Riley Keough says ‘clarity has been had’ after mom’s death, ‘upheaval’ over Elvis’ estate

Riley Keough sits in a long-sleeved blouse and skirt
“Daisy Jones & the Six” star Riley Keough opens up in a Vanity Fair profile about her Lyme disease, her daughter’s Elvis-inspired name and where things stand with her grandmother Priscilla Presley after her mother Lisa Marie Presley’s death.
(Alex Harper / For The Times)

Riley Keough dropped more singular revelations in her Vanity Fair profile than “Daisy Jones & the Six” dropped singles in the first season of the streaming series.

The Emmy-nominated actor, the granddaughter of music legend Elvis Presley, spilled the beans about her baby girl, her struggles with Lyme disease and her grief over the death of her mother Lisa Marie Presley. Perhaps most importantly, she shared where things stand between her and her grandmother Priscilla Presley following Lisa Marie’s death in January.

For actors Riley Keough, Emily Blunt, Kathryn Hahn, Niecy Nash-Betts, Murray Bartlett and Paul Walter Hauser, learning new skills come with the job.

June 15, 2023

“I have been through a great deal of pain … Parts of me have died and I’ve felt like my heart has exploded, but I also feel. I’m trying to think of how to phrase this ... I have strengthened the qualities that have come about through adversity,” Keough told Vanity Fair’s Britt Hennemuth about the tragedies her family has endured since her brother’s suicide in 2020.


The tragedies, however, have been coupled with happy moments, such as the arrival of her first child, her Emmy Awards nod for “Daisy Jones” and her acclaimed turn in the film “War Pony.”

“I think I’ve certainly been chosen for some wonderful things and chosen for some horrible things too,” she said. “I am aware that I have been through a lot of very crazy things, but I don’t feel like a victim. I don’t feel like poor Riley ... I also don’t really feel chosen.”

The details of an agreement between Priscilla Presley and her granddaughter Riley Keough were revealed in court documents filed in Los Angeles on Monday.

June 14, 2023

The 34-year-old actor spoke frankly, although with some trepidation, about the harried legal battle over Lisa Marie’s lucrative estate, which included Elvis’ iconic Graceland home and the family’s interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises. Lisa Marie, the sole trustee and longtime steward, had left it to Keough and her siblings before she died unexpectedly of weight-loss surgery complications in January.

Priscilla, Elvis’ ex-wife and Lisa Marie’s mother, questioned the “authenticity and validity” of her daughter’s will in regard to the estate and the ugly back-and-forth played out in the media. However, the parties resolved the legal dispute, reaching a proposed settlement in June that installed Keough as the sole trustee. (The agreement also allows Priscilla to be buried at Graceland and receive a payout of more than $1 million, in addition to $400,000 in legal fees and costs.)

“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. “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 fact, she noted that “clarity has been had.”

“Things with Grandma will be happy. They’ve never not been happy,” she said. “I’m trying to think of a way to answer it that’s not a 20-minute conversation... There was a bit of upheaval, but now everything’s going to be how it was.


Lisa Marie Presley’s final Instagram post points followers to an essay she wrote in August about dealing with grief after her son’s 2020 death.

Jan. 13, 2023

“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. 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.”

She also disputed reports that said Priscilla wouldn’t actually be buried in Graceland, saying that she doesn’t understand “what the drama in the news was about.”

“If she wants to be [buried there], of course. Sharing Graceland with the world was her idea from the start,” Keough said. “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 actor also shared random tidbits: that her pals are Zoe Kravitz, Dakota Johnson and Kristen Stewart; that Priscilla went out with late O.J. Simpson lawyer Robert Kardashian; she lived in Kim Kardashian’s compound before Kardashian and Ye demolished it; and she also lived in both Graceland and Neverland for a time.

Touching on another personal matter, Keough shared some details about the birth of her first child, a life event intertwined with her grandfather’s legacy, brother’s death and mother’s funeral. “The Runaways” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” star publicly revealed her parental status during Lisa Marie Presley’s funeral, dropping the detail about her daughter into a statement that was delivered by her husband, Ben Smith-Petersen. (“I hope I can love my daughter the way you loved me, the way you loved my brother and my sisters,” she wrote at the time.)

Keough told the magazine that she welcomed Tupelo Storm Smith-Petersen via surrogate in August 2022. The baby girl’s unique name is an homage to the Mississippi town where her famous grandfather was born. And Storm was the middle name of her brother Benjamin, whom she said, “in a lot of ways, felt like my twin.”

Priscilla Presley had asked an L.A. County court to determine the validity of a document amending the will of Lisa Marie Presley, her late daughter.

May 16, 2023

“It’s funny because we picked her name before the [Baz Luhrmann’s] Elvis movie,” she said. “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.”


She also spoke candidly about her diagnosis with Lyme disease, an autoimmune disorder that can cause debilitating symptoms. Keough shared that she’s struggled with it for years and tries to alleviate the symptoms at a holistic treatment center in Switzerland (where she sat for a portion of the interview.) The illness, she explains, is part of the reason she used a surrogate.

“I think it’s a very cool, selfless, and incredible act that these women do to help other people,” she said. “I can carry children, but it felt like the best choice for what I had going on physically with the autoimmune stuff.”