It's every parent's nightmare. On July 12, Lisa Marie Presley's son, Ben Keough, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 27. Days later, his grandmother, Priscilla, broke her silence about the tragedy on Facebook. “The shock of losing Ben has been devastating,” she wrote. “Trying to put all the pieces together of all the possible whys has penetrated my soul. Each day I wake up I pray it will get better.”
A little more than two months later, the family is still reeling. But somehow through it all, Priscilla — who was married to music legend Elvis for six years until their split in 1973 — has managed to find the inner strength to go on.
And, according to a source, the 75-year-old actress has been the glue holding her family together, including a grief-stricken Lisa Marie, 52, and Ben’s surviving siblings, Riley, 31, and twins Finley and Harper,11. “The sense of loss has been unbearable,” says the insider, “but Priscilla is leading the charge making sure everyone is eating and taking care of themselves as best they can. It’s been such a blessing to have her in their lives.”
Priscilla knows a thing or two about healing after heartache. She was just 14 when she met Elvis and 21 when they wed, and she’s said she spent most of the marriage living in his shadow.
“You lived his life,” she later revealed, adding that they rarely left the house and existed in a bubble. “You really kind of lost yourself,” she explained. They divorced in 1973. “I left because I needed to find out what the world was like.” But she never stopped loving him and was despondent when he passed away in 1977. “It was so devastating,” she recalled.
According to the source, she became a member of Scientology that year at the suggestion of her close friend John Travolta. Though some reports claim she left the church in 2017, the source says she still defends the controversial organization. “Priscilla may have dialed back her involvement, but you won’t hear her trash-talking the church like Leah Remini or other critics,” the source says. “She’s acutely aware of all the pros and cons of being a member, and says her experiences have been positive and rewarding."
She still finds solace in her memories of Elvis. “Priscilla feels like he’s always there with her, looking down and watching over,” the insider says. Her experiences have made her stronger, and now she’s grateful she can be there for her daughter and grandchildren.
“Priscilla has been by Lisa Marie’s side virtually every day since Ben’s death,” the source adds.
She’s been doing the grocery shopping, handling the bills and doting on the twins (their father is Lisa Marie’s estranged ex, Michael Lockwood) and offering advice to Riley (she and Ben share dad Danny Keough). “For Priscilla, family is what matters most. She puts them first and doesn’t dwell on the past. She’s really been a rock to everyone around her.”