The death of Elvis Presley in 1977 sent a shock wave through his millions of fans all over the world, but none took the news as hard as his only child, Lisa Marie Presley, who was only 8-years-old at the time. Growing up under a microscope after that was difficult, especially as she struggled with drug use, questionable romances, and a music career many saw as a joke. But she made it through (barely) and now has a husband she calls "The One" as well as four beautiful, healthy children. So when she celebrated her 42nd birthday, the last one her father ever saw for himself, two years ago it was a bittersweet milestone. "It freaked me out," Presley tells Elle in its May issue. "It was my grandmother as well [who died at] the same age, and I was like, 'What are my odds here?'" And when she thinks about the fact that her father was robbed of ever meeting her wonderful husband, Michael Lockwood, or his grandchildren, "I get emotional."
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While Presley is quite content with her current state in life, it wasn't easy getting there. In order to find her prince, she had to kiss a lot of frogs. After divorcing fellow Scientologist Danny Keough (the father of her older two children Riley, 22, and Benjamin, 19) in 1994, 20 days later Elvis' beloved daughter rebounded very publicly with Michael Jackson, who at the time was fighting molestation charges. Although the cringe-worthy relationship was deemed a ploy for positive publicity for the King of Pop, Presley swears it was the real deal — well, at least for her. In fact, she also reveals in the Elle interview that even after their 1996 divorce, she and Jackson continued an on-off affair for four years. That's when she met Nicolas Cage, an admitted Elvis Presley superfan, and embarked on a wild, tabloid-friendly romance that was rife with fights and breakups (during one, she flung her $65,000 engagement ring into the ocean). Still, the doomed pair married in 2002 … and divorced 108 days later.
After that, Presley threw herself into her music and released her debut album, To Whom It May Concern, in 2003 and kicked off a tour in support of it. As fate would have it, Lockwood was the musical director of her touring band, and after a year-long flirtation the two finally made it official. In 2006, they said "I do" in Japan and welcomed twin girls Finley and Harper two years later. "I had to have gone through a lot of other things before I could appreciate him," Presley says of Lockwood, with whom she moved from Los Angeles to England to raise their daughters. "I don't think you can be happy without knowing unhappiness as well, or else you don't appreciate happiness."
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Although she's happy on the inside, Presley has always had a cold outer shell, which she says is a total misconception. "I think people think I'm harder and more arrogant and cocky than I am because I know how to put on a front, but it's nothing like who I am inside," she says. "To be honest, I'm really overly, scarily sensitive, and I feel way too much, so I have to have something to hide under."
But in her older age, having experienced all that she has, Presley is finally finding a way to let go, let loose, and just embrace the good feelings. As she is set to release her third album, Storm and Grace — a record she says her father would be proud of — the chips are all starting to fall into place. "It's hard for me to be happy because I'm always worried about something going awry, or what could happen to screw up," she tells Elle during a stop in Memphis before she sets off on a nationwide tour with her family in tow. "It's hard for me to sit and look around, going, 'Ah, I'm really happy.' … [But] the truth is that I am."
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