History

Elvis met his future wife at this duty station

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Elvis in uniform, posing on top of a tank. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

A “GI” meets his future wife while on assignment…it’s a story we’ve heard a thousand times over. In fact, it’s how many service members meet their future spouse. But did you know that’s how one of the most famous soldiers to-date also met his future bride? Elvis, the king of rock and roll himself, met the Priscilla Presley while stationed overseas. It’s a classic tale of boy-meets-girl, boy-marries-girl, boy-becomes-a-rockstar. 

On December 20, 1957, the professional singer was drafted by the U.S. Army. This caused the budding star to put his career on hold while he served his country. Nearly two years later, Elvis was stationed in Bad Nauheim, Germany when he met a 14-year-old Priscilla. The latter lived in Germany due to her step-father, and later adoptive father’s orders; he served as an officer in the Air Force. (Her biological father was in the Navy and died in a plane crash when Priscilla was a baby.)

He told others that he had acted “awkward and embarrassed” upon meeting her for the first time. However, he had apparently made an impression and the pair met again, much to the chagrin of Priscilla’s parents. After all, Elvis was a full decade older than Priscilla and had brought her home late the first night they went out. The pair met up frequently until Elvis’s PCS just six months later

It’s worth noting that what is regarded as one of the most well-known love stories of the past is considered highly illegal today, and would land the G.I. behind bars. 

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Newlyweds just after their union. Image via Twitter.

Reportedly, Priscilla was flooded with both interview requests and fanmail, with others dying to know what the King of Rock and Roll was like behind the scenes. What’s more is that rumors began flying about Elvis and Nancy Sinatra, a topic covering gossip magazines; this led Priscilla to believe she and Elvis were done for good. 

However, the pair kept in touch via phone. The pair reconnected in person in 1962, when Priscilla’s parents agreed to let her travel to the United States. They did so under the conditions that Elvis purchased a first-class, round-trip fare, and that she was supervised at all times, and wrote home daily. During the two-week trip, the pair went to Las Vegas, having pre-written letters mailed from L.A. by his staff to keep her parents in the dark. 

Priscilla visited once more, and was permitted to move to Memphis the following spring, with the understanding that she would live with Elvis’s parents and attend a Catholic girls’ school until graduation. Elvis was already at Graceland at this point, and Priscilla said it’s where she spent most of her time, eventually moving in herself. Her parents were also promised that the two would marry. 

However, it was another four years before they officially tied the knot. Even then, he was pressured by his record label to marry, due to their “morals clause.” Elvis is said to have many women at this time, most of whom he met with in Hollywood while traveling for work. He denied these relationships to Priscilla and told her she should not believe what she read in the press. 

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Elvis and Priscilla presenting a young Lisa Marie to the public. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

In any case, the pair married in 1967 when Priscilla was 21 years old, in a small and quick reception; it lasted just eight minutes. They then hosted a breakfast reception at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. 

Priscilla also said she remained a virgin until the pair were wed, citing it as Elvis’ idea. Though the claims were disputed by some, she became pregnant just as the pair were wed. Their daughter, Lisa Marie, was born nine months after their wedding. 

In Priscilla’s book, she admitted to two affairs, citing Elvis’ absence and lack of intimacy as the cause. He was reportedly upset, despite his own affairs. However, the pair divorced in 1974, remaining close afterward. They even left the courthouse holding hands after officially dissolving their union.