Interview with Lisa Marie Presley

(Source: Larry King Live, May 17, 2003)

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley's only child, Michael Jackson's ex-wife and now a singer in her own right. You've read about her in the tabloids, now hear about it all from her own mouth in a rare, in-depth personal hour. Lisa Marie Presley is next on LARRY KING LIVE.

It's a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley, formerly married to Michael -- you know all that. Her debut album, "To Whom It May Concern," entered the Billboard album chart at No. 5. About it Rolling Stones gave it three stars and says, "Lisa Marie spills her guts and does her pappy proud." Rolling Stone said, "If she lives up to the potential shown here, the King of Rock's daughter has a chance at becoming her own Rock Queen." Have you always sung?

LISA MARIE PRESLEY, SINGER: Since I was 20, 21. But not for anyone, you know, just sort of to get myself through things.

KING: So why now?

PRESLEY: It took me a long time to have a real purpose in doing it, used the record as an outlet, a vehicle to, to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for a long time, so this is something like ...

KING: Really?

PRESLEY: ... me having to come to terms with the idea that that was going to happen, and being ready to fully dedicate myself took, you know, a long time, and to sort of develop as an artist, a songwriter and not do it in front of everybody and sort of ...

KING: You write your own songs?

PRESLEY: Yes, I wrote the whole record, I mean, I co-wrote, so ...

KING: I've heard about half of it. It's terrific. You have a lot of talent.

PRESLEY: Thank you.

KING: Why -- like when you were 14 you weren't singing?

PRESLEY: No, and I always to since I was maybe three, you know. But I never did it.

KING: What broke you out at 20?

PRESLEY: Oh, God. I think I just needed to start -- I don't know, I just started to write to get myself through, you know, things, so ...

KING: You were having tough periods in your life?

PRESLEY: Yes, I think I was really having tough periods, but ...

KING: And writing helped?

PRESLEY: Writing got me through, yes, it was very cathartic, very therapeutic, so I did that.

KING: And then how finally did you make the break through to say I'm going to record and appear, concert, and ...

PRESLEY: I think it sort of happened all at a good period where I had just gone through my second divorce and was kind of aimless and somebody -- Foster -- David Foster came. We had worked on something and he basically said, you know, why don't you do this now, you should do it, you know, you can do this and you should and it kind of came at a time where I was somewhat purposeless in my life, or aimless, not quite sure what to do at that point, and thought it was a great idea that I just sort of do the record, you know, put everything I had and felt and went through into that album.

KING: You had to know that with the last name not only would this album be looked at and listened to but pressure would occur.


KING: How did you handle that?

PRESLEY: I had to park that, honestly, because if I had been ...

KING: Park it?

PRESLEY: Yes. If I had been, you know, thinking about that, worrying about that, which I kind of had for a long time, I would never have done what was sort of innately in my heart and my soul, so I had to stop being worried about that. It's too intimidating otherwise.

KING: But you've come to expect it, right? Carrying that name all your life you're going to expect attention no matter what you do.

PRESLEY: Yes, which is why I didn't want attention, you know, because if you're born with it you sort of want -- you don't really want what you have easily or it's that grass is always greener thing, so not to complain but when you have it all the time you don't necessarily ask for it. You're going to be asking for it if you put a record out and you're going to be singing in front of people, you know?

KING: Yes. Is there a double meaning to the title "To Whom It May Concern?"

PRESLEY: Probably, yes. It's a bit on the sarcastic side of life. I think that I, you know, I was just kind of like to the people that are actually going to be able to listen and park whatever -- I mean, I figured I would be slammed coming out of the gate, you know? I thought the potential of that was so high coming, the celebrity kid trying to do a record and that whole thing, you're kind of cursed and blessed. But -- so I was kind of aiming at who is going to listen "To Whom It May Concern," sort of, you know, double meaning. And the title track.

KING: Did you play it for you mother?

PRESLEY: She just recently got a copy of the whole thing.

KING: Just recently?

PRESLEY: Yes, because I didn't get my box of CDs yet until like three weeks ago, then I was out of town and when I came back I gave her one.

KING: Did she give you a critique?

PRESLEY: She. Oh, it was on Easter I gave her one. She came over. Not yet, I haven't heard yet. I have to call her and find out.

KING: We'd bet she'd like it. I mean, you got to have self- confidence. You know you're good.

PRESLEY: I wouldn't -- I'm really harsh on myself, so I could never say, you know, yes, I'm great comfortably, but most artists I know that are worth anything don't usually tend to bask in their own ...

KING: What's it like, Lisa Marie, to have both the pluses and the minuses of life, which is what you have. In other words you can get a record made ...


KING: The average woman can't just go in and get an album done. You can get an album done. You can get famous people to work with you, famous musicians. You can get top arrangers. That's all a plus.


KING: Then there's the minus side. What's that like? How do you balance that?

PRESLEY: I try to not -- like on this record I know I could have gotten with anyone and done anything, but I wanted it all to be on me and not like I was relying on anyone's coattail to ride or have me connected with someone that they could go, she didn't have anything, she needed that person to do this. That's why I was intent on not collaborating too much.

KING: You did it on your own?

PRESLEY: Yes. I wanted to do everything. I co-wrote one song with Billy Corgan, but that was pretty much it. And I was hands-on the whole thing, so it wasn't like, you know, I sat with people and they came up with ideas for me. So, you know, you're kind of on your own once you, you get in doors, you can get, you know, something done, and honestly if I wanted to do a pop record or be a pop queen or whatever when I was a teenager I could have easily, you know, asked to be, hooked up with, you know, a certain song writer, make me a pop star. It was never my intention.

KING: You could have had anything you want?

PRESLEY: Right. I mean, yes, I could have, but that doesn't mean you can pull it off, you know? You do it, you have talent, and then it's kind of up to you. You can get in the door, but then it's all, you know? And when you go down, the curse part, when you're going to go down, if you're going to go down, you're going to go down hard and fast and it's not going to be pretty, you know, if you're this high profile?

KING: And people, some people, weird people are going to enjoy the going down.

PRESLEY: Oh, yes. Yes.

KING: Have you ever tried to figure out why people want people to not have it good?

PRESLEY: I think, God, that's a -- you know, everyone has that sort of good and bad thing going on, I think, and sometimes the bad is more predominant in some than others.

KING: You root for others to do poorly. Kind of weird.

PRESLEY: It's true. I can't say that, I haven't been guilty of it, you know?

KING: Yes, we all are guilty in a sense, right? We like to hear tawdry stories sometimes.

PRESLEY: Oh, yes. Yes. I think David Bowie quoted something about that like, he had -- people want to hear gossip, they want to hear about what's going on with other people so that they can gauge their own lives, or whatever they're doing, you know, could be some gauge on yourself. No, I don't know.

KING: But you accept it, as your father had to accept it, once you enter the business do you tell yourself it just goes with the territory?

PRESLEY: Yes, I mean, you have to at that point.

KING: In fact, you don't have a choice.

PRESLEY: Right. Right.

KING: So even though you've tried for privacy you have led a public life?


KING: I mean, Lisa Marie Presley was known early on? PRESLEY: Right.

KING: Right? Was it difficult for you in high school?

PRESLEY: High school I was kind of an outcasty kid that wasn't, you know ...

KING: In Memphis?

PRESLEY: No, I went to school here, L.A., so never like popular kid, you know?

KING: You were not a popular ...

PRESLEY: No. I wasn't, no.

KING: Really?

PRESLEY: Yes, my mom tried to put me in a sort of a snooty French celebrity kid's school, you know, and I just dive bombed in that. I did not do well at all with other celebrity kids and that whole thing, so I just, you know ...

KING: More with Lisa Marie Presley. The album is "To Whom It May Concern." It's terrific, by the way. Entered the Billboard Album Chart at No. 5, and deservedly so. More after this.

KING: Where were you when he died?


KING: How did you hear it?

THOMPSON: My phone rang and it was Lisa Marie, who was only 9 years old at the time and she used to call me from time to time because we were very close. As I said, I loved her a lot then. I love her a lot now. And she said, Linda, it's Lisa. I said, I know who you are, little goobernickel (ph). But she had this, you know, desperate tone in her voice. And I thought she was playing. I thought maybe she was just out of breath. She said, My daddy's dead. My daddy's dead. And I threw the phone in the air. I just threw the phone away. I said, No, no. He's not.

And then I looked at the phone on the ground and I thought, Here's this little 9-year-old who has the presence of mind to call me long distance directly. I've got to pick up this phone. I've got to say something to her that's going to help her. So I pick up the phone and say, Honey, are you sure? Are you sure he's not just gone to the hospital and he's not just having, you know, an episode or, you know, a problem? A breathing problem? No. No. They told me he's dead.

KING: I know -- Linda Thompson was on recently and she said she had spoken to you, right? You were at your father's home when he died, right?

PRESLEY: I don't go into this, you know?

KING: What?

PRESLEY: I don't usually go into this, the night of the death thing and all that.

KING: OK. You know, we don't have to talk about all that. But what most people -- I lost my father when I was nine and a half. That's a difficult age to lose a parent. So I don't want to go into details of the night.


KING: But what was it like mentally to deal with it, because you had just learned about loss at 9? In fact, death is new at 9.

PRESLEY: Right. You know, I think I had a harsh introduction to death early on, and I kind of, it sort of started a whole sequence at that point.

KING: You had death earlier?

PRESLEY: Oh, him and then my grandfather and my grandmother and my, you know, friends, and, it was just non-stop for a long time. So it's kind of something that came very real to me very early.

KING: You knew at 9 what death was? That's a transitional age.

PRESLEY: Yes, I don't know, maybe not, honestly. Did you? I mean, I don't ...

KING: No, I didn't. Did they go somewhere? Did they leave me? That's what I thought.

PRESLEY: I kind of knew what it meant. I just didn't know the reality of it probably.

KING: Were you very close to your father?


KING: It was a daddy-daughter kind of thing?

PRESLEY: Yes, very much.

KING: What was he like as a father?

PRESLEY: Very, you know, adoring, very sweet, very, I mean, I knew that he was crazy about me.

KING: Did you ever sing with him?

PRESLEY: Not with. He let me sing for him on the table or, you know ....

KING: Put you upon the table and have you sing?

PRESLEY: Yes. Yes.

KING: Did you know what he was to the world at 9?

PRESLEY: Yes. You know, in some weird way I definitely got sort of grooved into the whole idea early on. So I don't know how that happened, he just kind of, it just was, that was my life, I didn't know any different.

KING: How did you deal with all of the attention of his death?

PRESLEY: That was a hairy one in terms of, you know, not, probably going through many different phases of that, that was a bit odd because it was like it was, it was definitely happening but there was so many masses of people mourning.

KING: That's what I meant.

PRESLEY: Yes, in front of me, fainting and carrying on, and I remember watching, you know, as the casket was there they were coming through and there was a line and I just remember sitting on the stairwell and not knowing what to do with that, you know, because it was so massive that I couldn't do it on my own yet. You know, I was kind of in shock.

KING: You did have time to grieve?

PRESLEY: Not at that point. It was too massive of a situation and I was kind of shocked at all that was going on. It was sort of, you know, it all happened very quickly, and there were people coming in my house, you know, and I was sitting on the stairwell watching.

KING: Also it had to be, I mean, you heard his music everywhere, right?


KING: His music was always around you.


KING: So you had to live with this, You had no choice. You were the only child, right? It all falls on you.

PRESLEY: Right, Right. Thanks, yes.

KING: Do you feel it matured you?

PRESLEY: Matured me? Probably gave me circumstances that I don't think, you know, that made me become a really strong person, you know? Stronger than somebody else, because it sort of introduces you to a whole lot of things, life experiences that most people might not have, that you either are going be made or broken from, so...

KING: When you hear him... (VIDEO CLIP) KING: ...when you hear his music, as you grow up, what to you was his greatness? What did he have that other people didn't have?

PRESLEY: I'd say his greatness was him coming through, his spirit came through his music, you know, and his voice and I think it was just him, honestly, knowing another human and knowing him as an artist than can see ...

KING: You mean his personality came through in what ...

PRESLEY: His soul, his personality came through his music, his art and his voice and everything he did. So I didn't see a different person performing and a different person at home in terms of that magnitude of a dynamic being. You know, he was, he was enormous. So I think it just was felt by and pervasive to everyone.

KING: And if you have that ability you can't invent that.


KING: You either have it or you don't have it.


KING: And he obviously had it.

PRESLEY: Exactly.

KING: Do you think you have it?

PRESLEY: Oooh, I can't say that. I can't say that. But, I mean, I can do the best I can. I would never want to go off on my own or stuff like that.

KING: Well, you've got the genes, right?

PRESLEY: Well, you know. I'm sure I have some of them. I guess.

KING: How did you deal with all the gossip about him?

PRESLEY: The same way I deal with it about me, you know.

KING: Which is?

PRESLEY: Kind of lizard skin, reptile skin ...

KING: You're immune to it?

PRESLEY: Not completely. Lately it's been -- no. I'm not. It does affect me, I won't lie, but it's, I have to sort of park it, you know, or deal with it, one way or the other, but I don't -- it doesn't go unnoticed.

KING: Was there ever a time in your life when things were quiet? Where you weren't in the papers, life just went on? Maybe your first marriage -- did your first marriage get a lot of attention?

PRESLEY: My first marriage got a lot, yes. That was kind of shocking, actually, because I didn't marry anybody, you know, high profile or anything, so it was a bit odd to have all this attention when I did make a move, you know? Anytime I made a move there was a lot attention on it and I think it took me a long time to get used to the idea of that. But prior to that, you know, even during my first marriage it would be sort of -- I was kind of quiet. I just didn't do much and I was kind of happy being a mom and a wife, so there wasn't a whole lot of activity going on in the press and the tabloids.

KING: But when you got married there was?

PRESLEY: A little bit after that, yes.

KING: Do you ever feel communication with your father? Do you ever feel the channeling? Some people claim that they feel their father or their mother departed around them.

PRESLEY: I don't know. We're getting into a hairy, controversial field here, and I'd rather ...

KING: You can feel, or feel it.

PRESLEY: No, you know, I mean, if I -- I don't want to answer.

KING: You don't have to. It ain't a court. Our guest is Lisa Marie Presley. Her album is "To Whom It May Concern." We'll be right back. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRISCILLA PRESLEY, LISA MARIE'S MOTHER: My daughter -- surprisingly enough, I don't think she really knew the impact, nor did she really know what had happened.

KING: Nine's a tough age.

P. PRESLEY: Nine is very tough. And it was very difficult for her to believe. I remember that she was -- she took a golf cart that she would ride around Graceland in and she was out with her friend. And I thought that was a little odd, but then again, remembering the age and I actually preferred her to be out than in the house because it was very depressing. (VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Little bit about your daughter. First, her record. She can sing.

P. PRESLEY: Oh, yes.

KING: Did you know she could sing? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (SINGING)

P. PRESLEY: You know, Lisa, for the longest time, did not sing and I had no idea she even had a voice. She'd play music loud like most teenagers. But I remember even telling her to turn the music down because it would be so loud. She was probably practicing all those years.

KING: When did it happen? Did you...

P. PRESLEY: She wanted to start singing I guess about -- maybe 10 years ago. And I tried to encourage her to take lessons because obviously she had some, you know, some big shoes to step in. And my concern was she would try to do this with no training whatsoever. She eventually started taking voice lessons but I don't even know if she needs them.

KING: Were you surprised when you heard the finished product here?

P. PRESLEY: Well, not really. I think she's very talented. I'm probably her biggest fan. (VIDEO CLIP) KING: We're back with Lisa Marie Presley. Her album is "To Whom It May Concern." Later we'll talk more about the music and whether or not she's going to make this a full career now, whether she's going to do a tour and sing in public places, et cetera, and make herself -- well, we'll get to that in a little while. How is the relationship with your mom?

PRESLEY: It's great.

KING: Always been good?

PRESLEY: No, no, no. But it took a long time because we're so opposite of each other that it's sort of like a black-and-white situation and I black, she white, so ...

KING: Well, a lot of mothers daughters have that, so it's not unusual for the Presleys.

PRESLEY: Exactly, so it's the same thing, you know, it took a long time for us to sort of adapt to each other.

KING: How much time did you spend with mom, how much with dad?

PRESLEY: You know, mostly it was breaks. It was very inconsistent. Sometimes a car would show up to pick me up at school and I wasn't ready for it if he just sent for me, and so it was kind of inconsistent. But always holidays, summer, Easter with my dad, or I'd just go out on the road with him.

KING: You went on the road, watched him sing?


KING: What was that like?

PRESLEY: It was great. Yes. My mom most of the time, because I had to go to school, so I'd say more like foundational with my mother, more consistent.

KING: Did you know you were a privileged child?

PRESLEY: No. Not really. I mean, I didn't think of it because it was such the opposite once, especially once my father died, my mother made sure I was in a situation where I didn't feel, you know, or get treated any different particularly than anybody else. And my family on my mom's side particularly was very interested in, was interested in making sure I didn't feel too spoiled or ...

KING: That was smart, wasn't it?


KING: You do the same with your children?


KING: Not easy. P

RESLEY: No. No, they got a good head on their shoulders right now, so I think that, you know -- I didn't know I was privileged particularly, I did try to get, you know -- I think earlier, you know, trying to pull weight a little bit as a kid, you now, you wanted to be proud of your parents, and I'm sure I made a few comments that were sort of snotty and spoiled. But luckily it didn't last.

KING: You were also close to Linda Thompson, your father's last girlfriend, right?


KING: Still close to her?


KING: It's nice that you were able to balance that, and that Priscilla was able to balance it, as well.

PRESLEY: It's true. Yes, she and I have remained very close and I'm also close with David Foster.

KING: All right. Now, you admitted to Rolling Stone that you had drugs as a kid.


PRESLEY: Why does any kid do that, you know? I don't think I was any different from anybody else, growing up, experiencing, experimenting, not feeling understood, angstful teenager, you know?

KING: Rebellious?

PRESLEY: Rebellious, yes.

KING: Would you say that you were difficult to handle?

PRESLEY: I was difficult to handle, yes. But, yes.

KING: What straightened you out?

PRESLEY: I kind of had enough at a certain point, and I just snapped out of it, was sick of it, overdid it, and wanted to stop.

KING: Did you concentrate on your studies?

PRESLEY: Yes. You mean in Scientology?

KING: No, we'll get to that. In school.

PRESLEY: No, I dropped out of school when I was 11. I mean 11th grade.

KING: You never finished high school?

PRESLEY: No. See that was the problem. Yes, I didn't have a purpose, I didn't quite understand what I was doing there, and I was still in this rage, and my mother was with this guy I hated, and in a real odd relationship that I wasn't happy, I didn't want to be home, and she kept putting me in boarding schools. It was just, I wasn't focused, didn't have a purpose, basically.

KING: So that relationship ended?

PRESLEY: Thank God, yes.

KING: That must have been hard on the daughter when the mother is with someone you hate.

PRESLEY: Yes. This guy was -- yes. He booked -- I don't know -- he may even have come on your show. Did he?

KING: What was his name?

PRESLEY: Michael Edwards (ph). KING: No.


KING: Not on this show. Never heard the name.

PRESLEY: Good. Anyway. Yes. So that was not easy.

KING: Tell me about the first husband. How good a father is he to the children?


KING: Yes.

PRESLEY: He is my best friend and...

KING: Really?

PRESLEY: Yes. Yes. He's actually holding the fort right now when I'm busy, when I'm doing my thing, so he's kind of at the house running everything.

KING: So that was a good relationship.

PRESLEY: That was an amazing relationship, yes.

KING: Why did it end?

PRESLEY: Difficult when you're a man and you're with a woman who has the money, the fame, the whole thing where they can be beautiful souls, that have amazing talent yet they get pummeled by my image, they become Mr. Presley, they become negated, somehow, and that creates a certain amount of resentment and then that creates, you know, disputes. And it wasn't that -- I mean, when I met Danny I knew this is going to be the father of my children, so...

KING: You did?

PRESLEY: Yes, I mean - I knew that he was going to be someone I would always be OK with being connected to for my whole life.

KING: What did he do for a living?

PRESLEY: He was a bass player, a musician. But he was a great musician and he -- he became sort of like, whoa -- once he married me and all this attention got on that he was like, you know, he couldn't help but feel a bit pummeled over and even now -- I mean, know he wrote with me on my record and I gave him all this credit because I wanted him to have it because he was so much part of my development as an artist that he doesn't want to come out. You know? He -- people are trying to interview him and he won't -- he doesn't want to do any of that.

KING: He never liked being Mr. Presley?

PRESLEY: No. Which I understood. Yes.

KING: That's great that you're still close though. How long were you married?

PRESLEY: Six, seven years. We were together for like 10, actually. Eight on and off. You know, it was that type thing.

KING: We'll be right back with Lisa Marie Presley on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(VIDEO CLIP)KING: Now you have a baby. How good a father was he?

P. PRESLEY: Well, I was the disciplinarian. I mean, he wouldn't...

KING: He spoiled her.

P. PRESLEY: He spoiled her, yes. He loved children and he definitely spoiled her and he left the discipline to me. I was the bad guy. So, you know, Lisa of course always wanted to be with him because she didn't get any discipline with him. He would either stay up until 3:00 in the morning, you know, not bathed, not brush her teeth and I was the one on the telephone going, Did you brush your teeth?

KING: How did you handle when she got all that attention for being married to Michael Jackson? How did you as the mother handle that?

P. PRESLEY: Concern. Concern. I think -- I think any mother would be concerned, you know. I -- you know, obviously, If my daughter is happy, you know, then I don't have any problem. But she's very strong willed.

KING: Wonder where she got that from.

P. PRESLEY: I don't know.

KING: Was she happy for a time?

P. PRESLEY: I think so. I think so. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All right, we have to ask it. How do you explain the Michael Jackson thing?

PRESLEY: You know I'm going to explain this over and over and over...

KING: Yes, but I haven't heard it.

PRESLEY: You haven't heard it? God, it wasn't -- it was just.

KING: How'd you explain it to little Larry?

PRESLEY: OK. I just met someone who -- because we were born, raised in different situations, different upbringings, there was a connection, on that front. You know?

KING: Superstars, superstars.

PRESLEY: Yes, this fishbowl life, oddities, different circumstances thing. I think that I was trying to, at the time, obviously the marriage to somebody who wasn't you know -- what's the word- - famous enough or enough on their own. It wasn't really working out like that.

KING: In other words, he wasn't going to be bothered that you were a Presley.

PRESLEY: Right. I kind of -- right -- so in my mind at the time I'm thinking I'll marry somebody who's even bigger or as big or whatever than I am and I can actually feel like a wife, feel like somebody who which I really liked feeling to be honest with you. I liked the idea that I could be next to someone and they are getting all the attention and I was fine with that. You know? It felt more natural, like a female type of a natural.

KING: Very understandable.

PRESLEY: So I thought that would be a good thing now because of that and things seemed relatively normal to begin with.

KING: Why didn't it work?

PRESLEY: A lot of reasons but I -- you know it was just -- it was a messy -- you know it's never -- when you have that situation then you have - it's drawbacks which is, you know, entourages of people. I didn't like the attention, particularly. I really did sort of thrive in being finally a woman who could take care of someone and have that person be getting all the attention. I liked that whole idea. But then that had it's own things connected with it, you know?

KING: So you were smart enough to know that once that took place, you were going to be in the tabloids every week.

PRESLEY: I kind of -- yes , I wasn't trying to live my life via some of the damn tabloids, pardon my French, but I just kind of did what I wanted to do, but I thought I...

KING: Was he good to your kids?

PRESLEY: Yes, he was always good to my kids.

KING: Are you friendly now?

PRESLEY: Don't talk to him right now. But, you know, it's kind of something I walked away from a long time ago, not something I try to keep in my life any more.

KING: Is his life going to straighten out, do you think?

PRESLEY: I have no idea.

KING: Because he keeps seeming to always have little problems that develop around like there's a little cloud that follows him around with all that talent.

PRESLEY: It's true. I don't know. You know, it's kind of -- I really can't even predict it any more. I can't keep up with it either. It's always changing. I can't keep up.

KING: Do you think he's a good father to his kids?

PRESLEY: I'm sure. I met -- I only got a chance to meet his son and he was adorable and he was great with him. But when I did have -- it was very brief; it was a long time ago, it was fine.

KING: Was he interested in your father's music, by the way?

PRESLEY: I -- you know -- he didn't go out of his way to tell me that but I heard from others and I kind of got the idea that he was.

KING: And the Nicolas Cage thing, what went - I like Nic.


KING: Don't you like Nic?

PRESLEY: I adore Nic. I do.

KING: What was -- what happened there?

PRESLEY: That was -- you know -- again, I'd been with two people that in between, Michael and Nic, that were really known people...

KING: Just dating.

PRESLEY: Yes, or engaged to one at one point and someone else and then I -- that wasn't working out so I went with Nic and ended up -- again it looked attractive like I could be equal. Similar situations, similar backgrounds. So we connected, we had a great connection. We were both a bit - we're sort of these gypsy spirited, you know, tyrannical pirates. And one pirate marries another they will sink the ship basically is what it comes down to.

KING: Are you friends with him?

PRESLEY: We are, very much, actually.

KING: Was it soon after you realized this was a mistake?

PRESLEY: You know, it was kind of one of those things where you marry someone hoping -- I mean we'd already had -- we'd been together for two years before we got married, so -- it was one of those things where you're marrying hoping that you're going to either stabilize it or it's going to, you know, accentuate all that was going on prior to what was problematic. So it kind of did the latter, that's all.

KING: Did he have a -- because as famous as he is, he isn't a Presley.


KING: Did he have a difficulty with that?

PRESLEY: See, yes, again, that's what's amazing. That's exactly what happened. He gets, you know -- I was sitting outside because he was in the tabloids there was all this Elvis fascination and Elvis obsession and I -- I said I can't believe they are actually pulling it off with you now too. I'm dating you. And you've got, I don't know, over 50 movies...

KING: Academy Award.

PRESLEY: Academy Award, amazing actor and you're getting put off on some, as an Elvis freak because you did those, you know, whatever. And they'll find some way to downgrade your -- what's the word -- denigrate, is that right?

KING: Denigrate, yes.

PRESLEY: You, or anybody I'm with.

KING: And so he had to have trouble with it.

PRESLEY: He got annoyed, you know -- and I got annoyed. I was like how can they -- you know -- they have to make it something. It's not -- you know we cannot be because you're an Elvis freak, you know, thing. Which is said about both of us, actually.

KING: The album is "To Whom it May Concern." No. 5 on the Billboard charts.

(VIDEO CLIP) KING: What kind of dad was he?

JOE ESPOSITO, ELVIS' BEST FRIEND: He was a good day. He loved -- Elvis always loved kids and animals. Even when I had my two young girls, Debbie (ph) and Cindy (ph), he used to play with them all the time. And then we he had Lisa, I mean, he was just like a gloating father. I mean, he just loved to spoil his daughter. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Lisa Marie Presley. Is it true you smoke?


KING: Can't stop?

PRESLEY: Well, trying. Trying.

KING: I smoked for 35 years so...

PRESLEY: You did?

KING: Got a heart attack that stopped me.

PRESLEY: Yes, yes, yes. I know it's not good.

KING: You ever try to stop?

PRESLEY: Yes. Horrifying.

KING: Smoke a lot?

PRESLEY: How'd you stop?

KING: I had a heart attack -- it scared me to death.

PRESLEY: Yes, yes, that will do it. OK. Yes that happened to my grandfather.

KING: Elvis' father?

PRESLEY: No, my mom's father.

KING: He had a heart attack?

PRESLEY: He had a heart attack and then he stopped that day and hasn't smoked since.

KING: Have you ever tried to stop?

PRESLEY: It's a nightmare. Yes. Yes. I need to be sequestered.

KING: You want to light up right now, right?

PRESLEY: No, I'm OK. I'm good. I'm not a crazy smoker. I'm just -- you know, when I do it, I have to do it.

KING: But you can go without.

PRESLEY: Yes, I can go hours without.

KING: Well if you can do that, you can lick it. If you can do that, you can go without.


KING: You can lick it. How did you discover Scientology?

PRESLEY: My mom introduced me to John Travolta when I was 10 as a birthday present, I think, because I had a crush on him when he was on "Welcome Back, Kotter."

KING: Really, you had a crush on him? What a surprising thing back then.

PRESLEY: Yes, it was back when "Kotter" and "Grease" and "Saturday Night Fever" era. So, she took me to the set to meet him and I -- they ended up talking and having all this discussions and I -- I don't know -- somehow he brought it up to her. She went and told me about it. I was in the next day, knew it was good, knew I liked it. But wasn't ready. Knew I still, you know, had to go through being a teenager first. Did that for a while and then when I was ready I went there.

KING: Great guy, John Travolta.

PRESLEY: Yes, he's a sweetheart.

KING: Why does it get so badly rapped?

PRESLEY: I think it's just people not understanding what -- you know, when people don't understand something they tend to go after it. You know, it's not understood fully what it is. And it -- there's so many different things being said and I -- I think that it's a brand new --- it's relatively new religion. Religion's very controversial. It's a delicate subject. Especially a new one that's evolving very quickly. It's a little scary. I understand that, you know?

KING: You wonder why it frightens people? People not -- people who may know a little about it put down Scientology. Do you wonder why?

PRESLEY: Because of the reasons I just stated, I don't -- I guess not. To some degree I understand how -- I understand the nature of humans, and I understand that that would be scary thing for a religion to be -- you know -- and then have all this controversy around it.

KING: What does it bring to you?

PRESLEY: It pretty much helped me figure out who I was. It took me a long time but it's, you know, helped me figure that out, so.

KING: I knew L. Ron Hubbard.

PRESLEY: You did?

KING: Yes, I did. John was a -- I interviewed L. Ron Hubbard because he was one of the great science fiction writers ever...


KING: He wrote some great science fiction. Interviewed him in the '60s, some time before he died...


KING: ...and he was the founder of Scientology.


KING: Are you raising your children to be Scientologists?

PRESLEY: I'm -- they can -- I'm not -- you know -- I'm not forcing anything on them. But, definitely they've had it around them; they're very familiar with it. But they can pick their own thing. But it does tend to make life saner, things saner. So -- around you -- when you have it, so...

KING: Was it of great help to you when you went through the divorce, the first divorce and...

PRESLEY: Yes, it's always been sort of -- you know -- a great thing to pick up the pieces that I kind of...

KING: In other words, it works for you.

PRESLEY: Yes. It works for me, yes.

KING: What was single parenting like for you? You had to raise those two kids, right?

PRESLEY: Yes, I did and still am. It's -- it was great. I mean I really -- I love nothing more than being a parent because it gives me something to be responsible for besides myself, which is a good thing. And so I'm good with that. Now Danny is a big, huge help with me so we're not -- we are kind of co-parenting in an odd -- we still go on vacations together and he's over every holiday. It's -- we're still connected.

KING: Why don't you just marry him?

PRESLEY: I don't know.

KING: Sounds like a great guy.

PRESLEY: You know, we don't have that sort of dynamic. It's -- like an unconditional -- like we're comrades, you know.

KING: Now your kids have one fortunate thing? Their last name is not Presley.

PRESLEY: Yes I did that for them, you know. I kind of wonder now if that was not a good idea, but...

KING: Why? Why?

PRESLEY: Because it's the only heirs you know to -- they're the descendants -- they're the heirs. They'll be. I'm the only one that's going to be able to pass that name down, so I've kind of been like maybe I shouldn't have done that. But at the same time, I didn't want them to be living too oddly or I didn't want all this. I didn't -- my biggest fear has been losing their identity of themselves and falling into all of this who they're connected to thing, including myself right now.

KING: Who runs Graceland?


KING: By decree, by the standards of the trust?

PRESLEY: Yes, by all of that. I'm the chairman of the board.

KING: What's that like?

PRESLEY: It's something...

KING: How old are you?

PRESLEY: How old am I -- 35, I think -- 35.

KING: Pretty responsible position.


KING: You have to go to board meetings and make decisions about what -- what is Graceland now, is it a national trust, it's a private institution, it's a...

PRESLEY: It's private.

KING: It's publicity -- it's a tourist attraction.

PRESLEY: Yes. It is -- it's a whole monopoly and just -- you know, it's been up and running like this for 25 years so there's heads of the departments and different areas, licensing, publishing, and they're very good at what they do. And so basically we have meetings -- there's offices here, there's offices in Memphis. And I've been sort of being groomed into that since I was 17. You know, brought into the meetings and sort of adapted.

KING: Now that's a lot of pressure.

PRESLEY: Yes, I mean -- my mom -- you know my mom's been great at doing that, so and like sort of letting me move in and do my thing as well so it's...

KING: Your children will inherit this mantle then?


KING: Any downside to it?

PRESLEY: No. I mean, in terms of...

KING: Well one downside would be they are economically set for life, aren't they?

PRESLEY: They are, but that doesn't mean I want them to know, you know, not live their lives like that. I want them to be productive individuals that are going to actually create a product...

KING: Not spoiled.


KING: We'll be right back with our remaining moments with Lisa Marie Presley right after these words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THOMPSON: I've known Lisa she was four years old.

KING: Still know her? THOMPSON: Still know her very well and she's just...

KING: Did you meet Priscilla too?

THOMPSON: Met Priscilla. Elvis would send his bodyguards to pick Lisa...

KING: Good father?

THOMPSON: Great father. He adored his little girl.

KING: All right.

THOMPSON: If love is any measure, and I believe that it is -- I believe that's all there is.

(VIDEO CLIP) DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: Tell me who said the word marriage first....


PRESLEY: He did. SAWYER: When? Where?

(CROSSTALK) JACKSON: Oh yes, on the telephone. PRESLEY: He first asked me.


PRESLEY: We were dating now four months, right? Four months?

JACKSON: I don't remember.

PRESLEY: Well, anyway. We were spending a lot of time together. I don't know it didn't manage to get in the press because we weren't hiding it. I was in Las Vegas. We were in Neverland.

JACKSON: We were everywhere.

PRESLEY: Everywhere. I went to... (CROSSTALK)

PRESLEY: ..bookstores. We were not hiding it.

SAWYER: And you said yes right away?

PRESLEY: I was separated for four months and I said -- he said, What would you do if I asked you to marry me? And I said I would.


KING: We're back with Lisa Marie Presley. The album is "To Whom It May Concern." We'll get back to the music -- remember that Diane Sawyer interview of you and Michael? Was that weird?

PRESLEY: Yes that was a little strange. That was very strange. I mean, I was a nervous wreck, so...

KING: Did you regret doing that?

PRESLEY: I did after I sort of got my head and cleared of all that. You know it took me a long time to come out of that emotionally and once I did and I watched it again I was -- it was a little disturbing, startling.

KING: Do you put it a lot of your life in your music? P

RESLEY: Yes, it's all very autobiographical, everything.

KING: So you write about your -- about your dad in one of your songs.

PRESLEY: Yes. I write about the loss of a loved one and sort of -- I try to make it universal though, an ode to anybody who has lost a loved one.

KING: You've had to deal with loss in your life.


KING: Any good advice on that?

PRESLEY: God. No, I don't -- God, it's not -- it's not ever something that you get over. It just brings you down. Each one is like a blow and then you go down each time. It's not something you ever get used to or want to deal with or -- you know -- I can't...

KING: Are you going to tour?

PRESLEY: I am. I am.

KING: When?

PRESLEY: I go to Europe next and then I start a tour in I believe July right now.

KING: Europe on a promotional tour?

PRESLEY: No, it's going to be; I'll be touring with somebody but it's not for sure yet right now we're still going back and forth right now...

KING: You and another act?


KING: Can you tell us who?

PRESLEY: I can't yet because it hasn't been decided.

KING: Are they famous too?

PRESLEY: Are they famous? Yes. KING: They are. So it'll be a -- quite a double billing.


KING: All right, it's safe to ask this, then -- do you have an act? You can't just go on stage and sing one song after another. Right? Don't you need an act?

PRESLEY: As far as theatrics go?

KING: Yes, talking to the audience, telling a little about this song, what song will follow the next song. There are experts in this.


KING: Because show business people in the past have made the mistake of having a hit album and just thinking I can go on stage anywhere and just sing my album...


KING: ... it don't work that way.

PRESLEY: Right. Well there's light, there's a chemistry with the band, there's a chemistry with the audience, yes. So I'm getting -- I'm finding my way with that right now.

KING: Like your father had a great act. Wasn't just the singing, he had a great act. There was a reason why one song followed another song.


KING: His repartee with the band, his repartee with the audience. Are you comfortable...

PRESLEY: You are intimidating me now. (LAUGHTER)

PRESLEY: Do I have one...

KING: You should be a natural at this.

PRESLEY: Yes, well we're working at -- it's fine -- I mean, I do whatever instinctively comes right now which is working well so far, so we'll see when I stop being nervous, you know. They're kind of throwing me out there fast. You know, I'm not really getting a run like most bands who've been signed and they were run with and they get -- by the time their record comes out they're ready to go on the road. But with me it's like, you know, first performance was in front of Robert Hillburn, which is a showcase. And I was neurotic. Second one was "Good Morning America," third was, like, "Letterman." You know? So it's kind of like, God, can I have a runway, people?

KING: Are you going to do another album?

PRESLEY: Yes, I am definitely. I'm going to always write.

KING: You're writing all the time. Will you write for others?

PRESLEY: If it's asked for, I could think about it, but it's usually pretty -- I drive from my own life, for my own thing, you know.

KING: It's very personal.


KING: Why Capitol Records?

PRESLEY: Capitol Records is amazing, doing amazing right now. Andy Slater (ph), that's why.

KING: It's a great, always been, a great company.

PRESLEY: Yes, he's -- it's been a great company but Slater was the reason I stayed on with Capitol. KING: Do you like recording? PRESLEY: I love it, yes. It's very natural to me now, so I spent a lot of years in the studio so it's some -- it's like a second home and I'm very comfortable in the studio.

KING: Now, about relationships, are you -- do you want to meet, finally, Mr. Right, or whatever his name may be? And get married? Would you have another kid?

PRESLEY: Yes, I do. I do. But I want -- I try not to focus on that right now. I'm obviously not very good at it, just yet, so I'll just lay low until I figure it out.

KING: Why do you think you're not good at it?

PRESLEY: Because I have an unusual situation, you know? I'm not...

KING: I would say.

PRESLEY: Yes, I'm not an average -- you know, I'm not living an average situation here where it's easy to just meet your match and you know -- with me it's a little different. You get with somebody who doesn't have a name or doesn't quite have the whatever it is to stand up next to me they get -- they get swamped and then you get somebody who is a celebrity then that's got it's things where you get too bold an opinion and then there's another problem. So, it's kind of you know, it's me trying to find something in the middle, something right.

KING: There's no natural life for you. If you meet a guy who isn't well known he's going to have a tough time. If you meet a guy who's very well known, he's going to have a rough time for the opposite reasons of the other guy.

PRESLEY: Exactly.

KING: So you're almost in a no-win.

PRESLEY: Almost.

KING: Yes. Do you miss being in love?

PRESLEY: Do I miss it?

KING: Well I'm assuming you're not in love now.

PRESLEY: No. Do I miss it? You know it's too distracting...

KING: You know what those moments are like.

PRESLEY: I get too distracted when I'm in love. It's better that I'm not.

KING: Better to be in like.

PRESLEY: Yes, yes.

KING: Do you date?

PRESLEY: Not right now.

KING: Do you intimidate men?

PRESLEY: Probably.

KING: The average guy don't call up and say, Hey, Lisa Marie, what are you doing Saturday night, we'll go to the movies.

PRESLEY: No, it doesn't happen very often.

KING: And your daughter is...

PRESLEY: Thirteen.

KING: And the other?


KING: He's ten. And they're very different?

PRESLEY: Not too bad, no. You know, honestly not. They are such little descendants of me and their dad.

KING: Good kids?

PRESLEY: They're good kids. Yes.

KING: They've got a good mom.

PRESLEY: Thank you.

KING: Thank you. Lisa Marie Presley. The album is "To Whom It May Concern." It's No. 5 on the Billboard charts. She's going to be touring in July with someone very big. Not bigger. Very big. In the tabloids hunting for who that might be.

We thank Lisa Marie Presley and I'll be back in just a moment. Don't go away.

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