Lisa Marie Presley Once Told Elvis Presley’s Girlfriend ‘My Mommy Doesn’t Like You’

After Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley divorced in 1973, Elvis moved on to Linda Thompson – a Memphis-born beauty queen who later became an acclaimed lyricist and the wife of both Caitlyn Jenner and David Foster. Thompson and Elvis lived together at Graceland for nearly five years and, by all accounts, had a tight-knit and passionate, if complicated, relationship.

In Thompson’s 2016 memoir, A Little Thing Called Life, she looked back at her relationship with the King – including one awkward moment when Elvis and Priscilla’s young daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, told her dad’s new girlfriend exactly what her mom thought of her.

The Presleys in 1968
The Presleys in 1968 | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Elvis told his new girlfriend he never bought Priscilla as many gifts as he did for her

After Thompson first met Elvis in 1972, the pair became inseparable almost immediately. For the first year of their relationship, the actress and former pageant queen wrote, they were hardly ever out of each other’s sight.

So it was only natural that Elvis would want Thompson to meet his ex-wife, Priscilla – especially because his new girlfriend would be spending time with Lisa Marie, who was still a preschooler.

The King warned Thompson not to let on too much about their relationship when she met Priscilla. In particular, he wanted her to keep the extravagant gifts he gave her under wraps.

“Honey, do me a favor,” Thompson claimed Elvis asked her at the time. “You’re probably going to meet Priscilla. Don’t wear all the rings and other jewelry I’ve given you because I never gave Priscilla that much jewelry. I gave her things, sure, but not nearly like I’ve showered you with gifts. I don’t want to make her feel bad.”

Linda Thompson
Linda Thompson | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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Lisa Marie claimed Priscilla wasn’t too fond of Elvis’s latest flame

While Thompson honored her boyfriend’s request – and even co-hosted Lisa Marie’s birthday party in Las Vegas – it seemed that Priscilla might have sensed the disparity herself. Although Thompson admitted that Priscilla (to her credit) was nothing but “cordial” to her in person, little Lisa Marie spilled the beans about her mother’s true feelings.

“My mommy doesn’t like you very much,” Lisa Marie announced to Thompson one day when the little girl was visiting her dad in Las Vegas.

Thompson kept her cool for the sake of Elvis’s daughter, responding simply that she was “sorry to hear that.”

By way of explanation, Lisa Marie offered, “My mommy says it’s because when she was married to my daddy, he didn’t take her anywhere, but my daddy takes you everywhere. You are always with my daddy, and my mommy never got to be with my daddy. So that’s why.”

Lisa Marie Presley in 1977
Lisa Marie Presley in 1977 | Pictorial Parade

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Thompson didn’t want to be put in the ‘wife penalty box’

While Thompson was taken aback, she tried to see things from Priscilla’s point of view. After all, she and Elvis had talked marriage early on in their relationship. Now, she wondered if that was really a good idea.

Thompson had to admit that Priscilla’s complaints were, in fact, quite true. Elvis went everywhere with his new girlfriend, while he’d often left his wife at home when he went on tour.

That, she revealed, was a deliberate move on his part. He wanted to keep his wild life on the road with the Memphis Mafia separate from his home life with his wife.

“His classic line was, ‘You don’t take your wife to work with you,’” Thompson remembered. But girlfriends were a different story. Girlfriends were fair game for travel.

Thompson wondered if that setup could ever make for a healthy marriage. After all, she thought to herself, she might want to be a “girlfriend with traveling privileges” rather than be tucked away at home in the “wife penalty box” as Priscilla had been.