Linda Thompson is a BMI Film and TV Award-winning lyricist and former Hee Haw cast member who eventually married Caitlyn Jenner – with whom she had sons Brandon Jenner and Brody Jenner of MTV’s The Hills – and producer David Foster. She was married to Jenner from 1981 to 1986. She even appeared on Brody and Brandon’s short-lived Fox reality show, The Princes of Malibu, with their now-notorious friend, Spencer Pratt.
But before all that, Thompson – who wrote Whitney Houston’s renowned song “I Have Nothing” with Foster – was a pageant queen from Memphis who dated Elvis Presley for nearly five years.
Presley and Thompson were introduced just after she was crowned Miss Tennessee Universe in 1972. They hit it off and began dating almost immediately. Thompson lived at Graceland until their breakup in 1976, even serving as the primary caregiver to the King of Rock and Roll as his health declined.
In her 2016 memoir, A Little Thing Called Life, Thompson remembered the moment she decided to have sex for the first time with Presley. The couple was head over heels in love, and she cherished their years together for the rest of her life.
Thompson waited to have sex with Presley for several months
During her teen years, Thompson described herself as an “old-fashioned Southern girl” and a “goody two shoes” who didn’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or have sex. She met Presley at a private movie screening at the Memphian Movie Theater in Memphis after she won the title of Miss Tennessee Universe.
At the time, Thompson was 22 years old (to Presley’s 37) and hadn’t met the right person to have sex with yet. During her first trip to Graceland to visit Presley, he invited her up to his room.
“Like the good Southern Baptist girl I was, I was a virgin,” Thompson wrote in A Little Thing Called Life. “And Elvis, well, he was Elvis. And we were about to be alone together in his bedroom.”
That night, Thompson met Presley’s father, Vernon Presley, at Graceland, and started to grow close to his family. The pageant queen’s friend, Jeanne, knew about her “virginal status” and encouraged her to hang back and avoid giving Presley the wrong idea by heading up to his bedroom. But Presley promised Thompson’s friend that he would be a “gentleman.”
And, according to Thompson, he was. In fact, they didn’t consummate their relationship for the first few months of their relationship.
The lyricist described Presley as a ‘perfect Southern gentleman’
While Thompson and Presley often had a complicated relationship – especially as his health waned due to substance abuse – she revealed in her memoir that he was the consummate gentleman when it came to their bedroom activities.
For several months in their early days of dating, the inseparable couple lived together at the Presidential Suite of the Las Vegas Hilton. While they couldn’t keep their hands off each other, Thompson explained that Presley made it clear that he respected her boundaries, even telling her he was “glad” she was a virgin.
“I’m not going to touch you until you’re ready for me to touch you, and I just want you to know that,” Thompson recalled the King of Rock and Roll telling her during one intimate moment. “I want you to trust me…I want to preserve you for as long as you need.”
“He actually used that word, preserve, like the perfect Southern gentleman he could be,” Thompson gushed in A Little Thing Called Life.
Despite the fact that he was, of course, very experienced himself, Thompson was grateful that Presley “remained true to his word” and didn’t pressure her to have sex before she was ready. In fact, she and the singer exchanged “I love yous” long before she lost her virginity to him.
The couple had sex for the first time in a ‘romantic’ and ‘heartfelt’ moment
After several months, Thompson decided that it was finally time for physical intimacy with Presley. They were in their Presidential Suite at the Hilton when she made the decision to go all the way.
“We were in our king-sized bed on a pedestal, with a mirrored ceiling above us, reflecting Elvis and me tangled in a loving entwinement of arms, legs, kisses, and deeply felt intimacy,” Presley’s ex-girlfriend gushed about the moment, which she described as “unbelievably romantic, perfect, and heartfelt.”
After Thompson and Presley had sex, she was so overwhelmed by the intensity of her feelings for him that tears began to flow.
“He was so sweet and tender with me, and yet I was overcome by emotion, and I began to cry softly,” Thompson remembered in A Little Thing Called Life. “I believe I had attached so much significance to losing my virginity I needed to shed a few tears over the moment.”
At first, Presley told his girlfriend not to cry. But then, according to Thompson, he gazed into her eyes and told her sweetly that she should do whatever she needed to do right now – even cry – and he would be there for her.
After all, Presley, too, was an “old-fashioned guy” who “appreciated” her innocence in the bedroom, Thompson wrote. He held her close during the vulnerable moment, which she remembered for the rest of her life as a special one.
The lyricist was brokenhearted later when Presley revealed he didn’t plan to be monogamous
Despite their beautiful first time together, Thompson would later come to realize that Presley did not make a habit of long-term monogamy. After about a year and a half together, Presley told her that he had “broken his fidelity record,” having never been this faithful to anyone for this long in any previous relationship.
The rock and roll icon asked for some “breathing room,” which she took as code for Presley wanting permission to date another woman, or women, on the side. Thompson was taken aback, especially because she had lost her virginity to the man who now wanted to sleep with someone else.
“I felt threatened, territorial, and angry,” Thompson wrote. “My heart and soul were crying out: That’s my man. That’s the man I saved my virginity for? That’s the man I love. Why does he need to do this?”
Still, Thompson reluctantly agreed to her boyfriend’s request. Her relationship with Presley didn’t end (at least not right away) over his infidelity. Still, she admitted she sometimes had complicated feelings about her relationship – however loving it was – with Presley. Before she moved on to marry Caitlyn Jenner and David Foster, the lyricist eventually realized that not all aspects of her relationship with the King were entirely healthy.
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