Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley shared an intense romance – and even talked about marriage – after sparks first flew between them in 1963 on the set of Viva Las Vegas. But, while Ann-Margret once considered the King of Rock and Roll her “soulmate,” he stopped calling her and moved on to marry Priscilla Presley, to whom he was already engaged during his relationship with Ann-Margret.
The Swedish-American actress moved on from her former co-star as well, marrying fellow actor Roger Smith. Ann-Margret’s marriage to Smith lasted 50 years, until his death in 2017.
But, despite their other loves, Ann-Margret and Elvis always shared a special connection, even up until his untimely death in 1977. In her 1994 memoir, Ann-Margret: My Story, she even claimed that Elvis told her he still had feelings for her not long after both of them tied the knot.
Elvis and Ann-Margret got married within a week of each other
Priscilla was already living at Elvis’s Memphis estate, Graceland, when he and Ann-Margret started seeing each other. According to Ann-Margret, she and Elvis dated for “about a year” after they first met in 1963 – until the crooner stopped calling her in favor of honoring his “commitments” to Priscilla.
Finally, after Priscilla and Elvis had known each other for the better part of a decade, he proposed to her on Christmas 1966. They tied the knot not long after that in Las Vegas, on May 1, 1967, before honeymooning in Palm Springs, CA.
Meanwhile, Ann-Margret was entangled in her own love story with Smith, who would eventually take over her career as her full-time manager. In her autobiography, Ann-Margret revealed that she knew she was “destined to wed” Smith as early as their third date. They got married in Las Vegas on May 8, 1967 – exactly one week after Elvis married Priscilla.
The King visited Ann-Margret at her show
Shortly after each of their respective weddings, Ann-Margret and Elvis met up again in Las Vegas. At Smith’s urging, she attempted to further her career with a five-week live engagement at the Riviera Hotel. The cabaret act was a wild success, earning rave reviews from critics and audiences.
The show premiered on June 1, 1967 – just a month after Elvis and Priscilla got hitched. (Priscilla even attended the event with her husband, according to Ann-Margret From Sweden.)
Near the end of the five weeks, Ann-Margret wrote in My Story, Elvis met up with her backstage to congratulate her. He also sent her a guitar-shaped flower arrangement for opening night, as would become their custom.
While the Memphis Mafia and other members of Elvis’s entourage waited backstage, Ann-Margret recalled, the King of Rock and Roll headed into her dressing room and shut the door behind him. Instantly, she realized that she still felt those old sparks.
“Our eyes met,” she wrote, “and suddenly the old connection burned as brightly and strong as it had years earlier.”
She claimed he declared his ongoing feelings for her
After Elvis congratulated her on her success, Ann-Margret began to thank him. Instead, he cut her off and began to thank her.
“His smile faded,” she remembered, “and his eyes lost their playfulness and turned serious.” He went on to thank his former co-star for the happiness she’d brought into his life.
“Elvis then stepped forward and dropped to one knee,” Ann-Margret claimed. Taking both her hands in his own, she recalled, “he told [her] exactly how he still felt about [her].” While she already “intuitively knew” that he still harbored feelings for her, she admitted she was “touched” to hear his sweet words.
What Elvis said precisely, she didn’t elaborate on – possibly because it was too personal, or because she wanted to be respectful to Priscilla, as well as to Elvis’s memory.
Whatever the case, the former couple shared a deep friendship for the rest of his life. Ann-Margret continued to speak of Elvis with nothing but fondness and affection long after his death.