The tragic life of Elvis' daughter: The story of Lisa Marie Presley's father, husband and son

13 January 2023, 0:18 | Updated: 13 January 2023, 7:56

From left to right: Lisa Marie Presley with her father Elvis and mother Priscilla, ex-husband Michael Jackson and late son Benjamin Keough. Picture: Getty/Instagram/Lisa Marie Presley

Lisa Marie Presley's life was full of challenging heartbreaks.

Since being thrust into the limelight as a child as the daughter of Elvis Presley, Lisa Marie Presley faced some tragic struggles.

From the death of her father to the loss of her ex-husband Michael Jackson, the news about her son no doubt was one of the biggest hardships she has faced.

Her child, 27-year-old Benjamin Keough, died in 2020.

Tragically, at the age of 54, Lisa Marie passed away in January 2023, following a cardiac arrest.

Since being thrust into the limelight as a child as the daughter of Elvis Presley, Lisa Marie Presley has faced some tragic struggles. Pictured in 2007. Picture: Getty
Lisa Marie Presley was Elvis's only child. Pictured in 1970 with her father and mother Priscilla in. Picture: Getty

Her mother, Priscilla Presley, said: "It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us.

"She was the most passionate, strong and loving woman I have ever known."

A spokesman for Lisa Marie said at the time of Benjamin's death: "She is completely heartbroken, inconsolable and beyond devastated... She adored that boy. He was the love of her life."

54-year-old singer Lisa Marie was also mother to daughter Riley, with Danny Keough, and 11-year-old twins Finley and Harper, with ex-husband Michael Lockwood.

Alongside losses within her family, she had also found difficulty in her private life, with a string of four high-profile marriages behind her.

Here we look at the adversities Lisa Marie Presley had overcome in her lifetime.

The death of her father Elvis Presley in 1977

Elvis Presley with Wife and Newborn Daughter Lisa Marie. Memphis, Tennessee, February 5, 1968. Picture: Getty

Lisa Marie was just 9 years old when she saw the dead body of her father Elvis Presley on the night of August 16, 1977.

The memory would have a lasting effect on the girl, who recalls the last time she saw The King alive was when he kissed her goodnight at their Graceland home.

Lisa Marie has since opened up about the circumstances of his death, saying: "I don’t like talking about this. It was 4am I was supposed to be asleep, actually. He found me.”

The next time the little girl saw her father was when she found his girlfriend Ginger Alden trying to rouse him. He was already dead.

Elvis Presley pictured with girlfriend Linda Thompson in March 1976. 9-year-old Lisa Marie recalls calling Linda when she saw her father's unresponsive body. Picture: Getty

Elvis was lying next to the toilet, face down on the carpet and she raced to call his former girlfriend, Linda Thompson, on the phone.

"My daddy’s dead! He’s smothered in the carpet!” she recalls saying.

Her father's body was not however immediately removed from the house after his death, and Lisa Marie found great comfort in him still being there.

"His body was in the house for three days and there was something very oddly comforting about that, which made it not necessarily real to me," she said.

Her marriage to Michael Jackson in 1994

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley at Neverland Ranch. Picture: Getty

Despite first meeting Michael Jackson in 1975 when she was just 7-years-old, it wasn't until 1992 that Lisa Marie started a "adult friendship" with him.

In 1994, just 20 days after finalising her divorce from first husband Danny Keogh, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley wed.

The marriage lasted only two years and was beset with problems, most notably allegations that Michael Jackson had allegedly abused children.

Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2003, Lisa Marie said that not soon after meeting Michael as an adult: “He immediately went into this whole explanation of what he knew people thought of him and what the truth was.”

She said she totally believed his explanation “You get sucked into the, ‘You poor, misunderstood person, you…’ I'm a sucker for that.”

“I believed him, because he was so convincing. . . . I just believed everything he said, for some reason.”

Lisa Marie and Michael Jackson's wedding came a year after Jordan Chandler filed a lawsuit against the singer alleging sexual abuse.

Michael Jackson & Lisa-Marie Presley at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards Show. Picture: Getty

“I got into this whole, ‘I’m going to save you' thing’,” Lisa Marie told Rolling Stone.

“I thought all that stuff he was doing — philanthropy and the children thing and all this stuff — was awesome, and maybe we could save the world together.”

“OK. Hello. I was delusionary. I got some romantic idea in my head that I could save him and we could save the world.”

Reflecting on the effect the marriage has had on her life and reputation, she said: “All I did get out of it was a s**t storm. And I got out of it.”

“Now people go, ‘You seem somewhat sane, you seem pretty together -- what the hell was that all about?’” she continued. “It put a stigma on me. A ‘What the hell was she thinking?’ stigma.”

The couple divorced in August 1996, but reportedly continued to date on and off for four years after their marriage and stayed friends until Michael Jackson's death in 2009.

Her 107-day marriage to Nicholas Cage in 2000

Nicolas Cage & Lisa Marie Presley pictured in 2001. Picture: Getty

In 2002, when Lisa Marie had just ended her engagement to singer John Oszajca, she met actor Nicholas Cage and sparks flew between the pair.

The two went on to have an infamously short-lived marriage which ended in Cage filing for divorce after just 107 days.

Speaking to Larry King in 2003, Lisa reflected on the relationship with the Hollywood star, saying: "It looked attractive like I could be equal. Similar situations, similar backgrounds.

"So we connected, we had a great connection. We were both a bit - we're sort of these gypsy spirited, you know, tyrannical pirates."

"And one pirate marries another they will sink the ship basically is what it comes down to."

"It was kind of one of those things where you marry someone hoping... to either stabilise [my life] or it's going to, you know, accentuate all that was going on prior to what was problematic.

"So it kind of did the latter, that's all."

Her bitter divorce from Michael Lockwood in 2018

Lisa Marie Presley and husband musician Michael Lockwood pictured in 2015. Picture: Getty

In January 2006 Lisa Marie married her fourth husband, music producer and guitarist, Michael Lockwood.

Despite Elvis Presley's daughter bringing an inherited a $62 million fortune to the marriage and Michael bringing just $3000, the couple fell deeply in love and had twin girls, 11-year-old Finley and Harper.

The union would be her longest to date, but came to an end a decade after the marriage in 2016.

Despite Lisa Marie having a strong prenuptial agreement, Michael took his wife to court for a significant portion of her wealth, citing that he had been badly advised by his lawyers and hadn't read the agreement properly at the time of their wedding.

The battle dragged on for two years and was finally settled in Lisa Marie's favour in 2018. Her fortune remained protected and Michael remained almost penniless.

The death of her son Benjamin in 2020

Benjamin Keough - Lisa Marie's son from her first marriage to Danny Keough - is said to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 27 in California on Sunday (July 12), according to TMZ.

Benjamin kept a low profile throughout his life, but had several acting credits and was also a musician.

He was known for his strong resemblance to his late grandfather, Elvis Presley.

Lisa Marie had previously said: "Ben does look so much like Elvis. He was at the Opry and was the quiet storm behind the stage.

"Everybody turned around and looked when he was over there. Everybody was grabbing him for a photo because it is just uncanny."

Lisa Marie's 2012 song 'Storm & Grace' is thought to be inspired by Benjamin, whose middle name was Storm.