Hair unbrushed, raw energy and pure excitement – Ann-Margret was a much-needed breath of fresh air in the 1960s. The Swedish-born actress, now 81, was simply mesmerizing with her beauty, personality and dancing abilities.

Back in the day, her love affair with Elvis Presley received a lot of attention, but although they both married separately, they refused to give up on each other.

”We were truly soul mates, shy on the outside but unbridled within,” Ann-Margret wrote in her autobiography.

Swedish Actress, Ann-margret Singer and Dancer, 01.05.1967. (Photo by Avalon/Getty Images)

Today, actress Ann-Margret Olsson is considered one of the true greats.

As one of the most outstanding live performers classic Hollywood has ever produced, her legacy will live on for a very long time.

But today, we’ll dig a little deeper into her electric relationship with Elvis Presley.

Though Ann-Margret has been quite restrictive in revealing what really happened between the two stars, she has detailed some very exciting details in her autobiography, My Story.

Exactly when Ann-Margret and Elvis first met is unclear, but we know that the blonde Swede captured Elvis Presley’s heart while filming Viva Las Vegas in 1964.

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Ultimately, Presley chose to marry Priscilla – but Ann-Margret claims she and the King of Rock’n’Roll were soul mates. Their chemistry and love affair would also take a big toll on Elvis’ future wife.

The passion between Ann-Margret and Elvis was obvious to everyone during the shooting of Viva Las Vegas.

”She had so much energy and pep that she had blown her previous three male co-stars off screen, but Elvis could match her. He was the best on-screen partner she ever had, and she was his,” Filmink wrote.

But the gorgeous couple didn’t just fall in love on the silver screen – their affections for each other were definitely real and continued off-camera.

Their attraction was instantaneous and powerful.

“We both felt a current, an electricity that went straight through us,” Ann-Margret said. “It would become a force we couldn’t control.”

Swedish-American actress Ann-Margret with Elvis Presley (1935 – 1977) in the musical film ‘Viva Las Vegas’, directed by George Sidney, 1964. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

According to Ann-Margret, Elvis wanted them to get married. Their dates often consisted of driving up a hill, looking down at the city, and talking.

Sometimes, Elvis asked to be completely alone with Ann-Margret, further proof for her that she was a special girl for him. It was a sign that Elvis trusted her, only strengthening their bond.

“We were truly soul mates, shy on the outside but unbridled within. We both lived on the edge and were self-destructive in our own ways… In many ways, if you put aside the celebrity and what we achieved so quickly, we both remained very childish and were emotionally insecure,” Ann-Margret writes in her book.

There was one problem, though – Elvis was in a relationship with Priscilla Presley. One year before the Viva Las Vegas premiere, Elvis had asked the 17-year-old Priscilla to move in with him in Memphis.

But she wasn’t there when Ann-Margret and Elvis were shooting in Hollywood.

Priscilla knew that Elvis was cheating on her, but unlike the other women he had crushed on, she felt that his affair with Ann-Margret was a real threat. Elvis denied everything – but Priscilla knew what he was up to.

Elvis Presley (1935 – 1977) as Lucky Jackson and Ann-Margret as Rusty Martin in the film ‘Viva Las Vegas’, 1964. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Priscilla feared the stunning blonde in the lead-up to her wedding, but in the end, the energetic and charismatic Swede was too similar to Elvis. They were ”mirror images,” and that wasn’t a good thing, considering Elvis’ values. He was traditional and conservative in his view of marriage. Priscilla Presley fitted the profile – Ann-Margret did not.

They continued to send each other love letters after Viva Las Vegas, but soon after that, Elvis knew he had to break it off with Ann-Margret.

”We knew that our relationship had to end, that Elvis needed to fulfill his commitment,” Ann-Margret wrote in My story.

According to the actress, it was a “confusing situation” as their romance flamed out.

“There were other factors in Elvis’s life that forced him apart from me, and I understood them,” she said.

Although their romantic relationship ended, the couple stayed in contact after Elvis’ marriage to Priscilla. ”The King” used to send her guitar-shaped floral bouquets every time she performed in Las Vegas.

Ann-Margret and Elvis remained lifelong friends, and when she didn’t receive any flowers after a show in 1977, she knew that The King was dead. Ann-Margret was the only female co-star of Elvis’s to attend his funeral.

Husband’s illness

Looking back on Ann-Margret’s career, the 81-year-old actress and artist has delivered some unforgettable moments on the big screen, and some iconic songs that are still played today.

Born in Sweden in 1941, the bona fide Hollywood legend rose to stardom in the 1960s. Ann-Margret comes from a very tiny village in northern Sweden – few could have guessed that she would become one of the world’s most famous faces.

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In 1946, she and her family left her Swedish hometown, consisting of ”lumberjacks and farmers high up near the Arctic Circle,” and migrated to the United States.

”When mother and I left, there were 160 residents,” she said.

Ann Margret’s breakthrough came as a singer – her sultry and vibrant voice resulted in her being labeled the female version of Elvis Presley. Soon, Hollywood discovered that she had the whole package – and the timing was perfect for her intensity as a performer.

Her career in the entertainment industry spans over six decades, beginning in 1961.

Perhaps her most significant performance came in 1963 with the musical romantic comedy Bye Bye Birdie, where she starred as the all-American teenager Kim from Sweet Apple, Ohio. The movie was a huge success, and Ann-Margret appeared on the cover of Life Magazine twice.

Ann-Margret at the White House Correspondents Dinner, 1997 / Wikipedia Commons

Ann-Margret is proud of her career, she says that the highlight of her life is her long-time marriage to actor and manager Roger Smith. The couple tied the knot in 1967 and stayed married until Roger’s tragic death in 2017.

”When I look back at my life, I am most proud of my marriage,” she said.

Their marriage was everything Ann-Margret could dream of – but their union got off to a bad start. During their wedding ceremony in Las Vegas, which was a civil one, the Bye Bye Birdie star cried because she was so sad.

The wedding was very different from what she had envisioned.

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Thankfully, it didn’t matter in the end. Ann-Margret’s relationship with Roger Smith was exceptional; they were a devoted couple who never left each other’s side.

“Now in Roger I’ve found all the men I need rolled into one — a father, a friend, a lover, a manager, a businessman,” the actress told Rex Reed in 1972.

“It’s perfect for me. I couldn’t exist without a strong man.”

Roger Smith with sun glasses and Ann-Margret in the back of a limo; circa 1970; New York. (Photo by Art Zelin/Getty Images)

Ann-Margret still lives in the house they bought in Los Angeles in 1968.

Just like in most relationships, Ann-Margret and Roger also faced challenges. They tried to have children for 13 years – but Ann-Margret never fell pregnant. She used all possible aids and even a fertility pump without successful results.

Ultimately, Ann-Margret gave up and focused on being the best possible stepmother to the three children Roger had from a previous relationship.

Ann-Margret was 76 when the love of her life passed away. Roger’s death in 2017 didn’t come as a shock to her; her husband had been forced to retire as an actor in the 1980s after battling myasthenia gravis. The vein and nerve condition greatly affected him – he also had Parkinson’s disease.

Roger Smith as Mister Roberts from the television program of the same name / Wikipedia Commons

His condition also meant that Ann-Margret had to take a break from work to care for him. She showed total commitment to her partner during his lengthy illness.

”I kept saying no, no to everything because I was taking care of him. If you’re a spouse, if one of you has a broken wing, the other takes over,” she said.

Although Ann-Margret, of course, mourned her husband’s death, she managed to move on with her life.

“She certainly mourned for Roger but, more than anything, she fondly recalled the life they made together,” a friend told Closer Weekly in 2019. “To her, a great love story doesn’t end with death. You carry their spirit with you.”

Loves motorcycles

As of 2023, the talented woman keeps herself busy. She loves motorbikes and owns a purple Harley Davidson.

The 81-year-old actress, who still looks beautiful, loves to feel the horsepower of the machine beneath her, and the wind in her hair. She’s obviously not ready to say “Bye Bye” quite yet.

”If I ride somewhere, to like a biker place, mine is the only lavender bike there. All the Harleys and Ducatis, there’s my lavender with the flowers. Interesting. They get a kick out of it,” she says.

According to CBS, she’s still involved in Hollywood and appeared in the TV movie A Holiday Spectacular in 2022. She has also found love again – although she hasn’t disclosed his name. According to the actress, the new man in her life is no stranger and falling in love again is a ”nice feeling,” she says.

”I’m so thankful for everything. And I’m very thankful that I have another day. Yup,” the Swedish native told CBS.

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This woman had a spectacular career! And we will always admire her for that and for her commitment to her husband during his lengthy illness!

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