Ann-Margret made a tough decision when Elvis Presley proposed

Viva Las Vegas: Elvis stars in 1964 teaser with Ann-Margret

Elvis Presley’s life changed in 1963 when he first met Ann-Margret on the set of his movie Viva Las Vegas.

While he had connections with some actresses in the past, nobody was quite like Ann-Margret. The Swedish-American star had been hailed as “the female Elvis” due to her singing, dancing and acting talents.

And, before long, Elvis and Ann-Margret became more than friends or mere colleagues. A love blossomed between them that secretly remained behind closed doors for just over a year.

All good things come to an end, though; Priscilla Beaulieu (who is now Priscilla Presley) found out about the romantic affair and forced Elvis to break things off with her.

In the years that followed, Elvis married Priscilla, and Ann-Margret (who turns 82-years-old today on April 28, 2023) fell in love and married someone else – Hollywood producer Roger Smith. But the story of the star-crossed lovers didn’t end there.

READ MORE: Elvis battled Viva Las Vegas director for Ann-Margret’s affections

Elvis married Priscilla on May 1, 1967. One week later, on May 8, Ann-Margret married Roger. But one month later, in June, 1967, Elvis visited Las Vegas and saw Ann-Margret perform at her residency show.

Elvis’ close friend and confidant, Billy Smith, later heard the meeting was extremely emotionally charged for both sides of the relationship.

He told Alanna Nash in her book, Elvis and the Memphis Mafia: “I’m sure he made the first move to get back in touch. I’d heard he’d even proposed to her after she was already married to Roger.”

Unfortunately for the lovestruck Elvis, Ann-Margret was not going to be tempted back to him.

Billy pointed out that in Ann-Margret’s memoir My Story, she wrote about this event, but brushed aside some of the finer details. “She just says he come backstage and got down on one knee and told her he still felt the same way he always had,” he said.

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Ann-Margret wrote in her autobiography that Elvis “confessed his love” to her, despite the fact they’d been split up for over a year. He went to her dressing room and they were finally alone together again, for the first time in a very long time.

Ann-Margret said Elvis’ “smile faded”. She went on: “His eyes lost their playfulness and turned serious,” Ann-Margret wrote. “Elvis then stepped forward and dropped to one knee.” It was at this moment that Ann-Margret knew she had to break Elvis’ heart once again.

Elvis took her hand and told her “exactly how he still felt about her”. But this emotional confession wasn’t a surprise for the actress. She wrote how she still “intuitively knew that he still had feelings for her”.

Ann-Margret never mentioned any kind of proposal in her memoir, but his getting on his knees is quite telling. The pair parted as friends, Elvis watched her show and sent her a bouquet of flowers in the shape of a guitar every day she performed.

Another Memphis Mafia member, Marty Lacker, famously thought Elvis was better suited to Ann-Margret than Priscilla.

“I don’t ever recall any negative times associated with Ann,” he said. “Except when we’d go back to Memphis and Elvis was away from her. She used to write him letters and sign them Bunny or Thumper. And she’d call Graceland and use the same code.”

In a sombre final note, he added: “If Elvis had ended up with Thumper, this whole story might have wound up differently.”

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