The 70-year-old actress opened up about the late rock ‘n’ roll legend in an interview with HuffPost Live this week. Presley was just shy of 21 years old when she married Elvis Presley in 1967, and welcomed daughter Lisa Marie Presley with the star the next year
“It was difficult, especially at a young age, being a new wife and automatically being a new mother and being in rock and roll,” she admitted. “I wanted to be a mom and yet, I traveled a lot and Elvis wanted me to be with him. It was a tug of war trying to make it all work.”
“I was hated for marrying him, hated for getting a divorce,” she recalled. “Having people being critical but not knowing what your life was and not knowing that you were trying desperately to be a good wife, to be a good mother, to be a good companion — it was a hard road.”
The Presleys welcomed daughter Lisa Marie exactly nine months after their wedding. The couple remained close after their divorce was finalized in October 1973, and the actress shared her last conversation with the singer in the interview.
“We talked a few days before he passed, which was very hard,” she said. “[I was] asking if he was OK and if he was excited about going on tour, and he was … He loved work, but he was dealing with a lot of issues [and] decisions that he had to make, so it wasn’t easy.”
Presley is the co-founder of Elvis Presley Enterprises, and helped to popularize Graceland as a tourist attraction. The actress celebrated the late singer’s birthday at the house in January, and executive produced the new album If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
“The musical foundation is exactly the same,” she told USA Today of the album. “If Elvis were here, he would be evolving and taking risks, like everyone else today … He loved a full sound. When he played music, it was always loud. We’re giving him the freedom to do what he would have done.”