Elvis Presley’s relationship with his first and only wife, Priscilla Presley – to whom he was married from 1967 to 1973 – was his most widely publicized romantic entanglement. But Presley had many other loves in his life, including Ginger Alden, the beauty pageant queen to whom he was engaged at the time of his death in 1977.
Alden was 21 years younger than Presley, but that didn’t stop the couple from developing a serious relationship during the last year of his life. In her 2014 memoir, Elvis and Ginger, Alden remembered an awkward moment during her time with the King of Rock and Roll that made her wonder if he liked the women in his life to fight over him.
Alden worried about Presley’s physical health during their relationship
Presley and Alden met at Graceland, the singer’s sprawling Memphis mansion, when she was just 20 years old. He was 41, and their age difference made her wary of getting seriously involved with him. Still, he brought up marriage to her – and even to her mother – mere weeks after they started dating.
Not long afterward, Alden began to worry about her older boyfriend’s physical health. She wasn’t sure that Presley took good care of himself, especially when it came to food portions and nutrition, in addition to potential substance abuse. She also worried about his sleep and the stressful toll of constant touring.
If they were going to get married, Alden reasoned, he needed to take better care of his overall well-being.
In Elvis and Ginger, Alden remembered that she frequently encouraged Presley to eat a healthier diet and get more rest. But he wasn’t exactly used to being told “no” – by anyone, and least of all his girlfriends – so he didn’t always listen to her.
Presley encouraged Alden to speak to his ex-wife on the phone
As it turned out, someone else in Presley’s life shared Alden’s concerns about his health: his ex-wife, Priscilla, whom Presley had divorced four years earlier.
In her memoir, Alden recalled entering Presley’s bedroom one day, only to find him talking companionably on the phone to his ex-wife. She wasn’t sure what to think, as he’d rarely talked about his ex at all.
“As I crossed the room, he looked up at me and said into the receiver, ‘Tell her how to take care of me,’” Alden wrote about the unnerving moment, “then held the phone out to me. ‘It’s Priscilla.’”
Presley’s young girlfriend was confused and shocked, but she nervously took the phone from him.
“A female voice instructed, ‘See that he eats right and gets plenty of rest,’” Alden wrote.
Alden agreed before hastily handing the phone back to Presley. As she did, she wondered if the brief conversation had been “as awkward for Priscilla as it had been for her.” Still, she wondered if Priscilla might become her “ally” in terms of helping Presley adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Alden wondered if the singer liked to make the women in his life jealous
After her awkward phone introduction to Priscilla, Alden tiptoed out of the room. To her dismay, Presley went on talking to Priscilla as if nothing had happened.
Naturally, Alden couldn’t help but wonder how often Presley and his ex-wife spoke to each other and what their relationship was like. Still, she knew they shared a daughter – Lisa Marie Presley – so, naturally, they had to stay in touch to some extent.
What happened next was even stranger – and it made Alden suspicious about her older boyfriend’s true motives.
“Having left the door slightly ajar,” she wrote in Elvis and Ginger, “I heard Elvis say, ‘Really, Priscilla. Ginger is one of the prettiest girls I’ve seen in a long time.’”
While Alden admitted she felt “10 feet tall” upon hearing the rock and roll icon compliment her, she had to admit that she wondered if Presley was purposely pitting his ex-wife and current girlfriend against each other. She had her suspicions that he enjoyed their mutual envy of one another.
“I had to ask myself why he was telling Priscilla this,” Alden wrote candidly. “Did he want the women in his life, past and present, to be jealous of one another?”
This wasn’t the first time that Alden would wonder if Presley secretly enjoyed making her and the other women in his life jealous. In fact, she often speculated that he got a kick out of the attention.