Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s Dream Home Quickly Became a ‘Nightmare’

Priscilla Presley wanted an escape for herself and Elvis. They found her dream home, but it brought them more problems than they imagined.

Elvis and Priscilla Presley were driving through Mississippi when they passed a home they decided they had to have. It seemed like the perfect escape from Graceland, and Elvis moved quickly to purchase it. It didn’t take long for them to realize that the purchase had some drawbacks. Priscilla shared why she began thinking of their dream home as a nightmare.

Elvis and Priscilla Presley realized their dream home had a flaw

Not long after Elvis proposed to Priscilla, they were driving through Mississippi. They had recently grown interested in riding horses, and they passed a 160-acre ranch that seemed perfect for this.

“This was my perfect dream house,” Priscilla wrote in her book Elvis and Me. “I fell in love with it and began to picture Elvis and me living there alone.”

Elvis loved it just as much and quickly moved to buy it. They put up Graceland as collateral and began preparing the ranch for them to move in. They transferred their 18 horses to the property and installed mobile homes with trucks for each member of Elvis’ entourage. He funneled money into their new home.

Though Priscilla had dreams of a quiet, idyllic life on the ranch, Elvis’ fame made this impossible. Soon, fans were gathering outside the gates.

“Since our little house stood in full view of the road, Elvis built a ten-foot high wall, but nothing deterred them; now they began climbing on tops of cars and roofs of nearby homes,” Priscilla wrote. “We couldn’t get away from them, and I dreaded driving through the gates.”

The members of Elvis’ entourage also wanted to leave, which meant he had little interest in staying there with only Priscilla.

“The dream was slowly turning into a nightmare,” Priscilla wrote. “The wives wanted to get back to their homes, and their children wanted to get back to their friends and their schools. Elvis liked it when everyone was together on terms he alone specified — and he got upset when they wanted to leave. ‘Hell, I bought all this stuff,’ he said, ‘and everyone wants to go home.’”

Vernon Presley warned the couple not to purchase the house

Elvis’ father, Vernon, had warned them against the purchase. He hadn’t predicted the nosy crowds or the defecting entourage, but he knew it was more than Elvis should be spending. Elvis’ career was declining, and a $500,000 ranch wasn’t in the budget.

“He wanted the ranch as much as I did, even though Vernon said that at $500,000 it was overpriced,” Priscilla explained. “He felt the owner could offer a much more desirable deal and tried to persuade us that financially it was not a good move. Elvis’ movies were continuing to decline in popularity and record sales were down. He was averaging a million dollars a film and the money was going out as quickly as it was coming in.”

Vernon eventually reached a point where he begged Elvis to stop spending money on the ranch.

Elvis and Priscilla Presley still enjoyed their time on the ranch

Despite these problems, Elvis and Priscilla still enjoyed their time on the ranch. Priscilla saw it as an escape from the rigidity of Graceland.

“On Sundays we had picnics and all the girls chipped in on potluck, bringing chicken baskets, cookies, and salads,” she wrote. “We rode horses, held skeet-shooting contests, and combed the lake for turtles and snakes. There was fun, laughter, and a lot of camaraderie.”

Priscilla hosted guests for dinner in the home every night, and they played music at night. When they were there, the purchase felt worth it.

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