Elvis Presley and his wife Priscilla had one of the most high-profile rock and roll relationships of all time. The musician and his wife, who met when she was just a teenager, have been depicted in multiple motion picture and television projects — most recently in Baz Luhrmann’s award-winning biopic Elvis. One of the most noteworthy moments in the film occurs toward the end. Priscilla Presley tells Elvis she’s arranged a stay for him at a rehab center so he can get healthy again. While the moment is certainly emotional, that specific scenario never actually happened in real life.
‘Elvis’ showcased some of the highs and lows of Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s relationship
The movie Elvis was released in the summer of 2022. It kickstarted a renaissance for the iconic musician, introducing many new fans to Presley’s music and artistry. The film’s central storyline revolves around his contentious relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. But of other important people in Presley’s life appeared in the movie.
The movie details how Presley first met his future wife when he was stationed in Germany during his military service. The two form an immediate connection, even though young Priscilla Presley was only 14 years old when they met. Elvis bypasses much of their courtship. The film focuses on snapshots of their Las Vegas wedding ceremony and the birth of their only child together, Lisa Marie Presley, nine months after the wedding.
Priscilla Presley never arranged for Elvis Presley to go to rehab
One memorable scene in Elvis involves Priscilla Presley telling her estranged husband that she has set up a stay for him at a rehab facility so that he can work on getting healthy and beating his drug addictions. He turns her down, getting on a plane, and heading to his next residency gig. As reported by USA Today, this never happened in real life, by Priscilla Presley’s own admission.
Alanna Nash, a Presley biographer, told the outlet that “She [Priscilla Presley] says in her book Elvis and Me that she would occasionally hear that he had checked into the hospital, and that she would then call to see if he was all right.”
In one of her books, Priscilla wrote that she’s often been asked why she didn’t stage an intervention for her husband. “People who ask that don’t know Elvis. Elvis would no more have responded to an intervention than a demand to give up singing. … He would have undoubtedly laughed away any attempt at an intervention,” she wrote. “There’s no one, including his father, who could have pulled that off.”
Elvis Presley reportedly never considered himself to be an addict
Presley wrote extensively about her husband’s life after his untimely death in 1977 due to cardiac arrest. In one of her books, she detailed that he never actually considered himself to be a drug addict, even though he was well-known to take sleeping pills and many prescription drugs. By the end of his life, Presley was hooked on substances and took them around the clock.
Still, the fact that his drugs were prescribed “made a big difference in his mind,” Priscilla Presley noted. “And secondly, he hated street drugs and campaigned for their elimination. So how could he be an addict himself?”