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Gladys Love Smith, mother of Elvis Presley, was born in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, on April 25, 1912. The daughter of Robert Lee Smith and Octavia Luvenia “Doll” Mansell, from whose marriage nine children were born. Her mother Octavia died at 59 from tuberculosis and her father Robert was a cotton farmer who also died in his fifties from pneumonia, leaving Gladys at the age of 19 working in Tupelo as a seamstress to support herself to the family. 



On June 17, 1933, Gladys Smith and Vernon Presley eloped and married in Pontotoc County, lying about their age in order to get married. In fact, Gladys hid her real age for much of her life. 


Towards the end of June 1934, Gladys learned that she was pregnant. Halfway through her pregnancy she was already sure she was having twins, she could feel the kicks of both babies inside her, plus she had a family history of twins on both sides of her family. 



At that time Gladys earned a salary of two dollars a day at the “Tupelo Garment Company”, while Vernon worked in various jobs that came from time to time. Borrowing $180 after Gladys became pregnant in the spring of 1934, Vernon began building a house for his wife and future child. 

What would be Elvis‘s birthplace was built by his father, Vernon, with the help of his brother Vester, and their father, Jesse. Located on a highway that carried locals commuting between Tupelo and Birmingham, Alabama, surrounded by a group of small, crude houses, the house had no electricity since, although it had a supply, it could not afford the cost, and it also had no plumbing inside. 



There the legend was born and used. There Gladys introduced this world to her twin sons, Elvis and Jesse, who sadly died at birth.

After the birth, Gladys had complications and both she and Elvis were taken to Tupelo Hospital. Gladys was never able to have children again. After Gladys and Elvis returned home, family and friends noticed that she was a very overprotective woman with her newborn son, in fact they always changed with the fear that something bad could happen to him. The fact of being an only child made him establish a very strong relationship with his parents, especially with his mother.

Gladys and her son Elvis Presley

Elvis‘s relationship with his mother, we all know her, was characterized by unconditional attachment. The experiences they had to face together in their first years of life marked a story of love and mutual support, intertwined between absolute poverty, music and fame. 



Gladys loomed large in Elvis’s life. Overprotective and fawning, she poured out all her greatest ambitions and deepest affections on her only son. 

She was the architect of Elvis’ good education and good manners. And instilled in him his love for music. He always supported him and encouraged him to fulfill his dreams. 

Vernon, Elvis And Gladys

Gladys passed away in Memphis on August 14, 1958 at the age of 46. The strong and special relationship he had with his son meant that it took a long time for Elvis to accept his loss.



 Gladys Love Smith, his protective, indulgent and adoring mother, was what Elvis loved most in this world and he carried her with him until his last breath. 



Information provided by Elvis. El Chico de Tu pelo. Rosa Garcia Mora.




Roberto Martín

Elvis Radio 24h


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