The Presley Women
However, the Presleys initially resisted opening Graceland to the public. "It took a long time to decide after he passed away," Priscilla says. "But there weren't really enough finances there to keep it going. We had a staff that was with us for years and years and years, and we had to let everyone go. It was a shock. We had estate taxes coming in, we had government taxes. ... Again, it wasn't an overnight decision."
However, rumors have spread recently that the Presley family sold Graceland. Priscilla dismissed them simply, saying, "No, it is not sold."
The confusion, she says, stems from a recent licensing deal. "We were looking for years for a strategic partner to help us grow," Priscilla explains. "We've been open for 25 years now. We're a private company, and we thought, 'Gosh, we'd like to be able to reach those people who can't afford to come to Graceland. We have fans all over the world.' So we found this particular partner who was on the same page as we were and basically took the licensing, and that is really what was taken."
"See, they're two different things," Lisa Marie explains. "There's the Elvis Presley Estate, which [are] the things in the house and all of his stuff, which will never be touched. [We sold] 85 percent of the licensing and marketing—we still own 15 percent. But everything [in Graceland] is still ours. It will never be touched. A lot of that money went back into the forming of a bigger company, which is going to expand it and make it even bigger and make it go places it hasn't been able to go."