Known to the world as the luckiest woman on Earth due to spending time with the King during his last moments alive, Ginger Alden has a lot to say about Elvis, her relationship with him and his eventual spiral towards self-destruction.
No More Keeping Quiet
Keeping her mouth shut for so many decades, Ginger finally decided to open up about the lawsuit she filed after Elvis’s death, the Memphis Mafia that betrayed her, the cruel rumors that were baseless – and the one question she was dreading most of all.
Hiding Away For Years
More than 40 years after losing the man she loved, Ginger Alden was ready to share it all in favor of exposing the truth: “I wrote down all of my memories shortly after Elvis passed away. It was just my way of holding on and not forget. And time went on, I went forward with my life, I worked, I got married, had my son and in the course all this a lot of untruths were being said regarding mine and Elvis’s relationship, a lot of exaggerations.”
Unlike Any Other Girl
The man that women wanted to be with and men wanted to be will forever be associated with his swagger and charm, along with his modulated voice and provocative moves. Unpredictable Elvis seemed to have a natural masculine instinct when it came to wooing ladies, who appeared very proud to announce if so much as an accidental glance was sent their way. Few ladies actually succeeded to win over the heart of the King of Rock and Roll, but Ginger did.
Before Elvis passed away, he made plans for an entire lifetime: remarrying his sweetheart, writing a screenplay for a movie based on his life, and perhaps expanding his family. His death was abrupt and unexpected, especially for the woman who spent every waking hour with him before his untimely passing. In her book, Ginger elaborated further about her former fiance’s last thoughts that he expressed to her, such as how hurt he felt by many of his friends who seemed to turn their backs on him in his final days.
Before His Death
His public image was anything but consistent. Elvis was named a racist, a coy heartthrob, and someone that lead a luxurious lifestyle despite his southern, down-to-earth upbringing. As an attempt to clean up his bad boy image, Presley spoke on several occasions about always staying true to his roots, which was partly evident in his culinary choices that consisted of heavy southern dishes such as peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches, chicken fried steak, and biscuits and gravy.
Despite his infamous title as a serial heartbreaker, Elvis was only married once in his life. It might not sound like the rock and roll way, but that does not mean Elvis did not have his fair share of ladies in his life. If anything, it means quite the opposite – Presley was a man of many women, but few were interesting enough for him to completely sweep him off his feet. Indeed, only two women were loved by Elvis so dearly that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with them.
First Love Was Doomed
Priscilla Beaulieu was Elvis’s first love. After he had courted her for well over seven years, Priscilla decided to give it a go with the man she met when she was only 14-years-old. At the time, Presley was serving in the Army and stationed in Germany, and the two immediately hit it off. But this was not the type of love he was looking for, hinted Ginger in one of her interviews, which opened a Pandora’s Box that was fast approaching.
The Only One He Really Loved
Several visits abroad and what seemed like an endless amount of lonely nights later, Priscilla decided to move to the USA for her beau – but her parents had one condition: Elvis would have to marry their daughter. What started as a romantic, youthful affair resulted in divorce, and numerous flings on Elvis’s behalf that were quick to follow. It wasn’t until 10 years later, in November 1976, that Elvis met the last girl he would ever want to marry out of pure love and admiration – Ginger Alden.
Ginger and Presley’s lives were interlinked even when they were not aware of it. Actually, Ginger met Presley when she was only 5-years-old. Her father was a military man – just like Elvis’s former wife’s father was. This was not the only thing Ginger had in common with Elvis’s ex-wife. Once Ginger and the King were recognized as a couple by the media, many noticed the close resemblance the two women shared in physical appearance. But Ginger’s relationship with Elvis was much different than Priscilla’s.
Intended For Her Sister
Elvis’s next encounter with the last woman who saw him alive was years later. Ginger’s older sister was titled Miss Tennessee and was invited to meet Elvis, but it was young Ginger who ended up catching his eye. Ginger received all the attention with her infectious laugh and positive outlook on life. Unlike any other woman Elvis met before, Ginger spoke her mind and was not afraid to talk back to him, a refreshing change that what he grew accustomed to.
Ginger’s Mother Pushed Her To Date Elvis
Alana Nash, an author who wrote another version of the King’s biography, portrayed Presley’s life in a way that would stay true to the facts rather than address the rumors. She titled her book Baby Let’s Play House, in which she elaborated on how Ginger was a reluctant girlfriend, one that was put off by his substance abuse. Additionally, Nash wrote, Ginger had a hard time letting go of an old love, but it was her mother who pushed her to give the philandering singer a go.
In All His Glory
When Ginger met Elvis, she was two decades younger than him. A local Memphis beauty queen, Ginger knew a rare sight when she spotted one – and Elvis was anything if not easy on the eyes. Ginger wrote: “I know this sounds funny but when Elvis entered the room, I thought trumpets would sound. He looked so handsome. He quickly sat in a chair and started talking with each of us. It turned out to be a truly wonderful evening as he took us on a tour of Graceland.”
My Love Don’t Cost A Thing
Soon thereafter, Elvis showered Ginger with extravagant presents including three luxurious cars, stunning jewels, fancy furs – and priceless promises that would take care of her and her family for all eternity. Ginger’s mother, Jo LeVern, was a big Presley fanatic, so she coerced her daughter to engage in a romantic relationship with the heartthrob. The pressure was felt on his end as well, especially when Elvis promised to pay for her mother’s house’s landscaping and mortgage. But that wasn’t all.
In a 1980 interview, Ginger blamed the people who were around Elvis for turning him into an unhappy mess. More accurately, she explained, the circle of friends and payrolled workers that were constantly with him made him believe in a reality that did not exist. The way he was treated was utterly fake. Not a soul ever defied his word, talked back to him or treated him as an equal. But the big reveal came in a later interview Ginger gave.
She Pitied Elvis
Ginger gave one particular example to demonstrate the fake attitude Elvis was given. She was present during one of his final interviews where Presley made a joke – but it was not the joke that kept her up later that night. It was the way everyone reacted. The entire room burst into forced laughter the minute Elvis started laughing, and immediately stopped when he did. It was almost as if the laughter was on cue. “I just thought that was really sad,” said Ginger with a pitiful frown on her face.
Grotesque Caricature Of Himself
Head over heels, Presley proposed to Ginger only two short months after he met her. Sources revealed a number of his friends were not ecstatic about the engagement, to say the least. One friend also blabbed to a reporter that he knew first hand that Elvis openly stated he had no intention of ever marrying again. Not long after that, Elvis was criticized heavily in the media for becoming “a grotesque caricature of his sleek, energetic former self.” The journalist who wrote the latter was Tony Scherman.
Overweight And Unrecognizable
“Hugely overweight, his mind dulled by the pharmacopeia he daily ingested, he was barely able to pull himself through his abbreviated concerts,״ Tony went on. After that message had hit the fan, it was only a matter of minutes before every newspaper read a title having to do with the King’s fall from grace, which was only made worse by his Alexandria, Louisiana performance. Elvis managed to stay on stage for a little under than an hour, but slurred during his entire performance and was incomprehensible.
It Simply Wasn’t True
“Right up until the day he died, I mean there are just things that I’ve seen in books, and I said this wasn’t the person I witnessed […] Elvis was not someone sitting there and gorging on, he could be compulsive sometimes when eating certain foods, but this image? I’ve never seen him eat the famous fried peanut butter banana sandwiches.” Ginger was not about to be scared off easily by this reporter’s questions. She had her mind set on speaking her truth – the real truth.
Set The Record Straight
When Ginger was asked what are the untruths that were being said, she replied gladly: “That Elvis was unhappy, or we argued a lot which was not true.” Interested with this certain revelation of her intimate relationship with the King of rock and roll, the interviewer asked why she did not speak up sooner. Ginger responded: “I wanted to set the record straight and I waited until my son went off to college. And I sat down and it took me two years and I put together all my memoirs.”
Everyone Wanted To Know
In 2014, Ginger released her New York Times best selling book, titled Elvis And Ginger: Elvis Presley’s Fiancée and Last Love Finally Tells Her Story. Since there was such a big hype around her book, she carried out many interviews – one of which was done via email with Scott Jenkins. She spoke about Elvis and the rumors that spread around his name, concerning mostly the type of man he had become in his last year alive. However, there was one question she did not answer.
How He Asked Her To Go Steady
Scott was curious as to how Elvis and Ginger became an item, to which Ginger replied that she knew Elvis through her father, but it was not until Presley spoke clearly of his feelings towards Ginger that she understood fully: “We were together at the Las Vegas Hilton… he mentioned that he would like me not to see anyone else.” After that, it was her relationship with Elvis’s friends that took an interesting turn, as well as the way she coped with his unexpected death.
Best Friends For Never
Ginger admitted to never actually getting to know Elvis’s Memphis Mafia since she mostly focused on getting familiar with the singer himself. Her standoffish behavior was perceived negatively after Presley’s death, who started trashing Ginger: “I was extremely disappointed to see the character of some that Elvis had around him. A few speculated and began telling untruths regarding Elvis and me which was completely unwarranted, mean spirited and wrong… There was much going on behind closed doors which fueled speculation.”
Lost The Will To Live
Finally, in her most recent interview, Ginger sat down in front of a camera to finally set the record straight about the kind of person Elvis was before his death. “There’s a perception that lingered for many years, just before Elvis died, that he was unhappy, that he was this big guy who was just not the old Elvis that we all knew, that he maybe even lost the will to live,” said the interviewer, looking at Ginger for either confirmation or denial.
Lies In The Media
“Right up until the day he died, there are things that I’ve seen in books, and I said this wasn’t the person I witnessed,” she confessed. “This wasn’t the person that I loved, this wasn’t how he was those last nine months, and I was with him 98% of the time.” Ginger looked particularly set in her mind as she spoke those words, and pained with the thought that her past love is being bad-mouthed post his tragic death.
Rejected His Proposal
As for why they never got married, Ginger explained that Elvis had asked her to move into Graceland, but she did not think it would be a wise move, so she turned his offer down: “I never did, and he said I respect you for that. I just didn’t at the time, it wasn’t my way, but I was up there pretty much every day.” Then, the interviewer asked the question that was on everyone’s minds, the one Ginger knew very well was coming.
Little Velvet Box
Elvis proposed to Ginger after only a few months of him knowing the 20-year-old, but both felt their connection was too strong to deny. She described the proposal, saying: “I was so happy as he presented a green velvet box, opened it and placed a very large and beautiful diamond ring on my finger. My hand was shaking as we kissed and stepped out of the bathroom into the bedroom. My hand was still trembling as he kept lifting it to look at the ring saying, ‘oh boy’.”
Fans Felt Frustrated
In the final year before his death, Presley had a series of performances, but Elvis had a hard time rising to the occasion and fulfilling his duty. He was meant to appear in Baton Rouge but reportedly was not able to crawl out of his bed. Eventually, the rest of the tour was canceled, since Elvis was “so nervous on stage that he could hardly talk,” or so claimed historian Samuel Roy. His fans were becoming more disappointed and frustrated with every performance he had, but then something happened.
Finally Doing Better
The last concert Elvis had was in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 26, where Presley reportedly looked healthier, as though he lost weight, and many mentioned he sounded significantly better than before, too. But then, three of his bodyguards that he had fired published a book detailing Elvis’s substance dependency. He desperately tried to stop its release and even bribed the three, but there was no use. After this blow, Elvis was diagnosed with high blood pressure, liver damage, an enlarged colon and glaucoma.
Many thought it was strange that Elvis Presley appeared to grow so dependent on his fiance. No longer would the King of Rock and Roll travel by himself, not for business or pleasure. When Elvis’s manager booked him shows, Ginger would be there – and with her entire family, too. If he wanted to go away with his friends and enjoy good food and games, there was Ginger, holding his hand. What was perceived as a healthy relationship and a couple enjoying their time together quickly shifted 180 degrees.
“I knew I had fallen in love and couldn’t imagine not being with him,” wrote Ginger in her book. But tensions rose over time and soon enough Ginger found herself in a relationship that was toxic. When Elvis and Ginger became intimate, she wrote, she felt “anxious, barely able to breathe.” Chills took over her body, and she wondered if what she was feeling was normal. Finally, what started off as trouble in paradise resulted in a violent encounter.
In her memoir, Ginger painfully describes the fights she and Elvis had over small disagreements. Apparently, Elvis had a hard time controlling his emotions and often expressed his anger by becoming violent. One example she gave was when she brought up the topic of weight gain while Elvis was devouring ice cream, to which he responded by throwing his bowl against the wall. Presley was frequently criticized for gaining weight in the media, so he was particularly sensitive toward that subject.
Moments Of Rage
Another time, Elvis shot firearms at a television set and home phone while in a rage and even physically hit Ginger during one dispute that completely spun out of control. Ginger stuck by her man and brushed off his behavior by claiming he was going through a stressful time in his life that would soon end. Elvis held his end of the bargain by reassuring his fiance this wasn’t the type of man he was and apologized frantically after every attack.
No Hard Feelings
Elvis would throw tantrums whenever he would not get his way, but quickly apologized for his passive aggressive behavior right after. However, as Ginger goes into great detailing describing what many would perceive as an unhealthy relationship, the reader could easily tell the former fiance does not hold a grudge concerning her troubled past relationship, but rather tells the story of their complicated love with affection. Despite his angry and sometimes violent ways, it is clear that she was truly in love with him despite it all.
The Devastating Will
Elvis’s signing of his Last Will and Testament was witnessed by Ginger in early March 1977. However, much to her surprise, there was no mention of her in the document, which made a few of Presley’s friends believe Elvis did not truly intend on spending the rest of his life with Ginger. They suspected proposing was his way of quietening the woman who was by his side during his last days on Earth. This is one of the reasons Ginger was not liked by most of his friends.
Couldn’t Stand To Be Around Others
It might seem odd, but after the signing of his will, Elvis went on vacation and invited an entourage consisting of 30 of his closest friends and family to tag along. He figured there’s no better way to commemorate sorting death-related business than by celebrating life. The entire group headed to Hawaii and checked into the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel, settling down in the Rainbow Towers. However, it wasn’t long before Elvis decided he wasn’t into being in such proximity to that many people.
Ginger’s sisters, Rosemary and Terry, also accompanied the trip but didn’t mind when their sister announced she was moving to the other side of the island with her fiance. The couple rented a beach house in Kailua, which proved to be the better choice for the singer who so desperately needed his privacy. Finally, it seemed like for the first time in a very long time, Elvis was able to relax. He played touch football and ping pong, shopped, watched TV – and ate excessive amounts of junk food.
Getting His Diet Under Control
Pizza, cheeseburgers, and barbecue dinners were all Elvis Presley indulged on while he was away in Hawaii for vacation. Ginger was already struggling with his weight and unhealthy habits as it was, but thought this time off would help put things in perspective and calm him down. Ginger mentioned to Elvis that he might want to cut back on the junk food, and was surprised when Elvis responded calmly and rationally that he planned on going on a diet as soon as he got back to Memphis.
Vacation Cut Short
“My time with Elvis was so special, and the Hawaiian vacation was a lot of fun,” Ginger wrote in her book. At the time, she had no idea this trip to Hawaii would be that last one she would experience with the star. In fact, this was his last vacation ever – which sadly ended abruptly as well since Elvis got a bit of sand in his eye – not too much to cause permanent damage, but enough to scratch his cornea.
Poor Elvis was in pain and needed to see a doctor immediately, but refused to see one he did not know any on the island. He and Ginger were on the first plane back home to Memphis, where he went to get his eye checked out. Ginger was disappointed with cutting their vacation short but understood she had to fill the role of his caretaker: “I stayed at Graceland and administered eye cream for a few days so I could help him be prepared for his next tour.”
A Conspiracy Theory Fanatic
Ginger addressed Elvis’s interest in numerology and conspiracy theories in her book, too. He often read to her from Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet” and books of the same nature. In fact, they spent many nights reading aloud from his texts of Eastern spiritualism and books on numerology. Despite this, Ginger insisted Elvis was a rather newbie in the field. He had no official training or attended lectures on the matter, but was simply interested in broadening his horizons.
The King’s Last Words
The King’s almost queen had more than a few realignments to set in her book. In her biography, she gave a detailed description of the moment she found her husband-to-be dead. He was having trouble sleeping and did not want to disturb Ginger, so he excused himself saying “I’m going into the bathroom to read.” Little did unexpecting Ginger know those would be Elvis’s last words. She replied with an “Okay, but don’t fall asleep,” fearing he would fall asleep while sitting on the John.
He Didn’t Respond
Ginger left the bedroom light on for her fiance to easily find his way back into bed, but around 2:00am Ginger woke up alarmed, sensing something was wrong. Ginger knocked on the bathroom door, called Elvis’s name and waited for a response – but it never came. She tried to calm herself down as she slowly opened the door to reveal a crunched up Elvis positioned as if he was praying, with his knees held close to his chest and head buried in between.
Not His Time
His concerned fiance didn’t think twice – she fell to her knees and tried to turn his face toward her, but his body was stiff and cold. She slapped him a few times, tried forcefully opening one eye – but all she could see was a cloudy blue pupil. In her book, she wrote: “It was like he breathed once when I turned his head… I didn’t want to think he was dead. God wouldn’t want to take him so soon.”
Prayed The Pain Away
Helpless and shaken to the core, Ginger buzzed the intercom hysterically, screaming “Elvis has fainted.” Joe Esposito, Presley’s longtime army buddy, ran up the stairs and pounded on his chest continuously to try to get him up and breathing again, but it was too late. Elvis died using multiple medications that were clinically unnecessary. It was also evident that the overdose that caused death was a painful one, as Elvis tried to crawl to try to get help right before his death.
Ginger Sued Elvis
The evening of August 16th, 1977, the same night Presley was scheduled to fly out to begin another tour, Ginger found her fiance lying on the bathroom floor, unresponsive and still. His death was announced at 3:30 p.m at a nearby hospital. After Elvis died, Ginger’s family sued the estate, claiming Elvis promised to pay off her parents’ mortgage. Ginger lost the case, but needed to elaborate: “It was not an unfulfilled promise by Elvis. He just passed away in the middle of completing his gift to my mother.”
She Remembers Everything
But even to this day, as Ginger speaks of the man she used to love so dearly, pain is very evident in her eyes. Putting all the rumors aside, Ginger decided to focus on the good aspects of Elvis Presley’s last moments in her book, too. While many were quick to judge Ginger’s hurried engagement to the King of Rock and Roll as he was sliding down a slippery slope in his personal life, the memory of his proposal is still fresh in her mind.
A Child At Heart
On January 26th, 1977, Elvis proposed to Ginger in his favorite room in Graceland. He sat her down in a chair in the palatial master bathroom, what he often referred to as “his sanctuary,” expressed his admiration towards Ginger and asked her to marry him. During her most recent interview, Ginger sighed and said: “He was never bored, he didn’t act down, we laughed, we watched television, played the organ in his room, sometimes we went out, we rode three wheelers – he had these great, fun three-wheelers – we went motorcycle riding.”
The Ultimate Question
Then, Ginger was asked the ultimate question – if she still misses Elvis. Hearing this question, Ginger seemed slightly uneasy. She shifted in her seat and looked surprised by the question. Unlike her other responses, this time around Ginger took in a deep breath and lingered over her thoughts before expressing them out loud. On the night of his death, Elvis took two “sleep packets” medications prescribed by his doctors for his chronic insomnia. Although the singer died due to a heart attack, in her mind the reason does not matter.
She lost the love of her life and the opportunity to find happiness with the man who wanted to spend every moment he had with her. They say time heals all wounds, but this woman’s agony knows many years of battling with acceptance. Ginger batted her eyelashes several times as if to brush the pain away, then replied: “Oh, yeah… I mean, of course. I miss that we didn’t get to see where he was going to go and hear more of his music. He had a lot left to do.”
In the words of the great Elvis Presley, the teen idol of his time, the man who single handedly changed the face of music all over the world: “(The) truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away.” Ginger Alden could not stand by and let Elvis’s name be tarnished any longer. Having spoken her truth, she can now put to rest battling the media and the lies that followed her lover’s tragic death.