Riley Keough and Priscilla Presley: A History of Their Complicated Relationship

The grandmother and granddaughter have officially settled the terms of Lisa Marie Presley's estate.

This year has so far been a whirlwind for Riley Keough, who began 2023 celebrating the awards season success of the Elvis biopic, but then shortly after dealt with the heartbreaking death of her mother, Lisa Marie Presley. She's also reached new levels of success with a recent Emmy nomination for her acclaimed starring role in the Prime Video series Daisy Jones & The Six

However, the 33-year-old actress' grief over her mother's death has been complicated by legal drama between her and her grandmother, Priscilla Presley. In February, two weeks after Lisa Marie's death, Priscilla filed paperwork challenging a 2016 amendment to her daughter's will, which removed Priscilla and Lisa Marie's former business manager, Barry Siegel, as co-trustees and named Riley and her brother, Benjamin Keough, as the new co-trustees. (Benjamin died in 2020, leaving Riley as the sole heir.)

"Riley has been mourning the loss of her mother and is heartbroken to have to deal with a trust dispute with a family member," a source told ET in part in February. "She is heartbroken that this has turned into a public matter and knows her mother would never want this."

Read on for a rundown of the pair's relationship through the years and a look at where things stand now.


Riley was born in Santa Monica, California, on May 29, 1989, just five days after her grandmother's 54th birthday. In the birth announcement in The Los Angeles Times, publicist Paul Block reported that "both mother and child are in excellent health," adding that Priscilla, a first-time grandmother, was also thrilled. "Everyone is very happy."

Her father, Danny Keough, split from Lisa Marie when Riley was just five, though the pair stayed close friends. Riley split time between them growing up -- living with her dad in Hawaii and Los Angeles and spending time with her mother in L.A. and at Graceland, which Lisa Marie inherited as Elvis Presley's sole heir after his death in 1977.

It was an unconventional childhood, but one Riley remembers fondly. In a 2017 interview with The New York Times, she opened up about the high-profile relationships that her mother had when she was growing up, recalling that she "loved" Michael Jackson, who was married to her mom from 1994-96.

"There were toys everywhere, animals everywhere, kids everywhere," she said of visiting Michael's infamous home, Neverland Ranch. "It was like being at Disneyland all day."

Lisa Marie was also briefly married to Nicolas Cage from 2002-04, though all Riley said of that relationship was, "My mom's a tough b**ch."


When Elvis died in 1977, Lisa Marie was just nine years old. She was named the heir of his estate along with Elvis' father, Vernon Presley, and grandmother, Minnie Mae Presley, both of whom died before Lisa Marie inherited the estate on her 25th birthday in 1993.

"Everything remains the same, except I'm on the management team now," Lisa Marie told People in 1993, adding that she thought her mother had done "an astounding job" of managing her finances.

Prior to Lisa Marie coming of age, Priscilla had been a co-executor of Elvis' will, and was responsible for converting Graceland into a profitable tourist attraction that burgeoned the value of the estate to over $100 million. The mansion has been declared a National Historic Landmark and it attracts around 650,000 visitors annually.

However, Lisa Marie's relationship with Priscilla seems to have soured around the time she ended her marriage to fourth husband Michael Lockwood, with whom she shares her youngest children, 14-year-old twins Harper and Finley. In 2016, the same year she filed for divorce from Michael, Lisa Marie filed a purported amendment to her will, removing Priscilla and Barry Siegel as co-trustees and naming Riley and her brother, Benjamin, as the new co-trustees.

Priscila and Riley in 2016. - ET

Just two weeks after Lisa Marie's death, Priscilla filed legal documents challenging the 2016 amendment, saying, "There are many issues surrounding the authenticity and validity of the purported 2016 amendment," such as Priscilla's name is misspelled and that the "purported" amendment "was never delivered to [Priscilla] during Lisa Marie Presley's lifetime as required by the express terms of the Trust."

Priscilla also claimed Lisa Marie's signature on the amendment "appears inconsistent with her usual and customary signature."

Joel Weinshanker, a Managing Partner at Elvis Presley Enterprises, says Lisa Marie had been "very, very quite certain and quite direct" about her wishes for the estate when he made an appearance on SiriusXM's Elvis Radio following her death.

"Lisa couldn't be bought. She couldn't be pushed," he continued. "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."

As for who Lisa Marie wanted in charge after her death, Joel said with certainty, "That was always Riley and Ben. There was never a question in her mind that they would be the stewards, that they would look at it exactly the way she did. Obviously, when Ben passed, it really sat with Riley…Although Riley is a movie star, she's an award-winning director, she had always had an interest and had always known that, one day, she would be in charge of [things]."

"Obviously, it's much, much sooner than we would ever hope for," he continued. "There's no question on anyone's mind [because] Lisa had spoken [about] it, there's numerous amounts of written information, she had talked to so many of her friends about it. There was never a question, and anybody who's speaking differently isn't looking out for Elvis, isn't looking out for Lisa, certainly isn't looking out for Riley."

A source confirmed to ET that it was "no secret" that Lisa Marie planned for Riley and Benjamin to inherit the estate, however, Priscilla later spoke out against statements made by an unnamed individual in the wake of the legal drama.

"I loved Elvis very much as he loved me. Lisa is a result of our love. For anyone to think anything differently would be a travesty of the family legacy and would be disrespectful of what Elvis left behind in his life," she said in a statement in early February. "There is an individual that bought their way into the family enterprise that is trying to speak on behalf of our family. This person is not a representative of Elvis or our family. Please allow us the time we need to work together and sort this out. Please ignore 'the noise.' As I have always been there for Elvis' legacy, our family and the fans, I will continue to forge a pathway forward with respect, honesty, dignity, integrity and love."

As for Riley, a source told ET at the time that the actress felt Priscilla's challenge to Lisa Marie's will was going against "her mom's wishes."

"Riley wants to keep the family together and keep Lisa Marie's legacy in a positive light, but she feels that her grandmother's actions are pushing the family apart even more," the source said. "It's upsetting to her as she does want to have a relationship with Priscilla, but at this point in time they are not close."

When it came to Lisa Marie, the source says that she "did not have a healthy or close relationship" with Priscilla prior to her death, adding that things were "very complicated" between them.

"Lisa Marie was struggling, and it definitely put a strain on her relationship with her mother," the source says. "Lisa Marie always felt Priscilla was trying to have control over her."

By mid-February, ET’s source said that Riley and Priscilla were not on good terms amid their ongoing legal battle, noting that it had been a "very tense and heartbreaking few weeks" for the family.

"Riley has been mourning the loss of her mother and is heartbroken to have to deal with a trust dispute with a family member. Priscilla is adamant that she has a valid case and that she will prevail in court," the source shared, adding that while "they are both gearing up for court, Riley would prefer to settle this dispute privately."

"She is heartbroken that this has turned into a public matter and knows her mother would never want this. Riley is very stressed at the moment and has been trying to keep a positive attitude and outlook ahead of her new series coming out," the source added of Riley's buzzed-about Prime Video series, Daisy Jones & The Six. "Her daughter and husband have been keeping her in good spirits."

As for Priscilla, the source said the family matriarch was doing what she feels "is right in her heart," when it comes to her late daughter's trust.

"She is convinced that old documents had been forged," the source added.

In mid-March, a representative for Graceland addressed reports that Priscilla had been locked out of the iconic estate, saying, "These reports are entirely untrue… No locks at Graceland have been changed since Lisa Marie's passing."


ET sat down with Priscilla as she and Lisa Marie celebrated the 40th anniversary of Elvis' death at Graceland back in 2017. When asked how she goes about explaining her late ex-husband's larger-than-life persona to her grandchildren, Priscilla seemed to answer as it related to Lisa Marie's twin daughters, Harper and Finley, who were just eight years old at the time -- however, the advice seems universally applicable to her other grandchildren as well.

"We don't want to force anything on these children. It has to happen naturally," she explained. "Of course, when he came on the radio when they were younger, we'd say, 'That's your grandaddy singing.' Now they know the songs a bit, and they'll ask a question about him. They're in awe, but we do it naturally and cautiously, so that we don't force him on them."

The last public appearances Riley and Priscilla made together were during the promotional period for the Elvis biopic. Along with Lisa Marie, the family praised Austin Butler's portrayal of the music icon in the biopic, and were in agreement that he deserved all the critical and awards acclaim for the performance.

Riley shared an Instagram photo of herself with her mother and grandmother at the film's special premiere in Memphis, captioning the sweet shot, "We're so thrilled to be in Memphis with @elvismovie and with all of the wonderful performers, @austinbutler @olivia_dejonge @kelvharrjr and Tom Hanks have all done outstanding work. Thank you to @bazluhrmann for bringing the film to Graceland. It's been such a special weekend, I couldn't think of a better place to Premiere ELVIS in America."


Priscilla spoke at Lisa Marie's memorial at Graceland, though the majority of her remarks consisted of a poem written by one of her granddaughters. After reading the poem and a brief statement, she concluded, "Our heart is broken, Lisa, and we all love you."

Riley attended Lisa Marie's Graceland memorial, but did not speak publicly. Her husband, Ben Smith-Petersen, read a statement from the actress at the event, which also confirmed that they had welcomed a daughter -- Lisa Marie's first grandchild and Priscilla's first great-grandchild.

"I hope I can love my daughter the way you loved me, the way you loved my brother and my sisters. Thank you for giving me strength, my heart, my empathy, my courage, my sense of humor, my manners, my temper, my wildness, my tenacity," Ben read on behalf of his wife. "I'm a product of your heart, my sisters are a product of your heart, my brother is a product of your heart." 

In April 2023, Priscilla took a brief moment to shoot down speculation about a feud with Riley, telling the audience at  An Evening to Remember With Priscilla Presley, a fan Q&A event in the U.K., that the pair had dinner prior to her leaving for the U.K.

"[Priscilla] just said, 'You know, I went to dinner with [her] before I came [here],'" Jackie Howse, a fan who attended the event, shared with ET. "She said, 'Everything's good.'"

As for rumors of a so-called fallout, Howse said Priscilla promised "they weren't true... It was very brief, but she just said, 'Don't believe what's been said.'"

Howse also said that Priscilla added, "Riley and I get along well," and got emotional while discussing her granddaughter's success on the Prime Video series Daisy Jones & The Six.

"She came across as being very proud," Howse said. "She'd actually said, 'I am really proud of her. Really proud of what she's achieved.' You could see it in the face, how proud she was with the family."


On May 16, 2023, ET confirmed that Riley, Priscilla and Michael Lockwood had all come to an agreement regarding Lisa Marie's estate.

"All parties have reached a settlement and the families are happy," Priscilla's lawyer, Ronson J. Shamoun, told ET at the time. "They are very excited for the future."

Riley's lawyer, Justin Gold, agreed, telling ET, "Riley is very happy. She's a remarkable woman and her future is bright."

Following their agreement Priscilla said in a statement to ET that any speculation of a rift between the family members had been overblown by the media.

"My family has resolved all confusion as it relates to our plea to the court and request for document interpretation after my daughter Lisa Marie's untimely passing," Priscilla said in her statement. "Although some media identified such a plea as a lawsuit, I want to make clear that there was never any lawsuit filed against my beloved granddaughter."

"As a family, we are pleased that we resolved this together," she added. "My family and I hope that everyone will grant us the privacy we have needed to properly grieve Lisa Marie and spend personal time together. We love and appreciate all of you and the Presley family is stronger than ever."

The terms of the settlement were revealed on June 13, 2023, when Riley filed legal documents petitioning to become the sole trustee of Lisa Marie's estate and the sub-trusts for her sisters, 14-year-old twins Harper and Finley Lockwood. 

Riley will not charge for her services as trustee, which her lawyer, Justin Gold, writes "will save money that would have gone to Priscilla who was going to charge a trustee fee." Her lawyer also states in the docs that Riley intends to safeguard and invest the money "in a manner consistent with the needs of the beneficiaries, and not influenced by the desire of a Trustee." 

For her part, Priscilla will serve as trustee of the sub-trust for her son -- Lisa Marie's half-brother, Navarone Garibaldi -- who will be granted 1/9 of the trust. The remaining 8/9 of the trust will be split among Riley, Finley and Harper.

Additionally, Priscilla will receive a lump sum, one-time payment from the trust for an undisclosed amount. Priscilla was removed as trustee of Lisa Marie's estate on May 11, 2023. Per the docs, this change is binding from the moment she signed the settlement agreement, whether it is approved in court or not. 

A judge later ruled on the terms of the agreement, and on Aug. 4, 2023, Riley was officially named the sole trustee of her mother's estate.


In an September 2023 cover story for Vanity Fair, Riley opened up for the first time about the death of her mother, and the ensuing legal turmoil with Priscilla.

"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."

Following their legal agreement, Riley assured, "clarity has been had."

"There was a bit of upheaval, but now everything’s going to be how it was. She’s a beautiful woman, and she was a huge part of creating my grandfather’s legacy and Graceland. It’s very important to her," she continued. "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. So it’s a big responsibility she has tried to take on. None of that stuff has really ever been a part of our relationship prior. She’s just been my grandma."

As for the contention over Priscilla being buried at Graceland, Riley stated simply. "I don’t know why she wouldn’t be."

"I don’t understand what the drama in the news was about," she added. "Yeah. If she wants to be, of course. Sharing Graceland with the world was her idea from the start."

As for Riley's feelings about the historic homestead, things are a little more complicated. "I always had positive and beautiful memories and association with Graceland," she shared. "Now, a lot of my family’s buried there, so it’s a place of great sadness at this point in my life."

But there's nothing complicated about her feelings for Priscilla and her hopes for their future familial bond.

"Things with Grandma will be happy," she said. "They’ve never not been happy."


In August, Priscilla sat down for an interview with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss Sofia Copola's upcoming film, Priscilla, based on her memoir, Elvis and Me. During the conversation, the Naked Gun actress spoke about her final moments with Lisa Marie, which were spent laughing at dinner, before it abruptly ended when the "Lights Out" singer wasn't feeling well.

During the interview, Priscilla also spoke about her and Riley's relationship, after the Daisy Jones & The Six star was named the sole trustee of her mother's estate, assuring the world that all is right between her and her oldest granddaughter.

"Riley is now the executor, which should be right, obviously, being her daughter,” Priscilla told the publication. "Riley and I are on good terms. We were never not on good terms. That was all publicity. This is private and this is not something to fool around with and say that we’re not agreeing. In fact, I’m having dinner with [Riley] tonight. We understand what needs to be done. I’m there for her. She knows that. She wants me there for her to help her."

Riley sent a separate statement, echoing her grandmother's sentiments.

"Things with Grandma will be happy. They’ve never not been happy," Keough told the magazine of Priscilla. "She was a huge part of creating my grandfather’s legacy and Graceland. 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."


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