Now available is the transcript of the interview with Priscilla from NBC's Dateline.
From Dateline NBC:
Katie Couric's exclusive interview with Priscilla Presley on the life and the continuing legend of Elvis
August 13 - He seemed larger than life and is larger still, on the 25th anniversary of his death. A remixed version of an Elvis tune is currently climbing the charts. Even the weekend wedding of his daughter Lisa Marie marrying actor Nicolas Cage gets the attention accorded a superstar. There's one person who knows better than anyone else about the lasting impact of Elvis Presley's power and personality. She shared his love, his wild life, his troubles, and now, she shares her memories. Priscilla Presley talked to Katie Couric about her life with Elvis.
His was a voice she'd heard since childhood - a voice she'd come to depend on, even live for. But on August 16, 1977, that voice had been silenced forever. For Priscilla Presley, it was a phone call just around 2 p.m. (Los Angeles time) from a close friend.
Priscilla Presley: "I had a feeling that something was wrong. It was a very dreary day. And I walked out thinking, I donft even want to go out of the house today. And I went back into the house and that's when I heard. The telephone call revealed that Elvis was, in fact, in the hospital - or on his way - and that he had died. There was a void there that I never thought could be filled. There was an emptiness. I remember thinking, 'How in the world do I go on with my life knowing that he's not here?'"
Elvis Presley - singer, actor, icon. He was the man she loved, but almost always shared with the rest of the world. Priscilla was queen to Elvis' king.
Priscilla Presley: "I was not only taking care of the home, but I took care of him in every way possible. I catered to him. I nurtured him. I babied him. He was my life."
A 14-YEAR-OLD GIRLFRIEND
The story of how a starry-eyed 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu won the rock-n-roll superstar's heart has become nearly legend itself. It began in 1959 in Germany, where her father, a career Air Force officer, was stationed. Elvis was already a singing sensation with 17 straight million-selling singles, and four hit movies on his resume. But it was Elvis' swinging pelvis on the "Milton Berle Show" that didn't fly with this Air Force captain.
Katie Couric: "So your dad said, 'No more Elvis.' Meanwhile Elvis is?
Priscilla Presley: "Yes. They're watching it. You know. So we can't watch this. Of course, I'm looking behind, you know, the door to make sure I got to glimpse and you know, it was fascinating."
But Elvis was in the Army now, also stationed in Germany, and a chance meeting at a family friend's dinner party was Priscilla's date with destiny.
Katie Couric: "Were there instant sparks?"
Priscilla Presley: "Well, he started teasing me at first. And I did not like it because he was teasing me about my nose. My nose was turned up and at that time I was very insecure and very self-conscious of my nose. You know, he had a great charm about him and he was really paying a lot of attention to me. A lot."
But the world's most popular private had the G.I. blues. His beloved mother Gladys had just passed away. His career was on hold and as early as age 24, Elvis had already developed a dependency on prescription drugs.
Priscilla Presley: "Well, at that time, you have to remember, taking a pill and especially prescribed by a doctor, you know, wasn't bad. You know. It was like, 'Here's what you need. And this will help you.' And because it was prescribed by a doctor it was OK."
Whether it was a budding romance or just a weekend pass for a lonely, homesick G.I., even Priscilla wasn't sure. All she knew was when it was time for him to leave she was heartbroken.
Priscilla Presley: "And I just, you know, remember his words, you know, 'Don't be sad. Don't be sad.' So I would, you know, try to put on a happy face and smile and laugh, and I was with photographers and press that I never experienced before. So I felt a bit abandoned in that aspect. Because there really wasnft anyone there to take care of me."
Back home, Elvis sought to slow down the rumor mill.
At a press conference Elvis said: "There was a little girl I saw quite often over there... her father was in the Air Force. And there were pictures made of her. But there was no big romance. The stories came out, 'The Girl He Left Behind' and it wasn't like that. I have to be careful when I answer a question like that."
Those words seemed to hold true as the months passed. But in 1962, nearly two years since he'd left her in Germany, Elvis - with his career back on track - beckoned the 17-year-old Priscilla to his side.
Katie Couric: "He invited you to L.A. where he was filming a movie."
Priscilla Presley: "That was probably the most difficult time, because having to convince my parents."
Katie Couric: "But you were determined."
Priscilla Presley: "Of course I was. I mean, you know, I was in love. And he was very charming and very forceful and very convincing."
Katie Couric: "He was very good at schmoozing your parents, wasn't he?"
Priscilla Presley: "He was good at schmoozing anyone."
It paid off. Priscilla's parents relented. And before long, Priscilla had moved into Elvis' Memphis mansion at Graceland, underthe watchful eyes of his father and grandmother. There, Elvis would transform his teenage treasure.
CONTROLLING AND CHARMING
Priscilla Presley: "You know, the black hair, the bouffant look, was almost like a little bad girl look."
Katie Couric: "Kind of like Rizzo in 'Grease.'"
Priscilla Presley: "Exactly."
Katie Couric: "Did you ever look in the mirror, Priscilla, and say, 'Who is this person?'"
Priscilla Presley: "I liked it."
Katie Couric: "You liked it."
Priscilla Presley: "I liked it. Oh, my gosh! It was quite glamorous. It was really, 'I'm hot.'"
Katie Couric: "You were hot."
Priscilla Presley: "But hey, I was in for show girls and I was, you know, you know, women dressed."
Katie Couric: "But he was sort of nit-picky wasn't he? Was he critical of your appearance?"
Priscilla Presley: "At times he could be very critical. He didn't like prints on me. He didn't like stripes. He didn't like boldness. He said I was petite and that was taking away from my looks."
Katie Couric: "He sounds very controlling."
Priscilla Presley: "Well, I mean, he was, but you know, as controlling as he was, he was very, very charming."
In her 1985 autobiography, "Elvis & Me," Priscilla revealed how Elvis' daily dose of fame and fortune conflicted with his strong Pentecostal values. Amidst pervasive rumors of sexual encounters with sultry Hollywood starlets, Elvis was adamant Priscilla remain a virgin until their wedding night.
Katie Couric: "But having said that, you all had a lot of fun together didn't you?"
Priscilla Presley: "We did."
Katie Couric: "In other ways. In fact, you write in your book, Priscilla, 'Instead of consummating our love in a usual way, he began teaching me other ways of pleasing him. We had a strong connection, much of it sexual. The two of us created some exciting and wild times.'"
Priscilla Presley: "Now I'm really embarrassed. You know that."
Katie Couric: "Sorry. I'm sorry. My goal is to make you blush at least once."
Priscilla Presley: "OK."
Katie Couric: "And now I'm blushing."
Priscilla Presley: "OK."
MRS. ELVIS PRESLEY
Finally, at age 21, Priscilla officially shed the nickname "Live-in Lolita" and became known as Mrs. Elvis Presley.
Then on February 1, 1968, nine months to the day of their marriage, their only daughter Lisa Marie was born. They were happy times. Elvis had a perfect little girl and Priscilla, his perfect little wife. Almost.
Priscilla Presley: "I couldn'