Elvis Presley shared girlfriend with Steve McQueen igniting a bitter feud

Bullitt: Steve McQueen stars in 1968 trailer

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Elvis Presley dated a lot of women during his time in Hollywood. The singer made a partial transition into being an actor in the 1960s with a slew of musical films. But in 1970 he started falling for one actress he wasn’t working with: Barbara Leigh.

The pair were introduced by Leigh’s boyfriend at the time, Jim Aubrey, an executive at production studio MGM. Before long, she and Elvis had a torrid affair that lasted all of two years. But some issues did arise during that time.

Steve McQueen biographer Marshall Terrill revealed the Hollywood actor and Elvis had a bitter rivalry over Leigh. He said the pair only met once on the road – and things only got worse from then on.

Terrill explained: “The two met one day on the way to the studio in the mid-60s. Elvis was in a limousine when McQueen pulled up on a motorcycle. They were pleasant to each other but the exchange was brief.”

Just a few years later Elvis was in a passionate relationship with Leigh. But everything changed in 1972 when Leigh was cast as Charmagne in the McQueen movie Junior Bonner.

McQueen and Leigh played on-screen lovers, and behind the scenes, things began to hot up for the actors as well. Before long, both Elvis and McQueen were in separate relationships with Leigh at the same time.

Terrill recalled: “Barbara, Steve, and Elvis had a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy regarding the people they were dating. I have a sneaking suspicion Steve knew she was still seeing Elvis and that Elvis knew she was seeing Steve.”

So then, things would get awkward between Leigh and McQueen when Elvis would call and check up on her.

McQueen would ask: “Was that the guitar hick?” after she put the phone down.

Elvis didn’t hold back either.

Fun in Acapulco: Elvis Presley stars in 1963 trailer

Elvis would throw similar insults toward McQueen while talking to Leigh.

He would quiz his beau: “How’s that motorcycle hick?” when McQueen wasn’t listening.

Terrill attributed this hostility because of the two alpha males’ track history with dating. He said: “It wasn’t often that McQueen or Elvis had to compete for a woman, but Barbara Leigh, who was a stunner, was quite worth the chase.”

Eventually, things didn’t work out in the favour of either Elvis or McQueen.

Leigh cut things off from both Elvis and McQueen after she realised she was madly in love with her original boyfriend.

Terrill said: “When you got down to it, Barbara was really in love with James [Jim] Aubrey.” What’s more, Leigh figured out that Elvis would not sacrifice the one thing she needed him to. “She knew Elvis would never give up other women,” Terrill recalled.

McQueen, equally, had some issues that Leigh could not see past.

Terrill said of McQueen and Leigh’s relationship: “She and Steve weren’t a great match.” He added: “I don’t know of Elvis and Steve meeting again after their relationships with Barbara ended.”

Three years later, in 1975, Leigh married her one and only husband, Joe Lewis, a kickboxer and actor. In 1977, they split up. Leigh has not been married since.


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