Take a Look Inside the King of Rock 'N' Roll's Private Life: Unknown Facts About Elvis Presley
If you asked people to list their favorite rock 'n’ roll musicians of all time, Elvis Presley would probably be at the top of many of those lists. He was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, entertaining audiences with his animated dance moves, smoldering good looks and one-of-a-kind sound.
In private, Elvis had a different life than the persona he presented on stage. If you think you already know everything there is to know about the iconic performer, think again. Let’s take a look inside the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s private life to uncover some surprising unknown facts.
He Was Just an “Average” Musician
It's hard to believe that some people didn’t recognize Elvis Presley's true potential. However, in school, Elvis’ music teacher told him he was "merely average." His fellow classmates even teased him for playing what they called "hillbilly music." No one imagined Elvis would grow up to be an iconic musician.
His Hair Wasn't Naturally Black
Besides his rock 'n' roll music, Elvis Presley is known for his signature look. Fans loved his shiny black hair, and they assumed it was his natural hair color, but that's not the case. Like Lucille Ball with her iconic red hair, Elvis achieved his shiny black hair with a bottle of hair dye.
He Originally Didn't Want to Be a Musician
It's hard to imagine Elvis Presley as anything other than the King of Rock 'n’ Roll. However, he wasn't always interested in rock music or even music in general. He didn't get his first guitar until he was 11 years old. Once he learned to play it — well, the rest is history.
He Never Performed Internationally
As Elvis Presley’s fame and success expanded, people all over the world fell in love with his music and wanted to see him perform live in concert. He sold out shows throughout the United States, and fans couldn't get enough of him singing hits like "Heartbreak Hotel" and "That's All Right (Mama)." However, his overseas fans were in for an unfortunate disappointment.
He Was a Regular Soldier
Elvis Presley took a break from his music career when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1958. This decision earned him a lot of respect from both his admirers and those who disliked his music. When he was drafted, Elvis made one request: to be treated like everyone else.
He Met Priscilla While Serving Overseas
Shortly after he was drafted into the U.S. Army, Elvis Presley was stationed overseas in Germany. It was there he met Priscilla Wagner Beaulieu, whose stepfather, Paul Beaulieu, was stationed in the country as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.
Dating Was Hard for Priscilla
As great as their relationship seemed, Priscilla Beaulieu knew every young woman wanted to be in her shoes and be the object of Elvis Presley's desire. Their relationship weighed heavily on her. She sometimes received hateful letters from jealous fans, and she felt like she was constantly living in Elvis’ shadow. She could never simply be Priscilla Beaulieu. Instead, she was "Elvis Presley's girlfriend."
He Hated Being Alone
Although he could perform like no other musician, Elvis Presley was known to be a shy, gentle person at times, especially in his younger years. At the same time, he hated being alone. It’s widely believed that the King of Rock 'n’ Roll didn't like spending nights by himself. He needed company.
His Other Romantic Interests
While stationed overseas in Germany, Elvis’ romantic interest wasn't limited to just Priscilla Beaulieu. Besides getting to know the stepdaughter of the U.S. Air Force officer, Elvis acquainted himself with the local German culture as well.
He Was Only Married to Priscilla
Although Elvis Presley is known to have been a ladies' man, he wasn't a celebrity who indulged in multiple marriages. Instead, he was only married to one woman in his life — Priscilla Beaulieu. The couple married in 1967, and they had one child, Lisa Marie Presley, in 1968.
Priscilla Always Wore Makeup
Throughout Elvis and Priscilla Presley's marriage, he never saw his wife without makeup. She always had to wear makeup to keep her "mystique," which was very important to the King. But that's not all Elvis requested.
Elvis and Priscilla Didn't Decide to Get Married
It seems like a bizarre statement to say a married couple didn't decide to get married. However, when you're a popular celebrity, sometimes your manager makes decisions for you, even decisions that pertain to your personal life. That's exactly what happened to Elvis and Priscilla Presley.
Elvis Couldn't Sleep with Priscilla
Elvis’ growing distance from Priscilla after she gave birth to their daughter wasn't completely shocking to her. According to Priscilla, "He had mentioned to me before we were married that he had never been able to make love to a woman who had a child." She never imagined that would apply to his own wife, but it became true after Priscilla delivered Lisa Marie.
Elvis Was a Germaphobe
In 2015, Priscilla Presley revealed that Elvis was a germaphobe. Yes, the rowdy, guitar-playing musical legend we know and love was terrified of germs. Everywhere he went, he took extreme measures to make sure he was protected against any germs he might encounter.
Elvis Owned a Chimpanzee
Even though Elvis Presley was a germaphobe, exotic animals didn't seem to bother him, and he owned an exotic pet, a very active chimpanzee that he affectionately named Scatter. This was a fitting name, considering the chimpanzee would run around during Elvis’ dinner parties at his Graceland mansion, screaming and startling guests.
Elvis Really Did Love Guns
Elvis Presley's mother may not have wanted him to own a rifle, but in his adult years, he finally went against her wishes and purchased firearms. He loved rifles, perhaps as much as he loved guitars. Although he was an avid gun fan, Elvis wasn't the most careful gun owner in the world.
He Fired a Gun to Get Her Attention
Elvis Presley was known to enjoy living life on the edge. He was spontaneous, and he loved the thrill of keeping people on their toes at all times. One incident reported by Ginger Alden sounds like it was quite a close call.
Elvis Hired an Illegal Immigrant
Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was actually an illegal immigrant. Born in the Netherlands as Andreas van Kuijk, he moved to the United States and changed his name. When he met Elvis, he recognized the young star’s potential, and the rest is history. The fact that he was foreign never mattered to the rock musician. Parker's ability to sell his music and his persona is all that mattered to him.
More About His Generosity
Elvis Presley knew he didn't earn his success on his own, and he credited Colonel Tom Parker for helping him make it big in the music industry. If it wasn't for Parker, his elementary school music teacher could have been proven right, and Elvis might not have been successful. To thank his manager, Elvis rewarded him as much as 50 percent of his annual earnings throughout his career.
Posing as a Police Officer
That's exactly what happened to several lucky fans. Like many of history's biggest celebrities, Elvis Presley loved his devoted fans, and he liked to express his gratitude in special ways. According to Priscilla Presley, Elvis would sometimes dress up as a law enforcement officer and stop cars on the road. He would give the driver a "ticket," but it was actually his autograph.
Elvis Met with President Nixon
In 1970, Elvis Presley decided he wanted to meet President Richard Nixon. When Nixon agreed to the meeting, Elvis had one request: He wanted a federal badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. It was a bizarre request, but Nixon agreed to give him one.
You Couldn't Order His Favorite Sandwich
Everyone has a favorite type of sandwich. Maybe you like the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or maybe you prefer a ham and cheese combination or a tuna fish sandwich. Even Elvis Presley had his own favorite type of sandwich, but it wasn’t something you could order at a local restaurant.
Elvis Was a Mommy's Boy
Many people don’t know about Elvis Presley's childhood growing up in Tupelo, Mississippi. You know about his adult life, but his early family life is a bigger mystery. Elvis was very close to his mother, Gladys Love Presley. They had a strong bond throughout her entire life, and nothing ever broke that special connection.
He Wanted to Go to Heaven
Elvis Presley isn't famous for being a religious man, although he had a lifelong love affair with gospel music and recorded gospel songs throughout his career. He didn't discuss religion very often, and faith didn't find its way into his mainstream songs. However, Elvis wanted to make sure he wouldn’t miss out on going to heaven after his inevitable death.
Elvis Had a Facelift
Being in the spotlight, Elvis Presley had an image to maintain. He couldn't lose his title as the King of Rock 'n’ Roll because of his appearance. At one point, Elvis inevitably noticed he didn't look as young as he once did. He was scared about what aging would do to his career.
He Took Prescription Drugs
Although Elvis Presley didn't undergo any further surgeries, he battled addictions to pharmaceutical drugs and his weight in his quest to stay young and handsome. He was obsessed with keeping his attractive appearance to stay in the spotlight, and he was afraid he would lose his fans if he started to age.
He Really Couldn't Eat
Elvis Presley risked his health to the point that he could barely eat, according to his stepbrother, David Stanley. It was a dangerous period for the King. He wasn't eating healthy, and his bad habits affected his lifestyle for the rest of his life.
He Had a Small Funeral
Elvis Presley passed away on August 16, 1977, from an apparent cardiac arrest. The world was horrified and heartbroken by the shocking news. He was just 42 years old at the time of his death and obviously should have had many more years of life.
Thank Priscilla for Visits to Graceland
Graceland is perhaps one of the most famous mansions in the United States. After Elvis Presley died, bankers wanted to sell the home. Priscilla Presley disagreed, knowing there was a different way to honor her late ex-husband, as well as solve the mansion's financial problems.
Elvis Overcame the Criticism
It has been more than 40 years since Elvis Presley's death, and it's hard to imagine anyone ever criticized the talented musician. Nonetheless, when Elvis made a name for himself in the 1950s, the older generation disliked his sexualized dance moves and antics on stage.