News createt: 26-09-2010
Lisa Marie Has Yet To Meet Her Neighbors
Lisa Marie Presley is reportedly a devoted Scientologist
IN THE leafy hollows of East Sussex, the only child of Elvis Presley has quietly set up home with her fourth husband and their two young children and is living the life of a recluse. For the past month, Lisa Marie Presley and musician Michael Lockwood have been staying in a £10million home set in 50 acres yet no neighbours have actually seen them.
Attempts to speak to her on the intercom of the gated property proved fruitless when a security man with an American drawl said: ‘‘There’s nobody by that name living here, sir.”
Whatever the guard says, everyone in the area is convinced Elvis’s daughter is relishing the peace of living like the lady of the manor, far from the madness of Los Angeles.
As the nights draw in, the conversation over pints of ale at Lisa’s local, The King’s Arms, inevitably turns to the raven-haired 42-year-old, who had brief marriages to Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage. The question on everyone’s lips is: why has she forsaken the glitz of Hollywood for a Sussex backwater?
The answer almost certainly lies in the fact that her new home, near the village of Rotherfield, is just a few miles away from Scientology’s 59-acre British, and former world, headquarters at Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead.
Lisa Marie counts fellow followers Tom Cruise and his wife Katie Holmes among her closest friends along with John Travolta, whom she spoke up for candidly following the death of his teenage son Jett in the Bahamas last year.
Angry Lisa Marie issued a public statement claiming certain people wanted to use Travolta’s “horrible tragedy” as an opportunity to “blame and or attack Scientology”.
The fact that a British judge once accused the organisation of being “sinister and dangerous” must baffle the devoted disciple of founder L Ron Hubbard, a sci-fi writer who was the subject of regular FBI investigations during his lifetime and who sought sanctuary in East Grinstead while being pursued by his enemies.
W hile the people of Sussex are delighted Lisa Marie and her family are neighbours, some wonder about her motives. As one neighbour asked last week: “Are Elvis’s millions being used to bankroll the church? That is all people here are talking about.”
Scientology chiefs never like to discuss donors but it is naive to think that Lisa Marie has not been generous in her support of the organisation she credits with saving her life.
It has been suggested that she encouraged both her wealthy former husbands, Jackson and Cage, to get fully involved but they reportedly weren’t as keen to follow the teachings of a man who believed we evolved from a race which crashlanded on Earth in spaceships.
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The King’s daughter turned to Scientology in her early 20s to help her kick her drugs habit. “Were it not for Scientology, I would either be insane or dead by now,” she has said. “I am forever grateful for the technology of Scientology and to Mr Hubbard, who dedicated his life to helping man and this planet, as well as to the people who have dedicated their lives to helping others through Scientology.”
Quite what she means by “forever grateful” is not clear but the statement reflects her commitment to the global growth of the church, which is being helped by celebrity endorsements.
Lisa Marie’s wealth is difficult to calculate but as the sole heir of her father’s estate she is estimated to be worth at least £500million.
To her credit, she has resisted repeated requests to release an album of her father’s classics, defiantly pursuing her own musical ambitions. Her debut album, To Whom it May Concern, went gold just a few months after release in 2003 and her second, Now What, reached No 9 in the US charts two years later. Several singles have also done well.
Lisa Marie worked on many of the songs with her first husband, Danny Keough with whom she had two children, Danielle and Ben, now in their 20s. After their divorce she allowed him to live in a guesthouse in the grounds of her home and they remain close friends: he was best man when she married musician Lockwood four years ago. Two years later, Lisa Marie and Michael had twin girls Harper and Finley. In rare public outings, they make a charming couple and, unlike Jackson and Cage, he is fully committed to Scientology.
As they enjoy their new life in rural England, many locals are keen to get to know them better but that seems highly unlikely as she prefers to keep a low profile and some residents have concerns about the “religion” she follows.
O n Tuesday the debate about how the church conducts itself will explode when the BBC’s Panorama reveals the results of a lengthy probe by investigative reporter John Sweeney.
Already the Scientology hierarchy is lining up PR firms and lawyers to scrutinise every word uttered by Mr Sweeney, having crossed swords with him three years ago. In memorable scenes, Sweeney lost his temper with the organisation’s Tommy Davis, son of actress Anne Archer.
Mr Davis is well known to Lisa Marie as he works closely with scores of US stars.
It’s possible he may even ask if she’d release a statement in support of the poor, put-upon souls treated so mercilessly by Mr Sweeney.
A Panorama Special: Secrets Of Scientology, Tuesday, BBC1 at 9pm - Express