Riley Keough opens up about Elvis estate and dispute with Priscilla Presley

“There was a lot of chaos in every aspect of our lives”

Riley Keough has opened up about the drama surrounding the Elvis estate and revealed that, although she was briefly pitted against her grandmother, Priscilla Presley, there is now a sense of “clarity” in the family.

The conflict arose after the sudden death of Lisa Marie Presley – daughter of Elvis and Priscilla, and mother of Keough – earlier this year, as the inheritance of Elvis Presley’s estate was thrown into question.

Lisa Marie became the sole inheritor of Elvis’ estate, following the death of her father. The site was also managed by Priscilla, who was married to the ‘Suspicious Minds’ singer between 1967 and 1973.


When the trust was dissolved in 1993 on Lisa Marie’s 25th birthday, she formed a new trust, which also retained her mother as manager of the estate and co-trustee. However, earlier this year, Priscilla Presley filed a legal challenge disputing the validity of daughter Lisa Marie‘s will, after it was reportedly altered in 2016 to remove Priscilla and a former business manager, Barry Siegel, as trustees.

Riley Keough and Lisa Marie Presley
Riley Keough and Lisa Marie Presley pictured together in 2017. CREDIT: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for ELLE

The “purported” amendment named Lisa Marie’s children Riley Keough and Benjamin Keough as “successor co-trustees of the trust” upon her death. Benjamin died in 2020, aged 27.

However, Priscilla’s lawyers claimed that there were “many issues surrounding the authenticity and validity” of the amendment, including a misspelling of Priscilla’s name and a failure to notify her of the change. This meant that, when Lisa Marie died unexpectedly in January, there was some conflict about whether Priscilla or Keough had a claim to the estate.

In May, both Keough and Priscilla revealed they had settled the matter, and the following month shared the terms of the agreement. The understanding they came to said that Keough would become the sole trustee of Lisa Marie’s estate, and pay Priscilla an undisclosed amount to drop any legal action against the will.

Now, Keough – who also stars in Amazon Prime miniseries Daisy Jones & The Six – has opened up about the ordeal in an interview with Vanity Fair and recalled the “chaos” that emerged after her mother’s death.


Actress Priscilla Presley (L) and singer Lisa Marie Presley attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony during the grand opening of “Graceland Presents ELVIS: The Exhibition – The Show – The Experience” at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on April 23, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada (CREDIT: Bryan Steffy/WireImage)

“When my mom passed, there was a lot of chaos in every aspect of our lives. Everything felt like the carpet had been ripped out, and the floor had melted from under us,” she said. “Everyone was in a bit of a panic to understand how we move forward, and it just took a minute to understand the details of the situation, because it’s complicated. We are a family, but there’s also a huge business side of our family. So I think that there was clarity that needed to be had.”

She also insisted that, despite the initial drama between her and her grandmother, “clarity has been had” since their settlement and that going forward, “things with Grandma will be happy.”

“They’ve never not been happy,” she added. “There was a bit of upheaval, but now everything’s going to be how it was.”

Elsewhere in the discussion, Keough also confirmed that a large part of the tension stemmed from Priscilla’s determination to keep Elvis’ legacy alive and turn Graceland into a museum, as well as her want to be buried at the site.

“It’s very important to her… He was the love of her life. Anything that would suggest otherwise in the press makes me sad because, at the end of the day, all she wants is to love and protect Graceland and the Presley family and the legacy. That’s her whole life,” she explained.

Lisa Marie Presley in 2015
Lisa Marie Presley in 2015. Credit: Bryan Steffy/WireImage

“I don’t know why she wouldn’t be buried at Graceland,” Keough added. “I don’t understand what the drama in the news was about. Yeah. If she wants to be, of course. Sharing Graceland with the world was her idea from the start.”

Following Lisa Marie’s death, a public memorial service was held on January 22, where Alanis Morissette, Billy Corgan and Axl Rose were among those to pay tribute. The memorial service took place on the front lawn of the Presley family’s Graceland home and museum in Memphis, Tennessee.

At the ceremony Priscilla Presley and Riley Keough revealed that Lisa Marie had just become a grandmother during an emotional memorial tribute.

Last month, Riley Keough paid tribute to her late mother and brother Benjamin on the anniversaries of their deaths and the day of her first Emmy nomination.

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