Riley Keough has finally spoken out about her bitter feud with grandma Priscilla Presley over her late mother Lisa Marie’s multi-million-dollar estate – insisting that things ‘will be happy again’ between their pair after their lengthy legal battle was resolved.
Earlier this month, the 34-year-old actress and model was named as the sole trustee of her late mom’s estate – which includes ownership of Graceland – after reportedly agreeing to pay her grandmother $1 million, as well as $400,000 in legal fees.
Now, Riley has opened up about the legal tussle with Priscilla in an interview with Vanity Fair, admitting to the publication that her family was thrown into ‘chaos’ in the wake of her mother’s death, and that they were left ‘in a panic’ about how to manage their grief alongside the future of the Presley ‘business’.
‘When my mom passed, there was a lot of chaos in every aspect of our lives,’ the mother-of-one – who welcomed a daughter with husband Ben Smith-Petersen via surrogate in 2022 – shared.
Riley Keough has finally spoken out about her bitter feud with grandma Priscilla Presley over her late mother Lisa Marie’s multi-million-dollar estate
‘When my mom passed, there was a lot of chaos in every aspect of our lives,’ the mother-of-one – who welcomed a daughter via surrogate in 2022 – shared
Riley (seen with Priscilla, Lisa Marie and Lisa Marie’s twin daughters Harper and Finley) became embroiled in a legal battle over her late mother’s estate after her death in January
‘Everything felt like the carpet had been ripped out and the floor had melted from under us.
‘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.’
She added that the situation between herself and Priscilla was made all the more complicated by the fact that they had never had to deal with the ‘business’ side of their family legacy before, noting that their relationship had never moved beyond that of a grandmother and granddaughter.
After her mother’s death in January of this year, reports quickly spread of a bitter rift between Priscilla and Riley, who became embroiled in a legal battle over a 2016 amendment to Lisa Marie’s will, which excised Priscilla as trustee of the estate.
Attorneys for Priscilla said she only became aware of the amendment after the death of her daughter.
The amendment removed Priscilla and Lisa Marie’s former business manager Barry Siegel, and replaced them with Lisa Marie’s children Riley and Benjamin Keough.
Benjamin died in 2020 after shooting himself dead in the family’s mansion, with sources revealing he had been struggling at the time.
However, that dispute has now been solved after Riley agreed to pay her grandma a sum of $1.4 million – including $400,000 in legal fees – in return for being named as the sole trustee of her mother’s estate, which means she will also preside over the sub-trusts for her half sisters Harper and Finley Lockwood, daughters of Lisa Marie’s fourth husband Michael Lockwood.
The Daisy Jones and the Six star went on to praise her grandmother – who was married to rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley for seven years – as a ‘beautiful woman’
Riley also paid tribute to Priscilla for all that she has done to ‘love and protect Graceland (seen) and the Presley family and the legacy’
‘Things with Grandma will be happy… They’ve never not been happy,’ she said. ‘There was a bit of upheaval, but now everything’s going to be how it was’
For her role, Priscilla will be a special adviser to the trusts and receive a monthly payment for her role.
Priscilla will also be allowed to be buried at Graceland, the Memphis home of Elvis Presley, which Riley will now own.
Riley says that she and her grandmother have now found a shared ‘clarity’ about how best to move forward, which has set them on a path to repairing their fractured relationship, although she insists that there was never any ‘unhappiness’ between them.
‘Things with Grandma will be happy… They’ve never not been happy,’ she said. ‘There was a bit of upheaval, but now everything’s going to be how it was.’
She went on to praise her grandmother – who was married to rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley for seven years – as a ‘beautiful woman’, highlighting the ‘huge’ role Priscilla played in ‘creating my grandfather’s legacy and Graceland’.
In the interview, Riley also revealed the name of her and husband Benjamin Smith-Petersen’s baby daughter: Tupelo Storm Smith-Petersen
‘It’s very important to her. He was the love of her life,’ Riley went on, noting that all her grandmother wants is to ‘love and protect Graceland and the Presley family and the legacy’.
One of the newest members of that dynasty is Riley’s daughter, whose name the actress revealed for the very first time in her Vanity Fair interview: Tupelo Storm Smith-Petersen.
Elvis fans will immediately recognize the significance of her daughter’s first name as the birthplace of the music legend – although Riley says that she chose the moniker before the recent biopic about her grandfather was released, bringing the Mississippi town to great prominence.
‘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,”‘ she explained. ‘Then when the Elvis movie came out, it was like, Tupelo this and Tupelo that.
‘I was like, “Oh, no.” But it’s fine.’
Tupelo’s middle name, Storm, is a tribute to Riley’s late brother Benjamin Storm Keough.
Riley, who has kept details of her daughter’s birth closely guarded, also opened up about her decision to welcome a child via surrogate, explaining that while she ‘can carry children’, she felt that it was ‘best’ for her not to do so because of her ongoing autoimmune issues caused by her Lyme disease diagnosis.
At the time of the interview, Riley had just returned from Switzerland, where she underwent 15 days of treatment for her condition – telling the publication that it was the first thing she had tried that had actually helped with her symptoms.
According to the actress, the holistic treatment center where she was staying focuses on methods that ‘you can’t really do in America yet, like cleaning your blood’.
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