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Priscilla Presley Young: 10 Rare Photos of Elvis’ Bride

Her life before and after Elvis in must-see photos!

At 14 years of age, a young, teenage Priscilla Presley met Elvis in 1959 in West Germany. He was serving with the US Armed Forces and already had achieved spectacular heights with his career, while Priscilla was living in Germany due to her stepfather’s Air Force career that had uprooted the family often — from Connecticut to New Mexico to Maine to Texas to Germany.

I was a shy, pretty, little girl, unhappily accustomed to moving from base to base every two or three years,” Priscilla Presley recalled in her 1985 memoir, Elvis and Me.

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Born Priscilla Ann Wagner to a military family in New York, her mother remarried US Air Force officer Paul Beaulieu after Wagner had died in a plane crash. Subsequently, Priscilla’s name was legally changed to Beaulieu.

Priscilla Beaulieu poses with a portrait of Elvis Presley while writing him a letter, 1960
Priscilla Beaulieu poses with a portrait of Elvis Presley while writing him a letter, age 16, 1960Bettmann/Getty Images

Living in Germany wasn’t quite as bad as Priscilla had envisioned — a junior in high school when she had to leave her friends in Texas, the pretty girl with sparking blue eyes and soft voice was happy in Wiesbaden, West Germany.

Life took a dramatic but sudden turn in September 1959. when Priscilla Beaulieu met 24 year-old Elvis Presley. Needless to say, the wife of the king of rock ‘n’ roll has led an extraordinary life for a woman who has been in the spotlight since her youth.

Now at 79 years of age, here’s a look back at the icon’s former wife and her early years.

Priscilla waves goodbye to Elvis, 1960
Priscilla waves goodbye to Elvis, age 16, 1960Bettmann/Getty Images

Priscilla Presley meets Elvis as a young girl in Germany

The famed couple met at a party at Elvis’ home in Bad Nauheim, Germany, which he had rented during his military deployment. He was immediately taken with Priscilla’s beauty and charm and, after winning over her parents’ approval, the two were frequently together until Elvis returned back to the States in March 1960.

Priscilla Presley plays an Elvis album, 1960
Priscilla Presley plays an Elvis album, age 16, 1960Bettmann/Getty Images

It was difficult for my parents to understand that Elvis would be so interested in me and why,” Priscilla said during a press conference for the 2023 film Priscilla. “I really do think because I was more of a listener. Elvis would pour his heart out to me in every way in Germany: his fears, his hopes, the loss of his mother — which he never ever got over. And I was the person who really, really sat there to listen and to comfort him. That was really our connection.”

With no Instagram, Facebook or emails, the two managed to stay in touch — he in Los Angeles, her still in Germany. That is until the summer of 1962, when her parents agreed to let her visit for a few weeks under two conditions: that he buy her a first-class ticket and that she be chaperoned at all times.

Elvis and Priscilla Presley,  1967
Elvis and Priscilla Presley, 1967Bettmann/Getty Images

Of course, Elvis agreed, but soon after landing in Los Angeles, they flew to Las Vegas. This is where Priscilla was introduced to amphetamines in order to keep up with Elvis’ erratic schedule, and sleeping pills to get some needed rest.

Priscilla Presley learns to navigate their young relationship

After her return to Germany, the two kept in constant touch and another visit to the States at Christmas led to her move to Memphis in March 1963. Once again, conditions were set forth that young Priscilla would finish her senior year at an all-girls Catholic high school and live with Elvis’ father and stepmother a few blocks from Graceland. Yeah, right!

The famous couple poses for a photo together, 1965
The famous couple poses for a photo together, 1965Max B. Miller/Fotos International/Getty Images

In her autobiography, Priscilla wrote she “spent entire nights with Grandma Minnie Mae Presley at Graceland and gradually moved her belongings there. The move was natural — I was there all the time anyway.”

Elvis’ schedule in Hollywood with back to back films kept Priscilla away, and he had her stay back in Memphis. During this time period, Priscilla was reading about his various affairs, one being with his Viva Las Vegas co-star, Ann-Margret. He denied this to Priscilla, but after Elvis’ death, Ann-Margret admitted to her relationship with Elvis.

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Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret, Viva Las Vegas, 1964
Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret, Viva Las Vegas, 1964Bettmann/Getty Images

Marriage to Priscilla was a double-edged sword for Elvis: He loved and adored her, but didn’t like being told he had to marry her. At the time, it was frowned upon for couples to simply live together without getting married. That being said, on May 1, 1967, Elvis took Priscilla to be his wife with a wedding at the Aladdin Hotel in Vegas.

After a three week break in Elvis’ schedule in order to give the newlyweds some private time, Priscilla found herself pregnant shortly afterwards. Their only child, Lisa Marie, was born exactly nine months after their wedding.

The famed couple on their wedding day, 1967
The famed couple on their wedding day, 1967Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A rocky love life

Elvis’ lack of sexual interest in Priscilla after giving birth to Lisa Marie had led her to find comfort in another man’s arms. “He had mentioned to me before we were married that he had never been able to make love to a woman who had a child,” she also said in her memoir. “My physical and emotional needs were unfulfilled.”

The couple holds their daughter, Lisa Marie, 1968
The couple holds their daughter, Lisa Marie, 1968Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

It came as no surprise, then, that the music world’s royal couple separated in 1972 and filed for legal separation, followed by divorce. When settlements and custody were ironed out, the two left the courthouse hand in hand — a sad ending to a fairy tale love story.  

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Priscilla’s acting career

Priscilla had expressed the desire to act, but Elvis did not want his wife to have her own career. He believed her place should be at home looking after her husband, which she did — so much so that she admitted even cutting up his steak dinners and feeding him.

Priscilla Presley as a young actress, 1979
Priscilla Presley, age 34, 1979Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Post Elvis, Priscilla’s offers for acting and modeling started coming her way. She turned down a role as one of the leads in Charlie’s Angels, because she didn’t like the show. However, she always had a love for animals and made her TV debut as co-host of Those Amazing Animals in 1980.

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Three years later, she had her first acting role on an episode of The Fall Guy, followed by a TV movie ironically titled Love is Forever, alongside Michael Landon. Then came Dallas and the role of Jenna Wade, but after five years on the primetime soap opera, Presley left the show, saying she became unhappy with the direction of the series and her character.

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Priscilla Presley, 1980
Priscilla Presley, age 35, 1980Oscar Abolafia/TPLP/Getty Images

One of her favorite roles was in 1988’s The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad, as Jane Spencer. Critics praised her light comic touch and Presley would go on to act in the next two movies in the series.

During the 1990s, she made guest appearances on TV shows such as Melrose Place, Touched By an Angel and Spin City.

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