Priscilla Presley Said Elvis Presley Was a ‘Master at Manipulating People’

Despite Priscilla Presley referring to Elvis Presley as the love of her life, their relationship faced several hurdles during their thirteen-year romance. And at times, Elvis could be so controlling that Priscilla called him a “master at manipulating people.”

Elvis Presley with songwriters Leiber and Stoller looking over the sheet music for Jailhouse Rock at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in 1957 in Culver City
Elvis Presley with songwriters Leiber and Stoller looking over the sheet music for Jailhouse Rock at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in 1957 in Culver City | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Elvis Presley took full control of Priscilla Presley to mold her into his ‘ideal woman’

In Priscilla’s 1985 memoir titled Elvis and Me, she goes into detail about how much control Elvis had over her. He worked hard to mold Priscilla into his “ideal woman,” taking charge of what she wore, how she did her makeup, and the way she walked/talked. But how did Priscilla feel about his demanding nature? As it turns out, she was just glad that he was paying so much attention to her. 

Priscilla Presley
Priscilla Presley | Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

“At that time I just liked that he was paying attention to me,” she told The Guardian. “He was very opinionated on what he wanted: ‘I don’t like you in that color. Brown isn’t good for you. Green looks horrible, it’s a dull color with no spark to it.’ I was a young kid, 16 years old, so I thought: ‘Oh, OK!’ It wasn’t until I got a little older that I started developing things that I liked.”

But sometimes, Elvis’s desire for Priscilla to be perfect all the time got way out of hand. 

Priscilla Presley
Priscilla Presley | Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

RELATED: Elvis Presley Said Priscilla Presley Was ‘Young Enough’ So That He Could ‘Train Her in Any Way I Want’

“I remember sitting down doing my homework,” she told The Guardian, “And when I would look up at him, he would slap me on my forehead and say: ‘Don’t do that, it gives you wrinkles on your forehead.’ I didn’t even think about wrinkles back then!”

Priscilla Presley said Elvis Presley was a ‘master at manipulating people’ 

Elvis Presley on the set of Jailhouse Rock, directed by Richard Thorpe
Elvis Presley on the set of Jailhouse Rock, directed by Richard Thorpe | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

RELATED: Priscilla Presley Says Elvis Presley Never Saw Her Without Makeup on

In Priscilla’s memoir, she talks about how Elvis always had an entourage of people with him. She explains how the mood of the group always altered solely based on how Elvis was feeling. When he was angry, it was like “the roar of thunder” and no one would dare challenge him. 

“When he was angry, it was like the roar of thunder,” Priscilla wrote. “No one could challenge his biting words; we could only wait until the storm passed. When he calmed down, he made excuses- he hadn’t had enough sleep, he had too much sleep, or he hadn’t had his morning coffee yet.”

Priscilla continued, saying, “He’d leave us bewildered and emotionally depleted. There were also times when he would leave us emotionally uplifted. He was truly a master at manipulating people.” 

Elvis Presley once threw a chair at Priscilla Presley out of anger

In an incredibly disturbing segment from Priscilla’s memoir, she talked about how angry Elvis could get around her. And at one point, when his career was at an all-time low, he threw a chair at Priscilla for expressing her honest opinion about a record. 

She recalls the experience in her book, writing, 

“Once, we were going through a stack of demo records for an RCA soundtrack album and his distaste for each song grew increasingly apparent. Before a record was halfway through, he was on to the next, getting more and more discouraged. Finally, he found one that held his attention and asked me what I thought. I truly thought our relationship had developed to where I could tell him my honest opinion.”

‘I don’t really like it,’ I said. 

‘What do you mean, you don’t like it?’

‘I don’t know. There’s just something about it, a catchiness that’s missing.’

“To my horror, a chair came hurtling toward me. I moved out of the way just in time, but there were stacks of records piled on it and one of them flew off and hit me in the face. Within seconds he had me in his arms, apologizing frantically.”