Lisa Marie Presley: 13 Facts About Elvis' Daughter

This feature contains references to suicide and child abuse.

Lisa Marie Presley, born on Feb. 1, 1968, is the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley. While her life has been remarkable and very high-profile, it's also been marked by significant sorrow. Her father died when Lisa Marie was just nine years old, leaving her as the sole heir to Elvis' Graceland estate. On July 12, 2020, she experienced another tragic loss when her son, Benjamin Keough, died of an apparent suicide, per TMZ

On January 12, 2023, Lisa Marie died of cardiac arrest in the hospital after she was found unresponsive in her home, TMZ reported. After the star's death, her mother issued a statement. "It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us," Priscilla said, per USA Today. "She was the most passionate, strong, and loving woman I have ever known." Her tragic death has cast her life in a whole new light and there is so much to know and celebrate about this wonderful woman.

She joined Scientology when she was young

According to Ok! Lisa Marie Presley was brought to the Church of Scientology by her mother, Priscilla Presley, and had been involved in the religion since she was ten. However, by 2012, following the release of her album, "Storm & Grace," there was speculation that Lisa Marie had parted ways with Scientology. 

Speaking to Dame magazine a year later, the star declined to comment on any religious matters, and the Church of Scientology likewise refused to answer whether Lisa Marie was still a member. Still, as noted by the outlet, "Storm & Grace" appeared to lyrically reference her departure from the church. The performer further inferred that her 2010 move to England was decided upon after she'd realized she was being used and controlled by dishonest people in the U.S. "It was a big sinister situation, where there was like, kind of intel and covert ops going on," she claimed to the outlet without giving any specifics. In 2023, the Church of Scientology told the New York Post that they had maintained a good relationship with the star. 

Lisa Marie initially had positive things to say about the religion. ​​In 2003, she told the Los Angeles Times that Scientology helped her following the death of her dad. "It is a form of self-help, self-discovery," she said. "... In the most basic way, it's like Humpty Dumpty. When I fell off the wall, they helped put me back together."

Elvis named a jet after her

Elvis Presley wanted his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, to see snow. So, he once flew her to Idaho from their Graceland home in Tennessee so that she could experience winter, according to The Washington Post. What makes the story even more opulent – and incredibly touching – is that he charted her there in his private jet affectionately named Lisa Marie.

His jet was major. It was a ​​Convair 880 plane that seated a crew of four in the cockpit and could transport 28 people. His entourage was usually smaller than this though, consisting of about eight to ten other passengers. Elvis bought the decommissioned Delta Airlines jet in 1975 and completely reworked the interior to suit his taste. Interestingly, the company that designed the custom work was the same group that did the Air Force One presidential planes. Elvis spent approximately $250,000 ($1.3 million today) on the plane and after all of the refurbishings were finished, his total was around $600,000 ($3.1 million today), per Express.

The tables were topped in leather and the seatbelts on the plane were made of 24-karat gold. He had three TVs put in the plane and multiple speakers so that guests would have optimal entertainment. The thoughtful touches on the plane and his love of the aircraft certainly speak to Elvis' affection for the vehicle's namesake too.

She was just nine when Elvis died

On August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley was following his typical nocturnal routine, playing music in his home and racquetball with pals. After playing a round, he returned back inside the house, where nine-year-old Lisa Marie Presley was just waking up. They then greeted each other for the last time as Elvis died that afternoon, aged 42. 

The first person that his daughter called when she realized that her father was dead was his ex-girlfriend, Linda Thompson. She dated Elvis from 1972 until 1976, following his divorce from Priscilla Presley. Lisa Marie had reportedly formed a close bond with her dad's former girlfriend. According to Express, the young girl was said to have repeatedly said, "My daddy's dead," during the phone call. Thompson thought that Elvis had only passed out until Lisa Marie responded, "No, he's smothered in the carpet."

Understandably, the experience was a harrowing one. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in 2003, she revealed that she struggled in the years following her father's death, stating, "I had a real self-destructive mode for a while." In an essay published by People in August 2022, Lisa Marie further reflected on the formative trauma whilst discussing her ongoing heartache following the death of her son. "I've dealt with death, grief, and loss since the age of nine years old," she wrote. "I've had more than anyone's fair share of it in my lifetime and somehow, I've made it this far."

Lisa Marie inherited a lot from her father

Elvis Presley left the entirety of his estate to nine-year-old Lisa Marie Presley when he died which, at the time, was worth $5 million, according to the Daily Mail. Since Lisa Marie wouldn't come into her inheritance until she was 25, it was Elvis' father, Vernon Presley, who was named executor of the estate. He was also one of the beneficiaries, along with Lisa Marie and Elvis' grandmother, Minnie Mae Presley. Once Vernon died, it was her mother, Priscilla Presley, who took control of the estate and turned it into a fortune, opening Graceland, the family home, to tourists. The fascination around Elvis became a financial win for Lisa Marie. By the time she took control of her trust in 1993, it was worth $100 million.

When her 25th birthday rolled around, Lisa Marie had mixed feelings about it. "I think it's time," she told People. "I do [have new responsibilities], but it's not like a major new thing, except maybe for people who didn't know my role." Since Priscilla had done such a good job of bolstering Elvis' fortune, Lisa Marie decided to keep things as they were when she got control of the estate. "Everything remains the same, except I'm on the management team now." So it was certainly thanks to Priscilla that Lisa Marie walked into such a stable financial situation.

Lisa Marie experienced great financial issues

Despite inheriting Elvis Presley's estate, Lisa Marie Presley hit hard financial times. In 2003, she hired Barry Siegel to manage the estate, however, her inheritance dwindled under his stewardship. In 2005, Siegel sold 85% of her share of the Elvis Presley Estate to CKX, the same company that owned "American Idol." Lisa Marie subsequently lost rights over her father's name and image. 

For his part, Siegel claimed the decision was necessary in order to pay off the $20 million worth of debt reportedly accrued by Lisa Marie, per the Daily Mail. On the contrary, while she still kept 15% of Elvis' estate, the performer claimed that this business decision marked the beginning of her financial troubles. In 2018, Lisa Marie sued her business manager, claiming that he put his financial gains ahead of her own. Per Radar, court documents alleged, "[Siegel] placed her assets in risky ventures in hopes of attaining his own celebrity in the entertainment industry."

That same year, TMZ reported that Lisa Marie was $16 million dollars in debt, from unpaid taxes, credit card debt, and legal fees. Despite these concerns, Lisa Marie always made sure that she owned Graceland, even after Authentic Brands took control of the Elvis Presley Estate in 2013. Per The New York Times, she reiterated the fact that the house was still in the family. "The licensing and merchandising aspect of this business is not to be confused with the fact that the property will always remain with me and my family," she said.

She had a successful music career of her own

Lisa Marie Presley followed in her father's footsteps with a musical career. Things began in 1997, when she released a duet with Elvis Presley, by pairing her vocals with those of her late father on the track, "Don't Cry Daddy." She kicked off her solo career six years later with the release of her well-received album, "To Whom It May Concern." It was followed by two more albums, "Now What" in 2005, and "Storm & Grace" in 2012.

While promoting her second album, Lisa Marie spoke with Pop Entertainment about the traditionally rebellious spirit of musicians and her own anxiety about following down the same path as her dad. "Yeah, I'm carrying the torch but it's in my own way," she began. "It's like what I said in my liner notes to my parents. We've all pioneered different roads. He had a huge road in the 1950s. It was very conservative and he shook everything up." Lisa Marie added that her mother, Priscilla Presley, likewise had a rebellious step and used it to walk her own unique path that few people could relate to. "And me, I am who I am and I'm doing my own music in my own way and developing my own fan base and going against what people probably think I should do and what I should or shouldn't be," she explained. To depart from the vast influence of her famous father? It proved to be no easy feat.

She remained close with her first husband

Lisa Marie Presley married musician, Danny Keough in October 1988 when she was 20. According to The Sun, they met in rehab when she was a teenager. Three years later, they got married at the Celebrity Center International of the Church of Scientology in southern California. The wedding was a joy for the family, with Lisa Marie's mother, Priscilla Presley, telling People at the time, "I am thrilled for Lisa Marie. Danny is a great guy, and I couldn't be happier for the two of them." They welcomed their first child, daughter, Danielle Riley Keough, on May 29, 1989. Their son, Benjamin Storm Presley Keough, joined the family three years later. 

The couple divorced in 1994. However, they remained remarkably close after the split. Danny was an active member of her band and he served as her best man years later when she married Michael Lockwood. The two even lived together as close friends before she died. In fact, just prior to her death, it was Danny who was said to have performed CPR on her before paramedics arrived. 

Lisa Marie always knew that the bond they shared was special and unwavering — regardless of whether they were together or not. "You can still be civilized," she told People in 2005. "I knew at the age that I had the kids with him that Danny was someone I could be connected with for the rest of my life. I knew he would be a good father."

Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson's brief marriage

Only 20 days after her divorce from Danny Keough was finalized, Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson announced that they had privately gotten married in the Dominican Republic. While this marriage came hot on the heels of Lisa Marie's divorce, it also came after negative publicity for Jackson. In 1993, he had been accused of sexually assaulting 13-year-old Jordan Chandler. Jackson denied the allegations but came to a $23 million dollar settlement with Chandler's family in 1994, according to Us Weekly. Some who viewed their marriage more cynically saw the nuptials as an attempted PR recovery for Jackson.

They married in the summer of 1994 with Lisa Marie telling the media, "My married name is Mrs. Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson," according to People. "I am very much in love with Michael, I dedicate my life to being his wife. I understand and support him. We both look forward to raising a family." Then came the notoriously awkward moment between the couple in September 1994 at the MTV Video Music Awards when Jackson told the audience, "Just think, nobody thought this would last," before passionately kissing her on stage. According to Us Weekly, the experience reportedly felt staged and uncomfortable for Lisa Marie. She filed for divorce in 1996.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley didn't last long

In 2000, Nicolas Cage walked into a party being held for the punk legend, Johnny Ramone, and first laid eyes on Lisa Marie Presley. "I walk [in] ... and there's this beautiful girl standing in the middle of the living room wearing this short leather skirt and this fluffy jacket," he told Barbara Walters. "And she looks up at me with these big, beautiful, soulful eyes ... and I just went 'Oh.' I was thunderstruck," he said. Cage added that they had so much in common that the relationship made sense — while he hails from Hollywood's Coppola dynasty, she had the specter of Elvis Presley over her.

They married in Hawaii in 2002, but split four months later. Cage attributed the breakup to a shared stubbornness between the two, telling Walters that they fell into unhealthy patterns of breaking up and making up. "Oftentimes when you have two people who are very strong and their own personalities and rather intense, sometimes ... you can have a hard time meshing," he said. For Lisa Marie, at least, the end of the relationship made sense. "I'm sad about this, but we shouldn't have been married in the first place," her publicist said on her behalf, per People.

Nevertheless, Cage was devastated when Lisa Marie died in January 2023. In a statement published by The Hollywood Reporter, he said, "Lisa had the greatest laugh of anyone I ever met. She lit up every room, and I am heartbroken."

Lisa Marie and Michael Lockwood had a messy divorce

Lisa Marie Presley married her fourth husband, music producer, Michael Lockwood, in January 2006 in Kyoto, Japan, per People. "She wanted an intimate gathering of family and friends," her wedding planner told the outlet. "It was unusual, personal, and beautiful — just like she envisioned." In October 2008, they welcomed twin girls, Harper Vivienne Anne and Finley Aaron Love.

Ten years after their nuptials, Lisa Marie filed for divorce and entered rehab shortly after, per Us Weekly. A very contentious custody battle began between the two and for a time, the girls stayed with their grandmother, Priscilla Presley, who ended up addressing some rumors. "There is lots of confusion, commotion, and concern from all the talk circulating. Let me put this to rest ... the girls have not been in foster care and never will be," Priscilla said on Facebook, (via Us Weekly). "The girls have been with me and will be until all this is sorted out."

Lockwood and Lisa Marie had bitter disputes about money — he reportedly requested $40,000 a month in child support payments and claimed that his ex-wife had more money than she let on. However, Lockwood appeared to be grief-stricken over Lisa Marie's death. "Michael had been hoping for a speedy and complete recovery because her children needed her," his lawyer said, per Hello! "It is very sad it didn't turn out that way. Michael's world has been turned on its ear. He is with both of his daughters now."

She was devastated by the death of her son

In July 2020, Lisa Marie Presley and Danny Keough's son, Benjamin Keough, died by suicide. Her manager issued a statement to TMZ shortly after the tragedy, which stated, "[Lisa Marie] is completely heartbroken, inconsolable, and beyond devastated but trying to stay strong for her 11-year-old twins and her oldest daughter Riley. She adored that boy. He was the love of her life." Like both his mom and his famous grandfather, Benjamin was also a musician. His family resemblance didn't go unnoticed. "Ben does look so much like Elvis," Lisa Marie told CMT in 2012 (via Newsweek). "He was at the [Grande Ole] Opry and was the quiet storm behind the stage. Everybody was grabbing him for a photo because it is just uncanny."

Two years later, Lisa Marie wrote an essay about grief for People and how it stays with a person. "You can feel stigmatized and perhaps judged in some way as to why the tragic loss took place," she wrote. "This becomes magnetized by a million if you are the parent of a child who passed. No matter how old they were. No matter the circumstances." She admitted that she felt guilty about what happened with her son and blamed herself for it. As a way to cope with their shared, monumental loss, she and her ex-husband, Danny, began living together again as friends. Lisa Marie was laid to rest next to Benjamin at Graceland.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Lisa Marie's daughter is an actor

Lisa Marie Presley and Danny Keough's daughter, Riley Keough, has a budding career of her own. As an actor, she has appeared in a variety of films like "Mad Max: Fury Road," "The Lodge," and "Zola," and the TV series, "The Terminal List," among several other credits.

Riley is active on social media, sharing about her own projects but also those affiliated with her famous family. On Instagram in June 2022, she posted a photo of Austin Butler, who played Elvis Presley in the Baz Luhrmann production "Elvis." Sharing how he had visited them in Graceland that weekend, she wrote, "It was such a special and overwhelming experience I haven't quite processed. One of many sweet things that happened while we were there — Austin played my grandfather's guitar in the house." Riley went on to note that very few people ever played that guitar, so the experience was deeply moving for the family — as well as for Butler, no doubt!

Days before her mother died, Riley joined Lisa Marie to celebrate what would have been Elvis' 88th birthday at the Formosa Café in West Hollywood. The restaurant's owner, Bobby Green, told People that their deep bond was evident. "They were really adorable together. They were side by side the entire night," he said of the mother-daughter duo. "... They seemed very happy."

She was dedicated to Baz Luhrmann's Elvis

Lisa Marie Presley was all about Baz Luhrmann's production of "Elvis." At the Golden Globes pre-party on January 8, 2023, she told audiences that the film would have had Elvis Presley's stamp of approval. "I'm so overwhelmed by this film and the effect that it's had and what Baz has done, what Austin has done," she said, according to People. "I'm so proud. And I know that my father would also be very proud. So, I want to thank you all for being here and I — I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude, so thank you."

On ABC 7's "Exclusively Elvis: A Special Edition of 20/20," Lisa Marie told Chris Connelly that watching "Elvis" was extremely emotional for her. While she stated that the film resurfaced several generations of trauma for her, she clarified that the experience was a positive one. She also admitted that her daughter, Riley Keough, began crying five minutes into the movie, which prompted Lisa Marie to start crying too.

On Instagram, the actor, Rita Wilson — wife of Tom Hanks, who depicted Colonel Tom Parker in the film — paid tribute to Presley's daughter, and how involved she was in the production of "Elvis." "Lisa Marie was so honest and direct, vulnerable, in a state of anticipation about the movie," Wilson wrote. "She spoke so eloquently about her father, what the movie meant to her, that it was a celebration of her dad." Obviously, Luhrmann's "Elvis" was a success in the eyes of Lisa Marie.