Two months after Daisy Jones & the Six actress Riley Keough was named the sole trustee of her late mother Lisa Marie Presley‘s estate, the star has opened up about the chaos that engulfed her world in the wake of her mother’s passing.
In a new Vanity Fair cover story, Elvis’ only grandchild addresses the swirl of headlines and drama that followed after Lisa Marie’s death on Jan. 12 at age 54 after a hospitalization following cardiac arrest.
“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,” Keough said of the passing of Elvis’ only child; an autopsy determined that a complication Presley experienced following weight loss surgery several years ago that caused a small bowel obstruction was her cause of death.
“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,” Keogh continued. “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.”
Asked to confirm that that clarity has been achieved, Keough said, “clarity has been had.”
The settlement earlier this summer reportedly involved a $1 million payment to Priscilla and the reimbursement of $400,000 in legal fees.
Asked if things between Keough and her grandmother are totally smoothed out, the actress was a bit more guarded, but positive about the possibilities. “Things with Grandma will be happy. They’ve never not been happy,” she said, hesitating before describing the scene after her mother’s passing.
“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,” she said of Priscilla. “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. 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 conflicting reports about whether Priscilla will be allowed to be buried at Graceland — where Elvis and his parents are interred — Keough said she doesn’t know why that’s even up for debate. “I don’t understand what the drama in the news was about. Yeah. If she wants to be, of course,” she said. “Sharing Graceland with the world was her idea from the start. I always had positive and beautiful memories and association with Graceland. Now, a lot of my family’s buried there, so it’s a place of great sadness at this point in my life.”
The interview also revealed the name of the child Keough welcoming privately via surrogate in August 2022, Tupelo Storm Smith-Petersen, whose first name is a nod to Elvis’ Mississippi birthplace. “It’s funny because we picked her name before the Elvis movie,” Keough says of the Oscar-winning Baz Luhrmann biopic starring Austin Butler as The King.
“I was like, ‘This is great because it’s not really a well-known word or name in relation to my family — it’s not like Memphis or something… Then when the Elvis movie came out, it was like, Tupelo this and Tupelo that. I was like, ‘Oh, no.’ But it’s fine.” The child’s middle name is a nod to her late brother, Benjamin Storm Keough, who died by suicide in July 2020 when he was 27; her brother is also buried at Graceland.