Riley Keough on Relationship With Priscilla Presley After Death of Mother Lisa Marie, Estate Settlement: “All She Wants Is to Love and Protect Graceland”

Riley Keough says that following her mother Lisa Marie Presley’s death and the estate settlement that ensued, “there was a lot of chaos in every aspect of our lives” but that ultimately, all her grandmother Priscilla Presley “wants is to love and protect Graceland and the Presley family and the legacy.”

In a cover story that was completed ahead of the SAG-AFTRA strike, which began on July 13, the Daisy Jones & the Six actress opened up to Vanity Fair about the last year of her life, including a surrogacy and new daughter, treating her Lyme disease, as well as the impact of her mother’s untimely death and the “panic” around the transfer of the Presley estate that followed.

The Emmy-nominated actress addressed for the first time the outcome of the Presley estate battle, which saw Keough named the sole trustee in a settlement after grandmother Priscilla Presley surrendered control. Priscilla Presley, who had challenged a 2016 amendment to her daughter’s will that replaced her as a co-trustee after Lisa Marie Presley died unexpectedly on Jan. 12 at the age of 52, was paid an undisclosed sum to drop her petition.

“When my mom passed, there was a lot of chaos in every aspect of our lives,” Keough told the magazine. “Everything felt like the carpet had been ripped out and the floor had melted from under us. 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.”

In terms of the current status of her relationship with Priscilla, Keough noted that while an answer could be a “20-minute conversation,” she was comfortable noting that while there “was a bit of upheaval,” things between the grandmother-granddaughter duo will “be how it was.”

“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,” she added.

Keough also remembered the last time she saw her mother, which was at a party for the Oscar-winning film Elvis a day after the Golden Globes. The actress recalled “how beautiful she looked” before discussing how the loss of her mother was compounded by the death of her brother Benjamin, who died at 27 in July 2020.

“When I lost my brother, there was no road map whatsoever, and it was a lot of big emotions that I didn’t know what to do with,” she said. “When I lost my mom, I was familiar with the process a little bit more, and I found working to be really helpful. I find it triggering when people say happiness is a choice, but in that moment, I did feel like there was a choice in front of me to give up and let this event take me out or have the courage to work through it. I started trying to move through it and not let it take me out.”

As part of an interview that didn’t shy away from Keough discussing more difficult or controversial aspects of her family life, the actress opened up about her relationship to Michael Jackson, who was married to her mother between 1994 and 1996. After admitting that “in hindsight, I can see how crazy these things would be to somebody from the outside,” she said she just remembered Jackson’s Neverland Ranch feeling like a real home and having “real love for Michael.”

At another point in the lengthy cover story, Keough discussed her experience becoming a mother to daughter Tupelo Storm Smith-Petersen, who she had via surrogacy in August 2022. Speaking to her decision to not carry her daughter, the actress said she “can carry children, but it felt like the best choice for what I had going on physically with the autoimmune stuff.” Keough also clarified that she named her daughter ahead of the Elvis movie’s release, with her middle name a tribute to her late brother and her first name chosen because, at the time, it wasn’t “really a well-known word or name in relation to my family.”

Speaking further to her personal health, Keough revealed that she has been in Switzerland for a “little break” as part of an effort to “alleviate” symptoms of her Lyme disease at a holistic treatment center that does “all kinds of things that you can’t really do in America yet, like cleaning your blood.”

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