Singer-songwriter Larry Gatlin is looking back on his relationship with Lisa Marie Presley following her sudden death Thursday. Recently, Gatlin had the opportunity to reminisce about Presley in an interview. He fondly remembered their initial meeting when he was 23 and she was just 3 years old. “I was her babysitter for an hour or so in 1971,” he told Fox News. He further reminisced about the time he saw her backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. “I kidded her about changing her diaper.”
Having known her since she was a child and witnessing her adulthood unfold in the public eye, Gatlin recollected that Presley was shy at heart.”[She] had to almost will herself to be what everybody wanted her to be … which was a cross between Elvis and Priscilla, her mom and pop,” Gatlin explained. “Hard to hammer out your own identity when everyone wants you to be something/someone else.”
Reflecting on their relationship, Gatlin emphasized that even though they weren’t always in contact or going out together, he was sure to let Presley know that she could count on him any time. “To say that we were close friends — friends who talk all the time and hang out — would be disingenuous on my part,” Gatlin reasoned. “I told her that I loved her, her pop, and her mom and that if she ever needed me, all she had to do was call.”
“I told her that I have had my own fight with drugs and booze and that I understand the deal,” Gatlin elaborated. “She never called, and now she doesn’t need me. She’s whole, she’s perfectly well and she’s with saints who will just let her be herself. That’s the way I see it.”
Larry Gatlin crossed paths with Lisa Marie Presley’s legendary father early in his career
When he was just starting out, Gatlin auditioned to be a vocalist in “The Imperials,” the group of musicians that provided backing vocals for Elvis during his Las Vegas stay. Gatlin didn’t land the gig. Despite the lackluster performance during the audition, Presley still chose to record and release two of Gatlin’s songs — “Help Me” and “Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall.”
On Thursday, Lisa Marie Presley – the only daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley – passed away at 54 years of age. Priscilla Presley released a statement to People at the time. “It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us. She was the most passionate strong and loving woman I have ever known. We ask for privacy as we try to deal with this profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers. At this time, there will be no further comment.”
Just two days before her death, Lisa Marie joined her mother on the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards. She was in attendance when Austin Butler won best actor for his depiction of her father in Baz Luhrmann’s movie Elvis. The singer-songwriter will be buried beside her son, Benjamin Keough, who passed away in 2020.