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ABC News
ABC News
Angelica Silva with wires

Raised in the shadow of Elvis Presley's death, Lisa Marie Presley endured multiple divorces, tragedy and a drug addiction

Lisa Marie Presley was the only child of one of the most famous couples in the world, and also part of one of the most tragic families.

Many would think being the daughter of "the King of Rock and Roll" came with an abundance of fame and fortune. 

But Presley found herself on a darker timeline, one filled with heartbreak and loss. 

Through all of it, she endured, and kept the flame of her father burning bright.

She was nine years old when Elvis died

Elvis Presley died in August 1977, when he was just 42.

Lisa Marie was staying at Graceland at the time and would recall him kissing her goodnight hours before he would collapse and never recover.

When she next saw him the following day, he was lying face down in the bathroom.

“I just had a feeling," she told Rolling Stone in 2003. “He wasn't doing well. All I know is I had it (a feeling), and it happened."

"I was obsessed with death at a very early age."

Four marriages — four splits

In 1988, Presley married musician Danny Keough.

They had two children, actor Riley Keough in 1989, and Benjamin Keough in 1992.

But just weeks after her divorce from Keough in 1994, she married Michael Jackson. 

That marriage ended 18 months later and was defined by numerous awkward public appearances, including an unexpected kiss from Jackson during the MTV Video Music Awards and a joint interview with Diane Sawyer when she defended her husband against allegations he had sexually abused a minor.

Her other celebrity marriage was even shorter: Nicholas Cage in 2002. 

They filed for divorce after four months of marriage, with their divorce finalised in 2004. 

She went on to marry guitarist, music producer and director, Michael Lockwood, in 2006.

They share twin daughters, Harper and Finley Lockwood. 

Her marriage to Lockwood would end in a combative and protracted divorce that began in 2016 and still was not resolved when she died, though they were declared single in 2021.

The fight saw the girls, now 15, put temporarily in protective custody in 2017. 

Her son died by suicide at 27

Presley's only son Benjamin died by suicide in 2020 at 27.

She was vocal about her grief, writing in an essay last August that she had “been living in the horrific reality of its unrelenting grips since my son’s death two years ago.”

“I’ve dealt with death, grief and loss since the age of nine years old," she wrote in an essay shared with People magazine. 

"I’ve had more than anyone’s fair share of it in my lifetime and somehow, I’ve made it this far."

She was a former Scientologist 

In 1992, Presley's son was born under guidelines set by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, according to an Associated Press story at the time.

According to The New York Times, Presley and her friend, who is also Scientologist Isaac Hayes, opened the Literacy, Education and Ability Program (LEAP) in 1997. 

In 2002, Presley’s work on behalf of the Church of Scientology earned her the organisation’s Humanitarian Award. 

However, Associated Press reported Presley had left Scientology due to experiencing growing discontent with the organisation.

She battled an opioid addiction

Presley has been open about her health struggles in the past, including her sobriety journey after suffering from an addiction to opioids.

She wrote about her struggles with addiction in a foreword for the 2019 book, The United States Opioids.

In it, Presley wrote that she became addicted after the birth of her twins in 2008.

“You may read this and wonder how, after losing people close to me, I also fell prey to opioids,” she wrote. 

“I was recovering after the [2008] birth of my daughters, Harper and Finley, when a doctor prescribed me opioids for pain.

"It only took a short-term prescription of opioids in the hospital for me to feel the need to keep taking them.”

She inherited Graceland after Elvis died 

After her father died, Presley became the sole heir of the Elvis Presley Trust.

Along with Elvis Presley Enterprises, the trust managed Graceland: a mansion on a 13-acre estate in Memphis, Tennessee.

She retained ownership of Graceland Mansion itself, the 13 acres around it and items inside the home.

Her son is buried there, along with her father and other members of the Presley family.

Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley would make regular trips to Graceland during huge fan celebrations on the anniversaries of Elvis' death and birthday. 


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