Who is Deborah Presley Brando? All about Elvis Presley’s secret daughter

Deborah Presley Brando

Deborah Presley Brando caused a stir in the 1980s when she claimed to be the ‘lost daughter’ of Elvis Presley ten years after his death and demanded a share of his estate. Her first public appearance was on the talk show KYW People Are Talking in 1987. She was briefly married to actor Christian Brando in 2004.

She recently made headlines surrounding the death of Elvis and Priscilla’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, after referring to the late singer as her “half-sister”. Deborah waited outside the hospital where Lisa Marie was being treated for her cardiac arrest and told the press:

“[My biggest fear] is that my sister will be gone and I wouldn’t have had a chance to be with her. I love her very much… It’s just a sad world. I wish she had not have committed to anything she didn’t want to do.”

Deborah’s mother, Barbara, allegedly dated Elvis Presley before he became famous

Deborah Presley was born in 1956 to Barbara and Elvis Presley, allegedly. According to her book ‘Memoirs of a Starseed Child’, her mother was 14 years old when she met a 19-year-old pre-fame Elvis at a recording studio in Charlotte, North Carolina.

They parted ways after she became pregnant. Deborah claims that Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker wanted him to marry Priscilla and would not have approved of his earlier match with her mother.

Barbara then married her college sweetheart Don and they raised Deborah as their daughter. She claims that she has flashbacks and memories of meeting Elvis as a child. She said in a 2018 interview:

“When I was about 13, the man who raised me [Don] was driving me to school one day – he was very violent – and he said something like, “You don’t know who your daddy is? He’s a half-breed singer.” I thought, “What does that even mean?”.”

After Elvis’ death, her mother revealed the “truth” of her paternity to her. Deborah legally changed her surname to ‘Presley’ after the incident. She said that her “sister” Lisa Marie Presley refused to have a conversation with her about their shared blood despite her reaching out.

“I think her mother [Priscilla] threatens her, [and there’s] lots of stuff going on with her. I want her to be OK. I love her music. I want to sing with her. I’d be happy to record with her. We sound a lot alike. Through all this, I’ve started singing myself, and our voices just cradle each other. No kidding, if she really wants to make some money, she needs to call me.”

In 1988, Deborah Presley launched a lawsuit against the estate of Elvis Presley, suing for her share of the inheritance

Deborah Presley filed a petition to the probate court on February 18, 1988, to “determine the heirship and for her share of” the Elvis Presley estate, alleging to be Elvis’ illegitimate daughter.

However, the executors of Elvis’ will – including his widow Priscilla and lawyer Joseph Hanks – denied the allegations. They further motioned that the will did not grant inheritance to children born out of wedlock, writing:

“Only those children born in lawful wedlock to Mr. Presley are entitled to inherit from and through him, and that Lisa Marie Presley is the only such child.”

At the court, Priscilla and the other co-executors of the will testified against Deborah, interpreting Elvis’ will as excluding illegitimate children from becoming beneficiaries. Moreover, the court ruled that Deborah failed to establish her biological legitimacy as Elvis’ daughter.

They further confirmed that even if Deborah was Elvis’ daughter, she would not have been eligible for inheritance as she was not his lawful daughter. Hence, her petition was overturned by the judge.

Deborah appealed against the decision on July 20, 1989. While the court of appeals vacated the findings of the probate court that ruled that Deborah was not the daughter of Elvis Presley and that she could not be legitimated, they affirmed the rest of the decisions made by the court.