Inside Lisa Marie Presley's Relationship With Priscilla Presley

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

If you think about iconic Hollywood mother-daughter duos, it's impossible not to consider Lisa Marie Presley and her mother, Priscilla Presley. From the time that Lisa Marie was a newborn in Memphis, classic photos of the two side-by-side have been ingrained in the public's collective mind. Although the two have shown their support for one another time and again, they haven't always had the easiest relationship — a condition exacerbated by the fame of Elvis Presley. Their trust has been tested by tragedy, grief, and other personal matters until the untimely death of Lisa Marie Presley on January 12, 2023, per The New York Times.

Elvis first met Priscilla Beaulieu when he was 24 years old, and she was just 14, per Today. Eventually, Priscilla's father stepped in, given the age difference. "You have women throwing themselves at you. Why my daughter?" Priscilla Presley recalled her dad, Capt. Joseph Paul Beaulieu, asking in an essay for People. Elvis replied: "I happen to be very fond of her. She's a lot more mature than her age and I enjoy her company. ... You don't have to worry about her, Captain. I'll take good care of her." Somehow, Elvis and Priscilla were able to make her family believe the relationship was completely platonic, but it was the beginning of a courtship that lasted seven years before they were eventually married in 1967, per Today.

Baby Lisa Marie on the way!

When Elvis and Priscilla Presley exchanged vows, Priscilla was 21 years old. She got pregnant almost immediately. At first, she thought it was terrible news. "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, here I am married and now I'm pregnant and I'm not going to look attractive any more,'" she told The Guardian. The couple initially struggled with learning how to manage their relationship under constant scrutiny in the public eye, and the two had to balance that life with his career. Priscilla told The Guardian, "[Elvis] was apprehensive about what his fans would think about him being a dad and how that would affect his status as a sex symbol."

Lisa Marie Presley was born on February 1, 1968 — nine months to the day after Elvis and Priscilla Presley were married. "The nurse brought her into my room and I cradled her in my arms. She was so tiny, so beautiful," Priscilla wrote in her 1985 book, "Elvis and Me." She added: "Elvis came into the room and kissed me, thrilled that we had had a perfectly normal, healthy baby. Then he took us both in his arms and held us." Soon after, the couple left Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis with their newborn and headed for Graceland.

Growing up Presley

It was a chaotic time in the Presleys' lives, according to Priscilla. She didn't receive much help from Elvis when it came time to take care of their baby, and he didn't change his entertainer lifestyle all that much. "I could not domesticate Elvis, and I accepted that. He didn't really have that much to do with the practical stuff but I took naturally to becoming a mother," she told The Guardian. "I thought, 'My God, this is a product of Elvis and me and I'm going to be there for her.' The moment you have the child, everything changes." Still, Priscilla insisted that having Lisa Marie brought the couple closer together.

While Lisa Marie was growing up, it was Priscilla who was the enforcer in the house, which often caused a rift in the relationship between the two. "I was the disciplinarian and there were times when Lisa didn't like it but you can't live life without boundaries. I was very subtle and very calm, and she knows this now," Priscilla told The Guardian. Still, that didn't mean Elvis was always easygoing. "If [Elvis] was in a good mood, it was going to be a great day," Lisa Marie Presley wrote in her 2005 memoir "Elvis — By the Presleys," which she co-authored with her mom (per People). "We'd ride horses or ride around in golf carts. The thing about my father is that he never hid anything. If he was crabby, you knew it."

Divorce means two homes for Lisa Marie

When Lisa Marie was just 5 years old, Elvis and Priscilla Presley divorced (per Biography). Lisa then split her time between her mother's home in Los Angeles and Graceland with her father. At Graceland, she had few rules — and it was where she last saw her father alive. It was around 4 a.m. on August 16, 1977, and 9-year-old Lisa Marie was awake. Elvis found her and told her to go to bed. "I said, 'OK,' and I think he kissed me goodnight and I ran off," she wrote in "Elvis — By the Presleys" (per Yahoo! News). She later recalled that she knew something was amiss because her bedroom was right next to Elvis' bathroom (via The Sun): "I knew that something was very wrong. All the commotion and everything." 

When Lisa Marie Presley was a child, she was introduced to the Church of Scientology by her mother (via The Guardian). When Lisa Marie was experiencing drug addiction, she went to Narconon, the controversial Scientology drug rehabilitation program. Over time she became disillusioned with Scientology and eventually left the group behind in 2014, per the Irish Examiner. As far as her father was concerned, he wanted nothing to do with them from his very first encounter at the Scientology center in Los Angeles. "F*** those people!," Elvis said, according to "Elvis Aaron Presley: Revelations From the Memphis Mafia" (via Page Six). He added: "There's no way I'll ever get involved with that son-of-a-b******* group. All they want is my money." For her part, Priscilla remains a Scientologist.

If you or anyone you know needs help 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).

Priscilla didn't want Lisa Marie to marry Michael Jackson

In 1994, Lisa Marie Presley divorced Danny Keough, her husband of six years and with whom she had two children, actress and model Riley Keough and Benjamin Keough, who died in 2020 by suicide (per People). But less than a month after the divorce, Presley married Michael Jackson — a decision that didn't sit well with Priscilla. "Lisa knew I wasn't happy about her marrying Michael Jackson. We had issues over it because of my experience of marrying somebody with that same iconic status and in a strange way maybe history was repeating itself," Priscilla told The Guardian. "[M]aybe she saw something of Elvis in Michael. As her mom though I was concerned as I could see it could be a disaster," she added. They were divorced less than two years later.

In 2017, when Lisa Marie was going through an explosive and highly-publicized divorce from Michael Lockwood, it was Priscilla — 71 years old at the time — who stepped in to care for their 8-year-old twin daughters, Finley and Harper. "There is Lots of confusion, commotion and concern from all the talk circulating," Priscilla posted on Facebook (via People). "Let me put this to rest ... the girls have not been in foster care and never will be. The girls have been with me and will be until all this is sorted out." That year, Priscilla wrote a children's book, "Elvis Presley's Love Me Tender," inspired by Lisa Marie's daughters. 

At the Golden Globes

Lisa Marie Presley and Priscilla Presley were seen together at the 80th Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles on January 10, 2023. The two were present to support Austin Butler, who won the best actor in a motion picture award for his portrayal of Elvis Presley in the 2022 film, "Elvis." Butler thanked the Presley family in his acceptance speech. "Thank you guys for opening your hearts, your memories, your home to me. Lisa Marie, Priscilla, I love you forever," he said, per Yahoo! News. Lisa Marie responded to the emotional moment by placing her hands over her heart and patting her chest. At a party to celebrate the film, Lisa Marie said (via Twitter), "I'm so proud, and I know that my father would also be very proud."

Just two days later, on January 12, 2023, Lisa Marie Presley died after being hospitalized following a reported cardiac arrest earlier in the day. "It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us," Priscilla told People. "She was the most passionate, strong and loving woman I have ever known. We ask for privacy as we try to deal with this profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers." Lisa Marie Presley is preceded in death by her father, Elvis, and her son, Benjamin Keough. She is survived by her mother, Priscilla Presley, her three daughters, and her half-brother Navarone Anthony Garibaldi.