February 2, 2023 | Edward Sakowsky

Tragic Facts About Lisa Marie Presley, The Tormented Heiress

She was mostly known as the only child of Elvis Presley, but this wasn't always a good thing for Lisa Marie Presley. Her life went through many tumultuous twists and turns, just like the King of Rock and Roll...but it was her shocking and tragic end that ultimately mirrored her father's story the most.

1. She Was Born Into Immense Wealth

On February 1, 1968, Lisa Marie Presley came into the world. Most people don’t know how it feels to grow up with immense wealth, even less can say that their father was a rock star. Lisa Marie could say both. Her parents were Elvis and Priscilla Presley. Even today, her father Elvis Presley still holds the record for the best-selling solo artist of all time.

Sadly, her father’s wealth and prestige didn’t necessarily have a beneficial effect on her upbringing.


2. She Was Extremely Spoiled

The rock star gave his daughter extraordinary gifts as she was growing up. Lisa Marie even received a fur coat, along with tons of jewelry as a child. These gifts even caused her mother to complain, not out of envy—but out of worry for the child’s growth. However, these gestures paled in comparison to what her father did for her later on.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

3. She Could Have Had Anything She Wanted

Children often have unrealistic wishes. Living in Memphis, Tennessee, Lisa Marie never saw real snowfall. Her father went to extreme lengths to make up for that. They got on their recently purchased plane and went to Utah, so that she could play in the snow. This must have been an unforgettable memory for Lisa Marie. However, her life was not always to be as smooth as driven snow.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

4. Tragedy Struck Her Family Early

Everything may have appeared fine in the Presley household, but that was far from the truth. A huge rift separated her parents from each other. Unable to deal with each other, her parents divorced. What’s especially heartbreaking is that she was only five years old at the time. However, a far greater heartbreak was coming for little Lisa Marie.

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5. Her Father’s Untimely Passing

On August 16th, 1977, Lisa Marie experienced the ultimate tragedy. Her father passed suddenly and unexpectedly. It was on the front page of most newspapers throughout the country. Lisa Marie was only nine years old at the time. How can a child ever recover from something like that? Well, some might say Lisa Marie didn't.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

6. She Was An Immensely Rich Heiress

The King of Rock and Roll had left everything to his only child. Too young to manage the estate, her grandfather took over this responsibility in the meantime. She was set to fully inherit Graceland when she reached the age of 25. It’s not as if a nine-year-old has any idea how to manage a bank account. Even 25-year-olds struggle with that.

Lisa Marie also had tons of schooling before her. Unfortunately, her eyes weren’t set on books.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsWikimedia Commons

7. She Was Tormented By A Dark Habit

When most children were spending their time in school, Lisa quickly fell into a darker world. Too much tragedy is disastrous for anyone, especially a child. The young heiress drowned her sorrows away in illicit substances. This spiraled out of control and into an addiction. It also sent her on a journey that no teenager should go through.

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8. She Went To Rehab

At the age of 17, Lisa Marie Presley went to rehab—but there was a sinister side to her time in recovery. She attended the infamous Scientology Celebrity Center. Regardless of the venue, with time and enough help, the tormented heiress bettered herself. Things also began looking a bit brighter for Presley.

However, there were many more surprises in store for her. In fact, some came while she was still recovering…

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

9. She Met An Aspiring Musician

In rehab, Lisa Marie found an unexpected surprise. She met someone who would have a large impact on her life. Danny Keough shared at least one trait in common with her father. He was passionate about music. He may have not been nearly as famous as the late rock star, but that didn’t matter to her. They got along nicely, and soon, they seemed to be inseparable.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

10. They Were A Perfect Couple

After having met at the Scientology center, the pair appeared infatuated with one another. As Lisa Marie was recovering, Danny worked as a bass player. According to those who saw them, they constituted the perfect pair. They must have been kindred spirits. Especially since, only two years later, in 1988, the pair decided to take a huge leap.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

11. They Got Married

It wasn’t long until the couple tied the knot—and they didn’t go too far to get married. In a relatively private gathering, they married at the Church of Scientology in West Hollywood. Only nine people attended, including Lisa Marie’s mother. Despite this humble wedding, the young heiress had plans for something rather grand.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

12. They Had A Massive Honeymoon

They wanted to celebrate their union in style. Lisa Marie and Danny went on a massive cruise…on a Scientology vessel. If that isn’t romantic, there’s more. They chose a subtropical destination: the Caribbean. Clear blue water, luxury cruises, and parties make for an unforgettable honeymoon. Soon after that, they got busy with something else.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

13. She Had A Family

A costly celebration is a great way to start off any marriage, but having children certainly seals the deal. Just one year after their marriage, Lisa Marie gave birth to a daughter named Riley. She gave birth again in 1992. Riley would have a brother named Ben. Despite this brief stint of happiness, which must have been a golden age for the couple—it was not to last.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

14. Their Marriage Had A Massive Problem

While the young couple got along with each other relatively well, they had a problem. Being the only heir to the Presley dynasty, Lisa Marie had unimaginable power and wealth. She was also in the flower of her youth. Her husband, on the other hand, didn’t really have any of those traits. Except youth, but that isn’t saying much. It quickly fell apart.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

15. They Split

After six years of marriage, the couple finally decided to call it quits. It turns out that too great a difference between status is a good enough reason for a divorce. At least it was to Lisa Marie and Danny. They went to the Dominican Republic in order to file for their separation. After the turmoil of a failed marriage, some divorcees might want to settle down for a bit. However, Lisa Marie’s story took a different turn.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

16. She Was Already Rebounding

Even before Lisa Marie and Danny began divorce proceedings, the young heiress was getting acquainted with someone else. Someone closer to her level of stardom, and on more equal footing with her: He was Michael Jackson, AKA the King of Pop. However, their relationship goes back way further than that. The two had met ages ago in a different venue, one familiar to both of them.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

17. She Met Him Under Odd Circumstances

In 1975, when Lisa Marie Presley was only seven years old, she met Michael Jackson, who was 17. They had known each other for a long time when they met again in 1992, this time as adults. This caused scandalous rumors to swirl. Lisa’s marriage traversed through tumultuous episodes around this time.

Was she already having an affair with Michael? It’s entirely possible. Because her next move was certainly controversial.

Michael Jackson FactsFlickr

18. They Made A Stunning Announcement

In 1994, Lisa Marie and Michael Jackson appeared at the MTV Music Awards, a legendary venue at the time. Here on live television, they announced their engagement to the world. They then kissed in front of an ogling audience. Talk about craving attention. The young heiress was reportedly a little uneasy about the act, but that didn’t stop her from taking things further.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

19. They Married Immediately

Only 20 days after Lisa Marie divorced Danny, she shocked the world. Presley quickly tied the knot with Michael Jackson. The celebration that ensued completely eclipsed her former marriage, which wasn’t nearly as high profile. They were both young, famous, and extremely wealthy, but unfortunately, that wasn’t a fail-proof recipe for a happy marriage.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

20. She Deeply Regretted It

Getting married after dating for a few months is a little impulsive. It’s no surprise that Lisa Marie Presley quickly regretted her decision—but few know just how bad it really was for her. In fact, she referred to it as “probably the biggest mistake of [my] life”. It seems like she hadn’t really thought that one over. The misfortunes of her marriage unfortunately didn’t end there.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

21. They Disagreed Over Everything

Lisa Marie and Michael always seemed to disagree with one another. She apparently wanted another child, but Lisa Marie worried about having one with such a superstar like him—and the reason why was heartbreaking. If they had a child, she thought she’d lose the custody battle if they ever divorced.

This caused many unpleasant disagreements in their relationship. A strange dynamic also played out between these two.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

22. She Wanted To Save Him

The young heiress clearly had a lot of empathy. Maybe a little too much. She loved taking care of others, especially her husband. So, when Jackson started experiencing some legal issues, among others, she aggressively stood by his side. More than that, she said she wanted to save him. Even though she’d been young, watching the consequences of fame on her father clearly left a mark.

And despite her devotion, the relationship was living on borrowed time.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

23. He Had A Strange Side

The couple clearly loved each other, but there was something dark about their fascination. Lisa Marie’s husband obsessed over her in a strange way. Some speculated that Michael wasn’t interested in the young heiress for her own sake. Rather, he loved the idea of her. That is, that she was the daughter of Elvis Presley.

Ouch. It was as if she was just a part of someone’s memorabilia. The relationship was clearly not going to last.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

24. They Quickly Divorced

Despite a fiery start to their romance, the two called it quits after two years of marriage. Lisa Marie once stated that they had “irreconcilable differences” as her reason for the separation. It seems that she could no longer keep saving the King of Pop. Although the marriage came to an end, their relationship had a surprising development.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

25. They Stayed Close

Even though they separated, they kept in contact with each other. Lisa Marie often talked to Jackson on the phone, and even sometimes traveled to stay with him. It’s almost as if the breakup benefitted their relationship. These sorts of amicable partings would characterize Lisa Marie’s romantic life. However, Lisa Marie wasn’t only interested in pursuing lovers.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

26. She Got A Late Start

Many musicians charge into music at a very young age, but not so for Lisa Marie. At the age of 35, she recorded her first album, To Whom It May Concern. Critically, the album was a success. She received praise for her writing and singing. Critics weren’t the only ones who warmed up to Lisa Marie’s music, though.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

27. She Found Another Young Musician

If anything has been apparent throughout this story, it’s that Lisa Marie loved young musicians. This time, John Oszajca, a musician from Hawaii, had a lot in common with Lisa Marie. They had both only just completed their first album. Lisa Marie and John clearly suited each other far better than she and Michael did. But like her other romances, it too was not fated to last.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

28. She Quickly Canceled Her Engagement

For over 16 months, the pair were engaged to one another. Then it all went up in flames. They went to a party in LA hosted by the Ramones, and it was there Lisa Marie Presley met Nicolas Cage. The two reportedly got along very well. So well, in fact, that  Lisa Marie canceled her engagement not long after. There’s more to their story, though.

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29. She Dated A Star

There’s no surprise that Lisa Marie started dating the Hollywood star, and soon after breaking off her engagement with John, she and Cage attended a Tom Jones concert together, publicly showing off their love. Their relationship accelerated at a quick pace…maybe too quick.…

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

30. They Married Each Other

In 2002, the daughter of Elvis and the Hollywood star tied the knot. Lisa Marie, it seems, wouldn’t let two divorces stop her from finding true love. Was she to have a more amicable relationship with an actor instead of a musician? It’s possible she truly invested herself into this marriage, but there was something strange about Nicolas Cage.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

31. He Was Obsessed

Cage had an obsession that must have been distasteful to Lisa Marie, to say the least. The Academy Award-winning star may have not loved Lisa Marie for herself. He was known for his famous Elvis impressions, especially in his acting. In David Lynch’s Wild At Heart, he even sings Elvis’s famous “Love Me,” and also “Love Me Tender”.

With such a worshipful attitude, maybe Lisa Marie began feeling more than a little creeped out. Either way, it ended in tears.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

32. They Had Legendary Arguments

The couple was known for their explosive fights. One time when they were on a cruise, they got into a pretty bad argument with each other. In a fit of anger, Nic took Lisa Marie’s $65,000 diamond ring and hurled it into the ocean. That’s certainly one way to end a marriage. Nic, however, regretted his temperamental behavior. Shortly after the ordeal, he tried to retrieve the lost ring.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

33. They Hired An Underwater Crew

If you think finding a needle in a haystack is difficult, imagine locating a ring in an ocean. However, that didn’t deter Nicolas Cage from trying. The star hired a group of scuba divers to search for the lost engagement ring. It’s unclear whether the item was found, although it’s extremely unlikely. Either way, it was a terrible omen for their relationship.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

34. They Parted Months Later

After a few months, the couple realized they’d made a big mistake. They had only married in August, but filed for a divorce by November of the same year. Nonetheless, it took around two more years until they finally went through with it. Did they have second thoughts? It’s certainly possible. Nonetheless, in the end, they settled the matter and parted ways.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

35. They Regretted The Divorce

With the divorce in the works, it looked like things were done between Presley and Cage—or were they? The recently-parted couple began having regrets after their separation. This was especially the case for Nicolas Cage, who called Lisa Marie to apologize for filing the divorce.

He even said that he wished he hadn’t done it. Did he divorce her in a fit of anger as well? Anything seems possible for Cage, but Lisa Marie wasn’t going to sit around and wallow in regret forever.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

36. She Had A Romance With Her Producer

Lisa Marie spent a few years alone, but the loneliness wore on her. In 2006, she struck up a romance with Michael Lockwood, who was her producer, director, and guitarist. In other words, it was the height of convenience, as they probably already spent most of their time with each other anyways. At the time, Michael didn’t have much to his name, but that didn’t keep them from each other.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

37. They Had A Japanese Wedding

She had already married three times, but was willing to risk it all again for love. In 2006, she married Michael Lockwood. They must have wanted to get away from Los Angeles since they surprisingly set the ceremony in Japan. The couple married in a traditional Japanese ceremony in Kyoto. What’s even more surprising, however, is who attended the wedding.

Strangest Coincidences FactsFlickr

38. Her First Husband Was The Best Man

Aside from Lisa Marie’s son and mother, an unlikely guest attended the wedding. Danny Keough, Lisa Marie’s first ex-husband, appeared as the best man. It’s odd to think about your once-husband marrying you off to another man, but that seemed perfectly fine for these artists. The couple wasn’t going to let the past stop them from pursuing their relationship.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

39. She Had Twins

In 2008, Lisa Marie Presley gave birth again, but this time, to a pair of twins. On October 7th of the same year, Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood came into the world. Lisa Marie was now a mother to three girls and one boy through two marriages. However, the process posed some scary difficulties to Lisa Marie.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

40. She Needed A Cesarean Section

When complications arose during Lisa Marie’s pregnancy, doctors had to take a massive risk. At the Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in California, Presley underwent a C-section. Luckily, the surgery was a success, although the children only weighed five pounds each.

The low birth weight didn’t happen to pose any complications to the children. They would grow up fine. Despite these happier moments, something just wasn’t right in the household.

Surgeon mistakePexels

41. She Was Disturbed By Her Husband

The couple lived happily ever after—at least for a while. A peaceful decade elapsed in their marriage. Even more time went by before any major pitfalls arose. It seemed like their relationship would be the one to last through the ages. One day, however, Lisa Marie stumbled upon something on her husband’s computer that she would never forget.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

42. She Discovered Something Reprehensible

Even though the marriage between Lisa Marie and Michael was serene, she found something utterly horrifying on his computer. When scrolling through Michael’s computer, Lisa Marie discovered tons of illegal images and videos...of children. She was unsurprisingly shocked by this revelation.

Clearly, their marriage would never be the same. There was only one thing left for her to do.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

43. She Filed For Divorce

Not only did Lisa Marie file for divorce, but she also requested protective custody for her children. Ouch. She must have found something really disturbing. Did he hide it from her for all of those years? It sounds like he must have. Michael Lockwood, however, wasn't going down without a fight. The couple took their battle to the courts.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

44. She Had A Grueling Legal Battle

Marriages can often end in painful custody battles. Fortunately, Lisa Marie Presley did not go through such an ordeal—but the divorce was by no means an easy one. Her husband married her with almost no money, and it seems Lisa Marie was determined that he return to his prior state.

The courts eventually granted her wish. Lisa Marie divorced Michael and left him without spousal support. After four divorces, her marriage to Michael would remain her longest. Nonetheless, a tragedy far bigger than a marital one awaited her.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

45. Tragedy Struck Her Family Again

In 2020, tragedy hit home for Lisa Marie Presley in a way she never imagined. During the pandemic, Lisa Marie received news that her son with Danny Keough, Ben, had taken his own life. The sad news came at a time when most people were already stressing, but this discovery truly agonized the now mother of three.

He was her only son. The grief made her inconsolable and even caused her to do something she never thought she would.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

46. She Returned To Her First Husband

Any parent who has ever lost a child will tell you that it’s the most painful experience they’ve ever felt. Lisa Marie could hardly bear the pain alone. She moved back with Danny Keough, her first husband, so that they could grieve together. The grief was clearly mutual and very personal.

Unfortunately, in addition to hitting rock bottom emotionally, she has also plummeted in a new way.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

47. She Fired Her Business Manager

Lisa Marie Presley had lost her son—but that wasn’t all she lost. By 2015, the Presley estate was falling apart. Astonished at how far her assets had fallen, Lisa Marie fired Barry Siegel, who managed her finances at the time. She claimed that he blew over $100 million, and never informed her as to the state of her fortune.

The only child of Elvis embroiled herself again in another unending legal dispute. Would they ever end? Well, there was one thing that was certainly ending.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

48. She Went Completely Broke

Around this time, Lisa Marie discovered that she was not only broke, but also in debt. In fact, $16 million dollars in debt. The inheritance of the King of Rock and Roll had all but vanished. After having been rich her entire life, she would now have to live austerely.

That was unfortunate for the girl who once had a private jet named after her. There’s more, though.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

49. She Turned Graceland Into A Business

Despite having lost most of her inheritance, Lisa Marie managed a decent income from Graceland. The nearly 14-acre mansion attracts over half a million visitors every year, rivaling any other attraction in the United States. Just before her passing, the only child of Elvis Presley had been using her father’s legacy to her advantage, perhaps in hopes of restoring her crumbling finances.

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

50. She Dated Another Superstar

In 2018, new rumors began to fly about Lisa Marie Presley. Stories emerged that she was dating Johnny Depp. In the past, the two had both been embroiled in tiresome legal battles between their former spouses.

It’s possible that shared grief brought them together, and allowed them to sympathize with one another. Unfortunately, their relationship was short-lived, and the pair separated from each other in 2019.

John WatersWikimedia.Commons

51. She Was There When It Happened

The loss of her father when she was just nine years old forever marked Lisa Marie Presley’s life. However, there’s something that many people don’t know about her role in that tragic day. Little Lisa Marie witnessed the exact moment of his passing.

She recalls asking “What’s wrong with my daddy”? There are few things more heart-wrenching than that…

Lisa Marie Presley FactsGetty Images

52. She Passed Suddenly

In the new year, it seemed like everything was looking up for Lisa Marie Presley. She was heavily involved in the production of Baz Luhrmann's biopic Elvis, and even attended the 2023 Golden Globes ceremony in support of the cast. But just days later, the Presley curse hit again.

On January 12, 2023, Lisa Marie suffered cardiac arrest at her home in California, and didn't make it. She was only 54 years old. But there is one more heartbreaking detail about that day. Lisa Marie's mother, Priscilla Presley, was the one who had to make the announcement to the world.

Julio Iglesias FactsFlickr, A.Currell

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

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