Tragic Details About Lisa Marie Presley's Daughter Riley

Riley Keough is the oldest child of Danny Keough and the late Lisa Marie Presley. While much of her life has been privileged and unbelievable for a lot of us, Keough has also suffered tragedy and hardship that might be equally difficult to comprehend.

For example, Keough was never able to have a relationship with her maternal grandfather, Elvis Presley, who died from cardiac arrest when her own mother was still a child. Keough's mother suffered the same fate decades later, dying at the age of 54. In between those experiences, Keough lost her brother, Benjamin Keough, and took on a number of mantles as she worked through a series of situations that caused profound grief.

Still, Keough also continues to find ways to celebrate life. She and her husband Ben Smith-Petersen got married in 2015, and the pair welcomed a child together in 2022 (per People). Here is a look at the more tragic details of the life of Riley Keough.

Riley Keough never met her grandfather Elvis Presley

Riley Keough has lived a charmed life in a lot of ways, but her years have also been marred by tragic losses. This pattern of loss began long before she was born, back when her grandfather Elvis Presley died of cardiac arrest in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 42. Keough's mother, Lisa Marie Presley, was only 9 years old when she lost her dad, and she had the traumatic experience of seeing his body (per New York Post).

The loss of Elvis was hard on Lisa Marie, and former Scientologist Karen de la Carriere told the New York Post that she worked with her as she battled substance abuse. De la Carriere explained, "Lisa Marie had such a tough life. Broken marriages, corrupt money managers who ripped off a lot of her fortune at Elvis Presley Enterprises."

Keough later told Variety that watching Baz Luhrmann's biopic "Elvis" was an emotional experience for her family in a lot of ways. As she put it, she cried nearly immediately when the movie began. Keough said, "I started crying five minutes in and didn't stop. There's a lot of family trauma and generational trauma that started around then for our family."

Riley Keough lost her brother Benjamin Keough in 2020

Riley Keough and her family suffered another terrible loss in the summer of 2020 when her younger brother Benjamin Keough died by suicide (per TMZ). He lived most of his life out of the public eye, though many noted that he had a strong resemblance to his famous grandfather, Elvis Presley.

Lisa Marie Presley once addressed the physical link between Elvis and her son, saying, "Ben does look so much like Elvis. He was at the Opry and was the quiet storm behind the stage. Everybody turned around and looked when he was over there" (per TMZ). 

Riley Keough was powerfully impacted by her brother's death. In July 2021, she was interviewed by the "Just for Variety" podcast, and she spoke about her brother one year after his death. "I think when you're in grief, everything for the first time hits you," she said. "It's like, 'Oh I'm experiencing this in grief now.' It's the little things at first, like I'm going to the grocery store in grief. Never done that before" (via Today).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Riley Keough lost her mom Lisa Marie Presley in 2023

Riley Keough suffered another catastrophic loss on January 12, 2023, when her mother Lisa Marie Presley also died after reportedly suffering cardiac arrest (per Entertainment Tonight). Details of her death were first reported by TMZ and later confirmed by People, to whom Priscilla Presley issued a statement.

"It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us," she wrote. "She was the most passionate, strong, and loving woman I have ever known. We ask for privacy as we try to deal with this profound loss."

Keough's husband Ben Smith-Petersen read a letter that she wrote for her mother's memorial service on January 22, 2023. Keough revealed at the service that she and her husband had quietly welcomed their own daughter in 2022 when she wrote in part, "I hope I can love my daughter the way you loved me, the way you loved my brother and my sisters" (via People).

Riley Keough trained to become a death doula

In March 2021, Riley Keough opened up about a personal journey she undertook following her brother's death in the summer of 2020. Keough took to Instagram to share that she had recently finished her training to become a death doula.

Keough was open about her thoughts about death and how it is spoken about culturally in the post. She wrote, "We are taught that it's a morbid subject to talk about. Or we're so afraid of it that we're unable to talk about it ... then of course it happens to us, and we are very ill-prepared."

Keough went on to add that she believes it is "so important" to speak freely about death, especially as there is a lot of focus on how we are born into this world but not as much of a focus on how we leave it. She concluded her post by writing that she was looking forward to moving through the work required to complete the path. Keough added, "So I'm so grateful for this community and to be able to contribute what I can."

Riley Keough's dad wasn't as affluent as her mother

Riley Keough wasn't only raised by her mother. Lisa Marie Presley was married to Danny Keough from 1988 to 1994. As reported by Insider, the pair first met at a rehab facility when Presley was 17 years old and a recovering addict. They started dating in 1985. Keough was also wrestling with addiction, and the pair quickly bonded. 

Riley Keough later said in an interview with The Guardian that her mother and her father certainly didn't live the same type of lives after their divorce. She told the outlet that it was "helpful" to see different realities when with each of her parents.

As she detailed, "My father had mattresses on the floor of his apartments. He lived in cabins and trailer parks. He just didn't have much money." She then added that it was "fun" to be at her dad's, to the point that she once told him how much she wanted to have a life like his — albeit from her young point of view. She said, "When I was like 8 I told him, 'I want to grow up and be poor like you!' He was eating a bowl of cereal. I didn't realize how wildly offensive that was!"

Riley Keough supported her mom's fight against Scientology

Riley Keough's grandmother Priscilla Presley and her mother Lisa Marie Presley were both Scientologists at different points in their lives, and Priscilla Presley is still a practicing member of the church that her daughter ultimately left.

In 2012, Lisa Marie reportedly had a fight with David Miscavige, the son of former Scientologist Ron Miscavige, that ultimately led to her decision to leave the faith (per New York Post). 

It turns out that Keough supported her mother through this moment in her life. Author Mike Rinder, who left Scientology in 2007, told Page Six that Lisa Marie called him for help during the struggle. At one point, she told Rinder that Keough wanted to jump on the phone. "Riley got on the phone and said to me: 'I want you to take those f**kers down,'" he said. "Riley was clearly being supportive of her mother because Lisa Marie was so upset."