The tragic life of Lisa Marie Presley
Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of American rock ‘n’ roll icon Elvis Presley, died suddenly on Thursday at the age of 54.
She had been rushed to a hospital in Los Angeles just days after attending the Golden Globes ceremony with her mother Priscilla Presley, 77. At the ceremony, American actor Austin Butler won Best Actor for portraying her father in the musical biopic Elvis (2022).
The Straits Times looks back at the tragedies that shaped Lisa Marie’s life up till her death.
1. Her only son’s suicide
In July 2020, Lisa Marie’s only son Benjamin Keough, 27, was found dead in California from what was later confirmed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
His father was American musician Danny Keough, Lisa Marie’s first husband from 1988 to 1994.
In August 2022, Presley opened up in an essay published in entertainment magazine People, in honour of National Grief Awareness Day, about how Benjamin’s death “completely detonated and destroyed” her life.
“I’ve dealt with death, grief and loss since the age of nine. I’ve had more than anyone’s fair share of it in my lifetime and somehow, I’ve made it this far. But this one, the death of my beautiful, beautiful son? No. Just no... No, no, no, no...”
2. Her father’s sudden death
When Elvis died of cardiac failure in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1977 at age 42, Lisa Marie was just nine years old.
Both she and her daughter Riley Keough, 33, have alluded to the “generational trauma” left by Elvis’ death – which film-maker Baz Luhrmann’s recent Elvis biopic brought up “in a good way”, Lisa Marie said in a television interview in June 2022.
3. Her failed marriages
In 2005, Lisa Marie opened up to American television host Oprah Winfrey about the “manipulation” she experienced at the hands of American pop legend Michael Jackson, whom she was married to from 1994 to 1996.
But in 2010, she told Winfrey that Jackson’s death a year earlier left her “floored”.
“I didn’t understand my relationship with him… I understand it better now. The manipulation was a survival tactic for him,” she reflected.
Her August 2002 marriage to Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage was even more short-lived, with the latter filing for divorce less than four months later in November.
Her fourth and most recent union, to American guitarist and music producer Michael Lockwood, lasted 15 years until their 2021 divorce. They share twin daughters Harper and Finley, both 14.
4. Her addiction struggles
Lisa Marie’s long battle with alcohol and drug abuse started in her adolescence.
She reportedly told American magazine Paper in 2003 that she used “cocaine, sedatives, pot and drinking – all at the same time” as a teenager, adding: “I just couldn’t be sober.”
In 2019, she wrote a foreword to a book about opioid addiction in the United States, where she admitted to her addiction to opioids and painkillers.
She said: “I’m not perfect. My father wasn’t perfect, no one’s perfect. It’s what you do with it after you learn, and then you try to help others with it… (I’m) grateful to be alive today.”