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 How an English village rescued Elvis's girl: Lisa Marie Presley explains how moving to Sussex saved her sanity

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PostSubject: How an English village rescued Elvis's girl: Lisa Marie Presley explains how moving to Sussex saved her sanity    How an English village rescued Elvis's girl: Lisa Marie Presley explains how moving to Sussex saved her sanity   EmptyFri Nov 09, 2012 7:10 pm

How an English village rescued Elvis's girl: Lisa Marie Presley explains how moving to Sussex saved her sanity

Lisa Marie Presley lives on a 50-acre farm just outside the picture-postcard village of Rotherfield in East Sussex, where she has been seen playing darts and drinking Guinness and champagne in the nearby Kings Arms.
Locals say Elvis Presley's only daughter, who inherited his $100 million fortune at the age of 25, 16 years after his death, helps out in the mobile fish and chip van too.
However, she raises an eyebrow to me to indicate some of the stories about her new-found enthusiasm for the rural life might be an exaggeration. And as for the chip shop, she has explained she did it for two hours to help a friend, but was not asked back.
'It was fun, but I was told I'm not cut out for deep fat frying', she said.

But why has 44-year-old Lisa Marie chosen the English countryside - albeit a heavily guarded £9 million estate - over her mansion in Los Angeles and her role as chatelaine of Graceland, the Presley family home in Memphis, Tennessee?
'I wanted to embrace village life here. I love it', she tells me. 'I love what is simple. People know right from wrong, they know good from bad.
'All my life I was surrounded. I had assistants for this and that. An entourage. And entourages are the worst.

'So I got rid of everybody, literally, and started from ground zero.'
She was turning her back on troubled times.
'I was around the wrong people for a long time, people who have no conscience, people who are doing the most draconian things and I had no idea about any of it.
'I was an emotional wreck, therefore I needed simplicity. I needed loyalty, and loyalty is a big thing in the village - they are protective and sweet.'

When she says this, it sounds like she could be Elvis, who got caught up in the excess of his own life and never lost a love of country living and Tennessee.
'Yes, it's true. I certainly didn't have all of that in Los Angeles.'
She certainly looks like her father - particularly her eyes, her sultry gaze and her jaw line. She also has a huge presence that draws you in, and she still dreams of following in his blue suede shoes as a singing star.

I've watched her in concert and when she's on stage, you can't take your eyes off her. Performing songs from her new album Storm & Grace, she has raw emotion.
The lyrics, which she wrote, are about loss, grief, love, self-destruction. On stage she's coquettish, flirts with the audience, and has a commanding charisma. But by contrast, when I meet her she is huddled into the corner of a sofa, scarcely able to raise her large eyes to look at me.

Her chestnut hair falls over her face, and she seems tiny. I tell her that the feel of the record is the kind of music that her father would have loved.
Quietly she says: 'Yes, I hope so. I think he would like it. I think he would also understand how I have had to navigate to get here.

'This was from a very raw and natural place. In the past, I was surrounded by the wrong elements, and it created a lot of anger.

'I didn't know where it was coming from until I got rid of it. I was shadow boxing a lot.
'I wrote one song, Soften The Blows, one day feeling vulnerable about life and finding a way to put down how I was feeling.
'After moving here I felt I could appreciate Los Angeles more.'
She lives at Rotherfield with her fourth husband, California-born musician Michael Lockwood, father of her four-year-old twin daughters Harper and Finley.

On her album notes she says of Lockwood: 'I've never known or experienced a more supportive, loving, selfless, devoted human being in all of my life . . . Your love and support are the very foundation of my sanity and stability.'

Her first marriage, which lasted six years, was to musician and prominent Scientologist Danny Keough, with whom she had two children, Riley, now 23, and Benjamin, 20.
There followed a two-year marriage to Michael Jackson, with irreconcilable differences cited as the reason for the break-up.

Her subsequent marriage to actor Nicholas Cage lasted just 108 days.
She married Lockwood in 2006. I tell her I have met all her ex- husbands and her mother, Priscilla.

'That's interesting,' she says, trying hard to put the entire circus behind her. Indeed, although she is wrapped up in her singing and songwriting career, family life comes first.
She's been sighted trying to food-shop anonymously in nearby Tunbridge Wells, and Harper and Finley are home-schooled.

Benjamin is finding his own way as a musician, 'but he keeps things close to the bone'. Is that a Presley family tradition? 'Probably, yes.'

Elvis is certainly known to have kept his real feelings to himself.
Priscilla Presley, on the other hand, is said to be very forthright. I tell Lisa Marie how her mother once admitted to me she was so terrified of gaining weight when she was pregnant she ate only boiled eggs . . . Lisa Marie finishes the sentence: '. . . and apples.
'She gained seven pounds. My mum had some strange ideas. At one point she didn't even want her dog to get fat. She's not like that any more.

'She was 20, 21 years old and my father had beauties and actresses surrounding him at all times, and there was so much pressure on her to stay absolutely flawless. I will never be flawless.'

I can see that she is very different from Priscilla, not only in looks but in personality.
'I have never had the idea that I have to look a certain way, that I have to look young.'
It must have been a lot of pressure for her growing up with a mother who wanted to be flawless and a father who was one of the most famous men in the world.
She shrugs. 'I don't know. I wasn't really close to my mum growing up. I didn't get close to her till my mid-30s. We were like oil and water.

'Now we're the best of friends. But it took us a long time to find a way to each other. We just didn't have a relationship.

'I lived with her till I turned 17, and on the eve of my 17th birthday I moved out.
'It was mostly due to the men she chose to be with. I wasn't a fan of them, and that always got in the way of our relationship.'
Girls and mothers can be rivals, I suggest.
'Yes, it's true. But now she and I have found our way.
'She is the first person I call if anything happens and the same likewise. Thank God we have that.'

Perhaps she always felt closer to her daddy and desperately lonely because the one person who understood her was not there - he died when she was nine.
'Yes, he was the one I was closest to. Of course, I was devastated when he died.'
She tells a poignant story of how as a little girl she would wake up in the middle of the night to find him sitting by her bed, watching TV.

'It was because he wanted to be close to me. I loved that.

'He was an incredible father. I felt very loved, very protected. Some things made him unhappy and the people around him who weren't good were a big part of that . . . I wasn't aware of the drugs until the very end, when he would appear slightly disconnected.'
Perhaps she grew up too quickly, being an only child with one parent and a lot of loss?
'Probably. What I was exposed to early in life was a lot. I feel I've lived many lifetimes in my lifetime.'
Is that why she married so early, because she felt she'd lived many lives and was mature?

'I felt I needed to. I was pregnant at 20. I wanted to have children early on. I wanted to ground myself and care for them. I was always maternal, so looking after them was my priority right away.'

I wonder if she still has that nurturing instinct, that saving syndrome. It's been written this was her compulsion for Michael Jackson, to save him.
She looks at me suspiciously. 'What do you mean?'

You see a wounded man, a wounded soul, and you want to step in and save it.
'Yes, of course, to some degree, but not to the point of risking my own life and sanity.'
It didn't start off like that with her first husband, with whom she now shares 'a great relationship'.
She says he was the one keeping her on the rails. 'I was the one who was wild. Then we flipped. I got it together and he went off the rails.'
Less than three weeks after her divorce from Danny, she married Jackson, whom she had known since she was seven.

'I fell in love with him,' she explained recently. 'We were similar in a lot of ways. We didn't have conventional lives. There were things about Michael that reminded me about my dad. Both were incredibly dynamic and iconic.'

But that sort of life, and those days, are 6,000 miles and ten hours on a plane from Rotherfield.
'I don't obscure my kids and my music and loyal friends with silly stuff,' she says. 'You have to be more complicated to pursue the simple.

'I looked at what so many people surround themselves with, and there's just so much toxicity. Everyone is out for something. I had surrounded myself with the wrong people.
'They blocked my view and when they went out of the way, I could see what was going on.
'If I did something horrible to somebody, one of my friends particularly, it would destroy me. There was betrayal around me for years. Getting out started a process. It's good now that it's gone.'

She says songs she has written for Storm & Grace felt like a new beginning.
'Although sometimes tortured, they were therapeutic. And I wonder if she finds it comforting that many people can empathise with the pain of love, loss and self-destruction.
'For a lot of her life she seemed to have lived in a bubble.

'There has been a huge misconception of me because I helped create it,' she explains. 'I've done records before but this is an intimate index of who I am. 'I just want to keep working. That's what makes me the most happy. I don't think you can ever exorcise insecurities and fears, you just have to address them when they come.'

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