Inside The Presley Family And What Priscilla And Elvis’ Marriage Was Really Like

Emily Izsak | April 29, 2024 7:20 pm

Elvis Presley went by many names. "The King" was one of them. This man became one of the most famous musicians of his time and went on to cement himself in history. He and his wife Priscilla and their daughter Lisa Marie became America's first family in a way. But with all of that fame and recognition came a lot of scandals. From issues with addiction to affairs and plenty of marriages, the Presley legacy will never be forgotten.

Meeting Priscilla

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Elvis met Priscilla Beaulieu at a party at his house while he was stationed in Germany during his army service.

Priscilla was only 14-years-old at the time but apparently, she looked much older. Priscilla's step-father was a US Navy Pilot at the time and he banned her from seeing Elvis because she would always miss curfew when she was with him. Elvis was able to charm Mr. Beaulieu and he promised he would never bring Priscilla home late again.

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Priscilla's First Trip

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When Elvis left Germany, he and Priscilla stayed in touch over the phone. After a lot of negotiating and pleading, Priscilla's parents agreed to let her visit Elvis in LA if she complied with a number of conditions and if Elvis paid for her first class flight.

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Elvis planned to take Priscilla to Las Vegas even though it was against her parents' wishes. At this point, Priscilla was taking pills to keep up with Elvis.

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Priscilla Was 22-Years-Old When They Got Married

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Even though it was Elvis who asked Priscilla to marry him in 1966, many people have said that he did so because he was pushed into it. Priscilla was a minor when she and Elvis first got together.

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Apparently, Priscilla threatened to go to the media or press charges against Elvis if he didn't agree to marry her. Elvis had no choice but to marry Priscilla. There was even the possibility that Elvis could have gone to prison for having a relationship with a girl much younger than himself.

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The First Night

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Elvis was known to like 'pure' girls and when he and Priscilla met, she was indeed a 'pure' girl. According to the couple, they first spent the night together on their wedding night, and Lisa Marie was born exactly nine months later.

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Whether or not Elvis and Priscilla actually waited for marriage is very much unknown, but we do know that Elvis didn't wait very long after the marriage to start having affairs with other women. So much for 'pure' girls.

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There Were Multiple Affairs

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Elvis wasn't just a singer, he was a bona fide heartthrob. Almost every woman wanted to be with him. Even though he was married to Priscilla, Elvis had many love affairs with other women. He felt like he needed constant female attention.

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When asked about the affairs, Elvis claimed that he and Priscilla had an open marriage. The other women just took him at his word, but his word wasn't super reliable because he was on a lot of pills at the time.

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Elvis And Ann-Margaret

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One of Elvis' most famous affairs was with the actress Ann-Margaret. Elvis and Ann-Margaret met on the set of Viva Las Vegas in 1964. Apparently, their instant chemistry was undeniable. They had a brief affair and when Ann called Graceland, her code name was "Thumper."

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When Priscilla found out about the affair and confronted Elvis about it, he denied it and said he was just spending time with Ann for publicity.

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Priscilla Is Not So Innocent

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When most people think about Elvis and Priscilla's marriage, they think of Elvis as the cheater, but Priscilla wasn't so innocent herself.

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Elvis lost interest in Priscilla after she gave birth to their daughter, so Priscilla decided to have affairs with other men. Apparently, she slept with her dance instructor named Mark and had another affair with her karate teacher, Mike Stone. When Elvis found out about Priscilla's affairs, he told her he would pay more attention to her.

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The Divorce

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Elvis and Priscilla really didn't get along after Lisa Marie was born. They were living in different cities and having relationships with different people.

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In 1973, Elvis filed for divorce and became very jealous about the other men in Priscilla's life. After the divorced was finalized, Elvis and Priscilla agreed to share custody of Lisa Marie. Even though they got divorced, Elvis and Priscilla remained friends. They left the courthouse hand in hand.

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Priscilla Lost Herself

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Priscilla felt like she lost her identity when she was thrust into the limelight as a very young woman. Everything about who she was was wrapped up in being Elvis Presley's wife.

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Priscilla said, "I was kind of lost really in who I was earlier in my life, I really didn't have teenage years, I learnt so much about him and was with him so much that I thought the way he did, I knew what he liked…I knew his thoughts, I knew everything as far as you could possibly do when you live together at such a young age."

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The King Was A Twin

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Elvis may seem like one-of-a-kind but actually, if things had unfolded slightly differently, we could have had two Presley brothers. Elvis actually shared his mother's womb with an identical twin.

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His brother was named Jesse Garon Presley and was born 35 minutes before Elvis but was tragically stillborn. Imagine what it would have been like if Elvis' brother had survived. Maybe they would have been in a musical act together, but there can only be one King.

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Elvis Was A Germophobe

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In 2015, Priscilla told the public that Elvis had a serious issue with germs. His issues with cleanliness bordered on OCD. Elvis wouldn't use anyone else's silverware. Priscilla said, "He never liked to go to people's homes to eat because [he] didn't like eating with other people's silverware, so he would take his own silverware."

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Also, whenever he drank out of a cup, he would put his lips near the handle because most people don't put their lips there.

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He's Always Looked Different

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Elvis' signature look has been causing him to stand out from the crowd since he was a teenager. In high school, he looked much more mature than the rest of his classmates.

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He grew sideburns and styled his hair with rose oil and Vaseline. This hairstyle would later become distinctly "Elvis." Elvis didn't spend time playing sports or going to parties like the other kids in his class. He spent all of his time listening to blues and immersing himself in music.

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Elvis Was A Gun Enthusiast

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Elvis was from the South and he fully embraced the South's enthusiasm for guns. He was an avid collector of guns and he liked to carry guns with him at all times.

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It's reported that Elvis owned about 37 different kinds of guns. After Elvis died, one of his guns was auctioned off for $28,000. Elvis spent some time in the U.S. Army, and although he wasn't thrilled about being drafted, he was excited about the guns in the army.

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Elvis' Father Went To Jail

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The public didn't know about Elvis' father being locked up until after Elvis died. Elvis' manager wanted to protect his public image, so he told Elvis not to talk about his father's sordid past.

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In 1976, Vernon Presley was imprisoned in Mississippi State Penitentiary for forging a check. Vernon was given the check for selling a hog. He wasn't impressed with the selling price, so he added some more zeros.

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Elvis Never Wanted To See Her Getting Ready

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It later became clear that Elvis had many ideals when it came to the women he was interested in. In an interview with Country Living, Priscilla later revealed the strange request that Elvis made. He always wanted to have a mystique about himself, and he wanted his wife to be that way, too.

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"He never wanted to see me getting dressed. He wanted to see the result of getting dressed," she said. "I left because... I needed to find out what the world was like. I didn't really know who I was."

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Elvis' New Girl

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Just five months after Elvis and Priscilla separated, Elvis started a relationship with Memphis beauty queen, Linda Thompson.

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Elvis and Linda were together for four years. During that time, Linda revealed that she was shocked by how many substances Elvis was ingesting. Linda said that their relationship was "special," but that she knew that Elvis was never faithful to her. The pair split up just nine months before Elvis died.

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Lisa Marie Got The Estate

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Elvis' daughter Lisa Marie Presley was just 9-years-old when her father died. Even though she was only 9, she became the joint heir to her father's large estate. She shared the estate with Elvis's father and grandmother Vernon Presley and Minnie Mae Presley.

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After Vernon and Minnie May died in 1980, Lisa Marie became the sole heir of Graceland, Elvis' multimillion-dollar home. At this point, Lisa Marie has sold 75% of the estate.

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Plotting Against Priscilla's Lover

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IN 1973, during one of Elvis' shows, four men climbed on stage and tried to attack Elvis. Elvis was convinced that the men were sent by Priscilla's lover, Mike Stone.

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After this incident, Elvis became obsessed with getting revenge on Stone. At one point he said, "There's too much pain in me … Stone [must] die." Some of Presley's close friends actually offered to get a hit man to kill Stone, but Elvis declined the offer.

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Elvis' Weight Gain

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As Elvis got older, he began to gain weight and lose his figure that he was known for. Apparently, Elvis' weight gain got out of control after a mild concussion intensified his depression.

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Elvis was suffering from headaches and insomnia and his behavior became erratic. Elvis turned to pills to relieve the pain, which caused him to gain weight.

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Elvis' Secret Surgery

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Elvis' partner Linda Thompson later revealed that Elvis had a secret facelift when he was 40 years old. Elvis was going through a midlife crisis and he thought he needed surgery to help him with his body image issues.

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Thompson also revealed that Elvis was especially self-conscious about his "skinny little chicken neck" and that's why he wore those trademark high collars. This was apparently the only cosmetic procedure that Elvis ever had.

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Plenty Of Pills

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People always assumed that Elvis was into drugs, which went along with the rock and roll lifestyle. Also, Elvis' addiction issues were public knowledge. People didn't know the extent of his addiction though.

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Elvis's doctors had prescribed the star thousands of doses of pills around the time of his death. Linda Thompson said that Elvis would get the pills whenever he could. She spoke about a trip to the dentist during which "Elvis opened the cabinet and took out gigantic jars of pills. He began taking handfuls of pills and stuffing them into random pockets."

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Elvis' Extreme Diet

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After Elvis gained a bunch of weight, the public turned on him and started publically shaming the King. Elvis decided that he needed to go to extreme lengths to get back down to his previous weight.

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These extreme lengths involved self-imposed sedation. Elvis would sleep for most of the day and only get up to go to the bathroom. He also started taking more pills. Everyone around him was worried about his health.

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Lisa Marie And Michael Jackson

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Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie married pop legend Michael Jackson just 20 days after she divorced her first husband. They decided to get married in 1994 after Lisa Marie supported Michael during his child harassment trial.

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Lisa Marie said, "I believed he didn't do anything wrong, and that he was wrongly accused and, yes, I started falling for him. I wanted to save him. I felt that I could do it."

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The Accidental Pregnancy

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In 1971, Elvis had an affair with Capitol Hill staffer Joyce Bova. Joyce had an identical twin and she and Elvis were able to bond over that fact. Elvis spoke to her about his own twin brother who had died at birth.

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Elvis and Joyce had a very close relationship, and Elvis offered to leave Priscilla to be with Joyce. At one point, Joyce got pregnant with Elvis' baby. She had an abortion and never told Elvis about the pregnancy.

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Elvis And Nixon

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In 1970, Elvis got the opportunity to meet President Richard Nixon in the White House. In the meeting, Elvis talked about his patriotism and how he doesn't really care for hippie culture and thought that the Beatles' influence was anti-American.

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Elvis asked Nixon for a Bureau of Narcotics badge as he was collecting patriotic items. Nixon got a bit uncomfortable and denied Elvis' request. However, Elvis was later given the badge in a private meeting.

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After The Divorce

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Elvis took the divorce from Priscilla pretty hard. His health started to decline after the official split and he started abusing substances more and more. He actually overdosed twice the year after the divorce. One overdose left him in a coma for three days.

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Elvis was taking plenty of substances to cope with the loss of his marriage, even though it wasn't a faithful marriage. He really missed Priscilla and the public pressure got intense.

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Tedious Touring Schedule

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Even though Elvis was going through a lot of health issues, he wasn't going to let that stop him from touring. In 1973 alone he performed 168 concerts.

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That year in Maryland, Elvis walked on stage and was a complete mess. He held on to the mic stand for support, he was slurring his words, and nobody could understand what he was singing. Everyone around him was begging him to take a break, but he refused.

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Paparazzi Problems

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When Elvis died, so many news outlets were desperate for one last picture of "The King." They were bribing Elvis' cousins to let them into the funeral home so they could get a quick shot of the star's body.

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The National Enquirer posted that picture on the front page of their paper and it sold a record-breaking 6.5 million copies. That photo became the most famous front page photograph in history.

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Elvis' Signature Hair

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Sure, Elvis is famous for his voice and his songs, but he's also just as famous for his look and his style. In some ways, Elvis' style was his biggest asset.

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Elvis' hair was a big deal. He didn't let very many people cut it. He trusted Mr. Gill, his mother's hairdresser, so Elvis would fly him out to wherever he was when he needed a little touch-up. Mr. Gill saved some of Elvis' hair clippings and sold them at auction after Elvis died.

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A Real Mamma's Boy

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He might have had numerous girlfriends and lovers, but there was one woman who truly had Elvis' heart from the beginning, and that was his mother, Gladys Presley. Gladys was very close with her son and Elvis and Gladys even had pet names for each other.

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They often communicated using baby talk and they were around each other as much as possible. As Gladys grew older, she got sicker and eventually, she stopped taking care of herself. Elvis as completely devastated after her death.

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Obsessed With James Dean

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Elvis' style didn't materialize out of thin air. Many believe that Elvis modeled his persona and style after actor James Dean. James Dean was something of a rebel, and he always did well with the ladies.

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Elvis even dated Natalie Wood, a good friend of Dean's and his co-star in Rebel Without a Cause. There is clearly a link between these two men and they both ended up having their lives cut short.

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Elvis' Favorite Sandwich

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Elvis had a strange obsession with a particular sandwich. The sandwich, which is now called the Elvis Sandwich, is peanut butter, bananas, and bacon sandwich on a whole loaf of crusty bread.

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Elvis first tried the sandwich while in Colorado. He flew to Denver to get the recipe and then gave the recipe to his chef in Memphis. This sandwich is also known as "fool's gold."

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Dying His Hair

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If you know one thing about Elvis Presley, you know that he has a very unique, slicked back, jet black hairstyle.

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The thing is, his hair isn't actually naturally black. Elvis was born with blonde hair, but he dyed his hair black because he wanted to look more like his idol Tony Curtis. He also dyed his eyelashes black and the chemical they used for his eyelashes caused him to suffer from chronic migraines.

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The Physician With the Prescription Pad

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Like many people who find themselves addicted to drugs, Elvis' addiction didn't start with street drugs. It started with prescription pills. He had his pills prescribed to him by his personal physician Dr. George C. Nichopoulos.

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Dr. Nichopoulous reportedly prescribed Elvis over 10,000 doses of various narcotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, and sleeping pills in 1977. His license was suspended in 1980 for overprescribing to Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others.

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Lisa Marie's Scientology

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Lisa Marie joined the Church of Scientology in 1977. Her mother, Priscilla was already a member of the church and she brought Lisa Marie into the religion. Lisa Marie earned a Humanitarian Award from the World Literacy Crusade, a group affiliated with Scientology.

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In 2016, after a long relationship with the Church, Lisa Marie defected from Scientology. She said she hadn't really felt connected to the religion since 2008. Her mother and her daughter are still members of the Church.

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He Was Brand Loyal

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Beginning in the '50s, Elvis developed a love for cars, especially Cadillacs. His first Cadillac was a pink and white Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60.

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After the car was destroyed in a fire, Elvis upgraded to a newer model. The car he bought was blue with a black roof, but Elvis decided to have it repainted in a color called "Elvis Rose." He reportedly bought over 100 Cadillacs in his life for himself and others.

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Staying Out Of Europe

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Even though Elvis met his wife in Germany and had fans in Europe, Elvis never toured outside of North America. He only made a few appearances outside of the US at all with a handful of shows in Canada in 1957.

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Elvis supposedly had a huge argument with his friend Col. Tom Parker about touring in Europe. Elvis always resented how Parker held him back from following his dreams.

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Elvis' Last Girlfriend

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After Elvis' relationship with Linda Thompson ended, he moved on to a new woman named Ginger Alden soon after. Their relationship moved rather quickly and Elvis proposed to her just two months later.

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Even though Elvis did technically propose, a lot of his friends have said that he didn't actually have any interest in getting remarried. Ginger said, "I knew I had fallen in love and couldn't imagine not being with him." It was Ginger who eventually found Elvis dead.

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The Book That Eventually Killed Him

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Two weeks before Elvis died, three of his former bodyguards published a tell-all book titled, Elvis: What Happened?. The contents of the book may have been partially true, but they mostly wrote the book to get back at Elvis for firing them.

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Elvis tried to pay them to not release the book, but they refused his offer. Elvis was feeling stressed about the book's upcoming release date, which may have contributed to his untimely death.

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Dead In The Bathroom

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Elvis Presley died on August 16th, 1977. His then-girlfriend, Ginger Alden found him lying dead in the bathroom in his Memphis mansion, Graceland.

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He was taken to the hospital and doctors attempted to resuscitate him, but it was too late. He was pronounced dead at 3:30 pm. His death certificate says he died of a heart attack, but it was later revealed that the heart attack was caused by the sheer amount of drugs in his system.

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Lisa Marie Followed Her Father

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Lisa Marie grew up as the daughter of "The King," so it was pretty much inevitable that she would venture into music at some point in her life. In 2003, Lisa Marie released her debut album, To Whom It May Concern.

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It reached number 5 in the charts and it was certified gold. It appeared that Lisa Marie had Elvis' musical genes. In 1997 Lisa Marie made a video for her song "Don't Cry Daddy" that included her late father's vocals.

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Priscilla's Botched Surgery

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Priscilla was feeling a lot of pressure to maintain her appearance as she aged. She decided to undergo various cosmetic procedures. In 2008, she fell victim to a scam and received surgery from an unlicensed physician.

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Dr. Daniel Serrano injected silicone into her face but the chemicals he used were not medical grade. Priscilla was paying a reported $300 to $500 per injection. Later, Dr. Serrano was arrested by the federal government.

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Priscilla Dated Tom Jones

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Just one year after Tom Jones' wife, Melinda, died, he struck up a romance with Priscilla Presley. They had been friends for decades and Tom and Elvis were close friends. Tom said of the date and his late friend, "I really don't know how Elvis would feel about us having dinner together. He probably wouldn't be too sure,"

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The romance between Tom and Priscilla didn't last long, but the two still remain friends.

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Death At A Funeral

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Elvis was buried on August 18, 1977. He was laid to rest at Forest Hill Cemetery next to his mother. Tens of thousands of fans stood along the funeral procession's route to the cemetery.

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That night, a man drove his car into a group of people holding a candlelight vigil for Elvis. Two women were killed in the vicious attack. Nobody knows for sure why that man drove his car into the crowd.

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He Walked Out On Brian Wilson

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Beach Boys singer Brian Wilson wanted to impress Elvis when they met in the mid-'70s, but he ended up doing just the opposite. Wilson knew that Elvis liked karate, so he planned to show off some of his moves.

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Wilson decided that it would be a good idea to jump at Elvis and yell, "HI-YAH" while doing some karate chops. Elvis told him not to do that, but Wilson insisted on doing it again. Elvis just walked out of the room.

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Lover Of Comedy, Hater Of Johnny Carson

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Elvis was a huge fan of comedy while he was alive. He would frequently quote entire comedy monologues. For a while, Elvis was also a fan of The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.

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In 1975, Carson made a joke about Elvis being "fat and 40" on his 40th birthday which Elvis was quite offended by. He stopped watching the show entirely after that incident and refused to appear on the show again.

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The Nanny Problem

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Lisa Marie gave birth to twins in 2009 and she decided to hire someone to help her with childcare. She hired a nanny named Christine White.

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White wasn't just a nanny though. She worked around the clock seven days a week without breaks. She sued Lisa Marie for making her work without meals or overtime pay. Presley countersued a year later, saying that she was fired for taking pictures of her twins.

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Lisa Marie's Addiction

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Addiction has a genetic component, and Lisa Marie has struggled with substance abuse just like her father. As a teenager, Lisa Marie got involved with substance addictions just like many other young girls in the public eye.

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Her involvement in the Church of Scientology helped her get clean, but after she got divorced she started abusing prescription pills. Lisa Marie is now clean again and hopefully will remain that way for the rest of her life.

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The Fake Lisa Marie

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Lisa Marie Presley is Elvis' only daughter. There is nobody else like her in the world. A woman by the name of Lisa Johansen believes that Lisa Marie is a liar and not the real daughter of the King. She filed a $130 million suit against the Presleys claiming to be Elvis actual daughter.

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In 1988 she published a memoir titled I, Lisa Marie: The True Story of Elvis Presley’s Real Daughter.

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Elvis Broke Down Racial Barriers

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From the beginning of his career, Elvis was a singer who broke down racial barriers. He would often perform for the black community as a statement against segregation. The white conservative community didn't approve of this kind of co-mingling.

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Elvis was accepting due in part because he was so heavily influenced by black artists and African American music. He would perform at venues on "colored nights" even though most white people at the time wouldn't have done so.

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Fired From A Movie Theatre

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Before Elvis became one of the most iconic pop stars in history, he worked at the Loew's State movie theatre in Memphis. He didn't have the job for long, though. Elvis was fired after working there for only five weeks.

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One of the other ushers was jealous of his flirtatious relationship with the girl behind the concession stands and ratted him out when she gave Elvis free candy. The future had far more in store for Elvis!

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Priscilla The Actress

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Elvis wouldn't let Priscilla have a career the whole time they were married to each other. He believed that it was her job to stay at home and look after him and Lisa Marie.

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Priscilla wanted to act and plenty of producers wanted to hire her, but she had to turn them all down. After Elvis died, Priscilla was finally able to take on some acting roles. Most famously, she played Jenna Wade in the TV show Dallas for five years.

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Priscilla Protected Elvis' Legacy

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After Elvis died, Priscilla was determined to uphold the memory and legacy of her ex-husband. Priscilla hired a CEO to turn Graceland, Elvis' estate, into a museum which became a huge success.

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Priscilla then became the chairwoman and president of Elvis Presley Enterprises and promised to keep that position until Lisa Marie turned 21. From Priscilla's work and guidance, the Elvis trust grew to be worth over $100 million.

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Lisa Marie Was Reluctant To Have Michael Jackson's Babies

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Photo by © Patrick Robert/Sygma/CORBIS/Sygma via Getty Images
Photo by © Patrick Robert/Sygma/CORBIS/Sygma via Getty Images
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Lisa Marie revealed that Michael Jackson tried to force her to have a baby even though she didn't want to have children with him. She said, "We would have three-day arguments, taking a break to eat or sleep".

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Lisa Marie felt pretty devastated when she found out Michael and Debbie got pregnant just two months after she and Michael got divorced. She said, “He would tell me, 'Debbie said she’ll do it.’ That’s how he knew to handle it, ‘If you’re not going to do it, this person will.'"

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Lisa Marie Wanted To Save Michael Jackson

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Photo by © Patrick Robert/Sygma/CORBIS/Sygma via Getty Images
Photo by © Patrick Robert/Sygma/CORBIS/Sygma via Getty Images
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Lisa Marie spoke out about the death of her ex-husband Michael Jackson and how she wished she could have done more to help him.

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She told Oprah "I wish I'd saved him, I know it’s naive to think that I could’ve, but I wanted to." She said that she was aware that he was using substances and she thinks she should have done more to help him get clean.

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Lisa Marie's Money

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Photo by Michael Loccisano/WireImage
Photo by Michael Loccisano/WireImage
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Although Lisa Marie was given plenty of money from a young age, she wasn't always the -best at managing her finances. When you grew up never having to think about money, it can be tough later in life. At one point, Lisa Marie even claimed bankruptcy.

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She also admitted that she was living rent free as she couldn't afford the upkeep of a house even though she got a huge monthly allowance from her father's estate.

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A Look-Alike Grandson With A Tragic Fate

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Guest, Michael Lockwood, Ben Keough and Lisa Marie Presley
Dave M. Benett/Getty Images
Dave M. Benett/Getty Images
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Elvis and Priscilla's daughter Lisa Marie had four children: Riley Keough, Benjamin Keough, Finley Aaron Love Lockwood, and Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood. Benjamin, who was born in 1992, was practically an Elvis look-alike and was even a musician.

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Sadly, Benajmin took his own life in July of 2020. Lisa Marie's manager released a statement saying that she was "entirely heartbroken, inconsolable and beyond devastated. She adored that boy. He was the love of her life." Pictured are Lisa Marie and Benjamin in 2010.