Elvis Presley’s Manager, Colonel Tom Parker, ‘Nearly Swallowed His Cigar’ After Learning of One of Elvis’s Relationships

by Emily Morgan
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It’s an understatement to say that Elvis Presley had a love for women. He dated various models, actresses, and other beautiful ladies throughout his heyday, despite his manager’s best wishes. In fact, his manager once tried to stop Elvis from being with his future wife and the mother of his child, Priscilla Presley

When Colonel Tom Parker, The King’s famous manager, learned about Elvis’ relationship with 16-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, Parker was dumbfounded. Elvis had met Priscilla in 1958 while serving in the US Army in Germany. At the time, Elvis was 24, and she was just 14. Yet, the age difference didn’t keep Elvis from courting his future bride. 

For the next two years, they engaged in a long-distance relationship, in which they exchanged phone calls, pictures, and letters. But, although they were well on the way to one of the most prolific romances of all time, Parker still disapproved. 

In his book, Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business, Sonny West, a former friend, and bodyguard of Elvis wrote about Parker’s reaction when he learned of the taboo relationship. 

“[Priscilla’s] natural beauty was undeniable. Her age, however, was a whole different matter – especially in the eyes of the law. It’s a pretty good bet that the Colonel almost swallowed his cigar when he found out that Elvis was determined to bring Priscilla, then 16, to the States from her home in Germany.”

Although the relationship undoubtedly turned some heads, Elvis knew he had to wait until she was older to consummate their love. 

 “It would have been so easy for him. I was young, vulnerable, desperately in love and he could have taken complete advantage of me,” Priscilla said. “But he quietly said, ‘No. Someday we will, Priscilla, but not now. You’re just too young.'”

Elvis Presley courts Priscilla despite manager’s best wishes

Once back home in the states, Elvis began planning how he would ask Priscilla to marry him. Still, Parker disapproved. In addition to the age difference, Parker detested the relationship for business reasons. He believed Elvis could be more marketable if he were an eligible bachelor.

Despite being a taken man, there’s no doubt that Elvis was known for being a womanizer. West once described how Elvis committing to one woman was crazy. “On its face, that was as about as absurd as trying to become celibate in a brothel.”

However, Elvis was forced to put his wild bachelor days behind him after his affair with Ann-Margret. The two were together for more than a year when they shot the movie Viva Las Vegas. Unsurprisingly, Priscilla was not happy. Elvis and Priscilla tied the knot on May 1, 1967, a year after he proposed to her. Sadly, they got divorced six years later, in 1973. 

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