Elvis started dating Anita Wood in 1957. An aspiring actress, she won a talent contest and was a rising star while they dated. When he left for military service in 1958 she gave up her career for him. She had wanted to visit him while he was stationed in Germany. Elvis’s manager, Colonel Parker, forbade the idea, fearing it would be the first steps to the pair marrying. Parker wanted to keep Elvis appearing available for daydreaming fans – but instead ended up with his star marrying the young teenager he met in Germany. Wood described the dramatic and emotional end of their relationship.
Wood had been aware of the rumours surrounding Elvis’ relationship with the young teenager.
When he returned home in 1960, she found a letter from Priscilla begging Elvis to convince her father to let her visit. Wood confronted her boyfriend, but he said it was just a friendship and implored her not to say anything which could potentially ruin his career and reputation.
Two years later, Wood realised Elvis had continued to see Priscilla when she overheard a conversation between the star and his father, Joe.
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Wood recalled: “When I was coming down the back stairs into the kitchen, I heard Elvis say’, I’m having the hardest time making up my mind between the two.'”
Devastated, she marched into the room and forced Elvis to admit what was going on.
“Elvis took me into the dining room and his dad was sitting at the table. And we sat down at the table and I said’, I’m gonna make that decision for you, I heard what you said and I’m leaving’.
“And I remember that I started crying, it was a very difficult decision to make. I must say that was probably the most difficult decision that I’ve ever made in my life.
“After having dated someone like Elvis for five years, and as close as we were for this to end. And when I left, I knew there would be no going back. I would never have come back, never.
“So anyway, I said, ‘I’m leaving’, and I called Andy, my brother, to come pick me up and we sat there and talked a little bit longer. Nobody could eat, there was food, but nobody could eat.”
Anita had become very close to Elvis’ family over the years, often staying at Graceland while Elvis was away and even his father hoped this wasn;t the end: “And I remember Mr. Presley said’, Well if you must leave Anita, ya know, maybe you’ll meet again. There are people that sometimes separate and they get back together, and you’ll get back together again’.”
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“I said, ‘I don’t know, I’m not planning on it’. And I was crying and Elvis was crying.
“And he just said, ‘I pray to God that I’m doing the right thing by letting you go’. And I said, ‘You can’t keep me from going, I’m going’.
“I mean I was really upset, I was mad, I was hurt and he wasn’t going to have to make that decision.
“So my brother came and we got some things that I had there and we left, and I never went back again as his girlfriend.”