Over the past sixty years, the name of Elvis Presley has resonated with both fans and even the most casual observers of music. Through he’s been dead since 1977, interest in him and his music continues.
One aspect of his private life that’s been a source of fascination for these individuals has been his one and only marriage on May 1, 1967 to Priscilla Beaulieu. Their courtship actually began while Presley was serving in the U.S. Army in Germany in 1959 and continued until the wedding, which took place in Las Vegas.
Beaulieu was the daughter of a high-ranking Army official who was serving in the same area. Despite the controversial nature of the relationship (Beaulieu was only 14 at the start), she was allowed to move to Presley’s home at Graceland in Memphis in March 1963.
Presley had left the armed services in March 1960 and maintained his relationship with Beaulieu by frequent telephone conversations over the next few years. In 1962, they reunited in person and the following March, Beaulieu’s parents stipulated that she would live with Presley’s father and stepmother in a guest house on the Graceland estate.
During this entire period, Presley was linked with a number of other women, including actress Ann-Margret during the filming of Viva Las Vegas in 1964. However, Presley and Beaulieu became engaged around Christmas 1966 and ended up getting married at the Aladdin Hotel the following May.
The wedding was essentially choreographed by Presley’s manager, Col. Tom Parker. The eight-minute morning ceremony took place with Presley wearing a standard tuxedo as opposed to his sometimes outlandish on-stage outfits. Immediately afterward, a press conference was held, followed by a breakfast reception.
Some controversy surrounded the guest list for the wedding, with many of Presley’s closest associates not being allowed to attend. Instead, many record and movie executives were in attendance.
The couple went on what was a brief honeymoon to Palm Springs and later held another reception at Graceland for those individuals who were prevented from attending the original event.
Exactly nine months after the marriage, the couple’s only child, Lisa Marie was born on February 1, 1968. However, in December of that year, Presley’s career was re-ignited following the broadcast of a comeback special on NBC. Prior to this, he had been primarily reduced to simply making movies and recording albums.
That surge of new interest resulted in more concert appearances, primarily in Las Vegas, that kept him away from Priscilla and Lisa Marie. Such extended absences put a severe strain on the marriage.
Presley convinced her to begin taking karate lessons to keep her busy, but she ended up beginning a relationship with her instructor. Coupled with Presley’s rumored affairs, the couple separated in February 1972.
By October 1973, the couple was divorced and in the remaining years of Presley’s life, he was involved with two other women, Linda Thompson and Ginger Alden. In the case of Alden, he was reportedly engaged to her at the time of his death. The wedding was to have taken place on Christmas Day 1977.
Presley’s death on August 16, 1977, came after years of drug abuse, coupled with a weight gain that once caused him to split his pants while performing. News of his passing came as a shock to fans who were unaware of the singer’s drug issues.
Two years after Presley’s death, Priscilla helped form Elvis Presley Enterprises, which handles the licensing of Presley’s name. In addition, Graceland has become a popular museum in Memphis.