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Details of Elvis Presley’s divorce from Priscilla, full signatures included, emerge in 12-page document going up for auction

Scott Antony

On September 13, 1959, when Elvis Presley, a 24-year-old singing sensation, met Priscilla Beaulieu, the daughter of an Air Force officer, in Wisebaden, West Germany, it was love at first sight for him. The delicate, poised brunette beauty affected him so powerfully that he put her in a special category–and such careful handling was necessary because, for one thing, she was 14 years old.

As for Priscilla, she said, “I just knew that we hit it off. He spent a lot of time with me, joking around.” For the rest of the time that Elvis Presley was stationed in Germany, the two of them spent as much time together as possible. When her father more or less demanded of Elvis what his intentions were, Presley said, “Well, sir, I happen to be very fond of her.”

Eight years later, after Priscilla had moved into Presley’s home in Tennessee while she finished high school–with her parents’ approval–the two of them were married in Las Vegas. The birth of their daughter, Lisa Marie, followed a year later.

But the marriage did not last, with infidelities on both sides, his preoccupation with his career, and Presley’s escalating drug use as the commonly given reasons.

On November 11, 2017, the couple’s divorce papers are set to go on auction in England.

Photo Credit: (Henry Aldridge & Son)
Photo Credit: (Henry Aldridge & Son)

The divorce document, dated August 15 1972, is “a fabulous piece of show business history,” said Henry Aldridge & Son auctioneer Andrew Aldridge.

As part of the settlement, Elvis signed over to Priscilla his 1971 Mercedes Benz, his 1969 Cadillac Eldorado, his Harley-Davidson motorbike, and $100,000.  The sum was to be paid in two sections: $50,000 within five days of the agreement and $50,000 on or before August 20 1973. Priscilla would also receive half of the income from the couple’s three residences in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and Palm Springs.

Priscilla Presley initially thought Elvis was ‘really gross’

“The vendor is an American collector who saw the publicity and result surrounding Aldridge’s previous auction of Elvis material and decided to offer the item,” according to Antique Trade Gazette.

The document states: “Unfortunate circumstances and unhappy differences have arisen between the parties by reason of which they have lived separate and apart since February 23, 1972, and by reason of which they intend to dissolve their marriage through a petition therefore to be filed by husband in the Los Angeles Superior Court.”

Of perhaps keener interest to collectors than the distribution of property and income is the presence of Elvis Presley’s full signature, which is rarely seen.

“Across the 12 pages there are three Elvis signatures–twice with his full name Elvis Aaron Presley and once with his initials EAP, ” reported Antique Trade Gazette. “Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said these are exceptional examples of Elvis’ signatures and it is extremely rare to have Elvis sign his full name Elvis Aaron Presley with two As in his middle name. Priscilla signed four times–three as Priscilla Ann Presley and once with her initials PAP.”

The divorce was not one marked by public hostility, with the couple emerging from the courthouse where they signed the document holding hands. Priscilla Presley has said in interviews that she lived in a bubble with Elvis from a very young age, and did not have a normal adolescence. “I left because … I needed to find out what the world was like,” she told USA Today. “I didn’t really know who I was.”

Elvis Presley died of heart failure on August 16, 1977. After his father, Vernon Presley, died, Priscilla became co-executor of the Presley Estate. She has since focused on turning the Presley Estate into a successful organization consisting of the famous Graceland Mansion, a worldwide licensing program, merchandising, music publishing, and television and video projects.

Related story from us: Elvis Presley’s luxurious private jet is auctioned after decades spent on a runway

Forty years after his death, Elvis Presley’s net worth has risen to an estimated $300 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Scott Antony

Scott Antony is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News