Who was Elvis Presley’s only grandson, Benjamin Keough? Riley Keough’s brother, once the stepson of Michael Jackson while married to Lisa Marie, took his own life after struggling with addiction
Here’s what you need to know about Keough, the man his loved ones described as “an angel on earth” …
Born into one of the world’s most famous families
Although Lisa Marie kept her children out of the spotlight, when Benjamin did make public appearances, commentators immediately noticed striking similarities between the young man and his legendary grandfather. His mum commented on the similarities herself, saying that she was sometimes “overwhelmed” when looking at him because she would see her father, per People.
At 17, he expressed a desire to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. According to All That’s Interesting, Universal offered him a US$5 million record contract in 2009. The deal outlined five albums, and though Benjamin did apparently go to the studio to record some songs, no music was ever officially released.
A tragic loss
According to All That’s Interesting, Benjamin felt an “increasing pressure to match his grandfather’s meteoric success”. Before taking his life in July 2020 at the age of just 27, Benjamin was reportedly suffering from depression. Ten years before his death, his representative hinted at troubles in his life, saying he “doesn’t get up before midday and then grunts at you”.
British media reported that Benjamin was also struggling with alcohol and drug addiction and before his death had just completed a stint at a rehabilitation facility. His friend Brandon Howard told People that the pressure to live up to the Presley name “absolutely” contributed to his struggles. He said, “it’s almost like you’re pressured into having to be a musician, having to be an actor”, but added, “you never know what triggers it. You never know”.
Multiple reports claimed that his death occurred at a party held for his girlfriend Diana Pinto and his brother-in-law Ben Smith-Peterson. The LA coroner confirmed that his death was caused by suicide and at the time several media outlets reported that it was his girlfriend Pinto who discovered his body.
The strong bond with his mum
Although Lisa Marie has young twins Harper and Finley with her fourth husband Michael Lockwood, it has been widely reported that Benjamin was always her “baby”. Since his death, Lisa Marie has lived in relative isolation and has stayed out of the public eye. Until recently, she had completely withdrawn from social media.
However, since Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic was released, she has slowly come back online, updating her followers by saying that she is and “will forever be mourning the loss” of her son. In a post this May, just under two years since his death, she re-emerged, writing: “Navigating through this hideous grief that absolutely destroyed and shattered my heart and my soul into almost nothing has swallowed me whole. Not much else aside from my other three children gets my time and attention any more.”
The pair’s bond was undeniable, and in her most recent Instagram post, Lisa Marie shared a photo of her and Benjamin’s matching Celtic eternity knot tattoos, which she said the pair had done to symbolise that they would always be connected.
Big sister love
On the second anniversary of his death, The Lodge actress said she still couldn’t believe that he wasn’t around any more. She had previously described him as “too sensitive for this harsh world” and said that she missed him “endlessly every day”.
- Despite marriages to Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage, it was Danny Keough who gave Lisa Marie Presley her only son, Benjamin – who was the spitting image of Elvis
- But after battling depression, Benjamin Keough took his own life in 2020, and it’s only since the release of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic that his mum Lisa Marie has reappeared on social media