Elvis And Priscilla Presley's Controversial Age Gap Is Eye Opening

Sofia Coppola's 2023 biopic "Priscilla" tells the story of Elvis and Priscilla Presley from Priscilla's perspective, and it doesn't hide the fact that he was 24 and she was just 14 when they met, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Elvis and Priscilla were first introduced in Germany, where the famous singer and actor was stationed with the U.S. Army and where Priscilla's enlisted stepfather had been transferred. In that early encounter, Elvis sang "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" for Priscilla, and despite the fact she was still a teenager, they began spending more and more time together. They would not, however, take their physical relationship further until they married.  

Remembering those days, Priscilla later wrote (via People), "[Elvis] was handsomer than he appeared in films, younger and more vulnerable looking with his GI haircut." But Elvis told a friend (via Biography), "[Priscilla is] young enough that I can train her any way I want."

Priscilla joined Elvis at Graceland

Naturally, Priscilla Presley's parents reacted when their teenage daughter struck up a romantic relationship with a much older celebrity. "My parents became confused and bewildered by our relationship," she wrote in People in 1985. "We tried to make them believe that it was proper and platonic, and they wanted to believe me. Whenever they tried to stop us from seeing each other, I pleaded and cried and made them and myself miserable. In retrospect, I don't think anything could have stopped me from seeing Elvis." By 1960, however, Elvis had returned to the U.S., while Priscilla stayed in Germany. "I didn't hear from Elvis right away. And my mother said, 'See, I told you. I told you he was going to forget about you,'" Priscilla told CNN's Larry King in 2003. 

At that point, it seemed like Priscilla had been just a fling for the famous celebrity. Eventually, though, the rock star got in touch, and by 1963, Priscilla joined Elvis in Memphis, Tennessee while still in high school. According to Priscilla, Elvis convinced her stepfather — who was still stationed in Germany — to approve of the move. The singer said she would live with his parents — not at Graceland — and promised to make sure she finished school.

"Declaring his intentions honorable, he swore that he loved and needed and respected me," Priscilla later wrote (via People). "In fact, he couldn't live without me, he said, intimating that one day we'd marry. In that light, there was little my parents could do but say yes, and eventually they did." Once in Memphis, Priscillla Presley was soon living at Graceland, and Elvis and Priscilla Presley married in Las Vegas in 1967. The couple's only daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, was born nine months later.

She said Elvis 'molded' her

In her People essay, Priscilla said Elvis "molded" her. "Something in his Southern upbringing had taught him that the 'right' girl was to be saved for marriage," she said. "I was that girl. At the same time, he molded me into his woman. I wore the clothes, hairstyle and makeup of his careful choosing."

But this dynamic wasn't without complications. According to the biography "Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley," when Priscilla asked Elvis to visit one his film sets and meet a co-star, it set him off. "You're getting a little too aggressive and demanding," he said before the pair continuing yelling at each other, and he began throwing her clothing out of her closet. After leaving Priscilla alone and humiliated for a moment, Elvis came back and hugged her, and the pair made up. "I was relieved and happy to be back in his arms," she said. "Anything he'd have said would've made sense to me in that moment ... This was Elvis' technique of keeping me under control."

They divorced in 1973

Although their marriage ended in 1973, Priscilla remained a big part of Elvis' life until he died at the age of 42. Recalling the time in her life when she was sometimes referred to as Elvis' "live-in Lolita," Priscilla said (via The Hollywood Reporter), "It was a different time. I lived in his world. I wanted to please him. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to have fun with him. I wanted to see what it was that he liked."

At the Venice Film Festival premiere of Sofia Coppola's film "Priscilla," Elvis' former wife added (via EW), "I was a little bit older in life than in numbers and that was the attraction. And you know, people think, Oh, it was sex. ... Not at all. ... [Elvis] was very kind, very soft, very loving. But he also respected the fact that I was only 14 years old. We were more in mind and thought. And that was our relationship." Actress Cailee Spaeny (above) plays Priscilla in Sofia Coppola's adaptation of Priscilla's 1985 memoir "Elvis and Me."