What the Elvis movie didn’t mention about Elvis and Pricilla’s relationship
Updated: Sep 30, 2022
“By today’s standards what he did was wrong, age wise, since she was still a teen developing, and as a husband he failed her and their child,” senior Alexis Monica Rivera explains her position regarding the relationship between Elvis and Priscilla Presley.
One of the most awaited movies of the summer was Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” which premiered to U.S. theaters in June. The movie follows Elvis Presley’s (Austin Butler) rise to stardom starting off as a lower class trucker from Memphis, Tennessee and his complex relationship with his manager Colonel Tom Park (Tom Hanks) and the challenges he faced throughout his career.
The movie is narrated and seen through the perspective of Colonel Tom Park and Elvis’s wife Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge), however, the movie leaves out important factors and the truth behind their relationship and marriage, leading up to their divorce in 1973.
The pair met at a party in West Germany when he was serving in the U.S. Army in 1959 when he was 24 and Priscilla was only 14. Priscilla’s step-father was serving in the U.S. Air Force at the time. Once Elvis convinced her parents to trust her in his care, they proceeded to have a romantic relationship not long after. One of the biggest discrepancies from real life events and the movie is that it failed to highlight the wide age gap between the couple, especially given that Priscilla was only 14 years old.
Soon after the relationship began, characteristics in Priscilla began to change as she grew into a young woman. Priscilla told People Magazine that while she saved herself for marriage Elvis “molded me into his woman. I wore the clothes, hairstyle and makeup of his careful choosing.” By today's standards, this could fit perfectly with the definition of a person who grooms someone, though in the 50s and 60s this would have been another story.
Priscilla started having trouble in school and one night Elvis offered her a handful of pills. She later found out it was dexedrine amphetamines to help her stay awake.
At one point in the relationship Elvis gave Priscilla two strong pills leaving her unconscious and she “almost died,” and he failed to contact a doctor. She says she was knocked out for two days. As said on ABC News with Barbra Walters: Interviews of a Lifetime Priscilla states publicly, “Well, he forgot, I think, the fact that I had never taken drugs and he had given me two because he was used to taking two, you know. It didn’t bother him.” This was also not depicted in the film.
Elvis is said to have had multiple affairs with other women and co-stars while being in a relationship with Priscilla. These supposed relationships and affairs were not in the film. Though she loved him very much and always wanted it to work out, jealousy was always there in the relationship as she never felt he solely had eyes for her.
Elvis had an addiction to prescription drugs. She didn’t start to like the man she married as he was becoming more violent and showed more of his temper. They divorced in 1973 and continued to have a healthy co-parenting relationship with each other, ending the arguing or bitterness they had towards each other, and acted almost as if they hadn’t divorced. Both still continued to have tremendous love and respect for each other throughout his career.
Although there seems to have been a lot left out of the movie, Priscilla Presley, daughter Lisa Marie Presley, and granddaughter Riley Keough attended the U.S. premiere of Elvis in Graceland.