Elvis Presley family: Who were Elvis' parents? Did Elvis have a brother?

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Elvis Presley is known for his incredible voice, energetic stage performances and a huge catalogue of music. His private life was often the focus of the news, though it was his love life which took centre stage. His family, though regularly appearing with him, were slightly pushed into the background when it came to The King.

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Who were Elvis Presley’s parents?

Elvis’ mother Gladys Love Presley, nee Smith, was born on April 25, 1912.

Vernon Presley, Elvis’ father, was born on April 10, 1916 in Fulton, Mississippi, and met and married Gladys when he was just 17.

In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Vernon spoke of how excited he was to welcome his child into the world.

Elvis Presley family: Who were Elvis' parents? Did Elvis have a brother?

Who were Elvis’ parents – and did he have a sibling? (Image: Getty)

In 1978 he said: “My love for my son began even before he was born.

“At that time there was almost nobody poorer than my wife Gladys and me.

“But we were thrilled and excited when we learned that we were going to be parents.

“I was only 18-years-old but throughout Gladys’ pregnancy it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to take care of her and the baby.”

While Elvis was known as being close to both his parents, it has often been reported he was far closer to his mother, who was, by many accounts, the most dominant member of the family.

The Presleys were by no means well off, and according to Peter Guralnick’s book Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, Vernon moved from various odd jobs, but in 1938 served eight months in prison after altering a cheque.

During this period, Gladys and Elvis moved in with relatives, while the young Elvis was very shy about his performance abilities and as he got older, the family continued to move around.

In 1948, they moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and after spending almost a year in boarding houses were granted a two-bedroom apartment in a public housing complex, known in the UK as council housing.

Elvis Presley family: Who were Elvis' parents? Did Elvis have a brother?

The young Presley family (Image: Getty)

Elvis’ shyness continued but mainly because of his relationship with his mother hampering his ability to be confident.

He was often bullied by classmates, as Guralnick describes, due to being called a “mama’s boy”.

Elvis spoke about this in interviews vaguely, once saying: “My mama never let me out of her sight. I couldn’t go down to the creek with the other kids.”

The family attended an Assembly of God church, which helped Elvis develop his musical inspiration, so when he started to show some singing prowess in the church, Vernon was with him to guide him to stardom.

Elvis Presley family: Who were Elvis' parents? Did Elvis have a brother?

Elvis was called a ‘mama’s boy’ (Image: Getty)

Elvis, in Guralnick’s book, reportedly told his father he was told he could not sing when he made a record at Sun Records in 1954, but that did not stop him, as he later claimed he had payed for time at the studio as a gift to his mother.

Eventually, when Elvis was 20, he was offered a contract with Sun Records, but as he was still too young to sign on, Vernon did this for him.

The Washington Post reported Vernon managed Elvis’ affairs from Graceland, where the family lived from when Elvis was 21.

He went on tour with his son, as well as helping to oversee his finances, but of course he had a few treats along the way like visiting on movie sets, and Vernon even had a role as an extra in Live A Little, Love A Little.

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Elvis Presley family: Who were Elvis' parents? Did Elvis have a brother?

Elvis and his parents before he went off to the Army (Image: Getty)

However, Variety reports Vernon was said to be “deeply insecure” about his management of finances and felt unqualified for the job, fearing the family would soon be thrown back into poverty.

As Elvis continued to do well in the music, Gladys allegedly struggled to cope and began to drink heavily, eventually being diagnosed with liver problems.

In 1958, while his career was growing and he was beginning to appear in films, Elvis was drafted into the US Army and was placed in Germany.

Shortly after, Gladys was diagnosed with hepatitis, and her condition worsened very quickly.

Elvis Presley family: Who were Elvis' parents? Did Elvis have a brother?

Elvis and Vernon after Gladys’ death (Image: Getty)

Elvis was given emergency leave to visit her, arriving in Memphis on August 12, but she died on August 14, 1958, of heart failure at age 46.

Two years after Elvis’ mother Gladys passed away in 1958, Vernon married his second wife, Dee, and the pair moved into a home together on the Graceland estate.

In 1976, as Elvis’ health began to fail, Vernon fired the “Memphis Mafia,” a group of paid people Elvis kept with him while on tour, as a means of cutting back on “expenses”.

Only a year later, in 1977, Elvis died, and Vernon was named an executor of his will.

Vernon died in 1979, after which his inheritance from his son went to Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’ daughter.

Elvis Presley family: Who were Elvis' parents? Did Elvis have a brother?

Elvis and Vernon in Elvis’ later life (Image: Getty)

Did Elvis have a brother?

Vernon and Gladys had two children, one of whom was Elvis’ twin, Jesse Garon Presley.

Jesse was born 35 minutes before Elvis, on January 8, 1935.

However, sadly Jesse was stillborn, meaning Elvis grew up as an only child.


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