The announcement seemed to come out of thin air. On August 1, 1994, a statement was sent to the media, reading: “My married name is Mrs. Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson. My marriage to Michael Jackson took place in a private ceremony outside the United States weeks ago. I am very much in love with Michael, I dedicate my life to being his wife. I understand and support him. We both look forward to raising a family.”
And in case no one believed those words, just over a month later, at the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 8, 1994, they stepped out together. “Welcome to the MTV Video Music Awards,” Jackson said, with Presley by his side. “I’m very happy to be here. Just think, nobody thought this would last.” And they sealed it with a lingering kiss.
The marriage of the King of Pop Michael Jackson to Lisa Marie Presley, the only daughter of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, seemed like a serendipitous union of music royalty that no one could have fantasized.
But sure enough, a May 26, 1994, marriage certificate proved that Jackson and Presley tied the knot in a secret ceremony in the Dominican Republic.
Jackson and Presley first met as children
With her father already a music sensation when she was born, Presley was raised in the world of rock ‘n’ roll on the famed Graceland estate in Memphis. Elvis and Priscilla Presley divorced when she was four, but she continued spending her time between Tennessee and Los Angeles, where her mother moved.
But it was when she was seven years old and tagging along to one of her dad’s concerts in Las Vegas that she first met Jackson when he was part of the Jackson Five. He was a decade her senior, but clearly made an impression and they stayed friendly.
However, it wasn’t until about November 1992 that they truly reconnected as grown-ups. At the time, Presley was married to her first husband, Danny Keough, with whom she had two children. And Jackson was under a microscope for alleged child molestation.
READ MORE: How Michael Jackson's Child Stardom Affected Him as an Adult
People speculated that Jackson's 'fascination with Elvis' fueled his desire to be with Presley
Yet there was some sort of spark. There was speculation that she was pregnant (but they never had a child together). There was talk it was a publicity stunt (but Presley crushed those rumors). One thing’s for certain: The pair enjoyed spending time together.
They vacationed at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida’s Palm Beach, “holding hands and talking into the wee hours,” according to Trump in a 1994 People story. Another source said they spent time in a park in Trump Tower in New York City, where they would “hold hands, kiss and cuddle, stare into each other’s eyes and look out at the stars.”
Friends observed that they were a good fit. After all, Jackson always feared possible lovers would come after his money, but clearly, that wasn’t the case with the heir to Elvis’ fortune. Others speculated that this was part of Jackson’s plot since he had a “fascination with Elvis” and wanted to be part of his world.
Despite what storylines the outside world put on their marriage, the two seemed connected.
Presley says drug abused plagued their marriage
Presley soon realized that drug abuse was a large part of Jackson’s life. He had collapsed on stage during a 1995 HBO special rehearsal. “I couldn't tell what was happening. Dehydration. Low blood pressure. Exhaustion. A virus?” she said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. But Winfrey asked, “What did your gut tell you? You thought there was some drug use?" and Presley answered, “Yes.”
They also disagreed about having a child. “I did want to, but I just wanted to make sure,” she told Winfrey. “I was looking into the future and thinking, ‘I don't ever want to get into a custody battle with him.’” She says her hesitation caused stress on the relationship.
Despite the difficulties, they were bonded. "I loved taking care of him,” said told Winfrey. “It was one of the highest points in my life when things were going really well, and he and I were united. It was a very profound time of my life."
But then came a time when it became too much. “He had to make a decision. Was it the drugs and the vampires or me? And he pushed me away,” Presley continued to Winfrey, defining the “vampires” as “people that are sort of… sycophants.”
READ MORE: Michael Jackson's Most Infamous Looks
Jackson and Presley divorced after less than two years of marriage
By January 18, 1996, the marriage was over.
They did continue to talk from time to time, the last time being in 2005, before Jackson’s death in 2009.
During that call, Jackson asked if Presley still loved him. “I told him I was indifferent," she said in the revealing 2010 Winfrey interview. “He didn't like that word. He cried.” But even more shocking, she adds that he expressed concern about his own well-being: “He felt that someone was going to try to kill him to get ahold of his catalog and his estate....but he expressed to me his concern over his life.”
In July 2019, it was revealed that Presley is working on a book, which she sold for between $3 million and $4 million to Gallery Books, that “promises shocking revelations about Michael Jackson and a completely new understanding of Elvis.”