Lisa Marie Presley Discusses Past Addiction Struggles

By David Konow 08/14/18

“I was not happy. The struggle and addiction for me started when I was 45 years old. It wasn’t like it was happening all my life."

Lisa Marie Presley

Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley, recently spoke on the Today show about her personal struggles with addiction.

Presley spoke with Jenna Bush Hager at Graceland on the eve of the release of Where No One Stands Alone, a new compilation album of her father’s gospel songs. (She co-produced the album and sings a posthumous duet with her father on the title song.)

Lisa Marie, who is now 50, said that her struggles with addiction began five years ago.

“I was not happy,” she said. “And by the way, the struggle and addiction for me started when I was 45 years old. It wasn’t like it was happening all my life. I have a therapist and she was like, ‘You’re a miracle. I don’t know how you’re still alive.’”

In a 2003 interview with Paper magazine, Lisa Marie credited Scientology for getting her clean after one last bender.

“I was on a 72-hour bender,” she said. “Cocaine, sedatives, pot and drinking—all at the same time. I never got my hands on heroin, but it’s not like I wouldn’t have taken it. I just couldn’t be sober. I don’t know how I lived through it.”

In 2016, Us Weekly reported that Presley checked into a high-end rehab for an addiction to painkillers.

Along with her father's iconic music career, Elvis was also legendary for his own struggles with addiction. Lisa Marie was nine years old when her father died of a heart attack on August 15, 1977 at the age of 42.

Elvis’s death was a big shock at the time, and is still a strong cautionary tale against the excesses of fame and prescription drugs. Elvis had a personal doctor, Dr. George Nichopoulos, who came under fire for prescribing too many drugs to the singer, and after several medical board inquires his medical license was permanently suspended in 1995.

According to Biography, the toxicology report from Elvis’s death showed he had high levels of Dilaudid, Quaaludes, Percodan, Demerol, and codeine in his system.

Yet in the depths of her despair, Lisa Marie reached out to the spirit of her father for help. “I’m not perfect, my father wasn’t perfect, no one’s perfect,” she told Today. “It’s what you do with it after you learn and then you try to help others with it.”

When Hager asked what she would ask her father, Lisa Marie said, “I would want to know he’s there. Yeah, it would be pretty much, ‘I could use your help right around now.’”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.