While at a party at his home in Bad Nauheim, Germany, where he was serving with the US military in 1959, Elvis Presley met the beautiful Priscilla Beaulieu. They were immediately attracted to each other, despite Priscilla being only 14 years old, and went on seeing each other. On May 1, 1967, they wed at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a rather short ceremony.
An eight-minute wedding ceremony
The wedding, which had been arranged by Colonel Tom Parker and took place at 9:00 AM, was only eight minutes long and was said to have been something to maximize Elvis Presley‘s publicity. Not many guests were invited, and even some who had been reached out to personally by Elvis weren’t allowed in for the ceremony itself. In total, 14 individuals were present for the union, with Priscilla’s sister serving as the Maid of Honor.
A press conference was held immediately after, followed by a breakfast reception that was attended by 100 of the couple’s friends and family. Business associates from RCA and MGM were also invited, and, of course, people from the William Morris Agency. It was a joyous celebration, with the centerpiece being the $3,200 six-tiered wedding cake, made from yellow sponge cake and filled with liquor-flavored cream and apricot marmalade.
Some of Elvis’ closest friends weren’t invited to the wedding ceremony, causing rifts between them. His friend Red West was extremely upset by the snub, as the singer had personally invited him and his wife, who were refused entry at the last minute. West had been with Elvis since the beginning – the singer had even been the Best Man at the actor’s own wedding!
The insult was such that West quit working for Elvis.
A much-needed honeymoon and break from the spotlight
After the reception, the happy couple boarded a private jet and traveled to Palm Springs, California for a short honeymoon. By May 4, 1967, they were back in Memphis, Tennessee for a three-week break at Graceland. Some of Elvis Prelsey’s inner circle joined them, but, mostly, the couple was left alone to enjoy each other’s company without the intrusion of the media.
Priscilla is said to have enjoyed the chance to be a “proper wife” to her husband, without maids or housekeepers doing everything for them. On May 29, the couple held a reception at Graceland for those who hadn’t been able to attend the ceremony just under a month prior.
Priscilla Presley soon became pregnant with Lisa Marie
Soon after the wedding, Priscilla Presley discovered she was pregnant. This initially caused some concern on the part of the expectant mother, who worried such an early pregnancy would come between her and her new husband – the pair had even discussed birth control, but Elvis was against it.
While the pair briefly talked about ending the pregnancy, the decision was made to carry the baby to term. On February 1, 1968, Lisa Marie was born, becoming the couple’s only child and daughter.
Interestingly, the King of Rock and Roll almost missed Lisa Marie’s birth. A notorious night owl, Priscilla had to wake Elvis when she realized she’d gone into labor. To make matters worse, her husband had been unable to find the cigars he’d purchased for this specific occasion. He even took a break to have a snack, much to Priscilla’s amusement!
Affairs led to Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s divorce
While the pair’s marriage was, at first, great, Priscilla Presley was soon dealing with the worry and jealousy that came with being married to someone as famous as Elvis. In an interview with PEOPLE, she revealed, “Women gravitated to him, so I would be nervous when he had to go places alone. I would even go with him to get his teeth cleaned! I always had an eye on him because everyone in the world was after him.”
Seven months into their marriage, Elvis asked Priscilla for a trial separation, but reunited with his wife in time for Lisa Marie’s birth. That being said, the birth of their daughter didn’t stop the singer from cheating on his wife over the course of their union, with Priscilla once sharing, “He had mentioned before we were married that he had never been able to make love to a woman who’d had a child.”
Priscilla also engaged in an affair with the owner of the dance studio where she took private lessons. The man, whom she calls “Mark,” was able to provide her with the affection she needed while her husband was away. While she regretted the affair and tried to make her marriage work, she soon realized she would always come second to Elvis’ career.
She wound up having a second affair a few years later, this time with her karate instructor, Mike Stone. In 1972, Priscilla told her husband she wanted a divorce, with their separation becoming finalized the following year.
In 2023, Sofia Coppola released Priscilla (2023), a biographical film based on the 1985 memoir, Elvis and Me: The True Story of the Love Between Priscilla Presley and the King of Rock N’ Roll. Starring Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, the feature is focused on Priscilla Presley’s life and her marriage to Elvis.
Priscilla premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival in September 2023, and two months later was released in theaters worldwide. Since its premiere, the movie has received generally positive reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it an audience score of 62 percent and a critic rating of 84 percent.
Lisa Marie was against Priscilla prior to her passing
Four months before her unexpected passing in January 2023, Lisa Marie Presley wrote two emails to Priscilla (2023) director Sofia Coppola, asking her to not move ahead with the film. In messages obtained by Variety, the late musician called the script “shockingly vengeful and contemptuous,” and revealed she didn’t understand this particular direction.
“My father only comes across as a predator and manipulative,” she wrote to Coppola in the correspondence. “As his daughter, I don’t read this and see any of my father in this character. I don’t read this and see my mother’s perspective of my father. I read this and see your shockingly vengeful and contemptuous perspective and I don’t understand why?”
Presley added that, if the project went forward, then she would speak out against it and her own mother, who served as executive producer, writing, “I will be forced to be in a position where I will have to openly say how I feel about the film and go against you, my mother and this film publicly.”
When reached out to by the media, Coppola, through her representative, shared what she wrote to Presley in early September 2022. “I hope that when you see the final film you will feel differently, and understand I’m taking great care in honoring your mother, while also presenting your father with sensitivity and complexity,” she responded.