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  • Writer's pictureTierney Deanne

Reader Review: Elvis and Me

The 2023 release of Sofia Coppola's Priscilla, a biopic about the life of Priscilla Beaulieu Presley, made me curious to read the book written in Priscilla's own words. There was a lot of backlash from Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, about the way that Coppola had portrayed the love story between her parents. Priscilla was just a young girl at the time she met and fell in love with the man famous for being the "King of Rock and Roll". To many, this gave off predatorial vibes. To the Presleys' however, it all seemed quite normal.

Priscilla Beaulieu was only fourteen years old, living on a military base in Germany with her family, when a man serving in the Air Force asked if she would like to attend a party with him and meet the famous Elvis Presley. Priscilla told the man he would have to get permission from her parents because she was so young. The man knew her father, who was an Air Force officer, and won him over. Priscilla attended the party, and from the first moment Elvis met Priscilla, it was clear that he was smitten with her.

Priscilla also felt a deep connection to Elvis and would continue to visit him on a regular basis. The two would grow incredibly close, although Elvis swore to never get too far too fast with Priscilla. While he had this limit with her, it seemed to her that other girls were physically getting closer to the man she was falling in love with. Elvis would gaslight her and convince her that she was the only girl for him. She felt almost motherly about taking care of him. One time, Elvis spent the night in the hospital feigning illness to avoid field maneuvers. Priscilla heard that he was in the hospital and ran over to be by his side.

When Elvis' time in the Army was over and he was on his way back to the states, he made Priscilla promise to stay the way she is, untouched by a man. He wanted her to save herself for him. On the other hand, once he returned to America the press swarmed his every move and caught him in relationships with his co-stars and other singers closer to his age. Priscilla discovered the news back in Germany and was heartbroken. Elvis made sure to keep her on the hook by calling her every once in a while to check in and tell her the stories of other women mean nothing.

When Priscilla was only 16 years old she and Elvis convinced her parents to let her travel to the U.S. to spend Christmas and New Years with Elvis at Graceland. This was the time that Elvis first introduced her to the sedative-hypnotic drugs that he would take in order to sleep. He gave her one too many and she was passed out for two days in his bedroom during her visit. Once her time was up, she didn't want to return to Germany. While she was with Elvis he had picked out her clothes and made her change the way she did her makeup and her hair. Her parents were horrified with how she looked when they picked her up at the airport.

It wasn't long after that Priscilla was able to talk her mother into letting her move to Graceland and go to school there. Elvis promised to put her in the best school and keep her focused on her academics. While she lived there, Elvis spent most of his time in California filming his movies. He was also spending a lot of time with his co-star Ann Margret, who admitted they had an affair but that Elvis broke it off because he had Priscilla waiting for him at his home.

Priscilla wanted her own life, and she had no problem finding it. She became a model to earn her own money and keep herself occupied while Elvis was away. As soon as Elvis found out, he made her quit. He said that he didn't want anything to take up her time except him. He forced her to make her entire life revolve around him. Even if he would ignore her for days at a time, she was only meant to sit around and wait for him.

Elvis finally decided to marry Priscilla when she was 21. It wasn't long after that she found out that she was pregnant. Embarrassed about her body changing she starved herself instead of being healthy for herself and the baby. She did everything she could to not upset Elvis. Elvis was excited about becoming a father, however once the baby came Priscilla still didn't get to spend much time with Elvis. Elvis refused to be intimate with her, telling her that he could never make love to a woman who had given birth to a child. Eventually both Elvis and Priscilla started affairs outside of their marriage. It was then that Priscilla realized all she ever wanted was a life of her own. She decided to ask Elvis for a divorce. The two remained very close loving friends for the remainder of Elvis' life.

Elvis and Priscilla's relationship would be treated entirely different in this day and age. At the time, gaslighting and narcissism weren't viewed in the same negative light. Without knowing it Priscilla was groomed into being the perfect mate for Elvis from the time she was still a child. Although she did everything he ever asked, Elvis still treated her as just another disposable object that he had purchased. She was smart enough to realize that she wasn't happy doing everything for him and nothing for herself and instead of self sabotage she took control of her own life.

Priscilla has become a renowned business woman. She has her hand in many ventures, including film production. She produced Priscilla the film about her life with Elvis.

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