Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley had a notorious affair while they co-starred on the 1964 film Viva Las Vegas. While they both moved on to marry other people – within the same week in 1967, no less – Elvis and Ann-Margret continued to foster a special connection for the rest of his life.
In her 1994 memoir, Ann-Margret: My Story, Ann-Margret claimed that Elvis continued to harbor feelings for her after their yearlong romantic relationship came to an end. In fact, she revealed that Elvis actually called her up to express his ongoing feelings for her when she was in a hotel suite with her husband.
Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley had a passionate affair while working together on ‘Viva Las Vegas’
When Elvis and Ann-Margret met on the set of Viva Las Vegas in 1963, sparks flew between them immediately. The co-stars’ chemistry was off the charts, and they found that they were kindred spirits. They spent many nights driving around Los Angeles together, enjoying the anonymity together amid their burgeoning movie careers.
But their relationship wasn’t meant to be for the long haul. Priscilla Beaulieu (later, Priscilla Presley), Elvis’s young girlfriend at the time, was already living at Graceland. Elvis had already promised to marry Priscilla, and she certainly wasn’t happy to hear about the affair.
Elvis and Ann-Margret broke up about a year after they met. Elvis and Priscilla married in 1967, just a week before Ann-Margret married Roger Smith. While Ann-Margret and her husband’s marriage lasted 50 years until his death in 2017, Priscilla and Elvis divorced just six years later, in 1973.
Elvis supported Ann-Margret after her 1972 injury
Despite their breakup, Ann-Margret and Elvis continued to maintain a friendship until his death in 1977. The King of Rock and Roll always sent Ann-Margret a guitar-shaped bouquet of flowers at her live performances, and he often went to see her perform in person.
A few months after a devastating facial injury in 1972, when Ann-Margret took a 22-foot fall from a platform at a Lake Tahoe casino during a performance, she and Smith returned to the Las Vegas Hilton so she should make a comeback. At the time, Elvis was the headliner at the same hotel.
“I regarded Elvis’s presence as an extra bonus,” Ann-Margret wrote in Ann-Margret: My Story. “I was pleased to know he was nearby, and I hoped we could connect somehow.”
Ann-Margret knew her former boyfriend was concerned about her well-being after her injury. He’d already sent flowers, but they hadn’t gotten to see each other in person yet – until one night, when he got her alone in her suite. It was clear, she wrote, that he wanted to “get personal” with her, despite the fact that his entourage and her husband were both in the suite as well.
“He wanted to know all about the accident, my recovery,” Ann-Margret wrote. “It was so easy for us to lapse into the closeness we’d always shared, but it was clear from some of Elvis’s comments that he really missed having me in his life.”
While Ann-Margret indulged Elvis’s longing to speak to her, she also noticed that her husband kept wandering by to “check the thermostat” – i.e., eavesdrop on their conversation.
Ann-Margret claimed Elvis Presley tried to win her back around that time
Elvis and the Memphis Mafia left Ann-Margret and Smith’s suite, but she remembered having a feeling that he’d get in touch with her later that night. And she was right.
Later that night, when Smith was in the adjacent living room of their suite, Elvis was bold enough to call Ann-Margret’s hotel room. She believed that, if Smith had picked up, Elvis would have hastily hung up the phone.
Elvis told Ann-Margret she “looked wonderful” and that he was happy to have seen her during her recovery. But then things took a turn.
“But then his tone changed,” Ann-Margret wrote in Ann-Margret: My Story. “Saying he was lonely, he asked if he could see me. It wasn’t a question I’d anticipated since the afternoon but hoped that he wouldn’t really ask.”
Ann-Margret refused; after all, she was married. According to the Bye Bye Birdie star, Elvis told her he understood – but he wanted to let her know that he “still felt the same.”
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