Priscilla Presley: Her Marriage to Elvis and the Legal Battle Following Her Daughter’s Death
Elvis and Priscilla were seen as the most iconic couple in the world at the height of Elvis’ career. But there were secrets behind their marriage that no one could have known. Only recently has Priscilla come out with her own side of the story and some of her admissions are truly 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 and read on to discover the truths about the ongoing legal case in the wake of her daughter’s death.
Tragedy from the start
Priscilla was born in 1945 in Brooklyn, New York. Sadly, she was no stranger to heartbreak right from the start. 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. Following the passing of her father, he mother remarried an Air Force officer.
This meant the family moved around quite a lot throughout her childhood and teenage years. It made it difficult for Priscilla to make friends. However, it was when the family moved to Germany that Priscilla met Elvis.
Priscilla was only 14 when she met Elvis
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.
Apparently Elvis Saw His Mother in Priscilla
It’s been said that one of the reasons Elvis was drawn to Priscilla was her young age because he felt that he would be able to “train” her into the wife he wanted. However, others have speculated that she reminded him of his mother whom he loved dearly and who had only recently passed away.
The strange and uncomfortable start tot he relationship between the 24 year old singer and 14 year old girl was only the beginning. Priscilla’s parents naturally had their own reservations about the whole thing.
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 wholly unsuccessful. 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.
He managed to keep his wife away by not allowing her to visit him 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 for 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 about the taboo pair.
They felt that Elvis was a bad influence but the rockstar was able to convince them to let him continue to see their daughter. After some time had passed, they began to feel Elvis’ intentions were true and allowed Priscilla to continue to see Elvis.
Priscilla moved into Graceland 3 years after they met
Graceland is Elvis’ Memphis estate which is currently in a heated legal battle regarding the rightful ownership between Priscilla and her family members. It was Elvis’ home for many years and in 1963 he finally managed to convince Priscilla’s parents to let her move in with him. They had been dating for 3 years at this point but actually spent most of that time apart while she was still in Germany with her family.
Elvis convinced her to finish high school in the States and live with him while she did so. She trusted Elvis and his eagerness to have her in his home made her feel that he was entirely committed to her. Her parents obliged but only if the two were to be married.
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. Having her own achievements that were outside the world of Elvis made her feel capable and important. It was a very positive aspect of her life, but nothing was more important than being a mother.
They had a daughter
Elvis and Priscilla had one child together. Lisa Marie Presley was born a year after they were married and Lisa Marie immediately became 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 had four children and remained close to Priscilla for many years. But her high profile life and persistent bad habits led to a tragic conclusion.
Lisa Marie's First Marriage To Danny Keough
In 1988, Lisa Marie married her first husband, musician Danny Keough. One year after they tied the knot, Presley and Keough welcomed their first child, Riley, into the world.
And, in 1992, the couple welcomed their second child, Benjamin. Presley and Keough called it quits in May 1994, although they remained on good terms. It was no more than one month after they split that Presley got married to pop star Michael Jackson.
You may recognize Priscilla's granddaughter, Riley Keough
Talent runs in this family’s blood because Riley has made a name for herself in Hollywood outside of Grandpa Elvis. She is an actor and singer who made a huge impression in the show Daisy Jones and the Six.
She plays a lead singer in a Fleetwood Mac style band who falls in love with her bandmate. The young actress has also been featured in other films such as Logan Lucky and Mad Max: Fury Road. While Riley was mainly raised by her father she did spend some time growing up at the Graceland Estate with her mom.
Lisa Marie Reflects On Her Father
In 2005, Lisa Marie and her mother co-wrote the memoir, Elvis – By The Presleys. Presley recounted some cherished memories about growing up on the Graceland property.
She used the word “amazing” to describe the experience, as well as being “filled with energy and excitement.” Presley also recalled the last moment that she saw her father alive when he found her awake at 4 a.m. and told her to go back to sleep. She wrote, “I said, ‘OK,’ and I think he kissed me goodnight and I ran off.” He died when she was only nine years old.
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 from a world of scrutiny. But, when one parent is fun, the other usually has to do the real parenting, which fell to Priscilla.
She explained in an interview that she was the disciplinarian. It was important that Lisa Marie have boundaries because she would inevitably be in the spotlight. However, no parenting class could have taught Priscilla how to parent a child that would be in the public eye their entire life.
Elvis cheated on Priscilla regularly
On the outside Priscilla and Elvis were the iconic duo of the rock and roll world, but behind closed doors things were much different. 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 when she finally did both of them were eventually unfaithful in their marriage.
Priscilla became the housewife
After they got hitched, Priscilla became a typical housewife despite her extremely 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. It was exactly what she wanted, or so she thought.
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 judgement from the media.
While she avoided the media attention as best she could, there was no shying away from Elvis’ spotlight and Priscilla had to learn to become comfortable with all the buzz around her all the time. It was a lot of pressure for anyone, let alone a young girl.
She always wore makeup
Priscilla was constantly trying to please her husband for 2 reasons: she wanted to be the perfect housewife and she wanted to avoid his fearful temper. She always wore makeup, even when it was just the 2 of them. This was the way Elvis liked it.
She never let him see her without makeup and was sure to constantly wear lipstick in his presence. She has commented that she often felt she was a doll for him to dress and admire.
She didn’t see him perform until after they were married
You’d think being married to a 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.
Nothing lasts forever
Priscilla and Elvis had caused each other a lot of heartbreak and eventually the couple. Both had been unfaithful to one another. Elvis’s career was experiencing a resurgence and he started a romance with another woman. 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 famously walked out hand in hand.
They were only married for 6 years
Interestingly, although there has been so much media 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, she expressed that she needed to find herself and become her own person. After all, she was only a child before Elvis!
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 still 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.
How she discovered he had passed away
Priscilla explained that the day she heard he had passed away was one of the worst of her life. Originally, when she received the call, she had feared that something happened to Lisa Marie. But when she was told that Elvis had died she was beside herself. She couldn’t understand how this had happened.
She explained that she just sat in a silent room until they sent a plane to bring her to Graceland. She explained that she could never forget the sound of Elvis’ father grieving: “To this day, [I] still remember him crying in such grief, howling — that it still resonates the loss and the impact”.
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 one of the signals 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 dated Robert Kardashian... but Elvis drove him away
In 1975 after Priscilla and Elvis had gotten divorced, and when her daughter was 7 years old, she entered a romance with the infamous Robert Kardashian. However, Priscilla actually ended the relationship because of Elvis.
Despite the fact that Kardashian was keen to marry her, she apparently told Robert, “Look, I am not going to marry anyone until Elvis dies”. It was only one year later that Elvis did pass away, but Priscilla and Robert didn’t end up rekindling their relationship. Inevitably, he married Kris Jenner and created an entirely different very famous family.
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. However, he had lost much of his fortune to a shady manager and poor planning and lifestyle choices. It was Priscilla who devised a plan to rebuild his estate and his fortune after he passed away.
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”. This gave her great fulfillment and purpose.
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.
Lisa Marie Struggled With Addiction
After her father passed away from a drug overdose when she was a child, addiction had been a part of Lisa Marie’s life ever since. Her ongoing struggles with addiction and other setbacks were often not shied away from in the public eye.
Lisa Marie diligently attempted to keep her personal struggles private. However, details about her opioid addiction and battle for sobriety surfaced during the divorce from her fourth husband, Michael Lockwood.
Lisa Marie Was "Ferociously Protective" Over Her Children
It was no secret that Lisa Marie’s kids were her ultimate pride and joy in life. In 2014, she shared in an interview with Healthy Living, “They are my priority. That’s what I do. That’s what I care most about. I keep them close to me and make sure they are happy and healthy.”
Lisa Marie had a very close bond with her first daughter, Riley. She opened up to PEOPLE about her relationship with Lisa Marie, sharing that she was “a very strong, smart woman” and an “inspiration” for her.
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.
Lisa Marie tragically passed away
In January of 2023, Lisa Marie passed away in her Los Angeles home of a heart attack. Priscilla’s daughter was 54 years old at the time of her death and is survived by her three children.
Upon her passing, the Graceland estate was apparently passed down to her daughters: Riley and twins Harper and Finley. However, a legal battle is underway to establish who will truly inherit the famous estate.
Priscilla taking legal action
Priscilla questioned her late daughter’s will in regard to the inheritance of Graceland. She believes that her daughter’s signature was forged on a previous document which gave Priscilla partial ownership of the estate alongside her granddaughters.
The case is still ongoing but the public is highly interested to know the outcome of the legal battle. Many wonder what implications the legal turmoil will have on the closeness of the remaining family members.
Priscilla's son finally speaks out
Priscilla’s son, Navarone remained silent about the legal issues that faced the family as well as his feelings towards the Presleys as a whole until only recently. He explained that he was tired of people speculating on his thoughts regarding the situation. He expressed that people knew about him but didn’t actually know him.
When he attended his half-sister, Lisa Marie’s funeral he was shot back into the spotlight that he had tried to avoid for most of his life. While he has avoided speaking on the legal battles, he has expressed his deep sadness for the passing of his sister.
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
Actress 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 your partner 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 outside of the man she was married to.
Priscilla’s reaction to the Elvis movie
Priscilla 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 feared that she would be further misunderstood as the media had 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.”They are my priority. That’s what I do. That’s what I care most about. I keep them close to me and make sure they are happy and healthy.”
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.
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!
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.