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More than anything I needed normal and I’ve found that in Sussex

Written by JACQUI SWIFT and GRAEME CULLIFORD | The Sun.

Lisa Marie Presley 1602776aLisa Marie Presley champions life in rural England

AS the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, daughter Lisa Marie was born into a world of fame and fortune on an almost unimaginable scale.

But two years ago she turned her back on the glitz of showbiz capital Los Angeles for a quiet life in rural East Sussex.

And now the 44-year-old singer and mum-of-four has exclusively opened up to The Sun about her new life on her sheep farm in the sleepy village of Rotherfield.

 

She said: "I had to leave LA. It was like living in a goldfish bowl. I had tour buses driving past our house, looking in like we were on show, and celebrities hanging out wherever we went."

Last month we told how Lisa Marie now loves serving in her pals' fish and chip van near her £8million 15th Century home where she lives with music-producer husband Michael Lockwood and their four-year-old twin girls Harper and Finley.

She added: "I have taken to country life here and love all aspects of living here. And the people who live here are so sweet and normal. I needed that more than anything.

"They are really sweet and leave us alone and I'm just the same as them in their eyes.

"I love to watch the sheep and I took care of one baby lamb after its mother passed away last spring. He was so poorly so I bottle-fed him. They are beautiful out on the field."

English village life is definitely a big change for a woman who lived in Elvis's Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, and was previously married to Michael Jackson and then Nicolas Cage.

The Sun spent a day in Rotherfield and found that Lisa Marie was far from being an aloof celebrity recluse.

Justin and Kim Scales, who run the village's Kings Arms pub — and own the Mr Chippy van where Lisa Marie has helped out — have got quite used to her popping in for the odd pint of Guinness.

Kim said: "We don't see her any differently to anyone else who drinks at our bar. Lisa Marie is a really nice, down-to-earth person and she has become our friend.

"We chat with her when she comes to the pub and we have also visited her at her estate. She fits in really well round here. She's got a great sense of humour and although she obviously comes from a different background, we get on really well.

"I think she came here because she wants to have a more normal life and be around normal people. She said she got sick of the superficiality and fakeness of Los Angeles people."

And Lisa Marie has rallied round to support local good causes. Avril Mills, who runs the Dream Factory charity for sick children, said: "She has been amazing.

"She has even turned up at small community halls to help out. She turned up at one in Buckhurst Hill in December and the first thing she said was, 'Right, what can I do?'"

Lisa Marie was Elvis's only child with wife Priscilla, who he met when she was just 14 and married when she turned 22 in 1967. The couple divorced five years later. Elvis died in 1977, and on her 25th birthday in 1993, Lisa Marie inherited his entire fortune, then estimated at £60million.

At that point she already had two children — Danielle Riley and Benjamin Storm — with then husband Danny Keough. They divorced in 1994 and the same year Lisa Marie wed Michael Jackson in a strange, ill-fated marriage that coincided with his first trial for child molestation and ended in divorce in 1996.

In 2002 she married actor and Elvis fan Nicolas Cage and let him become the only non-blood relation to see the rock legend's bedroom.

But that marriage lasted only 108 days and critics joked that the divorce proceedings lasted longer than the relationship.
Lisa Marie married Michael Lockwood in 2006 and became something of a recluse in her sprawling three-acre ranch in Hidden Hills, LA, before moving to Britain.

Today she reckons Michael and their daughters saved her from utter despair. She said: "They came as a blessing in the middle of all this destruction.

"Everyone was leaving my life, although that was people exposing themselves for what they were. So there was good light in the tunnel."

Despite being Elvis's daughter, Lisa Marie says her early years were relatively normal, although as an adult she misses her dad more than ever.

She said: "I was like anybody else — fearless as a child and experimental as a teenager — but I had an angel looking over me, and music. I wasn't really paraded around as a child. Mum protected me really well when I was young.

"It hit home when I turned 42 that that was the age when my father died, and his mum too. I have moments when I wish he had lived to see my children, of course I do.

"And I speak to my little ones about him. I tell them who he was and we love his music."

She is still close to mum Priscilla — who played Jenna Wade in Dallas in the Eighties and will make her panto debut in Snow White at the New Wimbledon Theatre in south London this Christmas. Lisa Marie said: "She was just here, getting her costume ready for pantomime."

As for Lisa Marie's own career, her new album Storm & Grace was released on Monday. But while critics have been positive, she admits it can be a problem being related to Elvis when trying to be appreciated as an artist in her own right.

She said: "I just had to find my own way with it. I don't feel I have to prove anything any more. I was comfortable and it felt natural.

"I am a singer-songwriter and that's what I do. And my dad was a singer. I guess it would be a lot easier on me if my father had been a builder or a painter or a plumber."

Rural Sussex might be a long way from Memphis, but Lisa Marie still returns regularly and said: "I get back about five times a year. I love going back and I will go back for Thanksgiving and Halloween this year. My older children are here and there, back and forth to the States but we all live together."

The snaps of her serving up fish and chips prompted US media to speculate that she had lost the plot and gone to work full-time on the van. But chippy boss Kim said: "To set the record straight, yes, Lisa Marie did serve fish and chips from our van. But no, she has not taken it up as a career.

"She was there for maybe ten or 20 minutes at the most. She did it for a laugh, basically — and because she wanted to see what it was like to do that job.

"One of the first things she said to us when she arrived was, 'I want to see how you live and I want to experience it for myself.'"

Lisa Marie's arrival in Rotherfield continues to cause quite a stir. Just the other day a man phoned the Kings Arms claiming to be Elvis's long-lost son — begging to be reunited with his sister.

The Sun spoke to one punter at the bar who added: "We don't have many Americans here and I thought it would be strange having someone like her in the village.

"But I was walking down the road the other day and when she passed in her car she stuck her hand out the window and said, 'Hello', just like anyone else would.

"When you talk to her it's just like talking to any other human being. Her stories are a bit more interesting and more worldly. But apart from that she's like anyone else."

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