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Inside the relationship Priscilla had with her karate instructor the film only hinted at

It’s unclear in Sofia Coppola’s movie whether it’s romantic or not

Sofia Coppola’s latest film Priscilla released in the UK yesterday, and I went to see it as a little New Year’s Day treat. It’s Sofia Coppola’s best film in years, and Cailee Spaeny is magnetic as Priscilla Beaulieu then Presley and the titular divorcee of Elvis Presley serves as an executive producer. Towards the end of the film, as Priscilla and Elvis Presley see their marriage falling apart, we see Priscilla learning karate with her instructor Mike Stone. Sofia Coppola never fully shows the audience if this relationship was a platonic friendship or something more – so here’s a look inside the real relationship between Priscilla Presley and her karate instructor Mike Stone.

It was indeed a romantic relationship

Elvis and Priscilla Presley first met Mike Stone in 1968. Elvis ended up suggesting that Stone starts training Priscilla in karate. In her memoir, something not blatantly shown in the film, Priscilla confessed that the relationship turned romantic and she did indeed have an affair with Mike Stone whilst he acted as her karate instructor – despite Elvis’ infidelity being a big part of why their marriage fell apart. Priscilla was quoted saying Mike Stone gave her a new confidence she’d never felt before.

Jacob Elordi and Cailee Spaeny as Elvis and Priscilla, towards the end of the marriage

Elvis was not happy about the relationship, and was so furious he plotted to have Mike Stone assassinated. No, I’m not joking. Elvis’ bodyguard Sonny West said Elvis told him “Mike Stone must die. You will do it for me. Kill him, Sonny.” Priscilla later confirmed this happened in an interview with Barbara Walters. Elvis eventually just backed down on his demands.

The relationship between Priscilla Presley and her karate instructor Mike Stone lasted from 1972 to 1975, but eventually broke down after a livid Priscilla ended things when Mike Stone sold a story to the press titled How I Stole Elvis’ Wife From Him. Big yikes.

Priscilla is in cinemas in the UK now. For the best film features, music, reality TV and entertainment news, like Pop Culture Shrine on Facebook

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