Michael jackson if you can feed your baby

Children 'saved me,' Michael Jackson said

His voice is instantly familiar:

Michael Jackson: I wanted to become such a wonderful performer that I would get loved back.

... But his words are so haunting.

Michael Jackson: If it weren't for children, I would choose death.

Words of pain and torment.

Michael Jackson: Anybody else would probably be dead by now, or a junkie, with what I've been through.

Bitterness and rivalry.

Rabbi Shmuley:  What about jealousy from other stars and things like that? Is there a lot of jealousy?

Michael Jackson:  Absolutely ... and "M" is one of em. Madonna. Hate to say that on tape.

And a legendary star's deepest fears.

Rabbi Shmuley: Do you want to have a long life?

Michael Jackson:  I think growing old is the ugliest, the most, the ugliest thing.

Rabbi Shmuley: I don't think that Michael Jackson will ever be looked at the same after this book. It's impossible. There's just too much rawness and honesty of Michael in this book for anyone to ever perceive him as the same.

Now, for the first time, spilling out across page, and on tape: Michael Jackson in his own words. Up until now, these recordings have never been released.

They're being played exclusively on NBC, along with the release of a new book:  The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul In Intimate Conversation.

Author Rabbi Shmuley Boteach -- a relationship expert who calls himself "America's Rabbi" -- calls it "The King Of Pop Raw," exposed like never before.

Rabbi Shmuley: You could see that there was a woundednessto him, he wasn't very trusting, he opened up very slowly.

Meredith Vieira, NBC News: But one of the first questions that people might ask is "did you betray his confidence in any way by releasing these tapes now, after his death?"

Rabbi Shmuley:  Not only have I not betrayed any confidences, Michael used to hold the tape recorders directly to his mouth. He would constantly talk to me about the book. “Make sure this is in the book." He desperately wanted this out.

He counted mega-celebrities like Diana Ross and Elizabeth Taylor among his closest friends. But this is Michael Jackson bluntly dissing Hollywood.

Rabbi Shmuley: Why don't you hang out with those celebrities, more Hollywood people?

Michael Jackson:  They love the limelight and I don't have anything in common with them. They want to go clubbing and afterwards they want to sit around and drink hard liquor and do marijuana and all kinds of crazy things that I wouldn't do.

And forget the mask, the chimp, the baby dangling, and any other eccentric behavior we already know about. Here, Jackson talks openly about his oddest -- and saddest -- habits.

Michael Jackson:  I needed someone. That's probably why I had, uh, the mannequins, I would say.  Because I felt I needed people, someone, and I didn't have, I was too shy to be around real people. I love them, it's like real babies, and kids, and people, but it makes me feel like I am in a room with people.

Rabbi Shmuley first met Michael Jackson in 1999, and began recording their conversations a year later, when Jackson was 42 years old. Theirs was an unlikely friendship -- but the Orthodox rabbi had became a confidant and spiritual advisor to the King Of Pop.

Rabbi Shmuley: As we got to know each other more, I think he began to believe that I got him.

Meredith Vieira: Did he see in you then, Rabbi, the opportunity to be a regular guy?

Rabbi Shmuley: So many of us look at Michael as strange and weird, that's not what I experienced. He never wore a mask in my presence. The kids were never veiled in my presence. Michael wasn't a celebrity for me anymore.

Meredith Vieira: What did you see?

Rabbi Shmuley: Indescribable pain. Tremendous remorse and regret.

Shmuley says Jackson, who was still reeling from 1993 sexual abuse allegations, wanted the public to hear his voice.

Meredith Vieira: The plan was always to publish the conversations?

Rabbi Shmuley: Absolutely.

Meredith Vieira: But why did he want that out there? Why did he want a book of the conversations?

Rabbi Shmuley: He knew that the public was deeply suspicious of him. I think he wanted be known as a man without a mask.

During the nine-month period when the tapes were made, the rabbi says he and Jackson were so close, he considered him part of the family.

Shmuley's children still have Marshmallow, the dog Jackson gave them, along with fond memories of the many Friday nights when the King Of Pop joined them in Englewood, New Jersey for Sabbath dinner.

Rabbi Shmuley: He used to tell me they were the most special evenings of his life.   He would arrive with Prince and Paris, very often his-- security detail would join us. And we would just sit around and Michael would just laugh and giggle.

Prince and Paris, who were toddlers at the time, were often in tow when the tape recorders were rolling too -- sometimes jumping right into the conversation.

Rabbi Shmuley: How old were you now?

Prince (in background):  We're three!   (laughter)

If the world sees him as the strange father who cloaked his children in masks, the tapes reveal the tender dad we didn't see.

Michael Jackson: Like I say to Prince and Paris, "You know why I bought you this?"  They say "because you love me." I say "yes, that's why I bought it."  They need to know that.

The rabbi says family bonding was such a central part of his friendship with Jackson that they began working on a national campaign to promote Friday nights as family night.

Rabbi Shmuley: A national family dinner time. Because families who eat with their children, it minimizes drug use, early sexuality, there are so many benefits.

It's a dream rooted in Jackson's own childhood scars.

Michael Jackson: If I had, if there were a children's day when I was little, and I looked at my father and say "OK, Daddy, Joseph,-what are we going to do today?", you know what that would've meant to me? He go "Well, want to go to the movies?" That would've meant so much to me, Shmuley.  (tearing up)

With his tears sometimes audible, the Michael Jackson you'll hear now comes out from behind his mask, unveiling a man few people knew –or could ever comprehend.

Michael Jackson: And I'm -- I'm going to say something I've never said it before, uh, um, and this is the truth, Shmuley.  I-- I have no reason to lie to you. God knows I'm telling the truth. I think all my success and fame --and I've wanted it. I've wanted it. Because I wanted to be loved. That's all.

As the lead singer of the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson was a childhood sensation. But behind his beaming smile, there was searing pain.

Michael Jackson: It's true, Shmuley. I suffered a lot in that way.

Rabbi Shmuley: Michael had a broken childhood. There were always two Michael Jacksons. There was Michael Jackson, African-American boy from Gary, Indiana, who grew up in abject poverty. And then, there was the King Of Pop.

Jackson, the King Of Pop, has talked about Michael, the boy, before ... But never like this.  In unsettling detail, he opens up about his fear of his father and manager, Joe Jackson.

Michael Jackson: You'd look in the audience, and he'd make a face like this. You'd go,"I can't mess up, he's gonna kill us.” It would scare the bejesus out of you and you'd be like, everybody's clapping and he'd be like, like looking at you hard, like "Don't you mess up" and you know, I'm like, "Oh God, I'm in trouble after the show.

Rabbi Shmuley: There was no one on Michael's mind more than his father Joseph, no one. His father came up constantly, usually in painful, negative stories.

Jackson told Shmuley that growing up, he and his siblings would dread the moment their father came home.

Michael Jackson: We'd hear his car comin' the driveway. He always drove a big Mercedes and he drives real slow.  "Joseph's home, Joseph's home, quick!"  Doors slam, everybody runs to their room.

Like there's sometimes I'd be in bed at night sleeping, it's 12 at night. The door is locked.  He said, "I'm giving you five seconds, you don't open, I'm going to kick it down."  And he starts kicking it, boom!  Like breaking the door down. Why didn't you sign that contract today?  I go, "I don't know."  He goes, "Well, sign it.  If you don't sign it, you are in trouble."

Rabbi Shmuley: So you would sign?

Michael Jackson:  I had to!  He would, he was very physical.   He'd throw you and hit you as hard as he can.

And as Michael describes to the rabbi, they were beatings that sometimes got brutal.

Michael Jackson: He was rough. The way he would beat you, you know, was hard, you know. Sometime he take, um, he would make you strip nude first. He would oil you down. It would be a whole ritual. He would oil you down so when the flip of the ironing cord hit you, you know. And it would just like be dying and you had whips all over your face, your back, everywhere. And I always hear my mother, "No, Joe! You're gonna kill 'em. You're gonna kill 'em, no!" I would just give up, like there was nothing I could do, you know? And I, and I hated him for it, hated him.

Rabbi Shmuley:  Michael was terrified of his father.

Terrified, and also resentful.

Rabbi Shmuley:  Did you begin to feel that you were like a moneymaking machine for him?

Michael Jackson: Yes. I'll never forget it, one day he said, "If you guys ever stop singing, I'll drop you like a hot potato."  That's what he said. It hurt me. You don't say that to children and I never forgot it.

It was a shunning of affection that colored almost all Jackson's childhood memories of his father.

Michael Jackson: I never felt love from him. And he would never hold me or touch me.

Rabbi Shmuley:  He only has one memory of his father ever doing anything loving for him as a child. He was about 5 years old. He was at a carnival. And his father picked him up and put him on a horse. And he said he has relived that moment almost every day of his life. Michael learned the devastating effects of neglecting a child.

Jackson told Shmuley his sadness created a torment so wrenching that he and his siblings even fantasized about their father being dead.

Michael Jackson: We used to say to our mother, we used to say to each other, and I'll never forget this. Janet and myself, we say, I would say, "Janet, shut your eyes." She'd go, "Okay, they're shut." I'd say, "Picture Joseph in a coffin. He's dead. Did you feel sorry?" She'd go, "No." That's what we used to do to each other as kids. We'd like play games like that. She'd go, she'd go, "Nope." Just like that. And that's how hateful we were.

Jackson's siblings have said in the past that Joe Jackson was hard on them, but their descriptions are inconsistent. And Joe Jackson has said he whipped his son, but never beat him. A spokesman for the Jackson family told us "The family will not dignify this with a comment."

Meredith Vieira: You've met Joe Jackson.

Rabbi Shmuley: I have.

Meredith Vieira: Does this ring true to you, does it make sense to you?

Rabbi Shmuley: What's not important, as far as Michael is concerned, is whether or not these allegations are true, they may not be true, but Michael certainly perceived them to be true.

And like most things in Jackson's life, nothing was black and white. At times, he spoke fondly of his father -- crediting him with much of his own success.

Michael Jackson: And God bless my father because he did some wonderful things, and he was brilliant, he was a genius.

Meredith Vieira: He always talks about how brilliant his dad was.

Rabbi Shmuley: Michael was wrestling with his anger and his disappointment.

Rabbi Shmuley:  And how do you view him today?

Michael Jackson: I'm scared of my father to this day. My father walk in the room -- and God knows I'm telling the truth. I've fainted in his presence many times. I'll say once, to be honest. I fainted once.  I've thrown up in his presence because just when he comes in the room, ugh, this aura comes and my stomach start hurting and I know like I'm in trouble.  And now, he's so different now. And he wants to be a better father. I just wished he had of learned that earlier.

Rabbi Shmuley: Why are you still scared then?

Michael Jackson:  Because the scar is still there. I'm like an angel in front of him, I'm scared.  One day he said "Why are you scared of me?"  And I couldn't answer.  I thought, I said, “Joseph, do you know what you've done?  Do you know what you've done to me?"

Rabbi Shmuley: I think that it was Michael's inability to be reconciled with his father that ultimately, more than anything else, consumed him.

Meredith Vieira: Because?

Rabbi Shmuley: Because he wanted his father's validation and love more than anything else.

Meredith Vieira: And when he didn't get it?

Rabbi Shmuley: He couldn't heal.  Millions of fans couldn't heal him.

He may well have been the most famous celebrity of all time -- imitated, adored, and revered by fans around the world. But Michael Jackson's conversations with Rabbi Shmuley reveal a man that almost no-one knew, so wounded by his father's neglect that all he ached for was love.

Michael Jackson: I wanted to become such a wonderful performer that I would get loved back.

Rabbi Shmuley: You thought if you became a great star, very successful and loved by the world, your father would love you too?

Michael Jackson: Mmhmm.

Rabbi Shmuley: So you could change him that way.

Michael Jackson: Mmhmm.  I was hoping I could, I was hoping I could get love from other people.  I needed it, real bad, you know?

Rabbi Shmuley: A guy whose career was world famous and now he's saying "It wasn't ‘cause I love music, it wasn't because I love dancing." It was because I'm so lonely.

Meredith Vieira: Rabbi, how did you come to the conclusion that he wasn't sort of, you know, making up excuses for you too?  "Oh, I'm this way because my father was mean to me"?

Rabbi Shmuley: You can't fake sincerity. He cried through much of these tapes. He was just gasping for breath at times. I mean, this was a confessional that he had never really undergone.

With surprising honesty -- as you've never heard him before -- Michael Jackson talks candidly about race. He believes his broad appeal to white fans made him suffer more than any famous black star before him.

Michael Jackson: You had Belafonte, you had Sammy, you had Nat King Cole. People loved their music, but they didn't get adulation, they didn't get crying. I was the first one to break the ice, break the mold, where white girls, Scottish girls, Irish girls screaming, "I'm in love with you, I want to -" And that gave a lot of the white press, they didn't like that, and that's why they started the stories.  "He's weird."  "He's gay."  "He sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber."  "He wants to buy the Elephant Man bones" -- anything that turn people against me. They tried their hardest.

In addition to accusing the press of racism, Jackson divulges painful stories about the ugly overtones of race that hovered over his family, long after he became a superstar.

Michael Jackson: My mother - she was pulling out of the market, right, it was a block from my house in Encino and she was in her Mercedes. And this white guy in a car screams out to her, "Go back to Africa, you n***ger."  Just like that.  It hurt me so much that that happened to be mother. Or stories of my brothers in their Rolls-Royces, you know, get out of the car, lock the door, when they come back to the car they would find a key, some guy walked by and scrape off all the paint.

Shmuley Boteach: 'Cause it was a black man driving it?

Michael Jackson: A black man driving a Rolls Royce, you know. I just hate anything to do with because the color of a person's skin had nothing to do with the content of their character.

And despite being one of the most influential entertainers of all time, Jackson says he never understood why he still couldn't catch a break from the press, even when he wrote ballads like "earth song" and focused on making the world a better place.

Michael Jackson: I've been an ambassador of goodwill all over the world, spreading this message, did we do heal the world, treaty of all nations, circling this huge globe? What I don't understand is just singing about sex and "I want to get in a hot tub with you baby and rub you all over" and, but I get battered in the press as the weirdo.

Michael Jackson: And the press, they wait--wait with knives, really...

Shmuley Boteach: For you to fail?

Michael Jackson: Absolutely.  They try and shred me apart. Because when you are the top-selling artist of all time, the records that are broken, they wait. You're the target now.  Get him down, get him, you know what I mean?

As he opened up to the rabbi, Jackson could sound narcissistic.

Michael Jackson: Going to my shows, it's like a religious experience, because you come out, you go in one person, you come out a different person.

But more often, he sounds anguished and sad. The star who spent his adult life morphing from one look to another, actually admits his own face repulses him.

Michael Jackson: I saw it on the computer, it made me sick when I saw it.

Rabbi Shmuley: Why?

Michael Jackson: I look like a lizard, I look like, it's horrible. I don't like it, I never like it.  That's why I wish I could never be photographed or seen and I push myself to go to the things that we go to. 

Michael Jackson: I just don't want to look old. I hate to see people grow old, Shmuley.

Meredith Vieira: He didn't want to see himself in the mirror with wrinkles. He had a whole thing about getting older. Did he ever talk to you about plastic surgery?

Rabbi Shmuley: I used to always tell him that he had to stop. He swore to me he did. But he didn't.

Jackson also shared with the rabbi some disturbing details about his eating habits --  confessing that on his dangerous tour, his friend Elizabeth Taylor literally had to force him to eat.

Michael Jackson: I wouldn't eat. She took the spoon and would put it into my mouth.

Rabbi Shmuley: Really?

Michael Jackson: When I get really upset or hurt, I don't eat. I go on a food, I just get - until I'm unconscious. Then they started doing it intravenously, you know, because I just, my body breaks down, I won't eat.

And then there were the drugs.  Although Shmuley says he never saw Jackson actually taking them, he did tell the star he was concerned -- especially after one doctor complained that Jackson had asked for a dose of drugs that could kill a horse.

Rabbi Shmuley: He medicated away all his problems. When a man is slowly making his body into a walking pharmacy, it was so obvious: Michael's drugs were primarily an escape from loneliness

Even back in 2001, Michael Jackson seemed to be drowning in an ocean of despair. In fact, the only thing that seemed to keep him going was his love for children.

Rabbi Shmuley: So what gave you the strength to persevere?

Michael Jackson:  Believing in children.  Believing in young people. Believing that God gave me this for a reason, to help my babies.

Little did he know how soon that belief -- and one child in particular -- would lead to accusations that this time  would forever tarnish his career.

If Michael Jackson was a man who never had a childhood, he seemed to spend most of his adulthood chasing it. If he could, he told the rabbi, he would stay a child forever.

Michael Jackson: I would love to come back as as a child that never grows old, like Peter Pan.

In fact, even at age 27, when “Thriller” was topping the charts, the King Of Pop was still living at home with Mom and Dad.

Michael Jackson: I thought I was still this little kid.   It's not time for me to go yet.  I said I'm still a boy.  I'm not supposed to leave home yet.  I really felt that in my heart.

And when he did finally move out, Michael Jackson remained as childlike as ever -- famously naming his ranch "Neverland"  -- a place where he surrounded himself with laughing children, and relished playing games like hide-and-go seek.

Michael Jackson: I see beauty in all children. They all beautiful to me.  They're so beautiful and I love them all -- equally.

Rabbi Shmuley: He wanted to have an ordinary life. But for him, ordinary meant reversing to his childhood.  That if he could just build Neverland and have rides, which he didn't have when he was a kid.  If he could just have monkey bars and merry-go-rounds, which he didn't have when he was a kid, that he would heal.

But Neverland was a place where innocence and darkness would collide as the real motives behind the King Of Pop's connection to children raised unsettling questions.

Rabbi Shmuley: He didn't like talking about that. That was very painful for him. To the extent that he talked about it, he would say that it was a lie-- it was a lie.

What Jackson does talk openly about on tape -- at great length - is his deep empathy for children, telling the rabbi he can't bear to see them suffer.

Michael Jackson: It can be in a movie or I could be in a department store and I'll hear someone arguing at their child, I break down and cry.  Because it reflects how I was treated when I was little.  I cry -- I break down at that moment and I shake and I cry.  I can't take it.  It's hard.

Jackson didn't just love children, he told the rabbi. He needed them -- they were his refuge, his saviors.

Michael Jackson: The happiness and the joy that I see in the eyes of the children.  They give me-- they saved my life so I want to, give it back [starts crying]. They saved me, Shmuley.  I'm not joking.

Meredith Vieira: He says children have literally saved his life.  What did he mean?

Rabbi Shmuley: That it's the only thing left he has to live for.  He had achieved all his dreams.  He'd become a billionaire, but that didn't make him happy.  He had become the most recognizable face on earth, arguably, but that didn't make him happy.  The only thing that did was to learn from the pain of his absent childhood, to teach others that children are precious.  And that gave him purpose. 

But it was a mission Jackson seemed to take to an extreme -- even telling the rabbi he sees himself as a universal father who has the power to heal sick children.

Rabbi Shmuley:  Do you feel that God gave you a certain healing power?

Michael Jackson: Yes. And I've seen children just shower all over me with love.  They want to just touch me and hug me and completely just hold on and cry and not let go. And mothers pick their babies and put them into my arms.  "Touch my baby, and hold them, touch my baby, touch my baby." 

Meredith Vieira: He did see himself as somewhat of a Messiah, with healing powers

Rabbi Shmuley: He would say to me, "I want to devote my whole life to helping kids, that's the only thing that's important to me." And I would say, "You can help kids. But you're not their parent. Stop believing you're the child's Messiah."

In august of 2000, Jackson invited Rabbi Shmuley and his family to Neverland. At the very same time, a young boy, a 13-year-old cancer patient, was also visiting.

Michael Jackson: Every time I talk to him, he is in a better spirit.

Rabbi Shmuley: You're healing him, not just speaking to him?

Michael Jackson: I KNOW I'm healing him. He says, "I need you Michael. "  Then he calls me "Dad."  I go, "You better ask your Dad if it is OK for you to call me that."  He goes, "Dad, is it OK if I call Michael 'Dad?'" [laughs] And he says, "Yeah, no problem, whatever you want." [laughs]. Kids always do that and I always feel that I don't want the parents to get jealous that it happens sometimes and it rubs fathers in a strange way. And the kids end up just falling in love with my personality.  Sometimes it gets me into trouble, you know, but I'm just there to help.

Three years later, that boy would accuse Michael Jackson of molesting him during that sleepover visit to Neverland. And though Jackson was ultimately vindicated after a 14-week trial, the charges would forever tarnish Jackson's name.

Meredith Vieira: You went to Neverland. You were there when that boy was there.

Rabbi Shmuley: Correct.

Meredith Vieira: Did you ever see anything untoward?  Did you get the feeling there's something odd here?

Rabbi Shmuley: No, I never saw anything.

And, Shmuley says, the singer had repeatedly -- and emphatically -- denied similar allegations lodged against him in 1993, when another 13-year-old boy who had traveled around the world with Jackson filed a civil suit against him.

Meredith Vieira: All of the attraction that he had to children, and the attention that he paid to children, you believe all of it was innocent?

Rabbi Shmuley: I don't know. What was certainly true is that he wasn't a monster. He may have done something that was unforgiveable even, but that didn't make him a monster.

If the King Of Pop was drawn to children, he was often shy and awkward with women, as you'll hear in candid revelations about his celebrity dates, and crushes, from Madonna to Brooke Shields to Princess Diana.

On Tape, Michael Jackson is a man full of contradictions.

Michael Jackson: I pray when I see something totally magnificent. How could you not see that and go "Wow, what a good God"?

Reflective and grateful at times, so self-absorbed and brazen at others, that he sounds almost delusional about his power.

Rabbi Shmuley: You believe if you were face to face with Hitler you could have...

Michael Jackson: Absolutely.

Rabbi Shmuley: You really think you could have gotten through to Hitler?

Michael Jackson:  Yes.  Mm hmm.

Rabbi Shmuley: By finding the good in him somehow?

Michael Jackson: Yes, I think I could have.  I really do.  I think nobody really talked to him. I hate to say -- brownnosers.  But that's what they were.  That's what he wanted.  That's what they did.

Meredith Vieira: On the one side, he seems to be very self-loathing, hates what he sees in the mirror, insecure. On the other hand, he paints himself to be somebody who could heal sick children, who could turn Hitler around.

Rabbi Shmuley: Unbelievable statements. He was either showing me an incredibly wholesome side that made you fall in love with the kind of person he was, or a strange, bizarre dimension messiah complex. Insatiable for attention.

When it comes to women, the King Of Pop sounds especially conflicted.  He describes his mom Katherine as nothing short of saintly.

Michael Jackson: I don't know anybody like her, she's like a Mother Teresa.  There's very few people like that.

Rabbi Shmuley: He adored his mother and cherished her.

Meredith Vieira: And yet, when he talks about other women, you got the sense that he didn't trust women.

Rabbi Shmuley:  Michael exhibited tendencies of misogyny. That women are materialistic, that women want things from you.

Michael Jackson: Women can do some things that make guys very unhappy. I've seen it with my brothers. I've seen my brothers crying, in tears and pulling the grass out of the lawn out of frustration because of their wives.

Jackson describes women as manipulative, disappointing. Here, he talks about how badly Lisa Marie Presley let him down when she didn't want children.

Michael Jackson: She promised me that before we married, that would be the first thing we'd do is have children.  So I was broken-hearted and I walked around all the time holding these little baby dolls and I'd be crying, that's how badly I wanted it, you know.

For a 42-year-old man, the immaturity that comes across on Michael Jackson's tapes is startling. Sometimes, he sounds just like a teenager.

Michael Jackson: I've never asked a girl out in my life, they have to ask me.

Rabbi Shmuley: Really?

Michael Jackson: Yeah. I can't ask a girl out.

Had he been able to muster up the courage, Jackson told Rabbi Shmuley there was a certain princess who would have been at the top of his list.

Michael Jackson: I liked the way Lady Diana would make her kids wait in line, you know, at amusement parks and things. Like everybody. I thought that was so beautiful. She was good.

Rabbi Shmuley: You felt an immediate connection with her?

Michael Jackson:  Yeah, I loved her very much. Yeah, she was my type, she was my type for sure.

There was no date with Lady Di. But romance was definitely in the air when the King Of Pop stepped out with other high profile celebs. Tatum O'Neal was his first girlfriend.

Michael Jackson: When I held Tatum's hand, I was, like, in heaven. It was the most magical thing. It was better than kissing her, it was better than anything. I remember we went to this club, and I don't go to clubs, which was called the Roxy. And I watching the band, I was sitting there, and underneath the table, she was holding my hand, and I was, like. melting.

Rabbi Shmuley: She held your hand and you felt love?

Michael Jackson: Fireworks going off.

The song “Pretty Young Thing” could easily have been inspired by his affection for Brooke Shields.

Michael Jackson: That was one of the loves of my life. I think she loved me as much as I loved her, you know? We dated a lot.  We, we went out a lot. Her pictures were all over my wall, my mirror, everything.  And I went to the Academy Awards with Diana Ross and this girl walks up to me and says "Hi, I'm Brooke Shields." Then she goes "Are you going to the after-party?" I go, "Yeah." "Good, I'll see you at the party." I'm going "Oh my God, does she know she's all over my room?" So we go the after-party. She comes up to me she goes, "Will you dance with me?" I went, "Yes. I will dance with you." Man, we exchanged numbers and I was up all night, singing, spinning around my room, just so happy.  It was great.

At Jackson's memorial service, Shields would reflect tearfully on their tender bond.

Brooke Shields: When we were together, we were two little kids having fun.

Meredith Vieira: Did you get the feeling talking to him that he ever got beyond that sort of that adolescent approach to romance, the kind of giggly, almost kid-like?

Rabbi Shmuley: For me, it was actually something, you know, it was a blessing to see such a famous man saying that holding hands was suddenly so special. But if you asked me in general, do I think that there was an adolescent quality to Michael? Of course.

It's a quality that made for an odd match with one star who wasn't the least bit shy about doing the asking out:

Madonna (at the MTV music awards): I asked him out to dinner: I said, “My treat, I'll drive, just you and me.”

Jackson was all smiles in the car. But on these tapes, he reveals that the material girl's saucy ways felt more than a little dangerous.

Michael Jackson: You know, at the time I was with Madonna, she was into books, all over, a whole collec--like a library of books of women who were tied to walls, different things.   She said, "I love spanky books." Why would I want to see that? I think she likes shock value.

Madonna laid down the law to me before we went out. "I am not going to Disneyland, okay? That's out."  I said "I didn't ask you to go Disneyland."  She said, “We are going to the restaurant and afterwards we are going to a strip bar." I am not going to a strip bar, where they cross dress. Guys who are, are girls. Said "I am not going to go there,” and I think afterwards she wrote some mean things about me in the press and I said that she's a nasty witch.

Rabbi Shmuley: Michael's tough on Madonna in the book. And he seems to be saying that the reason is that Madonna tried to drag him into a world of prurience. And maybe there was somewhat of a rivalry between them.

Whether it was a true rivalry or not, Jackson does paint Madonna as envious when he talks about jealousy in Hollywood.

Michael Jackson: They admire you and know you're wonderful and great but just they're jealous 'cause they wish they were in your place, wish they were in your shoes.   And "M" is one of 'em.  Madonna. She's not a nice, she hasn't been kind -

Rabbi Shmuley: She's jealous?

Michael Jackson: Absolutely. She's a woman and I think that's what bothers her. Women don't scream for other women. men are too cool to scream for women and i get that. I get the fainting and the adulation and the notoriety but she doesn't. She can't get that.

But like Brooke Shields, Madonna had only fond memories of her time with Jackson when she hailed him in a moving speech at the MTV video music awards.

Madonna: We sat on the couch like two kids, and somewhere in the middle of the film, his hand snuck over and held mine. It felt like he was looking for a friend more than a romance and I was happy to oblige him.

And Shmuley suspects that now, Jackson would be far less harsh on his friend Madge than he was in the tapes recorded 9 years ago.

Rabbi Shmuley: At the time, you know, Madonna had a certain image. She has-- changed that image substantially. Michael -- used to speculate that as a mother, she would change. And he probably would agree with that today.

One thing was clear though -- to the rabbi, Jackson seemed incapable of sustaining any meaningful relationship with a woman. And with no adult love in his life, was the writing on the wall?

He talked about vanishing.

Michael Jackson: I would like to- some kind of way disappear, where people don't see me anymore.

His fear of growing old...

Michael Jackson: I just don't want to look old and start forgetting.

And hauntingly, his own death.

Michael Jackson: When the body breaks down, and you start to wrinkle, I think it's so bad.

Rabbi Shmuley: So you would die before that happens?

Michael Jackson: Uh.. I don't want to grow old.

Rabbi Shmuley:  You don't want to die young?

Michael Jackson:  Um, you're asking me an interesting question.  You sure you want my answer?

He couldn't stand the thought of himself with gray hair --   and at 42, Michael Jackson was already fixated on his final resting place.

Michael Jackson: I want to be buried right where there's children. I would feel safer that way. I want them next to me. I need their spirit.

Meredith Vieira: There are a number of comments that Michael made to you in these tapes that in light of his premature death are-- are eerie.

Rabbi Shmuley: Michael said to me constantly, "If I can't help kids, then I will find a way to terminate my life." 

Meredith Vieira: Did he have a death wish?

Rabbi Shmuley: He lost the will to live.  Did that mean that he consciously wanted to die?  Probably not. I think he was just going through the motions of life toward the end and medicating away almost any kind of human response.

In 2001, after counseling Michael Jackson for two years -- and capturing 30 hours of his innermost thoughts on tape-- Rabbi Shmuley cut ties with the star.

He says the King Of Pop was slipping from his reach, so lured by the pull of fame --  and the seduction of pain numbing drugs  -- that he completely lost interest in their philanthropic projects.

Rabbi Shmuley: For two years, I really felt that I was making headway in helping Michael restructure his life, but once I saw that Michael was treating my advice as if I were a nuisance. I had to end our relationship. Was I gonna applaud as he slowly self-immolated? If I'm just another someone who's afraid to tell him that he's got to stop doing drugs, then what was I doing there?

Meredith Vieira: But was there a part of you, as a rabbi, as somebody who had explored his deepest pain with him, who felt, I'm deserting him?

Rabbi Shmuley: If I had gone back, Meredith, not only would I not have helped him, I would have been dragged into that destructive vortex, and I would have needed help.

To the rabbi, the tragic writing was already on the wall. In 2004, he stated publicly that he feared the worst.

Rabbi Shmuley: That Michael will be dead in a few years. He is headed toward Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Janice Joplin.  It's almost inescapable. 

Still, the rabbi was devastated, when at age 50, Michael Jackson did suddenly die.

Meredith Vieira: Your initial reaction to his death was anger.

Rabbi Shmuley: My first reaction was, you stupid, stupid man, how could you do this? How could you orphan your children? Your children have no mother. 

Meredith Vieira: Is that what hurt you most, the fact that he is not there to father his children anymore?

Rabbi Shmuley: What hurt me most is that Michael threw away his life, and God endowed this special man with talent that the rest of us could only dream of.  Why did it have to end tragically?

Michael Jackson: I want to always be youthful and have the energy to run around and play hide and seek, which is one of my favorite games.

It is Michael Jackson's own voice, his own words, his deeply personal revelations - that now make the rabbi hopeful that in some way America can make sense of his death, that we can learn something.

Rabbi Shmuley: Michael's life demands redemption.  You can't have someone die at 50 from an overdose and not try to learn some moral lesson.

Michael Jackson: I wanted to become such a wonderful performer that I would get loved back. I was hoping I could get love from other people.

Shmuley believes the book, and the tapes, will help the public see in Jackson a tragic example of what happens when the scars of neglect never heal.

Rabbi Shmuley: A world renowned superstar invites the public into the pain of his childhood, so that parents would learn from that they will now truly understand the horrors that were visited on him.

Meredith Vieira: But forgive me Rabbi, some people are gonna look at the book and say "Well, wait a minute, the book comes out after Michael Jackson has died, but you profit off the book.

Rabbi Shmuley: Well Meredith, let's remember. I've written 21 books, so publishing books is what I do. This book earned a modest advance. Much of the proceeds are gonna be used for organizations that promote family and values. This book is a redemptive book, and it's a beautiful book.

Michael Jackson: I've seen the worst, the nightmare of the human condition, the human soul, of what I would never even think common man would be capable of behaving in such a way.

Meredith Vieira: When you hear his voice now, when you play those tapes over, what do you hear in that voice?

Rabbi Shmuley: It's the saddest thing in the world.  A man trying to break through this-- this cage.  A man trying to break through the people's perception, the fame, saying, "I'm a person."

Rabbi Shmuley:  You're not angry at God, you're not angry at the world?

Michael Jackson:  I'm not angry -- I'm very, taken by it. I'm hurt. I cry an awful lot.

Michael Jackson: I think all my success and fame and - I've wanted it, I've wanted it because I wanted to be loved.  That's all.

Michael Jackson's tapes leave us clues, but like other tragic icons before him, questions will linger for years about the broken soul behind the mask.

Have Questions About Michael Jackson ONE?


What is Michael Jackson ONE ?

Michael Jackson ONE is a state-of-the-art visual and audio experience creating a theatrical evocation of Michael’s creative genius. Guided and inspired by his music, four misfits set out on a transformative adventure. By journey's end, they will personify Michael's agility, courage, playfulness and love. If you want to learn more please visit the Michael Jackson ONE page.

How long is Michael Jackson ONE ?

Michael Jackson ONE is 90 minutes long, no intermission.

Is Michael Jackson ONE appropriate for children?

The minimum age to attend Michael Jackson ONE is 5 years old. Please note that Michael Jackson ONE uses loud sounds and periods of darkness which may frighten some children.

Can children attend the show?

Guests must be at least 5 years old to attend the show. No one under the age of 5 years old will be admited into the theatre.

Are there discounts on tickets for children?

There are no discounts on tickets for children.

At what age must children be bought a ticket?

Tickets must be purchased for children 5 years old and over. Children under 5 years of age are not admitted to Michael Jackson ONE.

Will there be Michael Jackson ONE merchandise available?

There is a Michael Jackson ONE Boutique Store located just outside of the Michael Jackson ONE Theater in Mandalay Bay that carries a wide variety of merchandise for sale.

How can I meet the artists ?

It is not possible to organize visits with artists and trainers. They have extremely busy schedules and so we respect the little down time they have by not offering visits.

Buy individual tickets

How do I buy tickets for Michael Jackson ONE?

Tickets for Michael Jackson ONE may be purchased online; by phone, at 877-632-7400 or toll-free, 800-745-3000; and in person at the Mandalay Bay box office locations or any of the MGM Resorts International box offices.

Are there Michael Jackson ONE gift cards?

Cirque du Soleil does offer gift cards. The gift card applies only towards the purchase of tickets for shows presented within the United States and Canada and is redeemable only at the Gift Card Shop.

How far in advance may I purchase tickets for Michael Jackson ONE?

Tickets for Michael Jackson ONE are available four months in advance of a performance.

Are there discounts for travel agents?

There are no travel agent discounts for Michael Jackson ONE.

Are tickets available for persons with limited mobility?

Yes, tickets for persons with limited mobility may be reserved with a credit card by calling the Mandalay Bay box office, at 877-632-7400 or toll-free at, 800-745-3000. Such tickets are not available for online puchases.

Are there military discounts?

There are no discounts for military personnel.

Is there a VIP Experience for Michael Jackson ONE?

We currently do not have a Michael Jackson ONE VIP Experience option available.

Which credit cards are accepted?

Tickets may be purchased using VISA, Mastercard or American Express.

Where do I pick up my tickets?

Tickets purchased for Michael Jackson ONE must be picked up at the Mandalay Bay theater box office at least one hour before the show. After that time, all tickets still waiting to be picked up will be cancelled.

How do I buy tickets without a credit card?

You may purchase tickets in person at the Mandalay Bay box office locations or any of the MGM Resorts International box offices.

Is my transaction cancelled when the countdown reaches zero?

Yes, once the countdown timer reaches zero the order is cancelled.

Are there Cirque Club discounts, contests or promotions for Michael Jackson ONE tickets?

Cirque Club privileges do not apply to Cirque du Soleil’s fixed venue performances.

Purchased individual tickets

I haven’t received my order confirmation.

If you haven’t yet received your order confirmation, please contact us or call the box office, directly, at 877-632-7400 or toll-free, at 800-745-3000.

Can I exchange or cancel my tickets?

All ticket sales are final. There are no exchanges or refunds.

I’ve lost my tickets.

If you’ve lost your tickets, please contact us or call the box office, directly, at 877-632-7400 or toll-free, at 800-745-3000.

Can I give my tickets to someone to use?

Tickets for Michael Jackson ONE are non-transferrable.

Buy group tickets

What constitutes a group order?

A group consists of 12 or more tickets attending a single performance with one method of payment. For more information visit the Group Page.

Is there an advantage to placing my group order early?

Booking early allows your group best seating availability and options. Advance bookings are also eligible for group discounts. For more information visit the Group Page.

Will I automatically get the best seats for my group?

Various price categories are offered. Cirque du Soleil will always reserve the best available seats at the time of booking within your preferred price category. We suggest booking as early as possible to ensure the best seating availability.

Do you accommodate those with special needs?

Yes, special needs seating is available at each theatre – please notify Cirque du Soleil prior to placing your order if you require access to special needs seating areas.

How do I submit a group ticket order?

1. Request a group contract by calling 702-352-0197 toll-free 877-826-0255 or by email: [email protected] com.
2. Complete the Group Ticket Sales Contract. Payment details must be included on the contract.
3. Submit your Group Ticket Sales Contract and signed Policies & Procedures Agreement via fax (702-352-0235) directly to the Account Executive assigned to your booking.
4. Cirque du Soleil will reserve the best seats available in your selected category.
5. Detailed confirmation that includes exact seat locations, pick-up instructions and Ticket Office hours will be sent to you via email.

Once I have submitted my order how long does it take to process?

Generally, group processing takes a minimum of two (2) business days after payment has been processed.

How can I pay for my Group?

Accepted forms of payment include credit card or wire transfers; All payable in US dollars. Personal checks and cash cannot be accepted for group orders.

Are there any taxes added to the ticket price?

Yes, there is a 10% live entertainment tax (LET) added to the cost of each ticket.

Are there any services fees?

There is a one-time Group Fee of $15.00 charged to each group order.

Can I make revisions to an existing group order?

Yes, revisions must be requested in writing by responding directly to the confirmation email sent by Cirque du Soleil. Please refer to the Group Sales Policies & Procedures Agreement. Group orders are considered final once printed.

Once my group order is confirmed, how do I get the tickets?

Group tickets are available for pick-up at the performing show’s Ticket Office only . Pick-up instructions are specified within the group ticket confirmation document.

Is there a VIP ROUGE or any reception options for Michael Jackson ONE?

There is no VIP ROUGE option for Michael Jackson ONE. We would be happy to recommend nearby venues for your pre/post show functions.

Can I use Cirque du Soleil logos and graphics for invitations or flyers?

Yes, once a group order is confirmed you may request official show logos/visuals. A Graphic Release Contract will be drafted and must be submitted for approval by our Marketing Department; Cirque du Soleil logos/visual will be provided upon approval. Please contact your Account Executive for detailed information.


How do I get to the Mandalay Bay?

The address is:

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119

Is there parking available?

Parking is available within the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino main parking garage (parking fees may apply).

May I take pictures during the show?

For licensing and security reasons, it is strictly forbidden to take pictures or record video of Michael Jackson ONE.

How do I make a request to perform a wedding proposal before or during the show?

While we would very much like to accommodate requests for public wedding proposals before or during the show, we cannot. We receive many such requests, and so we must always refuse.

How can I go backstage at Michael Jackson ONE?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to go backstage.

What can I do if I’ve lost something at the venue?

If you believe you’ve lost something at the venue, please contact the Mandalay Bay at 877-632-7400 or toll-free, at 800-745-3000.

Michael Jackson: Children did not betray, did not deceive and did not let me down. Adults and the whole world have failed...

This interview was recorded 6 years ago on Michael Jackson's home video camera.

That is why it remains the rarest in its authenticity and - confession

Michael Jackson was never a king, as he is now called for some reason. The king has subjects and is surrounded by respect.

And for all the last long years, if he was a king, then a king in exile. And instead of a crown, he wore a jester's cap. Only a person who is rancid in his rejection can say in his youth that he will not live in this world. And that's what Michael Jackson said to his first wife, Lisa Marie Presley.

Few of those who knew him intimately claim that he was shy, withdrawn and in many ways naive. But few people seem to believe this. And meanwhile he really wanted to tell the truth about himself. In early 2003, Jackson opened the gates of his famous Neverland home to British journalist Martin Bashir to tell him the whole truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. Some time later, the TV interview went on the air. But, alas, the truth about Michael Jackson, as it happened more than once, turned out to be edited, shortened and edited...

And then the second TV camera came forward. Jackson's home camera, which was present during this conversation and witnessed Michael Jackson's confession as it really was.

This authentic version of the interview, the rarest in its confession, was subsequently shown to the credit of British television in its entirety. We bring it to your attention.

"Adults have let the world down"

Question: Do you think that your success turned people against you?

Jackson : The bigger the star, the more they target it.

Question: I saw where you sleep, and this is not a special pressure chamber at all!

Jackson: Yes, I sleep in a bed. And people would probably be surprised at how ordinary and simple everything really is.

Question: What inspired you to create Neverland?

Jackson : What inspired me? It was so easy to create what I love. And what I love is children. Or children who continue to live as adults. And in my park, I placed everything that I myself did not have when I was a child.

Question: Do you regret the way your childhood was spent?

Jackson: Yes, I regret something. When I was 11-12 years old, I already had a contract with a record label. And I had to go and record albums, because the summer tour was already on the nose. And just across the street from the studio was a children's playground, and I could hear the children chasing the ball, playing tennis, making noise. And sometimes I just wanted so badly to run out there and play with them and not go into the studio and sing. But I couldn't.

They ask me why are you always with children? Yes, because in my childhood I was with adults all the time. When the children went to bed, I worked in clubs. At three o'clock in the morning I was still working on the stage. And I worked on weekends, and at Christmas, and on birthdays ... And so now I'm trying to compensate for this. This is where my wonder park came from.

Question: But it's not free for you, it costs millions of dollars?

Jackson : Yes, millions a year... But you know, it all pays off when I see kids laughing.

Question: I saw a statue behind your house. Why exactly Peter Pan, why is it so interesting to you?

Jackson : Because he represents what is dear to my heart: youth, childhood, never-growing up, magic, flying... Everything that I think children want. And I haven't grown out of loving it either.

Question: You don't want to grow out of your childhood, don't you want to grow up?

Jackson: No. After all, I am Peter Pan.

Question: You are Michael Jackson.

Jackson : No, in my soul, in my heart I am Peter Pan!

Question: Would it be correct to say that you found inspiration in children that you did not find in adults?

Jackson : This is absolutely true.

Question: Really?

Jackson: Yes. Children did not betray, did not deceive and did not let me down. And the adults let me down. Adults and the whole world let down...

...After his visit to Neverland, the journalist said to Jackson with admiration: "What we saw yesterday was amazing." In his commentary on the already edited film, he called Neverland a dangerous place for children. He stated: "I don't think problem kids should go to a billionaire superstar's house where they sleep in his bed. I'm not saying I saw Michael Jackson having sex with any of the kids - quite the opposite. But children should not go to this house. ..."

Question: Where is Bubble now? (The chimpanzee who lived in Jackson's house. - O.D.).

Jackson : He now lives under the care of a trainer along with other monkeys... When I come to my deer and chimpanzees after a hard day in the studio, I hug them. They don't demand anything from me, they don't complain or gossip. They have enough of my affection. They help me clean the room. They are amazing!

Question: Do chimpanzees help you clean the house?

Jackson: Yes! They sweep away the dust, clean the windows, tidy up the bathroom after they wash in it.

Question: Do you allow chimpanzees to use your own bathroom?

Jackson: Yes. Of course. And Bubble sits at my table, using a spoon and fork. He is very cultured. He's very smart!

"I'm lonely, it's true"

Question: You've been so successful and made so much wealth - you'll never have to work again. But it feels like you are not able to enjoy it. You seem kind of squeezed...

Jackson: No, why, I'm happy about my children...

Question: I'm talking about you personally!

Jackson: I can rejoice when I am within the walls of my house, but I cannot rejoice when I go out of it - because there the continuous work begins again.

Question : You seem so lonely... Is it true?

Jackson : Actually, I'm lonely, it's true. Painfully alone (in a broken voice)... You can't even imagine how much...

Question: When do you feel lonely?

Jackson: When?.. Usually in hotels. Or when thousands of fans shout, greeting you, declaring their love - and at the same time something shrinks inside you from loneliness ... Or if you go, for example, to a bookstore, then no matter what book you buy, questions begin: why did he buy this one, why does he read this one? I don't like going to clubs. If you come to the club, they start playing my songs and expect me to start dancing, that is, the show starts again. That's why I can't go anywhere. I don't want to complain, although that seems to be the case. But it's not a normal life, is it?

Seeing Jackson and dying

...This is a classic story about how love can work miracles. And this is a very little-known story about Michael Jackson, and if it is known, then it is turned beyond recognition.

A boy was dying of cancer in America. According to the doctors' verdict, Gavin had no more than a month to live. Lying in a hospital bed, weakened after numerous sessions of chemotherapy, Gavin expressed his last desire in his life - to see his idol, Michael Jackson. Says Los Angeles businessman Jimmy Massada:

"I didn't know Michael at the time and I just didn't know what to do. But I desperately wanted to help this boy. I called Neverland and relayed Gavin's request to the staff. The next day when I came to visit Gavin in the hospital, he just beamed with happiness. I asked: "What happened?" And he said: "Michael Jackson called me!" And then Michael met Gavin and became friends. And this friendship lasted for several years. And a miracle happened: a boy, despite the hopeless verdict of the doctors, he recovered. And then the reporters began to catch the already matured Gavin to find out if he was with Michael in an intimate relationship. Gavin and his mother were literally bombarded with requests from tabloid publications for an interview. He was asked: "Did you sleep with Michael Jackson?" This is outrageous and terrible. The guy called me literally in tears. This will remain with him for life!

... Jackson's close friend, the British magician and illusionist Uri Geller - known to the world as "the man who stopped Big Ben" - the morning after the news of Michael's death, spoke about how he once "tortured" him under deep hypnosis :

"I asked him, 'Have you ever touched any child inappropriately?' And Michael Jackson replied, 'No, never in my life.' him: "Why do you always surround yourself with children? Don't you understand that you are provoking all these bad rumors?" I asked him why he paid a huge amount of money to the family that filed a lawsuit for the molestation of their son, because by doing so he kind of paid off for his "sin"? And he said to me: " I just couldn't take it anymore. .."

Question: What happened then, in 1993, while on tour, when you were accused of having sex with children? What have you done?

Jackson: Nothing. I did not do anything. No way in the world would I hurt a child.

... Debbie Rowe, ex-wife of Michael Jackson, mother of his two older children: "When he was accused of this, Michael was in complete despair. All this mess, apparently, is happening around sleeping in his bed. You know, my my favorite pastime is to sit in bed and watch TV, and if you came to me at this moment, I would say: take off your shoes - and climb into bed.

"I didn't change my face"

Question: People in America do plastic surgery all the time, it's taken as absolutely normal today. Why is there such noise around you?

Jackson : I don't know... I've only had one plastic surgery - my nose.

Question: Only one?

Jackson: Yes. No ... More precisely, two - there were still after the burns that I received after performing on stage (we are talking about an incident that happened on January 27, 1984 years old, when a pyrotechnic malfunction caused Michael Jackson's hair to catch fire and he suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns. - O.D.). But I did not alter my ears, or cheeks, or eyes, or chin. Rumor has it that I rubbed a special brightening cream into my skin. It is not true.

Karen Fay, Jackson's make-up artist: "In the beginning, when this disease (vertaligo - the gradual destruction of the natural pigment of the skin. - O.D.) had just begun, he was embarrassed by it and tried to hide the brightening spots even from me. Michael tried to cover them up with acting makeup , foundation creams - until it went all over the body. I also tried to mask these spots with makeup, but soon realized that this was impossible, since I would have to mask the whole body. Therefore, there was only one way out - to stop covering light spots with dark, in tone his natural skin tone. And move on to lighter. Michael Jackson never aspired to turn into a white man. For him, the disease did it. "

Debbie Rowe was ready to give birth to Michael five more

Debbie Rowe : I believe that there are people who are destined to be parents, and Michael is one of them. He is a wonderful person and an amazing friend. And he was always by my side. We actually met a long time ago, about twenty years ago.

Question: Did Debbie get pregnant naturally? I know how embarrassing these questions are for you, but still: did you have sexual relations with her?

Jackson : Yes. Yes!

Row : When it was time to give birth and I went into labor, he was there right away. He held my hand the whole time. I said: "I will die!" And he asked me: "Hold on, he's already here!"

And our son showed up... And I looked at Michael's face (Debbie tries to hold back her tears, but it doesn't work). He... he was so happy. So happy!..

Jackson : She prefers to have children with me. So it happened with us ... You know, I would like to have more children ...

Row : If he called me today and said "let's get five more!", I wouldn't hesitate for a second.

... The faces of Michael Jackson's children were practically never seen by the public. But whose idea was it to hide their faces under the covers?

Row: This was my request. I can't imagine anything more terrible than to receive one day a piece of paper on which it will be written: "I kidnapped the children." And I said, "I also wore scarves. There's nothing wrong with that. Let it be like a Halloween game."

Jackson : I don't want all this fuss about my kids. I want them to grow up normal. It's understandable, isn't it?

... And yet, the loud scandal in Germany, when Michael "hung" his child to the public from the balcony of the Aldon Hotel in Berlin, caused the outraged public to ask: is he really such a wonderful father as he seems?

Jackson : I held the baby very tightly. Very, very strong. I know that people often throw their children up to the ceiling and then catch them. I held it for only a couple of seconds - and so tightly!

...Already after the incident on the Berlin balcony, a British journalist told Michael Jackson: "I must admit that your relationship with children is impressive. I can hardly hold back tears when I see you with them - because you are completely sincere in showing such love such care!" And touched and embarrassed, Michael replied: "Thank you very much!"

Later, in his commentary on the film about Jackson, the journalist will say: "His children are under restrictions, they are overprotected. I am saddened by how much his children have to endure!"

"It hurts when they don't understand you"

Question: Why do people show such an unfriendly attitude towards you - the person who gave the world so many beautiful songs?

Jackson : Success is envious. It hurts when you are not understood. And no matter how hard you try to achieve understanding, there will still be those who will condemn you.

Question: Do you sometimes despair of human nature itself?

Jackson: Yes...

Question: Has it ever happened that at least some of your actions were called good, right?

Jackson: No. Never... No matter what you do, no matter how good your intentions, it always turns out that someone tried to put you down. But all I want is to bring love and joy to people.

... The dead are either silent, or remembered only with a kind word. And now that Michael Jackson is dead, I hope - I dare to hope naively - that he will finally be treated like a Christian. They will say: "Thank you for the joy that you gave us." Or just leave him alone.

Rest in peace, Michael.

From the RG file

Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958. He reached international fame at the age of 11 as the vocalist of the Jackson 5 children's group, and subsequently became the most commercially successful solo artist in history and was proclaimed the "King of Pop". The most recognized are the three albums he recorded under the direction of producer Quincy Jones - Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982) and Bad (1987), and Thriller is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the best-selling disc of all time. Jackson has 19Grammy awards; 13 times he rose with his songs to the first line of the American charts. He was twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist and member of the Jackson 5. In 1993 and 1996. As part of the world tour, Michael Jackson gave concerts in Moscow. He died of a heart attack on June 25 at the age of 51 in a Los Angeles hospital.

Michael Jackson and Shmuley Botich

Michael Jackson and Shmuley Botich

Elizabeth Taylor: special connection

MD: Elizabeth Taylor is very childlike. There's nothing you can do about it if she says, "I don't want to do this!" When the cartoon "The Life of Insects" came out, she did not give me rest, persuading me to build a daily routine so that we could go see this film. So we had to go to the public cinema around one in the afternoon. She makes me go somewhere every Thursday, because, according to her, I lead a too closed way of life. Everyone is usually at work at this time, so no one is there and we never pay. We come with nothing, but we are always: “Oh, it's Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson!” They give us popcorn for free, everything is as it should be. She loved Insect Life so much, and she also loves Neverland. She rides merry-go-rounds and a ferris wheel, but she never goes to the panic room.
There is something else about the child in Elizabeth Taylor. When she was eight or nine years old, she starred in Jane Eyre. Our fathers are similar, they are both rough, with a heavy character. And she is playful, young and happy, and will always find something to laugh at, even if she feels bad. She is always ready to play, swim in the pool. She is very good at communicating with children. She loves toys and cartoons. I learned so much from her. She tells me about James Dean and Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy and Montgomery Clift because she's filmed with all those people. She tells me what they really were, who was a good person, who was not.
We were in Singapore - she accompanied me almost everywhere during the Dangerous tour, and we thought about going to the zoo. And we walked there, and we got such a personal tour, it was so much fun. She is the godmother of Prince and Paris, and McCaulay is their godfather. Somehow, the girl that everyone saw in Jane Eyre and The Return of Lassie was preserved in her, all this remained in her: in her eyes, in the way she childishly glows from the inside. It's so valuable. But so is Shirley (Temple Black). She says, "You feel it, don't you? You are one of us."
Elizabeth Taylor and I are like brother and sister, mother and son, like lovers, like fragrances that match each other. It is something indescribable. We sometimes whine to each other on the phone: “I need you so much ...” - “Oh, I need you so much too ...” We can talk about anything. She is my most faithful friend. She says she loves me and would do anything for me. He says that in Hollywood it is necessary to make a film and invite us to the main roles. We just need to do something together all the time.
SB: Are you jealous when she meets other men? She got married in your backyard.
MD: Am I jealous? Yes and no. I know that if there was anything romantic between us, the press would mock us and call us "weird couple". It would all turn into a circus and bring only pain to everyone. You know, sometimes I give her a wheelchair when she can't walk. What's between us is nobody's business. I need to be with people like me. Some rappers tell me, "Let's break up. Let's go to the club." And I say: “What? unwind? I don't think". It's just something that doesn't resonate with me.
On that tour (Dangerous) she fed me because I couldn't eat. When something upsets me, I stop eating, and sometimes it comes to the point that I lose consciousness. (Allegations of sexual abuse were leveled against Michael while he was on tour in 1993. Hence the cause of the upset.) She took a spoon, opened my mouth and forced me to eat. She said that she would be there all the time, but her doctors did not allow it. But she went to Thailand and traveled with me all the time, until the concerts in London. I ended up staying with Elton John and he was kind enough to hide me from everyone. He is one of the most wonderful people on the planet. He and I took care of Ryan White together, took care of all the costs of his treatment.
Then they started feeding me intravenously. I've had this happen a few times now - I could go weeks without food. I only eat to support myself. I hate to eat food that was alive and then killed to serve it to my table. So I try to be a strict vegetarian, but doctors keep trying to get chicken and fish into my diet.

Can children teach us about love?

SB: Do you think children can teach us to love?
MD: Yes, in a special way. After all, they are so affectionate. They can teach us attachment and that attachment is their main quality as well as pure innocence. That's why I love them so much. The other day I say to Frank, “Frank, I'm just in love with innocence, that's what I love. That's why I love children so much." Innocence is God. To be so clean, to have such a wonderful perspective on life, it's wonderful... A child walks around the house and you ask him, "What are you doing?" And he says: “I don’t know, I’m just playing.” It's so cute. I like it so much. So in the picture (on the wall in Michael's house there is a picture of hundreds of children playing in Neverland) ... one child is screaming with pleasure. He feels so good. He screams because he just wants to scream. I love it. I'm just in love with it.
SB: Almost as much as they believe in love, children are not afraid of pain. And people today are afraid to love.
MD: Are love and falling in love different things? That's why I'm embarrassed. I think being in love is what people are waiting for. I strive for it on stage.
SB: Do you think romance was invented by Hollywood films?
MD: Yes, many of them.
SB: Children are somewhat romantic. They fall in love in kindergarten.
MD: You mean those childhood crushes?
SB: Yes.
MD: Yes, they fall in love. They can set an example for adults how to be loving and tender, they teach us in a way that is possible... They give everyone a chance and I teach Prince and Paris to love everyone.

Why did Michael remain like a child? Still patient. But this word also has a negative interpretation, and I would like you to talk about it. It can mean - cynical, distrustful, weaving intrigues, manipulating, immoral, intolerant, battered by life. Tell me, what kind of negativity do people learn as they grow up?
MD: Adults just have so many problems. They were influenced by the thoughts and feelings of many other people. Therefore, I almost do not trust dogs. It's not about the dog. The anger and despair of a person affects the dog, and they become such vicious, crazy creatures. And I don’t know what kind of information the dog carries in it when it comes up to me and sniffs. Therefore, I'm scared.
SB: So it's important for you to know what the creature's motives are. It's important for you to know if he has an evil nature or...
MD: Yes! But for me it is also the best model of what kind of trace a person can leave. Somewhere in this life people get lost, and I believe in staying just childlike, innocent and simple. As Jesus said, “Let the greatest among you become like this child. Be like children and you will become the greatest in My eyes.” When a lot of adults first come to me, they look appraisingly: what are you wearing, who are you with. I see it. And then they talk to me and notice that I'm the same simple person who wants to be a friend, and their hearts melt. I see it.
SB: So children behave intuitively. They don't judge.
MD: Yes, they let everything flow. Children say: "Oh my God, it's Michael Jackson!" And I told them: "Hi!" The adult will smile and say "Hi". Then, if they begin to evaluate, they will say: “I like what you do,” but they will not show everything that is in their hearts. (They will try to contain what is very happy to meet).
SB: But why? Why do we hide our enthusiasm? Do they want to show: “You can’t overcome me ... I am also a person.” Maybe it's for security purposes?
MD: They include psychological blocking: how to approach me, what to say and what not. (But I would like them to just know what they need) just be themselves, be like children. Be open-minded. Be the same as when you were born.
SB: Maybe you're telling them, “I'm not trying to be taller than you. I am who I am, and it would be nice for you to be yourself too.
It's almost the same as when they say that children are closer to you than adults.
MD: Of course, closer. It's easier for me to get in touch with them. They don't come to you with all that baggage. They are just playing. They don't want anything from me. And I don’t need anything from them, except for their love and sincerity, and also to feel happiness and magic together.
SB: You could say that adults turn you into someone you don't want to be. You don't want to be defensive, you don't want to be artificial, and you don't want to talk nonsense. When the kids come up to you with all their enthusiasm, you are Michael. But surrounded by adults, you are different. You used the dog analogy here. You don't know how to react, so you defend yourself. You are forced to be what you don't want to be.
MD: That's right. That's why I became... I don't want to say that I let them win this war, but I just don't want to be in this society. You can put it in a book. We will be able to change many adults with it (so that they become more spontaneous). We can literally and mentally renew them with our words and this book, whatever we do. But so many people close their minds because they don't want to change, they refuse to see the light. But we could help a lot of people, and a lot of people are having a very, very hard time. They are already established individuals. But I believe that you will be able to change many. This is the most wonderful thing in all that we have started. You can bring it to them. Adults come to Neverland and tell me: “You know, for many years we haven’t done all the things that we did here .

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