By nature, Priscilla Presley’s relationship with her daughter, Lisa Marie, was anything but ordinary. However, strong family values forged a bond between them that only grew stronger through the challenges they faced over the years.
Only 14 years old when she caught the then-twenty-four-year-old Elvis Presley’s eye, Priscilla first met the King of rock ‘n’ roll in 1959 while her father was stationed at a German Air Force base.
Priscilla’s father by no means approved of his daughter’s affiliation with Elvis and forbade her to see him. “My father said, ‘Absolutely not!’ My mother said, ‘I won’t let you walk across the street to see Elvis Presley!’ I knew this was going to be a battle,” she told Closer Weekly.
But Elvis, determined to win her family over, showed up at their home in “full uniform” armed with buckets of charm. It paid off as Elvis and Priscilla got married seven years later in May 1967. 21 years old at the time, Priscilla got pregnant with Lisa Marie straight away.
Initially “devastated” by the news, Priscilla feared that she wouldn’t be attractive enough anymore. After all, he was “the most wanted sexual specimen in the world.”
News of Priscilla’s pregnancy had Elvis concerned about his image as a sex symbol and felt apprehensive about what fans would think about Elvis, the dad.
Living with Elvis at Graceland had its challenges, and he wasn’t a “hands-on dad.” Pricilla knew she couldn’t domesticate Elvis and it is something she had accepted.
“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. It is terrifying, and it is beautiful, and it changed my life, and it brought Elvis and me closer together,” Priscilla said during an interview with The Guardian.
Parenting fell squarely on Priscilla’s shoulders, and it came naturally to her. She didn’t hesitate to lay down the rules and enforce it either as Priscilla elaborated, “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.”
Elvis and Priscilla divorced in 1973, with Lisa Marie five years old at the time, but the couple remained close after their split.
“Lisa was four when Elvis and I divorced, and we were very civil, and we really wanted him to stay in her life, and they spent plenty of time together. Elvis and I didn't suddenly not like each other,” she added.
After Elvis died in 1977, Priscilla took Lisa Marie and moved to Italy. The media attention around their “extraordinary situation” had become too much, and she had a daughter to look after.
Years later, Lisa Marie wed Michael Jackson, a man with the same iconic status her mother married. History repeated itself, and Lisa Marie knew that Priscilla didn’t agree with her marriage to Michael Jackson.
“It's true she grew up in Graceland and then lived with Michael Jackson in Neverland and Michael was like a child and just wanted to have fun all the time. How do you not gravitate to that? But it's not the real world. And maybe she saw something of Elvis in Michael,” she said.
But the similarity between their situations didn’t stop there. Lisa Marie had her first child at the age of 21 and her second three years later, like her mother.
She also had to be the disciplinarian and taught her children to take care of themselves and be responsible, like Priscilla did with her.
"I'm her mom," Priscilla told Ladies Home Journal. "I'm there for her. She knows that. It's a very delicate situation, for her and everybody involved."
Priscilla values close family bonds, and while they are a big family, they love spending time together. "Lisa Marie lives close by. We vacation together, babysit for each other and try to get the kids together as much as possible," she added.
Through the more difficult times in adulthood, Priscilla had also been there for Lisa Marie. In May 2019, Priscilla sold her Los Angeles mansion in the Brentwood area for $3.8 million, as reported by Variety.
With Lisa Marie in the middle of her divorce from Michael Lockwood, her fourth husband whom she married in 2006, she was ordered to pay $144,000 in attorney’s fees in March 2018.
It just added to the $24 million debt Lisa Marie had already claimed to have according to filed court documents a month earlier. So Priscilla sold her home to help her daughter with her financial troubles, a source told Radar Online.
Lisa Marie has twin daughters with Michael, Finley Aaron Love and Harper Vivienne Ann, younger half siblings to her eldest, Riley Keough, and son Benjamin Storm.
Amid all the relationship and financial troubles Lisa Marie faced after her divorce from Michael, she credited her four children for keeping her moving forward.
Above all else, Lisa Marie Presley is the proud mother of beautiful children, just like her mother, Priscilla.