As awards season accolades continue to pour in for the glitzy, surrealistic “Elvis” biopic, there’s no denying the all-too-true, tragic life and death of his little girl.
A bombshell documentary — “TMZ Investigates: Lisa Marie Presley: Unending Tragedy” (airing Monday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. on Fox) — sheds new light on the superstar scion’s demise, with accusations of drug abuse, references to scarily rapid weight loss and mysterious insurance policies and claims of “fraud” and a “money grab.”
Elvis Presley’s only child died of cardiac arrest at age 54 on Jan. 12. She is survived by her mother, Priscilla Presley, 77, her adult daughter, actress Riley Keough, 33, and twins Harper and Finley Lockwood, 14. (She also had son Benjamin, who died by suicide in 2020 at age 27).
Two of Presley’s four ex-husbands, Danny Keough, 61, and Michael Lockwood, 58, were also still in the late singer’s life.
A bitter feud is allegedly brewing between the two men — who reportedly can’t stand each other — over the custody of Presley’s twins, according to the outlet. Meanwhile, a source told the new documentary that Presley also had a strained relationship with her mom, which could soon come to the fore in a legal fight.
“There was a lot of bad blood between them,” TMZ producer Jacob Wasserman says. “Yes, they were with each other at the Golden Globes [days before Presley’s death], but some family members told us they were absolutely shocked to see them sitting at the same table.”
Lisa Marie Presley has sparked headlines since her birth in 1968 to her marriage to Michael Jackson in 1994 to the death of her child Benjamin in 2020. She died after suffering cardiac arrest on Jan. 12, 2023 and was laid to rest at Graceland.Getty Images
Here’s what’s revealed in the shocking special. Warning: Major spoilers follow.
Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood, Lisa Marie Presley, Priscilla Presley, Riley Keough, and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood attend the Handprint Ceremony honoring Three Generations of Presley’s at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 21, 2022 in Hollywood, California.FilmMagic/TMZ
‘Bad blood’ between Presley’s ex-husbands: A custody battle looms
According to the documentary, there’s a family fight brewing over the late singer’s custody of her two teen kids. In an exclusive clip from the doc, TMZ boss Harvey Levin says that Lockwood will “almost certainly” get full custody of twins Harper and Finley.
However, Keough (the father of her first two kids) was living with the family at the time of her death and was also close to the girls.
Presley was married to Keough from 1988 to 1994, and to Lockwood from 2006 to 2021.
“Riley desperately wants to maintain a relationship with her sisters,” a TMZ reporter said. “Of course, Priscilla wants to see her granddaughters. Danny absolutely wants to stay in touch with the kids … but, there is a lot of bad blood between Danny and Michael.”
Presley and Michael Lockwood.FilmMagic
Lisa Marie Presley with her daughters, Riley Keough and twins Harper and Finley. lisampresley/Instagram
Rumors of opioids, rapid 50-pound weight loss
The documentary dives into Presley’s well-documented struggles with drugs and alcohol.
When Presley attended the Golden Globes just two days before her death, she was visibly frail.
Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction specialist who appears in the documentary, explains onscreen: “She was slurring her speech [at the awards show], she had drooping eyelids, she was unsteady on her feet … that’s not normal for a woman who is otherwise healthy at her age. The behavior at the Golden Globes was consistent with somebody on a lot of substance.”
“We have information that may explain why her heart suddenly stopped beating,” said TMZ producer Charles Latibeaudiere. “Lisa had lost 40-50 pounds in just 6 weeks … We’re also told she was back on opioids.” Presley allegedly wanted to look her best for awards season, to represent the Oscar-nominated biopic of her father, “Elvis.”
“The fact that she gets up and goes to the Golden Globes … good for her,” Dr. Pinsky says in the doc. “I wish that somebody had raised the alarm, though, based on how she was looking.”
Priscilla Presley, Austin Butler and Lisa Marie Presley on Jan. 10 at the Golden Globes, shortly before Lisa Marie’s death. Shutterstock for HFPA
Lisa Marie Presley with her kids, Riley Keogh (left), and twins Finley and Harper Lockwood in 2017. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Priscilla enters the legal fray: ‘Strained relationship’
Lisa Marie Presley reportedly had a fraught relationship with her mother, Priscilla, going all the way back to her teen years.
At that time, Priscilla was involved with the Church of Scientology. Former Scientologist Karen De La Carriere told the documentarians that she remembers strained feelings between the pair.
“Lisa with a long face, miserable … stepped out of the limousine, and I heard Priscilla say, ‘Handle her!'” De La Carriere recalled.
The pair put on a unified display at the Golden Globes just days before Presley’s passing, and Priscilla spoke lovingly of her only child at Lisa Marie’s memorial — but one source says it was all for show.
Priscilla is now contesting her daughter’s will, something one source told Page Six is simply “a money grab.”
“She had no relationship with Priscilla, Michael Lockwood or her half-brother [Navarone Garibaldi],” she stated.
As previously reported, Priscilla is challenging an amendment in her late daughter’s trust, claiming fraud.
Priscilla Presley speaks during a memorial service for her daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, on Jan 22, 2023. AP
Fans and moruners attend a memorial service for Lisa Marie Presley. REUTERS
Money mystery: Life insurance policies, family fight on the horizon
According to blockbuster docs first released by the website The Blast, Presley was “debt-ridden,” having squandered the $100 million she inherited from her father. But the new doc alleges she took out up to three life insurance policies before her death. As a result, she reportedly left $35 million to be split between her three kids — the twins and Riley Keough.
“Lisa was never disciplined about money,” said doc producer Katie Hayes. “She was a big spender, and she made some bad investments. She basically blew through $100 million in 25 years.”
Latibeaudiere added: “We’ve learned that at the time of Lisa’s death, she was $4 million in debt, including $2.5 million still owed to the IRS … But we found out that on the day she died, Lisa’s estate was suddenly flushed with cash.”
Elvis Presley’s famous Graceland estate will also reportedly be split among Riley Keough and her younger half-sisters.
Lisa Marie Presley, her mom, Priscilla Presley, and her daughter Riley Keough in 2022. FilmMagic
Priscilla Presley speaks at the public memorial for Lisa Marie Presley. Getty Images for ABA
Elvis Presley with his wife, Priscilla Presley, and their 4-day-old daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, in 1968. Michael Ochs Archives
Meanwhile, the special is also set to cover other big life events such as Presley’s marriage to Michael Jackson.
“TMZ Investigates: Lisa Marie Presley: Unending Tragedy,” premieres Monday, Jan 30 on Fox (8 p.m).