The Truth About the Life and Death of Lisa Marie Presley, the Only Daughter of Elvis

3 months ago

Elvis Presley was a musician who became a legend even during his lifetime. It seemed that his only beloved daughter had everything from birth and the whole world at her feet. However, Lisa Marie’s fate turned out to be tragic. Here’s what was really hidden behind the external glamour of the rock ’n’ roll princess’s life.

Early life in the shadow of greatness

Associated Press/East News

Born on February 1, 1968, Lisa Marie Presley entered the world with the weight of expectation already upon her tiny shoulders. As the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, she was destined to be scrutinized from the moment she took her first breath. Growing up at Graceland, the Presley family estate in Memphis, Tennessee, Lisa Marie experienced a childhood unlike any other. Surrounded by luxury and adoration, she was the princess of rock and roll royalty. But behind closed doors, things were far from perfect.

Amidst allegations of infidelity from both sides, Priscilla’s involvement with her karate instructor marked the tipping point in an already tumultuous marriage. Following these revelations, the couple parted ways in 1972, when the girl was just 4 years old.

After her parents divorced, Lisa Marie found herself shuttling between her mother’s residence in California and her father’s famed Graceland estate in Memphis. The girl remained remarkably attached to her father. Elvis would often take her for rides around the neighborhood on golf carts, affectionately named his 1958 Convair 880 private jet «the Lisa Marie,» and even flew her out to Idaho once upon learning she had never experienced snow. But Priscilla Presley was against this approach to raising a girl. One day, she’ll say, «Lisa had trouble learning what was right and wrong,» hinting that Presley’s influence had a profound effect on their daughter.

Lisa Marie later recalled, «I don’t feel like I was spoiled. Anything my father did for me or gave me was done out of love, and I took it as that. I’m sure I had moments when I was a snot. But my mom was there to smack me back to the other side. Whatever he did, she cleaned up.»

Subsequently, Priscilla entered a relationship with actor Michael Edwards. However, her childhood was further marred by disturbing allegations against her mother’s partner, actor Michael Edwards, whom she accused of inappropriate behavior during her teenage years.

Tragedy struck once more when her father passed away suddenly at the age of 42 due to a heart attack. At the tender age of 9, Lisa Marie not only faced the tragic loss, but also was one of the first to discover the singer’s body. The memory left a profound impact on the young girl, who vividly remembers the last time she saw her father alive was when he kissed her goodnight at their Graceland home.

Reflecting on the events surrounding his passing, Lisa Marie candidly shared, «I don’t like talking about this. It was 4am, I was supposed to be asleep, actually. He found me.»

She discovered Elvis lying face down on the carpet next to the toilet and immediately rushed to call his former girlfriend, Linda Thompson, exclaiming, «My daddy’s dead! He’s smothered in the carpet!»

Despite his passing, Elvis’s body remained in the house after his death. She explained, «His body was in the house for three days and there was something very oddly comforting about that, which made it not necessarily real to me,» she reflected.

These early experiences of loss, instability, and tumult would shape Lisa Marie Presley’s life in profound ways. Her adolescence was marked by turmoil, as she struggled with personal demons, dropping out of school as a junior and descending into addictions. Seeking help, she entered Scientology’s Celebrity Center rehab facility at the age of 17.

Speaking about her teenage years in a 2003 interview, she said, «I was kind of a loner, a melancholy and strange child. I had a real self-destructive mode for a while.» She continued, «I never really fit into school. I didn’t really have any direction.»

The legacy of a Legend

From an early age, Lisa Marie was keenly aware of her father’s legacy. Elvis Presley was more than just a musician; he was a cultural icon, a symbol of rebellion and revolution. His influence stretched far beyond the confines of the music industry, shaping the very fabric of American society. For Lisa Marie, living up to his legacy was a daunting task, one that would come to define much of her life.

In 1992, she made her first demo recording. Despite being offered a record contract afterward, she decided to turn it down.

Her debut album, «To Whom It May Concern,» hit the shelves on April 8, 2003. It made a strong entry at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart and earned a gold certification by June 2003. Following this success, her second album, «Now What,» was released on April 5, 2005, debuting at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 and also achieving gold certification in November 2005.

In 2007, Presley collaborated on the single «In the Ghetto» with her late father, Elvis. The music video for the song soared to No. 1 on iTunes and reached No. 16 on the Billboard singles chart. All proceeds from the song went to a charity affiliated with Scientology. Subsequently, her third album, «Storm and Grace,» hit the shelves in 2012.

Alongside her music endeavors, Presley held a significant role as a co-trustee of the Elvis Presley Estate, serving alongside her mother, Priscilla, and the National Bank of Commerce.

Struggles with her demons

PHOTOlink/Courtesy Everett Collection/East News

As Lisa Marie grew older, she found herself grappling with the pressures of fame and the weight of her family name. People are increasingly worried about her condition by constantly asking What Happened to Lisa Marie Presley?

The singer later revealed that she struggled with all the attention, «I didn’t ask for all the attention, so I have a phobia against it. I don’t ask tabloids to chase me around every week. But at the same time, I would never take back any part of who I am or where I came from. I would never want to be part of anything else. I’m honored and proud of my family and my dad.»

PHOTOlink/Courtesy Everett Collection/East News

Her struggles with addiction would become a recurring theme throughout her life, leading to a series of public meltdowns. Despite her efforts to get clean, the specter of addiction would continue to haunt her for years to come.

In 2019, Presley disclosed that she developed an addiction after her doctor prescribed pills following the birth of her daughters, Harper and Finley. Expressing gratitude for her survival, she attributed her sobriety to the motivation provided by her four children.

Five engagements, four marriages and four divorces

Presley had been married four times in her life. Her first marriage was to musician Danny Keough, which lasted from 1988 to 1994. During this time, they welcomed two children, actress Riley Keough and son Benjamin Keough, who tragically died at the age of 27. Despite their divorce, Presley and Keough remained close, particularly after their son’s passing.

Reflecting on their post-divorce relationship, Presley once remarked, «I don’t know how, but we’ve managed to stay close. There are others that I have pain or betrayal associated with that I won’t have anything to do with. But he and I had a special thing. Unconditional.»

Shortly after her divorce from Keough, Presley tied the knot with singer Michael Jackson, just 20 days later. Their acquaintance dated back to 1975 when a 7-year-old Presley attended several of Jackson’s concerts in Las Vegas. Describing their adult friendship, Presley saw parallels between Jackson and her father, stating, «The one thing that correlates with Michael and with my father on this subject is that they had the luxury of creating whatever reality around them, they wanted to create. They could have the kinds of people who were going to go with their program or not go with their program. If they weren’t, then they could be disposed of.»

Presley became a pillar of support for Jackson during the public turmoil of accusations in 1993, leading to their marriage. However, their union was short-lived, lasting only 18 months. Despite her belief in Jackson’s innocence and her desire to save him, their relationship faced challenges, eventually leading to divorce.

In 2000, Presley announced her third engagement to musician John Oszajca but ended it upon meeting actor Nicolas Cage at a party. They married in a secret ceremony in Hawaii in 2002, on the 25th anniversary of Elvis’ death, but divorced three months later. Presley admitted that they should never have been married.

Her fourth and final marriage was to guitarist and music producer Michael Lockwood in 2006. Despite Danny Keough’s role as best man at their wedding, the marriage ended in divorce after ten years. Presley fiercely protects her children, emphasizing their happiness and well-being as her top priority.


Presley was blessed with four children: Danielle Riley and Benjamin with her former spouse, Danny Keough, and twins Harper and Finley with her ex-husband, Michael Lockwood.

Danielle Riley Keough, known professionally as Riley Keough, entered the world in May 1989. Formerly a model, Riley has successfully transitioned into acting, starring in prominent films and TV series such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Logan Lucky, The Girlfriend Experience, and Daisy Jones & The Six.

Presley’s second child, Benjamin Keough, arrived in October 1992. Despite his musical aspirations, Benjamin never released an album.

Fraternal twins Harper and Finley Lockwood were born in October 2008. During Presley’s legal dispute with Michael Lockwood, the twins were placed under the protective care of their grandmother, Priscilla Presley, ensuring their well-being during the challenging custody battle.

The death of her son Benjamin in 2020

The singer has endured numerous hardships in her life, but perhaps the most recent and undoubtedly the most difficult was the loss of her son, Benjamin Keough, who tragically died in 2020 at the age of 27.

Expressing her grief on Instagram after his passing, she wrote, «My beautiful beautiful angel, I worshiped the ground you walked on, on this earth and now in Heaven. My heart and soul went with you. The depth of the pain is suffocating and bottomless without you every moment of every day.
I will never be the same. Please wait for me, my love, and hold my hand while I stay to continue to protect and raise your little sisters and to be here for Riley. I know you would want that.»

In a poignant essay for People Magazine, she revealed the devastation she felt following her son’s death, stating, «I’ve had more than anyone’s fair share of it in my lifetime, and somehow, I’ve made it this far. But this one, the death of my beautiful, beautiful son? The sweetest and most incredible being that I have ever had the privilege of knowing, who made me feel so honored every single day to be his mother? Who was so much like his grandfather on so many levels that he actually scared me? Which made me worry about him even more than I naturally would have? No. Just no.
It’s a real choice to keep going, one that I have to make every single day and one that is constantly challenging, to say the least. But I keep going for my girls. I keep going because my son made it very clear in his final moments that taking care of his little sisters and looking out for them were on the forefront of his concerns and his mind. He absolutely adored them, and they him.»

Her final days and death

Presley’s final notable public appearance occurred at the 2023 Golden Globe Awards on January 10, 2023, where she showed her support for actor Austin Butler, who portrayed her father in the biopic Elvis. Observers noted that she appeared to struggle with walking down steps and speaking during an interview with Extra reporter Billy Bush, raising concerns about her well-being.

Tragically, just two days later, on January 12, 2023, Presley passed away at the age of 54 in California. Such a swift death raised questions, What Happened to Lisa Marie Presley? Initial reports indicated that she had experienced cardiac arrest. However, an autopsy report revealed that a small bowel obstruction, stemming from scar tissue.

In Presley’s case, the report stated that the spikes were caused by a weight-loss surgery known as bariatric surgery, which she underwent several years ago. «This is a known long-term complication of such type of surgery,» the forensic report noted.

Dr. Angelica Campen, an emergency department physician at St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, told the American partner of BBC, CBS, that fatal cases from small bowel obstruction are rare. In many cases, patients experiencing such issues may feel intense pain, and it is likely that Lisa Maria was already feeling unwell during the Golden Globes ceremony.

MSN/The Grosby Group/Grosby Group/East News

Lisa Marie’s last photo, two days before her death.

Presley, a singer and songwriter, was ultimately buried alongside her son, Benjamin. Presley was laid to rest at Graceland, where her memorial service took place on January 22, 2023. Over 1,000 individuals gathered on the front lawn to pay their respects, with performances by The Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Barry Corgan, Alanis Morissette, and Axl Rose adding to the somber atmosphere of the service.

Riley’s husband spoke on her behalf at Lisa Marie’s memorial service at Graceland. His speech was filled with fond childhood memories of Riley.

«I’m eternally grateful to have spent 33 years with you. I’m certain I chose the best mother for me in this world. I remember everything. I remember all the notes you’d leave in my lunchbox every day. I remember the feeling I’d get when I’d see you picking me up from school. I remember how it felt to be loved by the most loving mother I’ve ever known. Thank you for showing me love is the only thing that matters in this life. I hope I can love my daughter the way you loved me, the way you loved my brother and my sisters.»

Two days after burying her mother, Riley posted a photo capturing their last encounter. The image depicted the mother and daughter seated together in a booth at Formosa Café in West Hollywood, commemorating Elvis’ birthday side by side.

«I feel blessed to have a photo of the last time I saw my beautiful mama,» Riley wrote.

Lisa Marie was very similar in appearance to her father. Take a look at how other celebrities’ children have grown up.

Preview photo credit Allstar Picture Library Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo, PHOTOlink/Courtesy Everett Collection/East News, MSN/The Grosby Group/Grosby Group/East News


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