Ann-Margret made Elvis Presleys life easier – Priscilla Presley never understood

Elvis: Priscilla Presley discusses 'acting out his fantasies'

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In 1964 Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret embarked on a passionate love affair that would change both of their lives. The two actors met just before they started filming Viva Las Vegas, and sparks flew between them to the point where they spent almost every day with one another during shooting. The couple spent just over a year together secretly while Elvis was still with Priscilla Presley. But eventually, Elvis broke off the relationship.

Priscilla eventually found out about Ann-Margret, so Elvis was pressured to break off his affair and finally settle down with the young woman.

Looking back on her time with Elvis, Ann-Margret noted how his entourage, the Memphis Mafia, were always in attendance at their dates. But this didn’t bother her. She said: “I was used to having my parents accompany me on dates, so Elvis’s entourage wasn’t a problem. His guys always treated me wonderfully.”

And the feeling was mutual. All of Elvis’ pals enjoyed having Ann-Margret around. One member of the group described her as “one of the guys”. Elvis’ cousin, Billy Smith, in particular, was a big fan of Ann-Margret.

Billy said: “She made his life a little easier because she understood him and didn’t make any demands on him.”

Ann-Margret was even compared to Elvis’ betrothed wife, Priscilla. Billy said: “She even understood his need for us. Priscilla never understood that.” And he wasn’t the only one who thought this.

Billy said: “She made his life a little easier because she understood him and didn’t make any demands on him.”

Ann-Margret was even compared to Elvis’ betrothed wife, Priscilla. Billy said: “She even understood his need for us. Priscilla never understood that.” And he wasn’t the only one who thought this.

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Another member of the Memphis Mafia, Marty Lacker, said: “Ann genuinely liked people, and she liked every one of us. She wasn’t intimidated or threatened by us. I think she also respected us. We used to have a lot of fun with her. She had a terrific sense of humour.” He added: “We called her ‘Rusty’ because that was her name in the movie and because of her red hair.”

Marty later said that Elvis and Ann-Margret would have stayed together forever if they weren’t torn apart.

Marty added: “If Elvis had ended up with [Ann-Margret], this whole story might have wound up differently.”

Ann-Margret sombrely put the break-up into her own words in her memoir, My Story. She said of losing Elvis: “There were other factors in Elvis’ life that forced him apart from me, and I understood them. Elvis had always been honest with me, but still, it was a confusing situation.”

Ann-Margret added: “We continued to see each other periodically, until we had dated for almost a year. Then everything halted. We knew the relationship had to end, that Elvis had to fulfil his commitment.”

Shortly after the couple’s break-up, Elvis proposed to Priscilla. They were married on May 1, 1967. Exactly nine months later their child, Lisa Marie Presley was born.

A week after Elvis’ wedding, on May 8, 1967, Ann-Margret married actor Roger Smith.

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