Lisa Marie Presley may face a tough new financial setback as she grieves the loss of her only son Benjamin Keough, who died by suicide earlier this week.
The Daily Mail reports she may have to pay around $AU250,000 (NZ$266,000) in order to divorce fourth husband Michael Lockwood because he claims he's too poor to afford his own lawyer.
Musician Lockwood, 59, says in legal papers his income has disappeared because of the coronavirus pandemic, and his estranged wife should pay his legal fees based on Californian laws that require fairness in divorce proceedings.
He claims spiralling legal fees have already left him more than $1 million in debt, with his only source of income coming from royalty payments that "do not total even one 10th or one 20th" of his ex's income.
But Presley has money problems of her own: the vast Presley fortune has dramatically dwindled in recent years. Presley claimed in 2018 her former business manager squandered her entire share of Elvis' $US100 million (NZ$137 million) fortune.
In 2018 court documents, Presley alleged Barry Siegel assured her that her finances were in "good shape" while he whittled her $US100 million (NZ$135m) trust down to just $US14,000 (NZD$20,000) in poor investments.
Last year Benjamin's grandmother Priscilla Presley was forced to sell her Los Angeles mansion to help her daughter with her mounting debts.
"Priscilla would never have done this if she didn't believe it was her daughter's last chance," a source told Radar of the sale at the time.
Presley filed for divorce from Lockwood, father of her two youngest children, in 2016 after 10 years of marriage. This latest setback in her quest to finalise the split comes as she grapples with an immense family tragedy, the apparent suicide of son Benjamin Keough, 27.
His body was found this week inside her family's mansion, in an exclusive gated community in Calabasas, California. One close friend later revealed that Benjamin had struggled with the "pressure" of living up to the Presley legacy.
"It's a tough thing when you have a lot of pressure with your family and living up to a name and an image. It's a lot of pressure. It's almost like you're pressured into having to be a musician, having to be an actor," friend Brandon Howard told People Magazine.
In a statement provided to EW, a representative for Presley said she was "beyond devastated" over her only son's death.
"She is completely heartbroken, inconsolable and beyond devastated but trying to stay strong for her 11-year-old twins and her oldest daughter Riley," the statement read. "She adored that boy. He was the love of her life."
Benjamin was born in 1992, a second child for Presley and Danny Keough, who had wed in 1992. Danny was a musician and bass player; Presley the only child of perhaps the most famous figure in modern music, Elvis Presley.
The couple divorced in 1994 – just 20 days later, Presley married superstar Michael Jackson in one of the most infamous and bizarre unions of the 90s. The quickie wedding came as Jackson faced a string of allegations of child sexual abuse. It was later claimed that Presley and her two young children "rarely" stayed in the same house as Jackson during the marriage.
That marriage would last two years, with Presley filing for divorce in January 1996, when Benjamin was 3, citing "irreconcilable differences."
Presley would wed a third time, to actor Nicolas Cage, in 2002 when Benjamin was 9. That marriage lasted 108 days before Cage filed for divorce.
Presley's most recent marriage was her longest: 10 years with Lockwood, a union that gave Benjamin two younger sisters: twins Harper and Finley, born in 2008.
The most recent photo of Benjamin on his mother's Instagram account was posted in June of last year: It shows Presley with all four of her children, including her firstborn, actress Riley Keough.
"Mama lion with cubs," she captioned the sweet family pic.
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