Priscilla Presley and Riley Keough are not on the same page — but it isn’t just about money.
Two months after Elvis Presley’s only child, Lisa Marie Presley, passed away, the famous family is still reeling from the tragedy. However, two Presleys in particular are at odds with one another… And apparently for more reasons than just Lisa Marie’s trust.
As we’ve been reporting, Riley is facing off against her grandmother legally, after Lisa Marie’s estate was apparently left in a difficult position — as you know, Priscilla contested her late daughter’s will shortly after her January 12 death, as she had formerly been a co-trustee of the Lights Out singer’s trust, but was unknowingly replaced by Riley and Lisa Marie’s late son, Benjamin, who passed away in 2020, in 2016. The trust, which includes ownership of Graceland and a 15% stake in Elvis Presley Enterprises, brought in an estimated $110 million in 2022. So it’s a lot.
Elvis left everything to Lisa Marie as his heir before he passed away, with his father Vernon, as executor. At the time it wasn’t as much money as you might think due to his spending and the fact there were no new royalties coming in — as Colonel Tom Parker had sold the rights to Elvis’ early hits to RCA. It was just a $5 million estate at that time, with an expensive upkeep on Graceland.
When Vernon passed away, his will named Priscilla as his successor. She was the one who thought to turn Graceland into a tourist attraction — which quickly began bringing in millions in revenue. In 1993, when Lisa Marie turned 25, the estate was appraised at over $100 million. Though her mother had turned everything around, there were strong disagreements about how to move forward. After Lisa’s unexpected passing at just 54 years old, Joel Weinshanker, Managing Partner at EPE told SiriusXM’s Elvis Radio:
“When Elvis passed away, he left everything to his little girl. He did so knowing that she would be the one to keep his legacy going. I can tell you that she has, without falter, no matter what else was happening in her life, in her career, always been the one to look at what was best for Elvis… regardless of what somebody else was trying to do, regardless of what another family member [was trying to] do… Lisa couldn’t be bought. She couldn’t be pushed. If she thought something wasn’t in Elvis’ best interest, it was never about money. She really is the only Presley that you can ever say that about.”
He further stated that Lisa Marie was “very, very quite certain and quite direct about who she wanted to” leave Elvis’ legacy to, and that “was always Riley and Ben.”
Well, in People’s latest cover story investigating the whole dispute, sources are coming forward confirming that take. A friend of Riley’s told the outlet “there’s zero question” about Lisa’s wishes:
“Lisa wanted Riley and Ben to be the trustees.”
If that’s all true, if it was really that well known, and Priscilla is fighting it? No wonder Riley would be upset. But there’s more to it than the millions of dollars…
The Michael Problem
Priscilla claims to only be doing what’s best for the family, and that includes maintaining a close relationship with Lisa Marie’s ex — her twin daughters’ father, Michael Lockwood — and Riley is not happy about that either!
We all remember seeing him at the Storm & Grace singer’s memorial, but an insider is now claiming that was never the plan. A source told People:
“Michael was not invited. He came to Memphis under the pretense that he had to chaperone the twins — and he forced his way in with Priscilla’s help. The last thing Lisa Marie would have wanted was for Michael to be there.”
Yikes! Prior to Lisa Marie’s death, she and Priscilla seemed very close, but the source claimed that was not the case. Outside of public events, the two barely spoke — and it had been that way since Lisa and Michael’s 2016 split.
See, for years following their divorce, Lisa Marie and Michael battled it out in court over the custody of their twins, Finley and Harper. Anyone who’s followed that knows that fight got about as messy as it gets. We’ll leave it at that, but… accusations were made.
Despite all that, Priscilla apparently sided with Michael — which rubbed Riley the wrong way. A source told the outlet:
“Riley was always on her mom’s side when it came to Michael. It bothered her that her grandmother and Michael flew to the funeral together.”
From there, tension exploded over the legal issues surrounding Lisa Marie’s estate, and as of now, the two just “don’t see eye to eye.” Now, per multiple sources, they’re barely speaking to one another at all. Except, we guess, through lawyers…
Lisa Marie v. Priscilla
Apparently there was already something of a disagreement between Priscilla and the rest of the family before Lisa’s passing. The real difference seems to be that Priscilla is making moves now that she couldn’t before — because Lisa can no longer defend her wishes.
Prior to her death, Lisa Marie had been wrapped up in a legal battle with her business manager Barry Siegel, whom she accused of mismanaging her trust. Part of that was allotting Priscilla nearly $1 million a year, despite her not having any ownership in EPE. It became a real point of contention between the two. A friend of Lisa’s told the outlet:
“I can assure you, in the last seven years of Lisa’s life, she never discussed with Priscilla any business.”
In fact, the friend said, before she passed, Lisa “inquired on multiple occasions what it would take” to buy back a higher stake in EPE, after being left in mountains of debt, as “she wanted each of her four children to have 5 percent of the estate.”
Lisa Marie removed both Siegel and her own mother as cotrustees in a 2016 amendment — the very same one Priscilla is trying to get voided.
If Priscilla Wins…
Another insider explained Priscilla’s stance:
“Priscilla doesn’t want Riley solely in charge, because then she has no say. Meanwhile, Riley doesn’t want Priscilla to butt in. It’s a very sad situation. Riley is shocked Priscilla is contesting the amendment.”
If Priscilla is victorious, she’ll be a co-trustee with Riley, and she’ll be back to getting a real say for the first time in years.
Priscilla claimed early last month she’s acting with “integrity and love,” and maintains her relationship with Michael to “be a part of her grandchildren’s lives.” But it seems several sources disagree…
Riley, on the other hand, is just trying to stay positive in the wake of her mother’s death, as she is a new mother herself:
“Lisa Marie’s death has been very painful for Riley, but welcoming her baby girl has been blissful. [Her] daughter brings her joy. She loves being a mom.”
What an incredibly sad situation all around. It’s such a shame that in the wake of a loved one’s death, there’s nothing but contention. We hope to see everything resolved soon.
Reactions, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments down below.