It was a match made in the royal courts of rock & roll. The King of Pop and the daughter of just simply the King.
When Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, who died Thursday at 54, wed in 1994, it was during some of the most turbulent years of Jackson’s life as he battled accusations of child molestation. They married in secret, lived in scandal, and divorced in the dramatic fashion befitting their outsized personas.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Bebeto Matthews/AP/Shutterstock (13712979a) Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson acknowledge applause from the audience after coming out onstage to open the 11th annual MTV Video Music Awards at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, Sept. 8, 1994. Presley, singer and only child of Elvis, died, after a hospitalization, according to her mother, Priscilla Presley. She was 54 Obit Lisa Marie Presley, New York, United States – 08 Sep 1994
But before they called it quits, to a chorus of “Told ya so’s,” they made their now-infamous appearance together on the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards, opening the telecast hand in hand.
“And just think,” Jackson said softly into the mic, “nobody thought this would last,” gesturing to Presley before kissing and leaving the stage. Presley looked more than a little embarrassed, and though she had been announced as “Mrs. Michael Jackson,” she didn’t say a word on stage. She was there to support him. But Jackson’s defiant declaration was a bit premature.
They had first met in 1975, when the 7-year-old Presley saw Jackson in concert. They started an adult friendship in 1992 and were married two years later. In ’93, Jackson was accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy. Presley reportedly thought Jackson was innocent and urged him to settle the allegations outside of court and to go to rehab for his drug addiction. However, she would later deny knowledge of Jackson’s drug use during their marriage.
The couple divorced in 1996, citing “irreconcilable differences.” According to Presley, they were still together on and off for four years following their divorce.
When Jackson died in 2009, Presley admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that she had felt manipulated by him in their marriage, but that any feelings of bitterness towards him had died with him. “When we were together, we were really in love,” she told Winfrey, “and then we had the rough patches.”