Elvis Presley’s ex-girlfriend Linda Thompson said she was “absolutely devastated and shocked” to hear about Lisa Marie Presley’s sudden death.
“I was so happy to see her at Graceland to celebrate what would have been Elvis’ 88th birthday, and then, of course, at the Golden Globes,” Thompson, 72, told People Friday.
“She seemed to be on a more positive trajectory emotionally after the unfathomable loss of her beloved son, Benjamin,” she continued, referring to Lisa Marie’s late son, Benjamin Keough, who died by suicide in July 2020 at the age of 27.
Thompson, who dated Elvis from 1972 to 1976, shared that she and Lisa Marie had remained in contact since the King of Rock and Roll’s death.
“Lisa and I kept in touch off and on for all these years — most recently by text,” she told the magazine. “In fact, the very last text to me was a simple ‘Love you, Linda’ with a heart emoji.”
Thompson remembered Lisa Marie being “so much like her daddy,” who was 42 when he died in August 1977.
“It was uncanny,” she explained. “[Lisa Marie] had his deep, soulful eyes, his pouty lip and his raucous, irreverent sense of humor. She was a beautiful contradiction like Elvis … complicated in her simplicity.”
Thompson added, “She was brutally honest, straightforward, loving and loyal. I don’t think there was a phony cell in her body. I believe she lived her life authentically.”
The former actress began dating Elvis shortly after he separated from Lisa Marie’s mother, Priscilla Presley. Thompson recounted being the first person Lisa Marie called after Elvis died when the “Lights Out” singer was just 9 years old.
“I will always be profoundly grateful to the little 9-year-old Lisa Marie, who had the presence of mind to call me from Graceland the fateful day her daddy died to give me the news,” she said. “I was the first person she called. To me, that spoke volumes of how close we were, and how sure she was of my love for her daddy.”
Thompson continued, “In fact, if there is any solace to be found now, it’s in my knowing that Lisa Marie was sure I loved her and her daddy without reservation and without any agenda.”
Thompson also reminisced on the former couple’s time together.
“When Lisa was a little girl, I played Santa Claus to her four times at Christmas, and I was the Easter bunny on Easter, hiding eggs around Graceland,” she said.
Thompson noted that they shared other memories, like taking bubble baths together, Lisa Marie telling her “little girl secrets” and that “after she was grown, she wanted to introduce me to her loves.”
“She, Michael Jackson and my family all spent time together in New York,” the songwriter said, referring to Lisa Marie’s second husband.
“She brought Nicolas Cage to my house for me to meet him and get my opinion,” she added of Lisa Marie’s third husband.
Lisa Marie was also married to Danny Keough from 1988 to 1994, with whom she welcomed daughter Riley and son Benjamin, and to Michael Lockwood from 2006 to 2021, with whom she welcomed twin daughters Finley and Harper.
“[Lisa Marie] came to several of my parties, and on one occasion, her daughter Riley insisted upon sleeping over at my house,” Thompson recounted. “She was about 9 years old then herself, so Lisa Marie let her have a sleepover. Those are all precious memories for me.”
The “Hee Haw” alum went on to call Lisa Marie “the greatest love of Elvis’ life.”
“I think most parents understand that unconditional love that can compare to no other. He was happiest and felt most complete when she was with us,” she shared. “The three of us would press our foreheads together, rocking back and forth. … We called that mugging. I could hear Elvis grind his teeth; the love was so intense.”
Thompson also took to Instagram to pay tribute to Lisa Marie after the latter’s death, sharing an old photo of Elvis kissing his daughter on the head and writing that her “heart is too heavy for words.”
Lisa Marie died at the age of 54 on Thursday after going into cardiac arrest. She was resuscitated by first responders and rushed to a nearby hospital, where she coded multiple times before being placed in a medically induced coma.
Thompson dated Elvis for just four years before ending things.
She went on to marry Caitlyn Jenner in 1981, but they divorced in 1986. She and the Olympian share two sons: Brandon and Brody. Thompson was also married to David Foster from 1991 to 2005.
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