Priscilla Ann Presley turned 76 last year. The native New Yorker is best known for being the ex-wife of the king of rock ‘n’ roll, the late Elvis Presley, but has since gone on to live her own life without him for over 44 years now. Read on to see how she looks today.
“I wanted to die.” Those were the words of Priscilla Presley after she learned of the death of her ex-husband, Elvis Presley. The two had been divorced for four years, but Priscilla Presley kept saying that he was “the love of [her] life.” In a 2016 interview, she said, “I did not divorce him because I didn’t love him. He was the love of my life, but I had to find out about the world.” Their divorce was finalized on Oct. 9, 1973, and Elvis Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977.
They met in Germany during Elvis Presley’s stint in the U.S. Army, according to Biography.com. Priscilla Presley, then known as Priscilla Beaulieu, and her family moved to the country because her father was transferred there by the Air Force that he served in.
Their relationship was controversial: Priscilla Beaulieu was only 14 years old when she started dating Elvis Presley. It was also widely reported that Elvis Presley groomed her as a teenager, making her dress and look the way he wanted her to, oftentimes to match his own style. While they were still married, the couple lived in Memphis, Tenn. at the house known as “Graceland.” They have one child together, Lisa Marie Presley, whom Priscilla Presley gave birth to when she was 23 years old. In the early parts of 1972, Priscilla Presley left Elvis Presley.
Elvis Presley was never the same after he and Priscilla Presley split up. By the time he reached 42 years old, he had multiple health issues, which ended up claiming his life in 1977. Before that, Elvis Presley met Ginger Alden, to whom he became engaged. Alden was the one who found him lying on the bathroom floor inside his home. The autopsy showed Elvis Presley had died from cardiac arrest. He was overweight and was on quite a few pills.
Priscilla Presley has had a number of romantic relationships since she and Elvis Presley broke up. Following the divorce, she immediately got together with Mike Stone, a karate instructor who gave lessons to both her and Elvis Presley, as mentioned in the book “Black Belt,” but the relationship dissolved shortly after in 1975. She was then in relationships with a few well-known people such as photographer Terry O’Neill and lawyer Robert Kardashian. Her longest relationship so far was with Marco Garibaldi; they were together for 22 years. Garibaldi is an Italian screenwriter-turned-computer-programmer, according to Biography.com. They share one son together, Navarone Anthony Garibaldi, a 33-year-old musician.
Mirror reported in 2017 that Priscilla Presley dated Tom Jones, the Welsh singer. It is unclear whether or not the two are still a thing, but of her, Jones said, “We have been friends for a long time.” “She’s a lovely lady,” he added. “We do enjoy our nights out together.” According to the publication, Jones was a close friend of Elvis Presley and had spent time with both him and Priscilla Presley between the 1960s and 1970s.
Last year was a rough year for everyone because of the pandemic, and Priscilla Presley experienced further tragedy when Benjamin Keough, her grandson, took his life on July 12, 2020. She took to Facebook to express her heartbreak following the death of Benjamin, writing,
“These are some of the darkest days of my family’s life,” she wrote. “The shock of losing Ben has been devastating,” she continued. “Trying to put all the pieces together of all the possible whys has penetrated my soul. Each day I wake up I pray it will get better.”
Priscilla Presley also highlighted the immense pain the rest of her family was experiencing. “I think of my daughter and the pain she is going through as she was a doting mother,” she wrote of her daughter, Lisa Presley.
“Ben’s father, Danny, who is completely lost, as Ben was his only son. Riley, so loving and so close to him; Harper and Finley, who absolutely adored Ben. Navarone, who struggles deeply with loss and death.”
Priscilla Presley is a long way away from her time being “Elvis’ living doll,” as she so described herself. Gone are the days when he made her dye her hair black like his and made her put it up in an updo that matched his pompadour. But it was what made her a fashion icon. And for 75, she’s not looking too shabby at all.
In recent years Priscilla Presley has found her footing in philanthropy and charitable work. An avid animal lover, especially of horses, in 2013 she spoke out against the Tennessee Ag-Gag Bill, writing about her and Elvis Presley’s love of horses and her worries that the bill would reduce protections for many farm animals, including horses. Just this last December she posted on her Instagram about stopping the abuse of horse soring. In her post, she urged fellow activists to write to their senators to get the law changed. She has also used her platform to advocate for the protection of dogs, wolves, lions, monkeys and other animals. It’s always heartwarming to see a celebrity use their voice to do good, especially when it’s for our furry friends who otherwise aren’t able to speak up for themselves.
Alongside her animal activism, Priscilla Presley is also an ambassador for the Dream Foundation. She’s been involved with the foundation since 2003, which grants wishes to terminally ill adults and their families. Apparently, she learned of the organization, which is the only one of its kind that works with adults, after helping to grant some of the recipients’ wishes to visit Graceland.
Priscilla Presley is actually the co-executor of the entire Presley Estate, assuming the role after the death of Elvis Presley’s father Vernon Presley in 1979. On her official website, it states how much of an influence Priscilla Presley has had on the estate, writing,
“She has since brought the Presley Estate from a burgeoning entity into a phenomenally successful organization consisting of the famous Graceland Mansion, a worldwide licensing program, merchandising, music publishing and television and video projects.”
Interestingly, Priscilla Presley, along with her daughter Lisa Presley, are only a few of the people allowed to enter the upstairs area of Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion. Elvis Presley had a master suite on the second floor of the house, which was his private refuge, where only the closest of his friends would be allowed. It’s also there, in his bathroom, where his body was found after his death. When Graceland was opened to the public in 1982, the second floor was closed off out of respect to Elvis Presley’s family and to avoid unsavory attention towards the location of his death.
In the decades that have passed, the upstairs has gained a lot of attention and a kind of myth around it. For example, there are rumors that the bedroom suite hasn’t been changed since he died, with everything as it was when he passed. On top of that, no authentic high-quality photos have been released, while nobody is allowed to enter, except for Priscilla Presley and Lisa Presley, and the curator of Graceland.
Notable people, including presidents and foreign dignitaries, have all tried to gain access but haven’t been lucky. However, funnily enough, one notable but seemingly random celebrity has been there — Nicholas Cage, when he was married to Lisa Presley in the 2000s.
But beyond upholding her ex-husband’s legacy and her charitable work, she’s also managed to have an acting career of her own. She famously starred on the soap opera “Dallas” from 1983-1988, playing the role of Jenna Wade. She was also memorable in the “Naked Gun” movie series, which allowed her to show another side of her acting talents, this time focusing on comedy. In the 1990s, she also had small guest roles on “Melrose Place” and “Spin City.”
However, her acting career could have taken off much earlier had it not been for Elvis Presley. Supposedly he believed that “a woman’s place was in the home looking after her man” — a fairly common belief at the time, but one that the rock star held on to, having no intention of letting his wife have a career of her own. Hollywood producer Hal B. Wallis, who was behind many of Elvis Presley’s early films, had been interested in signing Priscilla Presley to a contract, but it never came to be. She had been interested in dancing and modeling but kept her interests as minor hobbies rather than real career pursuits. She was even offered the role of one of the angels in “Charlie’s Angels,” however, she turned it down as she didn’t like the show.
Despite her life being very much influenced by her incredibly famous ex-husband, Priscilla Presley has managed to achieve a lot over the course of it. From eventually following her own dreams and acting, to her continued charitable work, she is both an inspiration in how she conducts herself as well as how incredible she looks at 75.
One little known fact about Priscilla Presley is that she was a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” back in 2008. For the show’s sixth season, she joined forces with Dutch-American ballroom dancer Louis Van Amstel.
The show’s sixth season included female contestants tennis champion Monica Seles, actress Shannon Elizabeth, Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin, Tony-award winning actress Marissa Jaret Winokur and Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi. Meanwhile, the men’s side featured football player Jason Taylor, South American actor Cristian de la Fuente, actor Steve Guttenberg, radio host Adam Carolla, pop singer Mario and magician Penn Jillette.
In an ABC interview before the show’s premiere, Priscilla Presley told reporters that she did have some previous dancing experience in ballet.
“I danced a little. I took jazz, which is completely different from ballroom dancing,” Priscilla Presley told ABC. “There’s a little dancing in all of us.”
Naturally, Priscilla Presley’s partner and coach was excited to work with the star regardless of her experience.
“We met two days ago. We did a little bit of foxtrot. She’s going to be a surprise,” Louis Van Amstel said. “I’m so excited. I mean come on, it’s Priscilla Presley.”
Unfortunately, Priscilla Presley wasn’t able to overcome the sixth season’s tough competition, and she was eliminated during the fifth round. According to PEOPLE, she lost points and was eliminated due to her Viennese Waltz performance, which led to a score of only 22. The magazine further reports that when Tom Bergeron, the show’s host, told her the news, Presley hugged her partner and thanked the show for “an incredible life-changing experience.”
Interestingly enough, viewers who have seen Priscilla Presley’s appearances will notice that she never danced to any Elvis Presley songs. And it turns out that this was intentional. According to ABC, Priscilla Presley agreed to be on the show, but she also specifically requested not to have to dance to her late ex-husband’s music.
“I just don’t really think that would be appropriate,” she told ABC.
Since Priscilla Presley’s loss on the show, the 75-year-old has avoided the spotlight. Save for her Instagram account, where she has more than 200,000 followers, it’s difficult to find out what the star is up to. With that said, her IMDb page does give us some hints. For example, her most recent appearance was in a 2016 music video for Them Guns’ song “Muffins.” The music video, which heavily features the streets of Hollywood and the radio host Rodney Bingenheimer, follows the radio star as he drives to a bakery to pick up a muffin. As Bingenheimer leaves, he runs into none other than Priscilla Presley.
Although appearances like these are certainly interesting — especially for fans of the Presleys — we can also understand why Priscilla Presley wants to fly under the radar. Ever since she was a young woman, she’s been in the spotlight. And now, as she approaches 76, it’s no wonder that she wants a bit of peace and quiet.
Did you know Priscilla Presley had achieved so much in her life? What shocked you the most about her story? Tell us in the comments, and be sure to pass this on to all the king of rock ‘n’ roll fans in your life.