The Real Reason Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley Never Had Children

Lisa Marie Presley’s marriage to Michael Jackson pushed her personal life into the spotlight. While she gained notoriety and fame as the daughter of Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley, the relationship with Jackson resulted in several reports and assumptions. Presley revealed in 2010 why the couple decided not to have children during their marriage. 

Michael Jackson and his wife Lisa Marie Presley at Neverland Ranch in preparation of the Children's World Summit.
Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson|Steve Starr/CORBIS

Lisa Marie Presley had two children before she married Michael Jackson

Jackson and Presley connected based on their similar childhood upbringings. In the 1970s, Jackson’s life changed dramatically when his family’s group, The Jackson 5, became popular. Presley grew up in the limelight, as her father already achieved massive musical success when she was born. Although Presley briefly met Jackson at the age of 7-years-old, their romantic relationship happened much later. In 1992, the pair started dating but kept their romance hush-hush. They went public with their relationship in August 1994, where Presley confirmed they married back in May 1994 and said she took Jackson’s last name. 

Michael Jackson & Lisa Marie Presley attending a children's charity event in Los Angeles April 1995
Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson|Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

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“My married name is Mrs. Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson,” Presley’s statement read. “We both look forward to raising a family and living a happy, healthy life together.”

Before dating Jackson, Presley left her first husband, Danny Keough. The couple welcomed two children during their marriage- Riley and Benjamin. After she finalized her divorce from Keough, Presley married Jackson 20 days later. 

Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson didn’t have children because she refused to go through a ‘custody battle’ 

When Presley and Jackson started their lives together, the couple began talking about expanding their family. Although Presley already had two children, she said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that Jackson yearned for them to have babies together. As Presley started to see more of Jackson’s life, the singer said becoming pregnant with his child worried her. She noted his alleged manipulative actions toward his team.

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley attend VMAs
Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley|Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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Presley also said the behavior made her see how things could get ugly if she disagreed with Jackson. 

“I did want to, but I just wanted to make sure,” Presley said back in 2010. “I was looking into the future and thinking, ‘I don’t ever want to get into a custody battle with him.'”

Lisa Marie Presley said Michael Jackson threatened to have children with Debbie Rowe while they were married

Eventually, Jackson’s push for children became something that didn’t concern Presley. She told Winfrey that she learned Jackson had issues with substance misuse several months into their marriage. Presley then explained that Jackson’s team enabled his behavior, and he had control over everyone around him. She filed for divorce from Jackson in 1995, and it became final in 1996. 

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Two months after their divorce, Jackson’s former nurse, Debbie Rowe, became pregnant with their first child, Prince. The speedy pregnancy didn’t surprise Presley, who told Winfrey Rowe frequently communicated with Jackson during their marriage. 

“She was there the whole time telling him that she would [have his child],” Presley recalled. “He would tell me, ‘Debbie said she’ll do it.’ That’s how he knew to handle it, ‘If you’re not going to do it, this person will.'”

Presley continued to say that she felt “disposable” by Jackson when he used Rowe against her. However, the pair kept in contact after their divorce before Jackson died in June 2009. 

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.