[INTRO: I am a die hard, card carrying Elvis fan and have been for as long as I can remember. There is so much about Elvis to love; his incredible singing voice, his generous spirit, his looks (the most gorgeous man ever), his movies (yes, his movies. They make me happy, so critics can just shush), his service in the army, his magical presence on stage, his transcendent charisma, and…I could go on and on. As a matter of fact, on my 50th post, I believe it was, I DID go on and on. I listed 50 things I love about Elvis. It wasn’t difficult. I am an author and I mention Elvis in almost every story I write. I named my son Presley. I was fortunate to see Elvis in concert three times. I have been to Graceland five times… See? I love Elvis. I have been blogging weekly for more than a year, but going forward, I will blog every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. My life is insanely busy and I found myself missing weeks from time to time. This way, I’m more likely to be consistent. Hopefully, even if you are not an Elvis fan, you appreciate something about him and will find my posts interesting. Feel free to comment. Thank you so much for stopping by!]
As most people know, even non-Elvis fans, Elvis met Priscilla while stationed in Germany. She ended up coming to live at Graceland and the two married May 1, 1967 at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. Lisa Marie was born exactly 9 months later, on February 1, 1968. (Did you know that the only celebrity to attend the wedding was Redd Foxx? Redd was quoted as saying, “This it the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”) Here is a link to an article in the Las Vegas Sun from May 2, 1967 about the wedding:
The marriage only lasted 5 years. Elvis and Priscilla split in 1972, when Lisa Marie was four years old, and legally divorced in 1973. Some of the songs Elvis recorded at the time seemed to speak about the heartache of the split. Many people thought “Separate Ways” was written about Elvis and Priscilla, but it was actually written by Red West about his own marital problems and about his son. When Elvis recorded the song, they changed the line from ‘the tears that he will cry’ to ‘the tears that she will cry’ in order to fit Lisa Marie. Red brought “Separate Ways” and “Always on my Mind” to Elvis at the same time. According to Red, Elvis said, “Man, you’re killing me with these songs.” 😦 I always thought Elvis sounded so sad when he sang it. Here is a recording of him singing the song:
When I was a kid and found out Priscilla was divorcing Elvis, I hated her and thought she must be out of her mind. (As an adult, I realize, being married to Elvis can’t have been easy, but honestly, I still think she was out of her mind. I can’t imagine much I wouldn’t have tolerated to remain Mrs. Elvis Presley…) Anyway, I once watched an Elvis tribute Priscilla hosted and she spoke about the day she asked for a divorce. Elvis said, “Is there someone else?” It always strikes me when I hear about these ‘normal’ conversations involving Elvis and think of him as an actual man, a husband, whose wife was leaving him. It doesn’t really fit with his almost otherworldly presence and image in my mind. Priscilla told him there wasn’t, she just couldn’t continue living like she had been. In truth, there was someone else. Priscilla had started an affair with Elvis’ karate instructor, Mike Stone. Although, I doubt that’s the actual reason Priscilla was leaving him. She just couldn’t handle the life, and she said she felt she was losing herself. It was also difficult being married to someone who belonged to the entire world.
Sections of the divorce papers:
Their divorce was especially tough on Elvis since Priscilla was taking Lisa to live nearly two-thousand miles away. He was used to having his daughter at the house all the time. According to Elvis’ long-time friend, Jerry Schilling’s, account of the day Priscilla and Lisa left, Elvis kissed Priscilla gently on the mouth and told her to let him know if she ever needed anything. Then, he really broke down when it was time to say goodbye to Lisa. He held her tightly and told her to have her mommy teach her to use the phone so she could call him every day. Lisa peered into his eyes and said, “Daddy, are you crying?” Elvis really lost it then. He closed himself up in his bedroom after they drove away and for hours he remained there. Jerry and the others could hear him through the door, sometimes cursing, but mostly sobbing.
Elvis passed away only five years after he and Priscilla split. During that five years, Priscilla and Elvis remained very close. Lisa spent half her time with Priscilla and half her time with Elvis. She was at Graceland the night he died.
Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for Priscilla to maintain successful relationships after being the wife of Elvis Presley? I have to wonder how the men would have felt, trying to follow Elvis. I doubt that was an easy task. 🙂
According to Priscilla, when asked about it:
“…I realized how difficult it was dating someone with my history, so I tried to put myself in the men’s shoes. Being with the most gorgeous man ever and not just gorgeous but a good human being too, I realized this could be difficult, so I never threw it in their faces.”
“I hope I was respectful of everyone. But Elvis was absolutely the love of my life, and there’s no sadness about it because I have my memories, and they’re delicious and they’re all mine.”
Ha! I would imagine they’re delicious. Wow. She’s the only woman in the world, ever, who can say she was chosen by Elvis to be his bride, the only woman he shared his name with, a child with. No matter how it turned out, that’s something pretty special.
A few random notes…
Did you know that David Bowie was an Elvis fan and that he was born on Elvis’ birthday? A quote from Bowie:
“Elvis is a major hero of mine. I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something.”
Today in Elvis History:
1955 – Elvis performed at the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, LA where “Colonel” Tom Parker was in attendance and saw Elvis for the first time.
Hope you enjoyed today’s post. Have a wonderful weekend!
Elvis was known for his giving heart and charitable work during his lifetime. Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises have continued that tradition with their involvement in various charities. In 1984, The Elvis Charitable Foundation was formed. The EPCF created a scholarship fund for students majoring in the arts. The charity also contributes to one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families. The EPCF also assists numerous other charities, especially focusing on arts, education and children’s programs.
Learn more here, including how to donate:
END OF LONELY STREET – Now Only 99 Cents!
On Elvis’ birthday this year, I released a Vintage Romance short story set in 1957, and of course, my heroine is an Elvis fan. 🙂 As a tribute to Elvis’ generosity, and in order to assist with this worthy cause, 10% of my proceeds for End of Lonely Street will go to the EPCF.
All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.
Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.
What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?
16 responses to “Ramblings of a Lifelong Elvis Fan – Part 70 – Elvis’ Divorce from Priscilla”
I just bought a new car in December & it has XM radio free for 3 months. Of course I’v had it cemented to ch. 19, Elvis. You wrenched my heart with your story of their divorce. He was always different after that. I know he loved both of them. It had to feel like losing his mother all over again. I’ve heard some totally awesome stories on the radio, but I love your stories. They make Elvis et al come to life! So hard to believe he’s been gone almost as long as he lived. Thanks Alice for all the cool insight.
Oh, wow, Debi. Elvis radio is incredible, isn’t it? You’re SO going to miss it if you don’t subscribe. 🙂 Yes, I agree. He was never the same. Thanks for stopping by, it’s awesome to have comments from other Elvis lovers. 🙂
As always a great post…I guess Priscilla wasn’t alone in not being able to “live the life” maybe being under the microscope also derailed the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. At least Priscilla got to be with a man who seemed to live life to the fullest however difficult it might have been.
So true. That can’t be an easy life for anyone. But, it’s obvious no man could truly replace him in Priscilla’s life.
Their breakup made me so sad. I remember watching that tribute show and thinking how difficult her life must have been. She was a kid when he set his sights on her, and to be thrust into that world at that age…I can’t imagine. The song that gets to me us Suspicious Minds. Great post, as always!
Yes, it is very sad. I love Suspicious Minds, one of my favorites. 🙂 Priscilla was definitely young to be thrust into that world. Although, many people don’t realize that, although she was 14 when they met, she was almost 18 before she moved to Graceland and she was chaperoned and in constant contact with her parents. She was nearly 22 when they actually married. Elvis was only 10 years older than she was. And, he tried to shelter her from the madness and publicity, it seems. The ‘image’ is that Elvis was this much older man who preyed on a child, but the circumstances were a little different in reality. (I’m not saying that’s what you said, I just meant that some people think that :))
Very interesting. Thinking about Elvis and the lost potential always makes me sad.
Yes, me too. 😦 Thanks for stopping by!
More good stuff on Elvis. You can really dish it out! I’d think being married to any famous musician would be a life of hell–but, like you, I’d have made an exception for dear Elvis!
LOL, I’m sure a lot of women would have made an exception for him. 🙂 Thanks, my dear, I appreciate your being a regular reader of my blog, especially my Elvis posts 😉
Wow! What a wonderful post, Alicia. So sad reading about his divorce and loss of his sweet Lisa Marie.
Thank you, Darcy. Yes, very sad. At least he was able to spend a great deal of time with his child in the short amount of years he had with her. 😦
Awww how heartwrenching! I know very little about Elvis and didn’t know any of this. It must’ve been the end of his world when his little girl was taken from him. Keep the info coming, Alicia. I know you have tons more 🙂
Elvis is my hero too!
Oh, wow, very cool! 🙂 Always nice to meet a fellow Elvis fan!
I I am not sure elvjs beg cilla to come back to him. I would have hear elvis say i . I know he love his dau. I am a elvis fan. Over 50 yrs. I lived about. 45 mikes from memphis