The Transformation Of Lisa Marie Presley From Childhood To 54 Years Old

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The following article includes mentions of sexual assault, drug addiction, and suicide. 

Lisa Marie Presley was literally born famous as the only child of the Rock and Roll king himself, Elvis Presley. The music legend and his then-wife, Priscilla Presley, had welcomed their daughter in 1968, just nine months after they made their notorious relationship official with a Las Vegas wedding. With that said, it's clear Lisa Marie has been no stranger to the spotlight throughout her life, even following in her father's footsteps by becoming a musician herself.

Following Elvis' death in 1977, Lisa Marie has made sure to keep her father's legacy alive, not only by continuing to release his music and holding events at Graceland, but by also sharing stories about their time together. However, it's not just who her father was that makes Lisa Marie interesting, considering her own life has been filled with high-profile relationships and personal dramas that have kept her in the headlines, as well. 

These days, Lisa Marie appears to be keeping a low profile after the 2020 death of her son amid particularly difficult years. She did take time in May 2022 to promote the "Elvis" biopic, writing on Instagram, "It is finally something that myself and my children and their children can be proud of forever." With the Presleys back in the limelight because of the film, we can appreciate just how far Lisa Marie has come over the years. So let's break down her transformation from childhood to the woman she is today.

Her childhood with Elvis

It appears that Lisa Marie Presley's childhood was particularly special, considering it was the only time in her life that she got to spend with her father, Elvis Presley. According to The Washington Post, Lisa Marie had grown up at Elvis' infamous Graceland estate where she lived with both parents for four years, until their split in 1972. After her mother, Priscilla Presley, moved to Beverly Hills, Lisa Marie spent the next few years splitting her time between both of their homes.

When it came to life with her famous dad, Lisa Marie gushed to Playboy (via Elvis Australia), "It was always a lot of fun. There is not one bad memory. There was always a lot of energy and life in the house." Priscilla had apparently been more strict, even reportedly shaming Elvis for spoiling their daughter. Yet, Lisa Marie dished, "Anything my father did for me or gave me was done out of love.. I'm sure I had moments when I was a snot. But my mom was there to smack me back to the other side."

However, even as a child, Lisa Marie knew her father struggled with health issues. She confessed in a now-archived interview that aired on TV Land, "I said to him, 'Please, you're not gonna die are you? Don't die.'" Sadly, when Lisa Marie was only nine, Elvis died of heart failure. She said, "I don't like talking about this. It was August 16th, at 4am, I was supposed to be asleep." Lisa Marie remembered, "He had come in and kissed me goodnight after that. That was the last time I saw him alive."

Lisa Marie Presley struggled as a teen

Lisa Marie Presley's teen years proved to be a difficult time for the Memphis native, who was living full-time in L.A. with her mother, Priscilla Presley, following her father's death. At the time, Priscilla was dating actor Michael Edwards, who eventually wrote a memoir about their relationship. Lisa Marie later revealed to Playboy (via Elvis Australia), "I know he wrote a book and said he lusted after my developing body as I got out of a pool." She added, "He made his attempts at coming into my room and being inappropriate while drunk."

Lisa Marie apparently rebelled. "I was in this destructo mode... Smoking, drinking, drugs, boys... I went through a drug phase for like three years," she said. It seemed Lisa Marie turned to drugs specifically to deal with her pain. "Cocaine, sedatives, pot and drinking — all at the same time. ... I just couldn't be sober," she told Paper.

The troubled teen got help after hitting rock bottom at age 17. She recalled, "Eventually, my mom kicked me out of the house and made me stay at the Scientology Center." Lisa Marie credited that time and her former religion for helping her get better. "The smartest thing they ever did was put me to work with drug addicts. ... You know what life's going to bring you if you head down that route," she told Playboy.

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).

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Lisa Marie Presley started a family at 20

At only age 20, Lisa Marie Presley got married for the first time in 1988 to musician Danny Keough. The two had met through Scientology when Presley was 17, and later tied the knot in a secret ceremony at their church, according to People. Presley's mother, Priscilla Presley, did release a brief statement on the nuptials, saying, "Danny is a great guy, and I couldn't be happier for the two of them."

Just days after announcing their marriage, it was revealed that the newlyweds were also expecting their first child. They later welcomed Danielle Riley Keough, now known as actor Riley Keough, that next year. Just like their wedding, the birth was kept very private. However, when the couple had their second child, Benjamin Keough, three years later, their rep seemingly explained the privacy, saying that per Scientology guidelines (via AP), "The baby was delivered naturally and in complete silence in a calm and supportive environment."

Unfortunately, the couple couldn't make it work and split in 1994. Presley later explained to Marie Claire, "There was so much resentment about who I was, because I had more than he did, and it became a power struggle." Despite their divorce, the two remained close over the years. Not only did she tell Playboy (via Elvis Australia), "We go on vacations, spend holidays together, take the kids to school every morning," but she also confessed to Marie Claire, "Leaving my first marriage, for the person that I left it for, was probably the biggest mistake of my life."

She married Michael Jackson at age 26

At age 26, Lisa Marie Presley shocked the world by leaving her husband for music superstar Michael Jackson, soon after he was accused of sexually abusing a child. She later explained to Playboy (via Elvis Australia), "We met casually at a friend's house, and he immediately disillusioned me of any preconceived ideas I had of him." According to Us Weekly, Jackson confided in Presley during his scandal, before they married just 20 days after her divorce. Presley oddly announced it to the press, stating, "I dedicate my life to being his wife. I understand and support him."

The two flaunted their love anywhere they could, including the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards, where they shared that infamous awkward kiss onstage. Jackson claimed, "Nobody thought this would last," seemingly referring to those who believed their relationship was just a publicity stunt. The couple continuously denied those rumors, even confirming that they had sex in a "Primetime Live" interview. Presley also clarified, "I'm not gonna marry somebody for any reason other than the fact that I fall in love with them."

However, just months later, Presley filed for divorce. She told Oprah that Jackson's relationship with the media complicated their marriage. "I always confused that manipulation thinking that it meant he didn't love me," she said. Yet, when it came to allegations that he was a child molester, she told Playboy, "If I'd had any reason to suspect that, I would have had nothing to do with the guy."

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).

At age 32, she met Nicolas Cage

Michael Jackson wasn't Lisa Marie Presley's only famous husband; she went on to marry actor Nicolas Cage in 2002. A then-32-year-old Presley was already engaged to musician John Oszajca when she met Cage in 2000. But if you ask Cage, it was love at first sight after he spotted her at a party. He gushed to Barbara Walters, "There's this beautiful girl standing in the middle of the living room...and she looks up at me with these big, beautiful, soulful eyes...and I just went 'Oh.' And I was thunderstruck."

The couple went on to date for two years, with Cage denying rumors that it was only because he was a huge Elvis fan. "We were never going to live in Graceland," he claimed to Walters. However, their relationship was very rocky, with Cage admitting, "We got into this unfortunate pattern of breaking up, getting back together again." At one point, Presley's $65,000 engagement ring was even thrown into the ocean during a fight they had on a boat trip.

They did eventually get married, but Cage filed for divorce only three and a half months later. Presley has no hard feelings though, explaining to Larry King, "We're sort of these gypsy spirited, you know, tyrannical pirates. And one pirate marries another, they will sink the ship..." It seemed Cage did have some remorse, confessing to Barbara Walters, "Sometimes I regret rushing the divorce, but it just seemed like it wasn't going to change."

Elvis' daughter released her debut album at 35

By age 35, Lisa Marie Presley was apparently ready to follow in her father, Elvis Presley's, footsteps by releasing her own music. Presley had been privately writing songs for years before she decided to release her debut album "To Whom It May Concern," in 2003. She explained why it took her so long to share her music, telling Playboy (via Elvis Australia), "I just needed to find my way, stylistically." She added, "I wanted to be looked at as an artist, so I couldn't do anything stupid or shallow or silly." Fans apparently liked what they heard, since Billboard reported that the album went certified gold. 

Presley followed that success up with her second album, "Now What" in 2005, which debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard charts. However, when promoting her 2012 album, "Storm and Grace," she admitted to Penn Live, "I think the earlier records were so overproduced — at my request, because I was terrified." Presley had apparently felt she had a lot to prove because of who her father was. "I know there's always going to be the comparison, but I'm a singer-songwriter," she said. 

It was always more about the songwriting than being the best singer. Presley dished, "It's therapeutic for me. I look at it simply as my job as a songwriter to take my experiences in my life and make them universal, so anyone can hear it and go, 'Oh, I can relate to that.'"

The songwriter welcomed twins at age 40

Lisa Marie Presley became pregnant for the third time at age 40, two years after she married her fourth husband, musician Michael Lockwood, in 2006. The "Lights Out" singer was apparently ready to settle down for good, telling Marie Claire, "...I've chased all the crazies down. I was ready to stop the madness." She credited Lockwood for helping with that, saying, "I really appreciate having [a husband who is] a best friend." Lockwood appeared to be just as smitten, gushing, "I am in awe of her."

Yet Presley was still dealing with the downsides of fame when she was forced to confirm her pregnancy after being criticized in the press for gaining weight. According to Access, she wrote on MySpace, "I have had to show my cards and announce under the gun and under vicious personal attack." She later vented to Marie Claire, "When did it become okay to give women a hard time for weight gain?" pointing out, "Besides, I'm 40! I'm lucky to even be able to do this."

In October 2008, Presley gave birth to twin daughters, Finley and Harper. She explained to People, "I don't feel pulled anywhere else. We are 100 percent focused on the twins." Yet Presley and Lockwood did make time for date nights, even though she wasn't ready to return to work. She admitted, "If we leave the twins for over an hour, we panic. I don't want to miss one smile."

At age 44, she left Scientology

Lisa Marie Presley reportedly made a life change at age 44 when she left the Church of Scientology, where she had been a member since childhood. She once explained to Playboy (via Elvis Australia) what the controversial religion had offered her, saying, ​​"A better understanding of myself and others, sanity and insanity." She even added, "It's attacked because it's not understood, and that annoys me." However, Presley seemed to have quit the church in 2012. In an archived USA Today interview where she did not specifically mention the religion, she did say of the people close to her, "I was slowly starting to self-destruct... They were taking my soul, my money, my everything."

Her mother, Priscilla Presley, and her daughter, Riley Keough, seemingly remained members. In 2017, Radar reported that they tried to get Lisa Marie to rejoin when she was going through a hard time. An insider also claimed that Lisa Marie not being part of the church hurt her relationship with her daughter. "Riley is annoyed because she can't be associated with a 'suppressive person,'" they said, per Radar.

It's still unclear if Lisa Marie ever did rejoin. In 2019, the Daily Mail reported that she planned to write a memoir that would include her experience with Scientology. A source told OK!, "Her experiences still haunt her to this day. There are whispers she went through hours of auditing where she was questioned about the most traumatic moments in her life." 

If you or someone you know is dealing with spiritual abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Her messy split with Michael Lockwood at age 48

Lisa Marie Presley's life was thrown into another upheaval at age 48 when she filed for divorce from Michael Lockwood in 2016. The "Dirty Laundry" songstress had suggested that it was a nasty split when, per TMZ, she asked for full custody of their twin daughters and only wanted Lockwood to have monitored visitation. From there, a bitter custody battle ensued for years, with Presley even accusing Lockwood in court documents of having disturbing images of children on his computer, per E! News.

In documents the outlet obtained, Presley wrote, "When I discovered the photos on [Lockwood's] computer, and viewed the videos, I was shocked and horrified and sick to my stomach." Lockwood denied the accusations, telling ET through his lawyer, "...Ms. Presley chose to file a one-sided, inaccurate version of the facts..." Yet because of those allegations and the investigation that followed, Presley's twins were put in protective custody in 2017, before moving in with their grandmother, Priscilla Presley. Priscilla had explained at the time, "Everything is trying to be sorted out, and done with dignity and done with care, especially for the children." She added, "They're doing wonderful. ... They see both their parents."

People reported that the investigation into Presley's claims against Lockwood eventually concluded with no charges filed in Tennessee. However, it took almost five years after their initial split for them to officially be divorced. As of 2021, the pair had joint custody of the twins, but legal issues were still being worked out.

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).

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

50-year-old Lisa Marie Presley had drug and money problems

In 2018, a then-50-year-old Lisa Marie Presley opened up about having a drug addiction, two years after she reportedly went to rehab. Presley admitted on "Today," "I was not happy. ...the struggle and addiction for me, started [when I was] 45 years old." She later recalled how that had happened in the foreword of Harry Anderson's book, "The United States of Opioids: A Prescription for Liberating a Nation in Pain": "I was recovering after the birth of my daughters...when a doctor prescribed me opioids for pain." She continued, "It only took a short-term prescription of opioids in the hospital for me to feel the need to keep taking them" (via People).

Presley confessed on "Today" that she prayed to her late father for help, but credited her children in the book for inspiring her healing process. Presley seemingly decided to share her story to raise awareness about addiction. She explained on the show, "I'm not perfect... It's what you do with it after; you learn and then you try and help others with it." 

What had to make things even more difficult, though, was that Presley had other major problems at the time, including a legal battle with her former financial manager Barry Siegel. Presley had sued Siegel for causing her debt by mismanaging her estate. According to People, Presley had claimed in court documents that she was $16 million in debt. However, The Blast reported that Siegel blamed that on her extravagant spending habits.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Lisa Marie Presley is in mourning at age 54

In May 2022, 54-year-old Lisa Marie Presley revealed to fans that she was taking time to herself to mourn the death of her son, Benjamin Keough, who had committed suicide two years earlier. Presley had addressed why she was absent on social media, writing on Instagram, "...there really isn't much to say, as I am and will forever be mourning the loss of my son." She even shared how Keough's death had changed her, adding, "Navigating through this hideous grief that absolutely destroyed and shattered my heart...has swallowed me whole."

However, Presley did take time to comment on 2022's "Elvis" biopic. The film clearly meant a lot to Presley, who called it "nothing short of spectacular." She watched the movie with her three daughters, but Benjamin wasn't far from her mind. "It breaks my heart that my son isn't here to see it. He would have absolutely loved it as well," she wrote in the Instagram caption. While it's unclear what Presley plans for her future, she also shared, "Not much else aside from my other 3 children gets my time and attention anymore."

In 2021, The U.S. Sun reported that Presley had turned to her first husband, Danny Keough, for support. An insider dished, "They are now living with family at a new house in Calabasas and have been grieving together." It's clear that Presley has been through a lot over the years, but hopefully a film honoring her beloved father will bring her some comfort.

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