Elvis Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla has opened up about her rollercoaster relationship with the rock ‘n’ roll legend while sharing her thoughts on an ‘unbelievable’ new biopic that explores his relationship with his former manager.
Priscilla, 77, who was married to Elvis for six years from 1967 until 1973, opened up about the Baz Luhrmann-directed movie during an interview with Good Morning America on Friday, when she praised actor Austin Butler for capturing her ex-husband’s volatile ‘temperament’ so well.
The movie explores Elvis’ complex relationship with his former manager, Colonel Tom Parker – who is portrayed by Tom Hanks – and the extraordinary influence that the former carnival worker had on the singer’s life.
According to Priscilla, who taped the interview outside Graceland, the home she once shared with her ex-husband, Parker’s involvement in Elvis’ career and personal life took its toll on the singer – who she says would grow ‘upset’ when his Dutch-born manager prevented him from doing things that he wanted to do.
‘It wasn’t good at all,’ she told GMA. ‘He’d let us all know when he was upset and he’d go on a rampage and, you know, cursing.
Elvis Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla has opened up about her relationship and marriage to the rock ‘n’ roll legend – including how she dealt with his volatile temper
Priscilla, now 77, tied the knot with Elvis in 1967 and the pair were married for six years before splitting. But despite their divorce, she told GMA that she ‘adored’ the singer
‘Then he started realizing Colonel was messing with his life as far as music choices…
‘I got to see his temperament in every way and I knew not to upset him, that’s for sure. I had to handle him a little delicately because he was going through a lot of different things at that time.’
However, Priscilla insists that, despite their ups and downs, she ‘adored’ Elvis, saying: ‘I adored him. I don’t know anyone who didn’t adore Elvis. He was fun to be with.’
She added that her relationship with Elvis was always one filled with ‘love’ – even when they were going through their divorce.
‘One good thing is we carried out our loving relationship throughout our divorce and everything,’ she continued.
As far as Luhrmann’s retelling of the dynamic between the two men, Priscilla was full of praise, describing the biopic as ‘unbelievable’ and gushing about 30-year-old Butler’s portrayal of her ex-husband.
‘Austin did a great job on his temperament when he’s upset with Colonel,’ she said, adding that Elvis would have ‘loved’ the biopic.
The mother-of-one was full of praise for Baz Luhrmann’s new biopic about Elvis – who is portrayed by actor Austin Butler in the film (left), saying her ex-husband would have ‘loved it’
She also praised 30-year-old Butler, whom she said perfectly captured Elvis’ ‘temperament’, particularly when it came to his complex relationship with ex-manager Colonel Tom Parker
‘I’m sitting there watching this movie and going, “God, I wish he could see this,”‘ she said. ‘It was perfection. This is a movie that he would have really loved – showing who he was, what he was striving for, what his dreams were.’
Priscilla also gave her approval to actress Olivia DeJonge, 24, who portrayed her in the movie and appeared alongside her for the GMA interview – although she admitted she found it ‘so strange’ to see herself brought to life on the big screen.
‘I’m so happy that she was sensitive and that she was caring,’ she shared. ‘I was pleasantly surprised.’
This is not the first time that Priscilla has opened up about the more difficult aspects of her relationship with Elvis, whom she met for the first time when she was just 14 and he was 24.
In March, the actress spoke out about the former couple’s marriage while visiting a new exhibition, Elvis: Direct From Graceland, at the Bendigo Art Gallery in Australia, when she discussed the ‘very difficult’ first few years of their union.
Priscilla spent eight years in a relationship with Elvis before they wed in a Las Vegas ceremony in 1967 – having first met the music heartthrob, who was ten years her senior, in Germany, when he was serving in the Army.
Recalling how her husband would go on ‘rampages’ when he was angry, Priscilla said that she ‘knew not to upset him’, adding: ‘I had to handle him a little delicately’
Priscilla and Elvis had one child together, daughter Lisa Marie, who is now 54
She admitted at the time that the years she spent with the King of Rock and Roll before they tied the knot did help to prepare her for what her life might have been like once they married, but that this didn’t stop her from struggling to get to grips with the furious public scrutiny that she faced.
‘The beginning [of the marriage] was very difficult, but I knew what I was in for because I saw it at a very young age,’ she said.
The Naked Gun star said the rumors that seemed to constantly follow the Can’t Help Falling in Love With You hitmaker were a struggle for her, but that she was advised to not ‘pay attention’ to speculation and gossip by her husband.
‘That’s when I started not reading papers anymore or [magazines] in the grocery stores,’ she said, adding: ‘It was hard to get accepted. But he always told me, “Don’t pay attention… don’t even listen and don’t look at the tabloids. You know what the truth is so just be cautious, but be aware.”‘
Priscilla was still a schoolgirl when she met Elvis, who had been drafted into the US Army and was stationed on a base in Germany, near where her family was living.
After he returned home to the US, they kept in touch via phone calls – before she eventually convinced her parents to let her move to Memphis, Tennessee full-time to be with him in 1963.
The 77-year-old actress heaped praised on Olivia DeJonge, 24, who portrays her in the new Luhrmann-directed biopic and appeared alongside her for the GMA interview
Priscilla said that Olivia came across as ‘sensitive and caring’ in the movie (pictured), adding that she was ‘pleasantly surprised’ by the flick
However, while she has spoken in the past of her deep desire to be with Elvis, Priscilla now admits that merging their very different lifestyles was not without its complications, explaining that his party-hard ways and love of late nights quickly began to take a toll on her schoolwork.
The mother-of-one – who had one daughter, Lisa Marie, now 54, with Elvis – recalled how the rock and roll legend would take her out for private movie screenings late at night near his home at Graceland, which oftentimes saw them returning in the early hours of the morning.
Priscilla recalled how they would leave Graceland shortly after the start of Johnny Carson’s late-night talk show, saying: ‘We would head out for the theatre, sometimes coming home at three, four or five o’clock in the morning.
‘At that time I was going to school by the way, so I would go to bed and then get up at 7.30… I didn’t do well with the grades.’
In contrast to his glamorous persona, Priscilla also revealed that Elvis was a bookworm behind-the-scenes and would often read into the early hours.
‘We could come home at two o’clock in the morning or later, and he would go right to the books and start reading,’ she said.
‘And he would read [out loud to me] and I would be so tired… and he would say, “You aren’t listening to me,” and I would say [to myself], “Okay, keep your eyes open.”‘
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