Although the Elvis Presley section in Linda Thompson’s new book only takes up about one-third of the pages (170 to be exact), this personal memoir is still a must-have for die-hard Elvis Presley fans. Linda Thompson, who was not only Elvis Presley’s girlfriend for 4-1/2 years but also the ex-wife of Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn), recounts some of the most notorious stories about Elvis in her new book called A Little Thing Called Life: From Elvis’s Graceland to Bruce Jenner’s Caitlyn & Songs in Between.
Yet somehow, A Little Thing Called Life maintains a positive, upbeat tone throughout these stories, appropriately matching the personality of the author.
Linda, a former Miss Tennessee and successful pop songwriter, started dating Elvis in July 1972, when Elvis was in the midst of a divorce with Priscilla. Their relationship ended in December 1976, only 8 months before Elvis died. At the time of their breakup, Presley had been seeing other women and then quickly jumped into a new relationship with Ginger Alden.
While many of the stories have been told before in other books by other people who knew Elvis, hearing first-hand from the person that was actually there makes a big difference.
Here are 5 interesting facts about Elvis that stood out:
We all know Elvis would go on extreme diets as he got older to prepare for special public appearances. But how extreme? Linda says Elvis would eat only 500 calories a day, which is drastic considering the average man needs to eat roughly 2,200 – 2,400 calories per day to maintain a healthy body weight.
In early 1973, Elvis lost 8-10 pounds while preparing for his “Aloha from Hawaii” concert appearance and TV special.
“I understood this was part of his special relationship with his fans, but I had my limits,” Linda revealed.
Elvis’ belief in numerology is widely known, but according to Linda, he also had a strong belief in the power of colors. Presley believed that “all shades of purple emitted the highest spiritual vibrations” and associated the color to the “purity and power of God.”
Fans are aware that Elvis used to wear not just a crucifix, but also a Star of David around his neck. Linda explains that he used to wear even more religious symbols including an Egyptian ankh, a lamb, and a crescent moon and star to represent Islam.
Apparently Elvis’ parents used to tease him as a child that he had a scrawny chicken neck.
As a result, Presley sought out wearing high collars as much as possible. Funny how an insecurity could turn out to become a major fashion statement.
Linda is one of the last women in Elvis’ life to tell her story, following Ginger Alden’s book that came out in 2014. After Presley died, Thompson was a consultant on the 1981 TV movie, Elvis and The Beauty Queen, which starred Don Johnson as The King. In 2006, a close girlfriend of Linda’s, Jeanne LeMay Dumas, wrote her own memoir of her experiences knowing Linda and Elvis called Elvis, Linda and Me. Thompson gave her blessing and wrote the forward for the book.