Priscilla Presley, born Priscilla Beaulieu, is perhaps best known for her widely publicized marriage to the king of rock 'n roll, Elvis Presley. The pair famously met and began courting when Elvis was 24 and Priscilla was 14, then married when Priscilla turned 21. Just six years later, the couple would divorce, having welcomed one child, Lisa Marie Presley, during their marriage. But Priscilla's story didn't stop there. In the '80s, she forged her own career as an actor, portraying Jenna Wade on the wildly popular TV series Dallas. She also starred opposite Leslie Neilsen in three Naked Gun movies, and has taken a major role in maintaining Elvis' legacy. Read on to see the star now at 76 and to learn where her career has taken her since.
She has opened up about her complicated relationship with Elvis.
Fans of Elvis were surely envious of his young wife, but Priscilla has described the rockstar as "controlling" and "isolating."
"It was difficult, especially moving into Graceland—he already had his inner circle. Of course they embraced me, but I never realized that that was it," she said on the talk show Loose Women in 2016. "He didn't really go out, he didn't like eating in restaurants because people would take pictures of him… We truly lived in a bubble. We would go roller skating but he would rent the park where we would ride roller coasters."
Because the pair met when Priscilla was so young, she felt as though she missed out on certain aspects of her childhood. "I didn't have my teenage years as a normal girl, obviously, so I had to adapt," she said. "I just followed what he did. I mean you lived his life, you honestly didn't have your own life, you lived his life. You saw the movies he wanted to see, you listened to the music he listened to, you'd go to places that he would go, so you really lost yourself."
Still, she was devastated by her ex's death.
Though the couple had significant struggles in their relationship—drugs and infidelity among them—Priscilla says she ended the marriage for another reason. "I didn't divorce him because I didn't love him. He was the love of my life, truly. If anything, I left because I needed to find out what the world was like. The greatest thing about our relationship was that we still loved each other [after that]," she said on Loose Women. She added that the pair held hands as they signed their divorce papers and stayed close in the years that followed.
When Elvis died in 1977, Priscilla was devastated. She said in a 2018 interview with 7 News Spotlight, "You never thought of him passing away because he was so strong. He would sometimes check himself into the hospital because he wanted to get away from everyone. He didn't want the demands, he didn't want the phone calls, so I thought it was one of those times. I thought, no it can't be… this is a joke, it just cannot be. It was shocking—like [it was] to the rest of the world, but a million times more."
She continues to run the Presley estate.
When Elvis died at the age of 42, his Graceland estate was left to his father, Vernon Presley. However, when the elder Presley died two years later, it was turned over to Priscilla as co-executor. At his time of death, Elvis had been on the brink of financial ruin, and Priscilla was advised to sell Graceland to pay outstanding bills and taxes. However, the Dallas star has said that she couldn't bring herself to part with the home they shared, so instead decided to open it up to the public. As an extension of the estate, Priscilla has also branched out into "merchandising, music publishing and television and video projects," according to her professional website.
Today, Graceland Mansion is the second most-frequented estate in the U.S., behind only the White House—a testament to the musician's legacy.
Amid her work with the estate, Priscilla does occasionally step in front of the camera still. Her most recent role was herself, in the 2019 Hallmark movie, Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays.
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She recently celebrated her son's wedding.
Though neither of the Presleys ever remarried, Priscilla had a second child with Brazilian screenwriter Marco Garibaldi in 1987 (the couple split up in 2006). Earlier this month, her son, Navarone Garcia, 34, married Elisa Achilli, 22, in Switzerland.
The proud mother of the groom was thrilled to announce her son's nuptials with the world. "Navarone and Elisa are MARRIED!!! The wedding was at the beautiful Schloss Hünigen Hotel in Switzerland. I couldn't be happier!" Presley shared via Instagram, alongside photos of the ceremony.