Why Elvis Presley Would Never Look At Priscilla Unless She Had Makeup On

It's often difficult to picture the pop culture icons of the past and present as anything other than that: icons. Their legend doesn't only precede them, it becomes them. It overwhelms everything they once were. Elton John, for instance, was once a struggling amateur musician named Reginald Dwight. Before music, his childhood relationship with his parents was fraught. "The self-loathing, not having any self-esteem, that all comes from when I was a kid," he told The Guardian in October 2021. "It left me walking on eggshells." For those unfamiliar with his turbulent life, it can be hard to imagine this energetic and flamboyant performer doubting himself, or anything about himself.

The same is true of John's fellow musical superstar, Elvis Presley. A passionate and confident musician on stage, he was (and remains) adored by many. Relationships proved difficult to maintain in his high-octane rollercoaster of a life, however, and his marriage to Priscilla Beaulieu was particularly turbulent. It seems that he insisted on her wearing full make-up at all times.

For a man who could scarcely open a car window without being met by a chorus of adoring fans, it's little surprise that Elvis embarked on several very high-profile relationships. Through the course of his career, per Closer Weekly, he dated (among others) Cybill Shepherd, Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, and Linda Thompson.

Priscilla was besotted with Elvis from a young age

In January 2018, Thompson told Closer that she started dating the King in 1972. Though they broke up in 1976, she said, "I did take very good care of him and probably extended his life by a few years." He was her first relationship, she went on, "my first love, the one who altered my life the most."

Of his relationships, who was it that Presley just couldn't help falling in love with? His most enduring and notable relationship, perhaps, was with Priscilla Beaulieu. In September of 1985, Priscilla told People that she was a 14-year-old "insecure Air Force brat" when she met Elvis in West Germany. The singer was a decade older and serving in the army at the time. Priscilla wrote, "something in his Southern upbringing had taught him that the 'right' girl was to be saved for marriage." Elvis, it seems, deemed her to be the partner for him, and set about molding her to ensure she was literally his image-perfect woman.

"He molded me into his woman. I wore the clothes, hairstyle and makeup of his careful choosing," Priscilla wrote in People. Her parents, it seemed, struggled with the idea of their daughter in a relationship with Elvis, though she and the star both tried to convince them that said relationship was "proper and platonic" at the beginning.

Love to the end

The pair met in 1959, per Biography, and in 1962, Priscilla visited Las Vegas with Elvis and immersed herself in his high-octane lifestyle. He, in turn, continued to determine the young woman's outfit and looks, professing that he "like(s) a lot of makeup."

Later reflecting on her life with the King, Priscilla reportedly told Loose Women (via Entertainment Tonight), "Some can't have the truth. I always had a little bit of makeup. He never wanted to see me getting dressed; he wanted to see the end result." In January 2020, Elvis' friend Michael St. John told Closer Weekly, on the topic of his famous friend's love life, Elvis "always seemed to be searching for a true love that just seemed to elude him." If this love was indeed Priscilla, he went to truly alarming lengths to fashion what he considered his true and perfect love.

The Presleys married in May 1967, per Biography, and the intensity of the relationship contributed to Priscilla's decision to leave and their divorce (which was completed in October 1973). Regardless, the adoration remained until the end. Priscilla told "Loose Women" (via YouTube), "I did not divorce him because I didn't love him. He was the love of my life, truly."