This article originally appeared in the July 2003 issue playboy magazine.
Lisa Marie Presley inherited her father’s eyes, lips and fame. As the only child born to the King of Rock and Roll and his wife, Priscilla, Lisa Marie was internationally known from the moment of her birth on February 1, 1968, exactly nine months after her parents’ wedding night. Priscilla said Elvis “looked petrified” the first time he held his daughter, but soon he was spoiling her with expensive jewelry, a miniature fur coat and an impromptu jet ride to Utah so she could see snow for the first time. He gave her everything, Priscilla lamented, a child “shouldn’t have and couldn’t appreciate.”
Elvis had an aversion to making love to a woman who had given birth, so Lisa Marie’s arrival caused a sexual estrangement between the singer and his young bride. Soon, both were having affairs and they divorced five years later. Though Priscilla took primary responsibility for raising their daughter, Lisa Marie spent lots of time at Graceland, Elvis’ Memphis fortress. She was there when he died on August 16, 1977, after a decline marked by ballooning weight and addiction to prescription medication. When Elvis was found prone on the bathroom floor, she watched as people tried to revive him and asked, “What’s wrong with my daddy? Something’s wrong with my daddy, and I’m going to find out.”
Elvis’ death only deepened the mystery surrounding his daughter—People magazine dubbed Lisa Marie “the most carefully secluded of all celebrity children.” During that period of seclusion, she went through a drug phase—sedatives, marijuana, cocaine—which she says ended after she embraced Scientology. When she was 20, she married Danny Keough, an unknown musician. She was pregnant; they have two children, Danielle Riley, now 14, and Benjamin Storm, 10.
The relationship lasted six years, until she left Keough for Michael Jackson in 1994, marrying him in the Dominican Republic in a ceremony even Priscilla didn’t know about. There was widespread skepticism about any physical union, especially since Jackson had recently faced civil charges of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy. JACKSON-PRESLEY UNION SPARKS SHOCK, DOUBT, LAUGHS read one headline. During an interview around the time of their one-year anniversary, Diane Sawyer asked the couple if they had sex. Lisa Marie responded indignantly, “Yes, yes, yes.” Seven months later she filed for divorce. The marriage was “a mistake, everyone knows,” her lawyer declared.
After that mistake, she met actor (and longtime Elvis aficionado) Nicolas Cage at a party in 2001. They started a relationship, broke up, got back together, broke up, got back together and got married in Hawaii. He filed for divorce 107 days later.
The current question for Presley, 35, is whether she inherited Daddy’s talent. On her debut album, To Whom It May Concern, she sounds like a pissed-off Sheryl Crow, as her southern-fried rock rumbles with accusations, apologies, sarcasm and cursing. Writer Rob Tannenbaum spent two afternoons with Presley in the Capitol Records office in Hollywood, exploring her past, her new album and her future.
Most people make records for money or attention. You obviously don’t need the money.
I didn’t do it to get attention. I hate attention. When I have to speak in public, I get so neurotic that I lose control of my tongue, my legs and whatever else. If I’m standing in front of a lot of people, I feel what they are thinking about me, their speculation. But I want to be heard. I have been writing and recording songs since I was 20, for cathartic reasons, as an outlet. I just haven’t been doing it publicly.
In fact, you signed your record contract more than four years ago. Why did it take so long to make the record?
Honestly, I just needed to find my way, stylistically. I was anal about the final production. I didn’t want to learn the ropes publicly; I couldn’t afford that. I knew there was going to be more attention on me than on anyone else putting out a debut record. If I wanted to be a novelty, I could have easily called a top writer or a top producer and turned into a pop star. I could have done that years ago. But I wanted to be looked at as an artist, so I couldn’t do anything stupid or shallow or silly.
Were you writing silly songs?
I never had a fluff problem. It was always the opposite: “Let’s get you to lighten up and put some more radio-friendly stuff out there.” My songs were pretty dark and haunting.
There are 12 songs, including a bonus track. How many of them are happy?
I was talking with Nic [Cage] last night, and he lectured me: “I told you, you should put one happy song on the record.” I said, “Fuck that. I’m not doing it.” Music that’s happy doesn’t move me. So the answer to the question is, none.
Before this year, you rarely talked to the press. If you didn’t have an album to promote, would you be talking to us now?
No. What else would I talk about? My upbringing? I don’t like talking about myself. At this point I’m thinking, What have I done? The hard part is opening up for the first time. I have to combat 30 years of speculation and tabloid stuff. I have to go out there and say, “Hi, I’m not that person.” However, I understand the curiosity, and I don’t want to be an asshole or look like I’m hiding something. I realize why I feel vulnerable and afraid—a lot of people do interviews based on what their publicists tell them. I put my ass out there, cellulite and all. I can be very unfiltered and unedited, and that might kick me in the ass one day. I’m being really honest, and if I get shit on, I might never speak again.
There are plenty of ways to market you as a reminder of your father.
People get all kinds of crazy ideas to turn me into a goofball. A whole record of Elvis covers and duets. We can put you in a white suit! Sorry, Britney already took the cake on that one.
Did you ever think of putting the record out under a band name, like Jakob Dylan did with the Wallflowers?
I thought about that, or taking Presley off and just using “Lisa Marie.” But the record company wasn’t very happy with the idea. [Laughs] They had other plans. I’m not trying to run away, and I’m not trying to capitalize. I’m just trying to make a fucking record.
Your mother said, “The name Presley can be a hindrance and a help.” In what ways has it been both to you?
It’s only a hindrance in that I didn’t ask for all the attention, so I have a phobia against it. I don’t ask tabloids to chase me around every week. But at the same time, I would never take back any part of who I am or where I came from. I would never want to be part of anything else. I’m honored and proud of my family and my dad.
Did your name help you get a record deal?
Yeah, it helped me get a foot in the door. But you have to hold your own. And again, it’s a hindrance, because a lot of attention and pressure is on me. It’s a little scary, because people are either going to love it or they’re going to fucking hate my guts. Like, “You are the most despicable, sorry-ass excuse for a Presley that I’ve ever seen.” I’m too extreme, I think, for people to have a mediocre reaction.
Here’s a particularly unkind line from one review: “Her voice belongs in karaoke.”
You want me to react to that or something? I know it’s going to happen. Of course, I obsess on the bad reviews. Nobody wants to hear that sort of crap. Who is this fucking critic? He can bite me. I want to hear him sing. You can print that.
What are people most eager to know about you?
It’s the same thing: “Three marriages! Three marriages!”
Your ex-husband was involved with the record, right?
When you say “ex-husband,” you have to be specific. [Laughs] I almost said, “Which ex-husband?” Yeah, Danny and I wrote two songs together. He’s the first person I ever sang in front of, and he was the only person I wrote with for about eight years. So I wanted him to be on the record.
“Lights Out” is about your dad. Were you reluctant to write about him?
Very. The last thing I want is to look as if I’m capitalizing on that. I don’t want to be famous or superficially rich or some weird novelty. I addressed everything that affected me, and this is obviously important. Everything I have written about is pretty autobiographical.
The song also talks about Graceland and “the damn back lawn.” Why did you use that phrase?
Because I couldn’t say, “motherfucking back lawn.” It didn’t work melodically. The back lawn of Graceland is a graveyard, basically. How many people have a family grave in the backyard? How many people are reminded of their fate, their mortality, every fucking day? All the graves are lined up, and there’s a spot there, waiting for me, right next to my grandmother.
Do you plan on being buried there?
I don’t plan on anything. I’m sure I’ll end up there. Or I’ll shrink my head and put it in a glass box in the living room. I’ll get more tourists to Graceland that way.
The song is bittersweet. Is that how you feel about being a Presley?
To some degree it is. But I don’t feel bitter—"I’m a Presley, and I’m bitter.“ There’s good and bad with everything.
Your dad died at 42, and his mother died at 46. You’re 35. Do you think more about death these days?
No. When I was writing this album, I went through a period when I was not doing very well physically. It was mercury poisoning, from fillings. Everyone has a threshold, but after my divorce from Michael, I was under a lot of stress. My allergies caused craziness—I had my gallbladder removed, I went through hell. I constantly had these weird symptoms no one could explain. That was probably the worst period in my life, those two or three years.
Hey, at least you got some songs out of it. The person your lyrics are hardest on is you. You call yourself belligerent, needy, a princess—
And I’m an asshole. Yes, in certain circumstances, I can be any one of those things.
And in "S.O.B.”, you call yourself a son of a bitch.
It’s a term I heard a lot when I was growing up. “C'mere, you little son of a bitch.” My family members say that to one another. My Aunt Delta used to live in Graceland. She was a scary woman, very funny. People were afraid to be around her. She was an alcoholic diabetic, so she wasn’t always in the best mood. Her room was away from the tours, but she would come out to walk her dog and then flip off the tourists. They would come up to her and say, “Are you Aunt Delta?” She’d say, “Hell no, Delta died last night.”
There’s another song, “Nobody Noticed It”, that seems like it might be about your dad.
I wrote that to relieve myself of something I saw on TV about him, on the E! True Hollywood Story. It actually did me in, emotionally, for days. What made me angry was the interviews with the motherfuckers who hung around him. These idiots were so disgusting—they helped him go down and were actually worse than he was. It infuriated me. They were trying to take away his dignity, the one thing that was most important to him. And I needed to strike back at that. I happened to be going to the studio, and I got the melody in my head and started to cry.
You believe in revenge.
I’m like a lion—I roar. If someone betrays me, I won’t be a victim. I don’t sulk, I get angry. I go immediately into retaliation. But it always comes from insecurity or pain.
In your mother’s book, Elvis and Me, she wrote about your dad, “He wasn’t the kind of person who’d come out and say, ‘I’m scared.’ He held in his fears and emotions until, at times, he would explode, tearing into anyone who happened to be around.”
I’m much more like him on that front. That roar—I know that’s a DNA situation. My mom’s very strong and reasonable and caring—I have some of those qualities. But the rest is from him. I hear it nonstop from my family: “You are just like him.” “My god, you’re just like your daddy right now.” I hear that all the time when I’m in Memphis.
Do you have a sense of humor about Elvis jokes or comments about your dad shooting out the TV? Or is that still too personal?
No, it’s not too personal. Shooting out the television is funny and that makes me laugh. As long as you’re not degrading him.
Do you have a favorite song of your father’s?
It’s funny, I like the Seventies material because I was around for those recordings. There was some great stuff that never made it to radio: a song called “Mary in the Morning,” which I loved. “In the Ghetto.” I like the darker songs, the sad ones. There was a song called “Separate Ways” that was treacherously painful. And “How Great Thou Art,” when he’d sing that live, there was nothing like it. I’d go to his shows, and he was awesome.
You were five years old when your parents divorced. How did the divorce change your life?
When they divorced, I would go out on the road more and miss more school, which I liked. People say I didn’t get to see him very much, but I was with him quite a bit. All of a sudden, a car would show up at school, and he was calling for me to go out on the road.
What was it like, hanging out with him?
Nocturnal: Go to bed at four or five a.m. and get up at two or three the next afternoon. It was always a lot of fun. There is not one bad memory. There was always a lot of energy and life in the house. He was very mischievous.
You’d sit outside his room for hours, waiting for him to get up.
The only two rooms upstairs in Graceland are mine and his. When he slept, he was a bear in hibernation.
Did you know your father was addicted to pills?
I was aware of the demise. [Softly] His temper was getting worse, he was gaining weight, he was not happy. I saw him taking different pills, like a potpourri of capsules, but I didn’t know what they were. He was obviously not in good shape. But he didn’t want me to see that. So he would try to mask it for me.
You were visiting him at Graceland in 1977, when he died.
I was there when he died. I was there for most of that summer. I’m actually not going to go into his death, the day of, the whole thing. Just so you know. I avoid that in all interviews. It’s not something I like to capitalize on—particularly for people’s amusement.
Then we would like to compare your memories with some of the legends about him.
How much longer are we going to stay on this one? It’s not that I don’t like talking about him. And, yes, I could set the record straight. [Sighs] It’s just that I’m uncomfortable with divulging anything about him, because people have done that for so long and capitalized on it. I hate those people so much. It’s against my moral code to get attention by discussing him.
OK, let’s discuss your ex-husbands instead.
No—we’re going to stay on my dad, then. [Laughs]
Your mother also wrote that because your father spoiled you so much, “Lisa had trouble learning what was right and wrong.”
I don’t feel like I was spoiled. Anything my father did for me or gave me was done out of love, and I took it as that. I’m sure I had moments when I was a snot. But my mom was there to smack me back to the other side. Whatever he did, she cleaned it up.
After your parents split, your mom had a boyfriend named Michael Edwards—
Oh my god, can I use the bathroom before I talk about this sorry-ass motherfucker?
He confessed that while he was in a relationship with your mom, he had sexual feelings about you.
He’s a sick fuck. I know he wrote a book and said he lusted after my developing body as I got out of a pool. [In his book, Priscilla, Elvis and Me, Edwards wrote, “I’d had to put an end to our swimming together after one disturbing afternoon in the pool. Lisa had innocently thrown her arms around me, and we were jumping up and down. I became aroused. A sick feeling crept slowly into the pit of my stomach. I was craving Lisa sexually.”] He made his attempts at coming into my room and being inappropriate while drunk.
I was in destructo mode: Anything my mom didn’t want me to do, I would do. Smoking, drinking, drugs, boys, whatever I could get my hands on.
You were a tough kid.
I have always had a strength that intimidates people. It’s a protection mechanism. In every school, the kids would automatically hate me and think I was stuck up. But I wasn’t. I would make friends with the outcasts. You name it, I would get in trouble for it. I was in this destructo mode: Anything my mom didn’t want me to do, I would do. Smoking, drinking, drugs, boys, whatever I could get my hands on. I went through a drug phase for like three years.
Did you have a hard time finding drugs?
No. Does anyone if they really want them?
Were you sexually active?
I didn’t have sex until I was 15, like two weeks after my 15th birthday. But I was intrigued by sex at a very early age. I think I was a pervert when I was three. [Laughs] I liked looking up skirts. Body parts intrigued me.
Did your mother keep a close eye on you?
She watched me closely. After I read her book, I realized why. She’d done things that weren’t what your average 14-year-old would do. And I was doing the exact same things.
How did you and Priscilla become active in Scientology?
I dabbled in it for a bit, then ran off to be a spiteful teenager. I rediscovered it when I was 17. I’d spent three nights awake, having been on cocaine for 72 hours. Eventually, my mom kicked me out of the house and made me stay at the Scientology Celebrity Center. I was drinking, and she handed me over to them in the middle of the night. She wanted them to watch over me. And I was happy—I was out of the house and had my own apartment. I had all this freedom. The smartest thing they ever did was put me to work with drug addicts. That made me productive and responsible. The last time I did a drug for recreation, I was 17. You know what life’s going to bring you if you head down that route.
What does Scientology offer to you?
A better understanding of myself and others, sanity and insanity. Good answers—not answers that are enforced but don’t really make sense. It’s attacked because it’s not understood, and that annoys me. I mean, I had it all fucking happen to me, and I’m fine. I’m not medicated. I might fuck up my marriages, but other than that, I am fine. [Laughs]
And what about the Scientology belief that humans are descendants of space aliens?
I’ve never read anything in Scientology about aliens, but I have heard about it. An ex-boyfriend used to go, “Aliens! Aliens!”
When you were 17, you met Danny Keough in the church and later married him. What changed when you had a baby?
I was a tyrant as a kid, and then I had babies and settled down. Recently, in the past six years, I’ve gotten back in touch with my inner tyrant teenager. My friends were all out being crazy at 20, and I had babies. Now they’re married and I’m like, “Look at you, you’ve got it together and I don’t!”
What has Danny done as a musician?
He’s been in and out of bands. He’s had opportunities, but he’s his own worst enemy. He likes to sulk and be a tortured soul. He’d rather be anonymous and have nobody know that he was married to me. He needs confidence.
Does his lack of confidence come from having been married to you?
Very likely. He was overshadowed, buried alive by my mere existence, and he resented it.
In the song “Sinking In,” you say you didn’t treat him well.
We didn’t treat each other well. He can get pretty dark at times. We have that in common.
Who’s darker, you or Danny?
We fluctuate. Thank god we don’t go off the deep end at the same time, because our kids would be wrecks. He’s one of my closest friends. We go on vacations, spend holidays together, take the kids to school every morning.
Do you provide romantic advice to each other?
No. He just shakes his head and laughs at me. I’m his entertainment. “How much of a shitstorm can you cause?” He intervened with Michael. But even then he wasn’t vocal. He just let me know he wasn’t happy about that one.
So you left Danny, an insecure, struggling musician, to marry Michael Jackson, the King of Pop.
I walked away from Danny and went into Michael. And that was stupid. I thought it would help, because Michael and I had so much in common, our upbringings. And then it hit me in the face a year later.
Other than Danny, who knew you were going to marry Michael?
No one except the people who arranged the wedding.
Why didn’t you tell your mom?
Because I knew she was against it. She was already saying, “Don’t you think this is just good timing for him? Wake up.” But I wouldn’t hear anything about it.
What did Priscilla say when you told her you had married him?
She called me casually one day and said, “Ugh, there are helicopters flying over my house, driving me crazy. They’re saying that you married Michael Jackson.” And I was silent. And she went, “No, you didn’t. Lisa! Tell me.” And I went, “Yup. I did it.” And I have to say I got a bit of a kick out of it, just for old times’ sake. One more middle finger going up.
Lots of other people suspected it was a publicity stunt, because he had been accused of child molestation.
We met casually at a friend’s house, and he immediately disillusioned me of any preconceived ideas I had of him. He said, “I know you think this about me, you think that,” and I immediately said, “Oh my god, you’re so misunderstood!” I forgot who he was within 20 minutes, because we were so locked into a conversation.
You’re saying that Michael Jackson is seductive?
He’s not sexually seductive, but there is something riveting about him. He doesn’t let people see who he is. When he does, it’s hard to shake. I got caught up and thought I was in love with the man. I don’t know what else to say.
When you announced the marriage, you said in a press release, “I understand and support him.” Please explain Michael to those of us who really don’t understand him.
Here’s the thing: For a while, Michael was like the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain. At one time he was really good at manipulating a Howard Hughes type of image: “He’s mysterious, fascinating.” He became this bigger-than-life figure. But at some point, it turned on him and he became this freak. And now he can’t get out from under it. When you’re the king of your own palace, there are no morals or ethics or integrity. Everyone will kiss your ass and then give you the push that knocks you over.
Did you and he ever have children join you in your bed?
Never. Never, never, never, never. I never saw him sleep in a bed with a child, ever.
Did you ever see him with photos of nude children?
Do you have any reason to think he’s a child molester?
If I’d had any reason to suspect that, I would have had nothing to do with the guy. I had no reason to, other than the allegations themselves. The only two people who know are Michael and that kid in the room. I’ve never seen him behave inappropriately. He was great with my kids. He does have a connection with kids, babies. He’s a kid, and other kids sense that in him.
It would help his case if he’d stop saying, “Yes, I sleep with children.”
I know! Someone should call him and go, “Would you just stop saying that? It’s not working for you!”
Did you and Michael discuss having kids?
Yeah. [Laughs] I got out of that one. “I just don’t think it’s a good idea right now.” But I knew that’s what he wanted. And I knew Debbie Rowe was offering to do it for him while we were married, according to him. She was a nurse who had a crush on him and offered to have his babies.
Was he trying to leverage you into agreeing?
Kind of. “Debbie Rowe says she’ll do it.” OK, have Debbie Rowe do it! And it’s funny, when I imagined having a child with him, all I could ever see was a custody battle nightmare.
He just wanted to find someone to bear his children.
I think so, but I don’t know.
Did you watch his TV interviews last winter with Martin Bashir?
I watched, because I was on a radio tour that week and I was being asked about it every day. I was like, Could there be any worse timing? I walked away in 1996. It’s not something consuming my thoughts anymore.
I never did anything to get publicity. I got caught up in Michael’s thing, which was manipulation.
When Diane Sawyer interviewed you and Michael, she asked if you two had sex, and you were indignant. Can you see how the marriage looked suspicious to people?
I can see that, only because that’s his thing, not mine. That always upset me. I was married for several years to a bass player nobody knew and before that never dated a celebrity. I never did anything to try to get publicity. I got caught up in Michael’s thing, which was manipulation. I was like, “Fuck you people, that’s not who I am. Why am I being blamed for a publicity stunt? Oh, I’m Miss Aspiring Singer, and now I want a record deal? That’s why I’m with him?”
It sounds like you think he used you.
I’m not going to say he did or didn’t. There are things that don’t look good, that’s all I can say. And most people saw it at the time, except me.
When did the relationship go sour for you?
Not long after Diane Sawyer. I started to wake up and ask a lot of questions—I don’t want to go into detail, but it went downhill pretty quick.
What about your kiss at the Video Music Awards in 1994? It looked so staged and awkward.
It looked awkward because I wanted out of my skin. At the 1lth hour, he says, “I’m gonna kiss you.” I was like, “No, I don’t want to do that. Do we have to? That’s bullshit.” On the way there I kept saying, “Do we have to?” I squeezed his hand so hard that I cut off the circulation. He wouldn’t tell me when it was going to happen.
It was reported that you asked him for a divorce while he was in the hospital recovering from “exhaustion.”
Not true. There was a bit of a showdown in the hospital, and I didn’t understand what was wrong with him. I didn’t know what he was up to. When I started asking too many questions about what was wrong, he asked me to leave. This is the real story. He said, “You’re causing trouble.” The doctors wanted me to go. I freaked out, because it was all too familiar. When he got out, I called him and said, “I want out.”
Later, when you met Nic Cage, were you thinking about marriage?
After Michael, I wasn’t in a hurry to get married again. Nic was also ending a marriage to Patricia Arquette that wasn’t in good shape. But we clicked instantly. He is grand—that’s a good word for him. We had somewhat similar realities, both part of famous families, and I admired the shit out of him because he detached himself from his family name [Coppola] and got a career by himself. He and I detected some sort of rebellious spirit in each other. His father, as a wedding gift, gave us a 100- or 200-year-old bottle from the bottom of the ocean and a really nice toast. The whole thing was about how we were both pirate spirits. It was really moving.
He emulated Elvis in Honeymoon in Vegas and Wild at Heart.
[Scowls] There are 45 other films he did, thank you very much, that don’t have anything to do with my dad.
Do you think he wanted you because you’re Elvis’ daughter?
Here’s the answer: I’ve never seen one Elvis artifact or one piece of Elvis memorabilia that he owns. There was a rumor for a long time that he had an Elvis recording as the fucking outgoing message on his fucking phone machine. I never saw any of that. Sure, he was an Elvis fan. Who cares? I haven’t met many people who’ve said, “I hate your fucking dad. He was terrible.”
What went wrong?
One pirate shouldn’t marry another. We had already broken up and gotten back together twice. We were together for two years before we got married and thought that marriage would make us more secure.
But you went with him to the premiere of Adaptation just a few days before the divorce.
We had a fight a few days later, and he had a temper tantrum. He walked out the door, filed for divorce, then felt bad. It was just a rampage, basically. He called a couple of days later and said, “Whoops!” [Laughs] He said, “I was in a rage, I’m sorry. I made a mistake. I wish I hadn’t done that.” And I was like, “Dude, we can’t do the break-up-get-back-together thing. We’re married.” He’s not surrounded by people who would talk him down when he’s in a state like that. I hated him afterward. It was a long time before I would speak to him.
A tabloid reported that you threw a $65,000 ring he gave you into the sea.
I didn’t throw it. Otherwise, that’s a true story. We were in a fight, and I said it was over. He took the ring and threw it into the water. We hired a diver, but it was 150 feet down, and he just shook his head. It was a six-carat yellow diamond, and Nic replaced it two days later with a 10-carat yellow diamond.
Is it strange that you’re both in interviews talking about the marriage?
I’m laughing because Nic did an interview with Barbara Walters and he said something to her about my blue eyes. I said to him, “They’re fucking green!”
He did a TV interview, then called to report what he’d said?
Yeah. I still care about him a lot. I don’t want to have a media war. I’ll say, “This is what I said on Diane Sawyer, in case you want to retaliate. But just know that I’ll come back. If you say something I don’t like, I will fucking nail your ass to the wall!” Like when Michael and I split up, he said, “Don’t talk about me.” He never wanted anybody talking about him. I didn’t say a word about him. So the next three interviews I saw, he was talking about me. And I was like, “All bets are off, dude. You did it.”
What are your vices?
Having friends around. Cigarettes. And red wine—but it has to be good red wine. It has to be more than $300 a bottle, because then I don’t get as bad a hangover.
What are you like when you’re drunk?
I’m friendlier, nicer, more tolerant and more patient. Physically, I feel better. I’m not usually patient and tolerant when I’m not drinking.
Favorite curse word?
Fuck. Motherfucker. And cocksucker. Curse words are good. When I was drunk and newly out with Nic at a bar, I called him a cocksucker at least six times. But it was kind of a flirtatious thing. If I was seriously calling him that, he would have kicked my ass. My friend Johnny Ramone was with us, and he said, “Sailor mouth! If your father could hear you talk like this, what would he think of you?” I don’t think it was publicly known, but my father was pretty big on cursing. He wouldn’t allow me to curse, but he did.
Do you read your financial statement?
Not willingly—I’m forced to. I get angry at how much I’m paying people. It makes me insane. Every time I see the fucking financial statement, I want to fire people. There was this crazy woman I brought into my circle, and she pulled a Machiavellian maneuver and tried to take my empire down by backstabbing people and spinning a whole web—just unbelievably evil.
How would you characterize your taste in sex?
Probably “porn style.” [Laughs] I am a little dark on the subject. I like it rough, the way they do things in porn movies.
Have you ever wished you were a lesbian?
Sure. I think I’d be much better as a lesbian. My best friend is also my assistant, and she’s been with me for eight years. I feel like, Damn! If I were gay and I could’ve been with you, we would have been perfect.
What will you do differently if you get married again?
I’m going to become a eunuch or a monk—nonsexual and nonfunctioning. I’m going to—you know what? I can’t say what the hell I’m going to do, to be honest.
If your kids were going to write a tell-all about you, what’s the worst they could say?
Just that mommy went through men like water. [Laughs] If I get married again, I’ll stay married. I don’t know if I really thought I’d stay married with the last two. I’m whimsical about things. I get caught up in the moment. It’s the one area where I’m naive.
Are your kids having a tough time because they’re Presleys?
My daughter is 14, and some kids are starting to give her crap. “What are you complaining about, you rich little——” I want to choke that kid, by the way. [Laughs] If there’s a little kid in school who’s being an asshole, I want to kick the kid’s ass. If I could, I’d go scare them. It’s at the point where my kids won’t tell me what’s happening.
Do you want more kids?
I’d like two more.
And if you don’t have someone to be the father——
Are you kidding me? No, I will not go to a sperm donor. I could ask Debbie Rowe to be a surrogate for me.
You’re still fond of Danny and Nic. Maybe you’ll get back together with one of your exes.
With me, you never fucking know, do you? God! You know what? I’m not going to say never about anything again.