “grabbed … and forcefully made love to” her, declaring: “This is how a real man makes love to his woman.”
She later retracted this statement in an interview, calling it an “overstatement.”
In 1972, they separated and filed for a legal separation on July 26 and Elvis filed for divorce on January 8, 1973, on his 38th birthday.
According to the same book, Priscilla’s decision to leave Elvis for her karate teacher left his ego “damaged beyond repair.”
The divorce was finalised in 1973, and the pair attempted to stay close after their divorce, with Priscilla named as one of the executors of his will after his death.
Despite their separation, according to journalist Chris Hutchins in the Daily Mail, Elvis would still not fully leave Priscilla alone, and even recalled a story from his friend Terry O’Neill, where Priscilla and Terry’s “love-making” was interrupted by phone calls from Elvis.
But Vernon, Elvis’ father, had his own ideas on why the couple could not make it and it comes down to a very simple factor: his son did not really want to be married.
Speaking to Good Housekeeping in 1978, he said: “I believe that Elvis; marriage to her failed simply because he realised after the wedding that he didn’t really want to be married.
“When he was traveling, it wasn’t practical for Priscilla to go along all the time, especially after Lisa was born.
“These separations put a strain on their relationship.”
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