Larry Gatlin is reflecting on his friendship with Lisa Marie Presley.
During an interview with Fox News Digital, Gatlin shared his memories of Presley, recalling the first time he met her when she was around three years old and he was 23.
“I was her babysitter for an hour or so in 1971,” he said, adding he remembered seeing her backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. “I kidded her about changing her diaper.”
Having known her as a child and witnessing her grow up in the public eye, Gatlin said he remembered Presley was “quiet and shy at heart.”
LISA MARIE PRESLEY, ELVIS AND PRICILLA’S ONLY CHILD, DEAD AT 54
“[She] had to almost will herself to be what everybody wanted her to be … which was a cross between Elvis and Priscilla, her mom and pop,” Gatlin said. “Hard to hammer out your own identity when everyone wants you to be something/someone else.”
Looking back on their friendship, Gatlin explained that even though they didn’t “talk all the time and hang out,” he made sure to tell Presley he would always be there for her.
“To say that we were close friends — friends who talk all the time and hang out — would be a disingenuous on my part,” Gatlin prefaced before adding, “I told her that I loved her, her pop and her mom and that if she ever needed me, all she had to do was call.”
LISA MARIE PRESLEY’S LIFE IN PICTURES
“I told her that I have had my own fight with drugs and booze and that I understand the deal,” he explained. “She never called, and now she doesn’t need me. She’s whole, she’s perfectly well and she’s with saints who will just let her be herself. That’s the way I see it.
“Rest in peace sweet girl. Larry G, aka your diaper changing babysitter, from long ago.”
Gatlin also crossed Elvis’ path early in his career when Gatlin auditioned for a spot as a singer in “The Imperials,” the band that performed backup vocals for Elvis during his Las Vegas residency.
Though the audition didn’t go too well, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” recorded and released two of Gatlin’s songs, “Help Me” and “Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall.”
Lisa Marie, the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, died Thursday at age 54.
“Priscilla Presley and the Presley family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Lisa Marie,” Priscilla’s representative said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “They are profoundly grateful for the support, love and prayers of everyone and ask for privacy during this very difficult time.”
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER
In a statement to People, Priscilla also added, “It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us. She was the most passionate strong and loving woman I have ever known. We ask for privacy as we try to deal with this profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers. At this time, there will be no further comment.”
Two days prior to her passing, Lisa Marie walked the red carpet alongside her mother at the Golden Globe Awards and was in the audience when Austin Butler accepted his award for best actor for his portrayal of her father in Baz Luhrmann’s film “Elvis.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The singer-songwriter’s final resting place will be next to her beloved son, Benjamin Keough, who died in 2020, her daughter Riley Keough’s rep confirmed to Fox News Digital. Elvis and other members of the Presley family are also buried at Graceland.
In addition to her daughter Riley, Lisa Marie was also a mother to daughters Finley and Harper.