Ann-Margret and Elvis first met on the set of their 1964 film Viva Las Vegas. While they started out as colleagues, their relationship turned into lust and eventually love.
They were secretly together for just over a year while Elvis’s girlfriend Priscilla Presley didn’t find out. However, this was not a simple Hollywood fling. Ann-Margret once described Elvis as her “soul mate”.
So, it was devastating for both of them when Priscilla found out about the affair and demanded that Elvis end it. She did as she was told and the lovers parted.
They remained on good terms and saw each other infrequently over the years, but considering they both eventually tied the knot—he to Priscilla, she to producer Roger Smith—they couldn’t spend much time together.
The truth about how Elvis felt about Ann-Margret was only revealed on the day of her funeral, more than ten years later.
Elvis died on August 16, 1977. He was found in a Graceland bathroom by his then-girlfriend, Ginger Alden, after suffering a heart attack. His daughter, Lisa Marie, was in the next room.
Two days later, on August 18, 1977, a public funeral was held for the King at Graceland. More than 10,000 people attended the historic event, including friends, family, fans, famous faces, and old flames.
Ann-Margret was the only person from Elvis’ Hollywood days to attend his funeral. While the King of Rock and Roll had had on-and-off relationships with women throughout his time in movies, none were as close to him as the Swedish-American actress.
When she arrived, she was greeted by Elvis’s father, Vernon Presley. Ann-Margret recalled the event in her memoir, My Story. She wrote: “There was so much to say, to tell. But instead we cried.”
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In that moment of pain between Elvis’s father and his ex-lover, Vernon decided to send Ann-Margret one last message.
Vernon, as he hugged Ann-Margret, whispered in her ear, “I was so proud of you.”
Vernon himself recalled the event in an article years later. He said: “Because I was dazed with shock and misery, I did not see or recognize some of the people at the funeral. Ann-Margret and I hugged and cried together, but I didn’t even see her husband. Roger Smith, who was nearby”.
The King’s father became seriously ill two years later, in 1979. When Ann-Margret heard this news, she flew to Memphis, Tennessee immediately and visited.
Ann-Margret recalled: “We had a good visit, laughing, crying and exchanging stories.”
Vernon told Ann-Margret how much he missed his son. She replied, “I miss him too.”
Elvis’s father, Vernon, died that same year, on June 26, 1979.
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