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The businesswoman, 71, on meeting Elvis at 14, getting older and growing up in the spotlight
October 22, 2016  -   The Sunday Post  /  The Guardian  /  Elvis Express Radio
Priscilla as featured in the Sunday Post Paper
WE’RE in a world where the every move of celebrity couples is documented, photographed, analysed and commented on.

If it’s not paparazzi patrolling, it’s the stars themselves sharing every tiny detail on social media.

As one half of one of the most famous, pictured and pursued celebrity couples ever, Priscilla Presley says Elvis would have hated today’s 24-hour goldfish bowl.

And speaking exclusively to iN10, Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla has told of her surprisingly quiet life behind closed doors with the King.

“He wouldn’t have done well today, that’s for sure,” said Priscilla, 71.

“I couldn’t ever see him Twittering or telling people on social media what he was doing or eating. He was a very, very private person and he guarded that because our life together
could be madness.

“He couldn’t go and do or see things like normal people; going out was just too difficult because he’d always attract a crowd.

“If you stopped for one person you’d have to stop for all of them and if there was a group of them, it was really hard to enjoy the evening.

“We hardly ever went to restaurants and if we ever did go to the movies ,we’d always go in after the film started and we’d leave just before it ended.”

His Memphis mansion, Graceland, was, she says, his “sanctuary”, the place he’d find some peace amidst the mayhem and madness.

“It was where he’d always go back to after making a movie, or a tour or Vegas,” confides Priscilla.

“We’d hardly ever have quiet dinners because there would be family or the guys – the ‘Memphis Mafia’. It was like an inner family there.”

Priscilla was just 14 when she first met Elvis at a party in Germany in 1959 during his Army days.

They finally wed in 1967 and were together for six whirlwind years, staying close and even leaving the courtroom hand in hand after their divorce in 1973.

After Elvis’s death in 1977, Graceland and his estate faced a perilous future.

But Priscilla’s shrewd business brain helped save it, something she admits is a source of pride.

“Elvis wanted to keep Graceland always so thank God we were able to do that.

“We have a new hotel opening on October 27 which we’re very proud of. Now fans can come and really enjoy the surroundings which we couldn’t do previously.

“I still go back three or four times every year. It was a special place when I lived there as a young girl.

“It still feels the same to me now. It feels like Elvis never left, like his spirit is still there.”

Elvis’s music has lived on after his death, more recently thanks to new albums and innovative stage shows.

Last year’s If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was a UK and global chart-topper, selling over 1.5 million copies.

A follow-up, The Wonder Of You, is out this month with that distinctive voice re-mastered and given a new orchestral accompaniment.

Fans will be able to experience it in person with a UK arena tour that has Elvis on giant screens accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and with special
appearances by Priscilla.

“I’ll introduce the songs and explain why we chose them,” explains Priscilla, who says she still feels guided by Elvis’s spirit.

“I think the audience will be really happy with the song choices from the two albums. There’s a mix of upbeat numbers and ones that meant a lot to Elvis.

“Doing the first album was a risk, mixing Elvis’s rock and roll with an orchestra, but it’s keeping up with the times and that’s something he always wanted to do.

“I’m always one for taking risks. I don’t ever want to be a certain age and think; ‘Why didn’t I do that?’”

When it comes to Elvis’s songs, Priscilla has her own favourites for very personal reasons.

“The one that means the most to me is the Hawaiian Wedding Song.

“He sang that as he carried me across the threshold after we got married so that’s very special to me.”

The tour opens at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on November 17, before dates in Leeds, Cardiff, Birmingham, London and Manchester.

Elvis, famously, set foot on British soil at Prestwick in March 1960 during a refuelling stop for his Army transport plane.

“He did speak about it as being the only time he was really in the UK,” said Priscilla.

“I’ve never been to Scotland and I’m really looking forward to it. I hear you guys know how to have a lot of fun.

“I’ve got close friends in the music business in Scotland and I’m a big fan of haggis.

“I like British pubs so we’ll definitely try a Glasgow pub and see how we like it.”

Following their split, Priscilla forged a successful acting and presenting career.

Priscilla has used her high profile for a host of charitable and humanitarian causes.

She’s been an ambassador of the Dream Foundation, which makes the last wishes of terminally ill patients come true, for almost 20 years.

She admits it’s both moving and life-affirming.

“It’s taught me to enjoy every minute that we can.

“These people who are terminally ill and know they only have so much time to live ask for the simplest things.

“They just want to be with family or maybe reunite with a parent or sibling. It makes you think about the things we take for granted.”

Priscilla keeps in shape with 90-minute yoga sessions three times-a-week and grows her own vegetables in the garden of the Beverly Hills home where she raised children Lisa
Marie and Navarone.

Elvis visited it after their split and she says it reminds her of him.

But having lived in the spotlight, and indeed the shadow of a musical icon, would Priscilla ever have chosen not to have met Elvis that night and led a very different life?

“Never, never would I think that, absolutely not,” she says firmly. “I loved him very much. He was an amazing human being.”

Priscilla as featured in the Guardian Paper...
Meeting Elvis when I was 14 changed the course of my life. Sure, that was young, but he left Germany [where they had met] to return to the US not long after. We stayed in touch
for two years before we saw each other again. He was a gentleman in all ways while we courted.

I did my first proper belly-laugh when I was two. I remember it well. My mum had filled up a laundry basket with water in our garden in Connecticut and my cousin and I were in it,
splashing about. I had a gentle, lovely childhood.

Growing up in the spotlight has been a battle. The lack of privacy, these days especially, can be hard work. Everyone’s got a camera phone so it’s not unusual to be sitting down
for dinner with friends and find that someone is taking a photo as I’m forking salad into my mouth. I’m always on guard.

My fear is that people will forget about Elvis. I feel a responsibility for keeping his legacy alive. You’ll never see his sort of stardom again. He was so authentic and, in lots of ways,
innocent. What you saw was what you got.

Our family has always been very close. My parents are still alive: they’re 90 and 91. They live with me and while it’s an honour to still have them in my life, watching them get older
makes me feel really sad.

Bill Clinton has a charisma that commands your attention. It’s the only time other than with Elvis that I’ve felt someone has had that. When Bill is in a space, the whole rooms feels it.
He’s magnetic.

Elvis would have found modern times difficult. He was an intensely private man who was quite protected by his inner circle. The way he lived then wouldn’t be possible in 2016. Our
lives – whether you’re famous or not – are so public now.

I have a sunny outlook on life, generally. But where we’re at as humans right now is disappointing. Aren’t we supposed to be so much more evolved than this by now?


In all of it, I managed to become my own person. When you are around that level of fame for so long, it’s easy to slip into the shadow until you almost don’t exist. I had to make a
conscious decision not to let that happen to me.

Oh, I hate getting older. Anyone that tells you otherwise is lying. Who really wants to grow old and die? My twin grandchildren are only eight and I would love to see them grow to
adulthood and see who they become, but there’s a chance that won’t happen, and that’s deeply annoying.

I don’t talk about my fears, because I believe that verbalising what truly scares me will draw it nearer. No thank you: I’m all about hope.

I really wish people would stop asking me what my favourite Elvis song is.