Priscilla Presley and Robert Kardashian dated in the mid 1970s — after her split from Elvis and before his marriage to future wife Kris.
Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Priscilla Presley, who divorced Elvis 50 years ago after a turbulent six-year marriage, claimed in a Q-and-A event last week that she had “never wanted to marry after him” because “no one could ever match” the music legend.
But Priscilla, 78, is not telling the whole story. In the mid-1970s, after her split from Elvis, she fell head-over-heels for another man: Robert Kardashian, the future husband of Kris Jenner and the father of Kim, Kourtney, Khloé and Rob.
And insiders said that Kardashian was, at one time, desperate to marry Priscilla.
“Priscilla made Robert very happy,” their close friend Joni Migdal told me for my book, “The Kardashians: An American Drama,” published in 2017. “He wanted to marry her and have children with her. That was definitely his hope, his plan.”
The two were intimate virtually from the moment they met, and it was love at first sight, insiders observed.
But their passion was sometimes bizarrely interrupted by Elvis, who was having own hot romance with former Miss Tennessee — and future wife of Caitlyn (né Bruce) Jenner — Linda Thompson.
A close friend recalled Robert vehemently complaining how, while he was making love to Priscilla, Elvis would ring her up, sounding incoherent. Infuriated, Priscilla “would put the bedside receiver on the pillow between her and Robert and allow him to listen in on the King’s intimate conversations with his ex-wife.”
Kardashian’s close friend, Larry Kraines, remembered Robert telling him that Priscilla was “terrific …But this guy Elvis doesn’t stop controlling her.”
Kardashian claimed to pals that Elvis didn’t want Priscilla seeing other men “because they had [daughter] Lisa Marie, and Elvis was very involved in that.”
Robert was said to be very bothered and began to feel the pressure that Elvis was putting on Priscilla.
The Kardashian-Presley love affair was initiated around 1975 by Robert’s older brother, Tom Kardashian, who was dating former Miss Missouri beauty queen Joan Esposito — the ex-wife of Elvis’ road manager.
And Priscilla initially came between the Kardashian brothers, as Tom was also interested in her.
“But it was Priscilla who decided to date Robert, angering Tommy, and igniting his jealousy and envy,” Migdal recalled.
Tom Kardashian, who would go on to have a long and happy marriage with Joan Esposito, admitted he developed qualms about Priscilla when he saw how controlling she was of his brother.
“Priscilla really changed a lot of my brother’s thinking of how he should dress, how he should even drive, and what he should do — and she changed him easily because she was so attractive and so she had an influence on him,” Tom told me in interviews for my book.
But there was another side to the story. Priscilla felt that Robert was, like Elvis, trying to control her — a situation that manifested itself when Kardashian wanted to turn her “into a domesticated Armenian housewife, and that infuriated Priscilla,” Migdal said.
“Priscilla once tried to make dinner for Robert because he kept asking her, so Priscilla said that one night she cooked asparagus, and she made this and she made that, and she went out of her way to make it perfect, and he HATED it. She said that after that meal, he never suggested that she make dinner for him again.”
Angry, Priscilla made it clear that the possibility of marriage was no longer in the cards, telling Kardashian, “Look, I’m not going to marry anyone until Elvis dies.”
While Priscilla asserts today that Elvis was the only man for her, Tom Kardashian revealed the real reason why Priscilla’s marriage to Elvis had fallen apart.
“Elvis wouldn’t allow Priscilla to go on all the [concert] tours, and Elvis was far and away the biggest woman-getter in the world. He WAS the King and all these women were at his beck and call,” Tom said. “Elvis kept Priscilla and Joan and the other wives away from what was going on, and that’s why the relationships failed.”
Kardashian would go on to marry first wife Kris, in 1978. They divorced in 1991.
When he was dying from cancer in 2003, Priscilla telephoned him, close sources said, and gently told him she loved him — bringing tears to Kardashian’s eyes.