Benjamin Keough's family and friends are in mourning after the son of Lisa Marie Presley and Danny Keough reportedly died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday in Calabasas, California. The grandson of Elvis Presley, Benjamin spent most of his life away from the spotlight, staying far from the public eye while avoiding the family entertainment business altogether.
Ben's father, despite his career as a musician, had a similar distaste for fame, despite his high-profile marriage to Presley, which lasted from 1988 to 1994 before their divorce. Keep scrolling to learn more about Danny Keough and his relationship with Presley over the years.
View this post on Instagram
Keough and Presley first began dating around 1985 after the guitar player took to playing bass in Presley's band at the time. "Danny came to Los Angeles in 1984," a friend told PEOPLE in 1988, "and started dating Lisa Marie about a year later." The couple met at the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Center, where Presley was living at the time, when Keough was working as a house musician at Mad Hatter Studios, which owned by jazz pianist and fellow Scientologist Chick Corea. The two kept their relationship private until October 1988, when they shocked the world with a massive announcement.prevnext
On Oct. 3, 1988, Keough and Presley married at the Celebrity Center International of the Church of Scientology in West Hollywood, with only nine people watching them tie the knot. Included in the guests were Presley's mother, Priscilla Presley, who released the following official statement after the nuptials.
"Lisa, 20, married musician Daniel Keough, 23, her boyfriend for the past three years. I am thrilled for Lisa Marie. Danny is a great guy, and I couldn’t be happier for the two of them," she said, as per PEOPLE. "The couple will be honeymooning for the next three months at an undisclosed location."prevnext
View this post on Instagram
Keough had deep ties to Scientology stemming from his childhood, according to PEOPLE. After his parents, Francis and Janet Keough, divorced, his mother married Alan Hollander, a Scientologist. Janet and Hollander went on to co-found the private Scientology academy known as the Delphian School before their divorce. Keough and his brother, Tom, grew up in Scientology.
"Danny and Tom are both graduates of the Delphian School," a Scientologist who knew Keough told PEOPLE in 1988. "They had a normal upbringing—Little League and that sort of thing. Lots of art classes and music as well as the basics. Danny was a great kid with a great life—dogs and friends and sports and music. He is a very talented musician and extremely good-looking. Tall, dark and handsome with a great personality."prevnext
While Presley shocked the public with her marriage to Keough, her friends told PEOPLE at the time that the two couldn't be a better match. "I think he will make a good husband for Lisa Marie. He was a bit of a rebellious youngster but has turned into a fine young man. He’ll be good for her," one friend said at the time.
"People used to wonder who Lisa Marie would hook up with," the friend said in 1988. "Would it be a creep who was only after her money? With Danny, this is not the case. All his needs are met by the church. Besides, he’s not the type of person to take his marriage vows as anything less than solemn. He is rock solid. When I learned of the marriage, my first reaction was: 'You’re kidding. Little Danny with little Lisa. How perfect.'"prevnext
Growing the Family
View this post on Instagram
Six days after the wedding, Priscilla Presley released a statement via publicist Paul Bloch revealing that the couple was expecting their first child in the spring of 1989. After they welcomed their daughter Danielle in May 1989, the two added baby Benjamin to the family in 1993.
Danielle, who now goes by Riley Keough, told The Guardian in 2017 of growing up in her family, "I grew up very privileged with my mother, but my dad didn’t live like that. And I think experiencing both sides has been helpful. My father had mattresses on the floor of his apartments. He lived in cabins and trailer parks. He just didn’t have much money." She continued that her memories of growing up with her father were "so colorful and eccentric and fun. It was a good vibe, you know? When I was like eight I told him, ‘I want to grow up and be poor like you!’ He was eating a bowl of cereal. I didn’t realize how wildly offensive that was!"prevnext
Keough and Presley were married for less than six years, until Presley filed for divorce in the Dominican Republic in May 1994. Just 20 days after the divorce was finalized, Presley married Michael Jackson. She would go on to divorce Jackson in 1996, and marry actor Nicolas Cage in 2002. They were married for just 107 days before divorcing. In 2006, Presley married Michael Lockwood, her guitarist and musical director. Their marriage would be Presley's longest, as they welcomed twins Harper and Finley in 2008 before she would file for divorce in June 2016, citing irreconcilable differences.prevnext
Despite their divorce, Presley and Keough have remained close over the years, and the musician even served as Presley's best man at her wedding to Lockwood. Presley told Rolling Stone of Keough in 2003, “He’s my absolute best friend in the world. The smartest thing I’ve ever done is have children with this man because I knew this is the one man I could be connected to for the rest of my life.”prev