In her childhood bedroom at Graceland, Lisa Marie Presley liked to sing along to 45s on a little record player. “My dad would catch me,” she recalled. “I’m sure he got a kick out of it. He’d put me up on the coffee table in front of everybody and make me sing.”
Lisa Marie’s memories of her doting father, Elvis Presley, will be among the sweetest anecdotes in her posthumous memoir, due out October 15. “Few people had the opportunity to know who my mom really was,” says Riley Keough, Lisa Marie’s actress daughter, who polished the manuscript after her mother’s unexpected death at 54 last January.
“Lisa Marie had been working on her book for years,” a family friend exclusively tells Closer. The friend called the story “90 percent finished” when Riley, 34, took over. “Lisa Marie didn’t want to hold anything back.”
The life of the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley drew gossip and speculation from the moment of her birth, in 1968. Sometimes it sounded like a fairy tale. The indulgences Elvis lavished on Lisa Marie — including a diamond ring, a fur coat and a spontaneous flight to Utah to play in her first snow — have become legend.
Yet there were other, less innocent Graceland secrets that Lisa Marie kept quiet about. One of her prime motivations for writing her memoir was defending her father’s legacy from the hangers-on who spread unsavory stories about him after his 1977 death.
“They scared the hell out of me when I was a kid,” Lisa Marie said of Elvis’ so-called Memphis Mafia. “I remember seeing the Playboys, the drugs, the women — I watched it all, and I watched them. I know the real story behind all of them.”
She believed Elvis’ buddies contributed to her father ’s death. “These idiots were so disgusting — they helped him go down and were actually worse than he was,” Lisa Marie raged, adding that she was incensed by their betrayal of her father. “They were trying to take away his dignity,” she said, “the one thing that was most important to him.”
In her memoir, Lisa Marie doesn’t hold back on her complicated relationship with mom Priscilla, 78. “They fought a lot, disagreed on many things, but Lisa Marie always loved her,” says the friend, who adds that Lisa Marie also weighed in on her parents’ relationship. “She writes that her mother and father truly loved each other, that they were the love of each other’s lives. She doesn’t think her mother ever found love like that again.”
Love Me Tender
Lisa Marie doesn’t hold back about her marriages to Danny Keough, Michael Jackson, Nicolas Cage and Michael Lockwood, either. “I’m whimsical about things. I get caught up in the moment,” admitted Lisa Marie about her undying belief that she would one day find true love.
“It’s the one area where I’m naive.” She likely came closest with Danny, a little-known musician she met in 1985 at the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center. They wed when Lisa Marie was 20, and welcomed daughter Riley in 1989 and son Benjamin in 1992. She believed her fame damaged their union.
“[Danny] was overshadowed, buried alive by my mere existence, and he resented it,” said Lisa Marie of the husband who remained her “best friend” even after she left him for Michael Jackson.
A few bombshells from her marriage to the King of Pop, which lasted from 1994 to 1996, are included in the memoir, too. Lisa Marie revealed that Michael wanted to have a baby with her. “I got out of that one,” said the singer, who confessed she thought that she could save Michael. “She really did love him,” adds the friend.
Always on My Mind
The 2020 suicide of Benjamin, Lisa Marie’s 27-year-old son, was undoubtedly the hardest chapter to write. “I already battle with and beat myself up tirelessly and chronically, blaming myself every single day,” she wrote.
“Others will judge and blame you too, even secretly or behind your back, which is even more cruel and painful on top of everything else.”
It was exceedingly painful for Lisa Marie to write about the tragedy. “Losing Benjamin almost killed her,” says the friend. “She wasn’t fond of dredging up her past. Reliving these moments was challenging, but also very therapeutic.”
It’s likely that Lisa Marie would be gratified to finally be allowed to tell her life story her own way. “I don’t like talking about myself,” she said, adding that it was hard to erase the decades of “speculation and tabloid stuff ” that has been written about her family. “I didn’t ask for all the attention, so I have a phobia against it. But at the same time, I would never take back any part of who I am or where I came from. I would never want to be part of anything else. I’m honored and proud of my family and my dad.”