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Elvis Presley met the future Priscilla Presley while in Germany with the army. He quickly fell for her and, when he returned to the United States, he talked endlessly about Priscilla. When he revealed to his bodyguard, Red West, that Priscilla was still in high school, West was horrified. 

Elvis shocked his bodyguard when he talked about Priscilla Presley

When Elvis returned to Graceland following his military service, he began talking about wanting a new girlfriend. 

“He had a girlfriend at the time and I won’t mention her name because what Elvis said to us all just might embarrass her,” his bodyguard Red West said in the book Elvis: What Happened? by Steve Dunleavy. “But he said, ‘It’s about time I got a girl who was a bit more sharp.’”

A black and white picture of a young Priscilla Presley writing a letter next to a photo of Elvis in his army uniform.
Priscilla Presley | Bettmann/Contributor via Getty

West soon realized that Elvis was specifically talking about this because he had met Priscilla. This wasn’t surprising to West; Elvis often had girlfriends. What shocked him was that Priscilla was in high school. She was only 14 when she met Elvis.

“We didn’t know what he meant, but after a while he kept on talking about this girl Priscilla he met in Germany after I left,” West recalled. “When he told me she wasn’t yet fifteen, I nearly had a heart attack. He assured me that this girl was different, much different from the average Memphis girl, and I was prepared to disbelieve him.”

Red West believed Priscilla Presley was one of the only people Elvis loved

The relationship between Elvis and Priscilla lasted for years despite their age difference. While their marriage ended in divorce, West said Elvis didn’t want to speak poorly about his ex-wife at any point.

“I do know he loved that woman,” he said. “Even today he would never have a word said against her. He always told me, ‘I will always have a love for Priscilla.’”

West believed Priscilla was one of the only people Elvis truly loved in his lifetime. 

“In fact, deep down, I believe that Priscilla was only one of two people he ever really did love in his whole life,” West said. “He didn’t love us. We thought he did. But he did love that woman Priscilla.”

Her family was initially horrified by their relationship

West found the age difference between Elvis and Priscilla concerning. Her parents were also bewildered by it. Not only was Elvis ten years her senior, he was a global celebrity. They couldn’t understand what he wanted with their daughter.

While they allowed Priscilla to date Elvis, they weren’t impressed by his celebrity status. When Priscilla begged to move to Tennessee to be with Elvis, her mother even broke down in tears.

Elvis and Priscilla Presley stand in front of a red curtain on their wedding day.
Elvis and Priscilla Presley | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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“‘Why you?’ she asked, her voice thick with emotion. ‘Why can’t he find someone his own age? You’re only sixteen. What is this man doing to our family?’” Priscilla wrote in her book Elvis and Me. “She buried her face in her hands and began crying.”

Ultimately, though, they allowed her to finish out high school in Memphis.