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When Elvis Presley’s career started taking off, he realized his fame and good looks won him points with women. While he didn’t date many people before fame, he had multiple flings after he became a celebrity. Presley’s friend said he relied on a persona that wasn’t all that truthful after his rise to success.

Elvis Presley leaned into a persona to pick up women

In the early 1950s, Elvis was extremely polite with women and followed a strict code of conduct with dating. By the middle of the decade — when Elvis’ music career had taken off — his bodyguard, Red West, doubted his manners were completely genuine.

“But then as Elvis got older it became part of his patter,” West said in the book Elvis: What Happened? by Steve Dunleavy. “He really developed that professional country-boy act with women. In the later years it was no longer natural, it became his line.”

A black and white picture of Elvis standing with a group of female fans.
Elvis and fans | Guy Gillette/Photo Researchers History/Getty Images

His career success and the obvious interest women took in him boosted his confidence.

“Toward the end of 1955, and Elvis suddenly found that he was one helluv an attractive guy off stage as well as on,” West said. “And he started to realize that women liked going to bed just as much as men did. One day in Memphis we were just cruising around in the pink Crown Victoria and we just came across two gals. I guess we knew them vaguely. They were more pick-ups than anything else.”

Elvis learned to relax around women

According to West, Elvis initially relied on his bodyguards to set him up with women. While he was famous and good looking, he didn’t feel at ease while pursuing a romantic connection. He quickly grew more confident, though.

“It was pretty funny, but at the time I thought, heck, man, old Elvis is starting to lose his shyness. Elvis then started to relax a lot more when there were gals around,” West said. “Like everything, when Elvis does something, he goes all the way. Once he discovered how easy he could get girls, we were routing them through his bedrooms two and sometimes three a day. That boy sure had a constitution in those early days.”

He pursued romantic partners for much of his life

Elvis met Priscilla Presley in 1959 and the couple married in 1966. His long-term relationship and marriage to Priscilla did not stop him from pursuing other women, though. Priscilla became aware of this early in their relationship and it became increasingly unbearable as years passed.

“Despite his moralizing, I feared Elvis wasn’t always faithful to me,” she wrote in her book Elvis and Me. “His bantering with some of the other girls at his house made me think that he might be intimately familiar with him.”

A black and white picture of Priscilla and Elvis Presley walking together. They both wear coats.
Priscilla and Elvis Presley | Bettmann/Contributor via Getty

Elvis Had a Very Specific Turn off in Romantic Partners 

Ultimately, Priscilla realized that Elvis would likely never be faithful to her.

“He wasn’t faithful, not that he had someone special, but when you’re in the entertainment business there is always that and I tried to turn my back to that, but I just didn’t want to share him. Simple as that,” she told Sunday Night, per Today. “As much as he wanted to be married and have a family, I don’t know if he was ever cut to be married because I don’t think he could ever be faithful to one woman.”

The couple divorced in 1973.