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‘I lived it’: Priscilla Presley shares the ‘Elvis’ scenes that were toughest to watch

She also revealed she was concerned at first when she heard Baz Luhrmann was planning to embark on the biopic — but the final product left her speechless.
/ Source: TODAY

On the 45th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, his former wife, Priscilla Presley, shared the scenes from "Elvis" that were the toughest to watch.

Presley told TODAY the hardest part of watching Baz Luhrmann's biopic of her former husband's life was reliving his relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, and how Elvis wanted to take his career further than music.

"He wanted to do movies, serious movies, and Colonel Parker probably should have stayed a publicist," she said. "He didn’t take Elvis where he wanted to be, and that was hard because I lived it."

"I lived the arguments that they had, I lived Elvis trying to explain he didn’t want to do the movies with all the girls and the beaches and everything, that he really wanted to do serious things," she continued. "So living that, with him, and watching the movie, it brought back a lot of memories."

Austin Butler performs as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's biopic.
Austin Butler performs as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's biopic.Warner Bros.

Presley also revealed that she was concerned at first when she heard Luhrmann was planning to start the movie. She said she invited him to her home, where they met for about four hours, and that while he put her at ease, she was still unsure how it was going to come out.

But she had a private screening with Jerry Schilling, a longtime friend of Elvis', and she said the pair didn't speak throughout the entire movie.

"At the end we went, 'Wow, this is Elvis,'" she recalled.

Tuesday marks 45 years since the king of rock 'n' roll died of a heart attack inside of Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 42.

But Elvis has managed to re-enter the mainstream 45 years after his death, in part due to Luhrmann’s new biopic of the singer’s life, which stars Austin Butler as Elvis and Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla. "Elvis" tells the story of the singer’s rise to fame through his relationship with his manager, portrayed by Tom Hanks.

Priscilla told TODAY she thinks there's a new generation that's starting to discover Elvis since the movie, particularly at his home of Graceland, which she opened to the public in 1982.

Elvis and Priscilla Presley Posing near Airplane
Newlyweds Elvis and Priscilla Presley preparing to board their private jet following their wedding at the Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in 1967.Bettmann Archive

"To see the amount of people that still come to see Elvis is unbelievable," she said. "We had the candlelight vigil last night and 30,000 people showed up. So that says a lot."

Priscilla met Elvis when she was just 14 when Elvis was drafted into the Army. The two met at a party near an Army base in Germany in 1959, when Elvis was 24. The pair married eight years later, and had one daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.

After six years of marriage, the couple divorced in 1973, but remained close after the split. Elvis died five years later, and Priscilla opened Graceland's doors to the public in 1982.

Angie Marchese, vice president of archives and exhibits at Graceland, told TODAY that the mansion's guests that are skewing younger and younger after seeing "Elvis" or discovering his music on streaming platforms.

"Elvis still has that charisma that’s able to attract fans nearly 45 years after his passing," Marchese said. "I think Elvis will always be a pretty big deal."