Interviews (16)

Oprah Winfrey Interview (1993)


Oprah: Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson.

[Michael Jackson enters the living room of his home. They shake hands and Michael kisses Oprah on the cheek.]

Oprah: How nervous are you?

Michael: How what?

Oprah: How nervous are you right now?

Michael: I’m not nervous at all, actually.

Oprah: You really aren’t?

Michael: No, I never get nervous.

Oprah: Not even for your first interview and it’s live around the world? I thought you’d be a little nervous but you’re not and that’s great because if you’re not nervous I won’t be nervous. I just wanted to let the world know that when we agreed to do this interview you said you would be willing to talk to me about everything.

Michael: That’s true.

Oprah: Very true. I was watching you in the background there watching you in the video of the early years. Did that bring back memories for you?

Michael: It made me giggle because I haven’t seen that footage in a long time. Did it bring back memories? Yes, me and my brothers who I love dearly and it’s just a wonderful moment for me.

Oprah: I saw you laugh when you saw yourself singing ‘Baby, Baby, Baby’.

Michael: Yeah, I think James Brown is a genius you know when he’s with the ‘Famous Flames’, unbelievable. I used to watch him on television and I used to get angry at the camera-man because whenever he would really start to dance they would be on a close-up so I couldn’t see his feet. I’d shout “show him show him”, so I could watch and learn.

Oprah: So he was a big mentor for you?

Michael: Phenomenal, phenomenal.

Oprah: Who else was?

Michael: Jackie Wilson who I adore as an entertainer, and of course music, Motown. The Bee Gees who are brilliant, I just love great music.

Oprah: When I look at those tapes of you, and heaven knows, putting this together I think I’ve seen every piece of video ever done of you, and watching those tapes when, especially in the younger years, you seem to really come alive on stage. Were you as happy off stage as you appear to be on stage?

Michael: Well, on stage for me was home. I was most comfortable on stage but once I got off stage, I was like, very sad.

Oprah: Really?

Michael: Yes.

Oprah: And sad from the beginning, sad since it first started, sad?

Michael: Lonely, sad, having to face popularity and all that. There were times when I had great times with my brothers, pillow fights and things, but I was, used to always cry from loneliness.

Oprah: Beginning at what age?

Michael: Oh, very little, eight, nine.

Oprah: When you all first became famous?

Michael: Yes.

Oprah: So it wasn’t what it appeared to be to the rest of the world, all of us… I remember I was a little black child, wanted to marry Jackie Jackson, your brother, so I mean to all of us we thought this was the most wonderful thing in the world, who wouldn’t have wanted that life?

Michael: It was wonderful, there is a lot of wonderment in being famous. I mean you travel the world, you meet people, you go places, it’s great. But then there’s the other side, which I’m not complaining about. There is lots of rehearsal and you have to put in a lot of your time, give of yourself a lot.

Oprah: Do you feel… I talked with Suzanne de Passe the other day, and Suzanne de Passe worked with you at Motown and really groomed you all and found the outfits for the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’. We talked about your childhood, whether or not it was really lost, was it?

Michael: Well, especially now I come to realize — and then — I would do my schooling which was three hours with a tutor and right after that I would go to the recording studio and record, and I’d record for hours and hours until it’s time to go to sleep. And I remember going to the record studio there was a park across the street and I’d see all the children playing and I would cry because it would make me sad that I would have to work instead.

Oprah: I want to go to this and show some pictures of you as a little boy.

Michael: OK.

Oprah: Suzanne said it was a heavy price. I want to know how big of a price it was, losing your childhood or having this kind of life?

Michael: Well, you don’t get to do things that other children get to do, you know, having friends and slumber parties and buddies. There was none of that for me. I didn’t have any friends when I was little. My brothers were my friends.

Oprah: Was there ever a place where — because you know children — because I remember talking to myself and playing with my dolls — was there… and I think every child needs a place to escape into a child’s world, a child’s imagination, was there ever a time you could do that?

Michael: No. And that is why I think now because I didn’t have it then, I compensate for that. People wonder why I always have children around, because I find the thing that I never had through them, you know Disneyland, amusement parks, arcade games. I adore all that stuff because when I was little it was always work, work, work from one concert to the next, if it wasn’t a concert it was the recording studio, if it wasn’t that it was TV shows or interviews or picture sessions. There was always something to do.

Oprah: Did you feel, Smokey Robinson said this about you, and so have many other people, that you were like an old soul in a little body.

Michael: I remember hearing that all the time when I was little. They used to call me a 45-years-old midget wherever I went, I just used to hear that and wherever I went… just like when some people “When you were little and you started to sing did you know you were that good?” And I say I never thought about it, I just did it and it came out. I never thought about it really.

Oprah: So here you were, Michael Jackson, you all had hits, you all had so many hits, four hits in a row, and you were crying because you couldn’t be like other kids.

Michael: Well, I loved show business and I still love show business, but then there are times you want to play and have some fun and that part did make me sad. I remember one time we were getting ready to go to South America and everything was packed up and in the car ready to go and I hid and I was crying while I was hiding because I really did not want to go. I wanted to play. I did not want to go.

Oprah: Were your brothers jealous of you when you started getting all the attention?

Michael: Not that I know of, no.

Oprah: You never felt a sense of jealousy?

Michael: Oh, let me think — no. No, I think they were always happy for me that I could do certain things, but I’ve never felt jealousy among them.

Oprah: Do you think they are jealous of you now?

Michael: I wouldn’t think so. I don’t think so, no.

Oprah: No. What’s your relationship like with your family? Are you all close still?

Michael: I love my family very much. I wish I could see them a little more often than I do. But we understand because we’re a show business family and we all work. We do have family day when we all get together, we pick a person’s house, it might be Jermaine’s house or Marlon’s house or Tito’s house and everyone will come together in fellowship and love each other and talk and catch up on who’s doing what and…

Oprah: You weren’t all upset about LaToya and LaToya’s book and the things that LaToya has said about the family?

Michael: Well, I haven’t read LaToya’s book. I just know how to love my sister dearly, I love LaToya and I always will and I always see her as the happy, loving LaToya that I remember growing up with. So I couldn’t completely answer on that.

Oprah: Do you feel that some of the things that she’s been saying are true?

Michael: I couldn’t answer Oprah, honestly I haven’t read the book. That’s the honest truth.

Oprah: Well, let’s go back to when you were growing up and feeling all of this, well, I guess it’s a sense of anguish, I guess, so there was no one for you to play with other than your brothers, you never had slumber parties?

Michael: Never.

Oprah: So I’m wondering for you, being this cute little boy who everybody adored and everybody who comes up to you they’re pulling your cheeks and how cute, how adolescence going through that duck stage where everything’s awkward, and I’m wondering when you started to go through adolescence having been this child superstar, was that a particularly difficult time for you?

Michael: Very. Very, very difficult, yes. Because I think every child star suffers through this period because you’re not the cute and charming child that you were. You start to grow, and they want to keep you little forever.

Oprah: Who’s they?

Michael: The public. And um, nature takes its course.

Oprah: It does?

Michael: Yes, and I had pimples so badly it used to make me so shy, I used not to look at myself, I’d hide my face in the dark, I wouldn’t want to look in the mirror and my father teased me and I just hated it and I cried every day.

Oprah: Your father teased you about your pimples?

Michael: Yes and tell me I’m ugly.

Oprah: Your father would say that?

Michael: Yes he would. Sorry Joseph.

Oprah: What’s your relationship like with him?

Michael: I love my father but I don’t know him.

Oprah: Are you angry with him for doing that? I think that’s pretty cruel actually.

Michael: Am I angry with him?

Oprah: Because adolescence is hard enough without a parent telling you that you’re ugly.

Michael: Am I angry with him? Sometimes I do get angry. I don’t know him the way I’d like to know him. My mother’s wonderful. To me she’s perfection. I just wish I could understand my father.

Oprah: And so let’s talk about those teen years. Is that when you started to go inside yourself? Because obviously you haven’t spoken to the world for 14 years. So you went inside, you became a recluse. Was it to protect yourself?

Michael: I felt there wasn’t anything important for me to say and those were very sad, sad years for me.

Oprah: Why so sad? Because on stage you were performing, you were getting your Grammies. Why so sad?

Michael: Oh, there’s a lot of sadness about my past and adolescence, about my father and all of those things.

Oprah: So he would tease you, make fun of you.

Michael: Yes.

Oprah: Would he… did he ever beat you?

Michael: Yes.

Oprah: And why would he beat you?

Michael: He saw me, he wanted me… I guess I don’t know if I was his golden child or whatever it was, some may call it a strict disciplinarian or whatever, but he was very strict, very hard, very stern. Just a look would scare you, you know.

Oprah: And were you scared of him?

Michael: Very. Frightened. Like there’s been times when he’d come to see me, I’d get sick, I’d start to regurgitate.

Oprah: As a child or as an adult?

Michael: Both. He’s never heard me say this. I’m sorry, please don’t be mad at me.

Oprah: Well, I mean, I suppose everybody has to take responsibility for what they’ve done in life. And your father is one of those people who also have to take responsibility.

Michael: But I do love him.

Oprah: Yes, I understand this.

Michael: And I am forgiving.

Oprah: But can you really forgive? If you haven’t gotten angry, if you haven’t dealt with how you really feel. I don’t know if you can get from having been abused to forgiveness…

Michael: I do forgive. There’s so much garbage and so much trash that’s written about me it is so untrue, they’re complete lies, and those are some of the things I want to talk about. The press has made up so much… God… awful, horrifying stories it has made me realize the more often you hear a lie, I mean, you begin to believe it.

Oprah: Um, we talked about all of the rumors just before we went to the break and there are so many. First of all, I have been in this house getting prepared for this and I’ve been all over the house upstairs when you weren’t looking, looking for that oxygen chamber and I cannot find an oxygen chamber anywhere in the house.

Michael: That, that story is so crazy, I mean it’s one of those tabloid things, it’s completely made up.

Oprah: Okay, but you are in something there, there’s a picture of you, where did that come from? How did it get started?

Michael: That’s… I did a commercial for Pepsi and I was burned very badly and we settled for one million dollars and I gave all the money… like we built this place called the ‘Michael Jackson Burn Center’ and that’s a piece of technology used for burn victims, right, so I’m looking at the piece of technology and decide to just go inside it and just to hammer around, somebody takes the picture, when they process the picture the person who processes the picture says, “Oh, Michael Jackson”, he made a copy and these pictures went all over the world with this lie attached to it. It’s a complete lie, why do people buy these papers. It'’s not the truth and I’m here to say. You know, do not judge a person, do not pass judgment, unless you have talked to them one on one, I don’t care what the story is, do not judge them because it’s a lie.

Oprah: You’re right, that story, it was just like it had legs.

Michael: It’s crazy! Why would I want to sleep in a chamber? [Laughing]

Oprah: Well, the rumor was that you were sleeping in the chamber because you didn’t want to grow old.

Michael: That’s stupid. That’s stupid. It’s completely made up and I’m embarrassed. I’m willing to forgive the press, or forgive anybody, I was taught to love and forgive, which I do have in my heart, but please don’t believe these crazy, horrifying things.

Oprah: Did you buy the ‘Elephant Man’s’ bones, were you trying to get them for…

Michael: No that’s another stupid story. I love the story of the ‘Elephant Man’, he reminds me of me a lot and I could relate to it, it made me cry because I saw myself in in the story, but no I never asked for the… where am I going to put some bones?

Oprah: I don’t know.

Michael: And why would I want some bones?

Oprah: I don’t know. So where did that come from?

Michael: Someone makes it up and everybody believes it. If you hear a lie often enough, you believe it. 

Oprah: Yes and people make money selling tabloids.

Michael: Yes.

Oprah: All right. Just recently, there was a story and I know one of your attorneys held a news conference, there was a story about you wanting a little white child to play you in a Pepsi commercial.

Michael: That is so stupid. That is the most ridiculous, horrifying story I’ve ever heard. It’s crazy. Why, number one, it’s my face as a child in the commercial, me when I was little, why would I want a white child to play me? I’m a black American, I am proud to be a black American, I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride and dignity. That’s like you wanting an oriental person to play you as a child. Does that make sense?

Oprah: No.

Michael: So, please people, stop believing these horrifying stories.

Oprah: Okay, then let’s go to the thing that is most discussed about you, that is the color of your skin is most obviously different than when you were younger, and so I think it has caused a great deal of speculation and controversy as to what you have done or are doing, are you bleaching your skin and is your skin lighter because you don’t like being black?

Michael: Number one, as I know of, there is no such thing as skin bleaching, I have never seen it, I don’t know what it is.

Oprah: Well they used to have those products, I remember growing up always hearing always use bleach and glow, but you have to have about 300,000 gallons.

Michael: Okay, but number one, this is the situation. I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of the skin, it’s something that I cannot help. Okay. But when people make up stories that I don’t want to be who I am it hurts me.

Oprah: So it is…

Michael: It’s a problem for me that I can’t control, but what about all the millions of people who sit out in the sun, to become darker, to become other than what they are, no one says nothing about that.

Oprah: So when did this start, when did your… when did the color of your skin start to change?

Michael: Oh boy, I don’t… sometime after ‘Thriller’, around ‘Off the Wall’, ‘Thriller’, around sometime then.

Oprah: But what did you think?

Michael: It’s in my family, my father said it’s on his side. I can’t control it, I don’t understand, I mean, it makes me very sad. I don’t want to go into my medical history because that is private, but that’s the situation here.

Oprah: So okay, I just want to get this straight, you are not taking anything to change the color of your skin…

Michael: Oh, God no, we tried to control it and using make-up evens it out because it makes blotches on my skin, I have to even out my skin. But you know what’s funny, why is that so important? That’s not important to me. I’m a great fan of art, I love Michelangelo, if I had the chance to talk to him or read about him I would want to know what inspired him to become who he is, the anatomy of his craftsmanship, not about who he went out with last night… what’s wrong with… I mean that’s what is important to me.

Oprah: How much plastic surgery have you had?

Michael: Very, very little. I mean you can count on my two fingers, I mean let’s say this, if you want to know about those things, all the nosey people in the world, read my book ‘Moonwalk’, it’s in my book. You know, let’s put it this way, if all the people in Hollywood who have had plastic surgery, if they went on vacation, there wouldn’t be a person left in town.

Oprah: Mmm, I think you might be right.

Michael: I think I am right. It would be empty.

Oprah: Did you start having plastic surgery because of those teen years because of not liking the way you looked?

Michael: No, not really. It was only two things. Really, get my book, it’s no big deal.

Oprah: You don’t want to tell me what it is? You had your nose done, obviously.

Michael: Yeah, but so did a lot of people that I know.

Oprah: And so, when you hear all these things about you, and there have been more…

Michael: I’ve never had my cheekbones done, never had my eyes done, never had my lips done and all this stuff. They go too far, but this is stuff that happens every day with other people.

Oprah: Are you pleased now with the way you look?

Michael: I’m never pleased with anything, I’m a perfectionist, it’s part of who I am.

Oprah: And so when you look in the mirror now and so the image that looks back at you are there days when you say I kinda like this or I like the way my hair…

Michael: No, I’m never satisfied with me.

Oprah: … or I’m kinda cute today…

Michael: … [giggles] cute today… no, I’m never pleased with myself. No, I try not to look in the mirror.

Oprah: I have to ask you this, so many mothers in my audience have said to please ask you this question. Why do you always grab your crotch?

Michael: [Giggles] Why do I grab my crotch?

Oprah: You’ve got a thing with your crotch going on there.

Michael: I think it happens subliminally. When you’re dancing, you know you are just interpreting the music and the sounds and the accompaniment if there’s a driving base, if there’s a cello, if there’s a string, you become the emotion of what that sound is, so if I’m doing a movement and I go bam and I grab myself it’s… it’s the music that compels me to do it, it’s not saying that I’m dying to grab down there and it’s not in a great place you don’t think about it, it just happens, sometimes I’ll look back at the footage and I go… and I go “Did I do that?”, so I’m a slave to the rhythm, yeah, okay.

[After a commercial break, some of Michael’s major achievements are shown:]

• # 1 Album of All Time

• # 2 Album of All Time

• Biggest Concert in History

• More Music Awards Than Any Other Artist

• The 80's Most # 1 Hits

• Biggest Endorsements Deal Ever - 15,000,000 dollars

• Billion Dollar Entertainment Contract

• Entertainner of the Decade

Oprah: When you have broken all those records, when you have the number one album ever sold, when you’ve broken every record there is to break, when you become an icon of an industry, is there always the pressure to do something bigger and something better.

Michael: Oh gee, that is something, um, it makes it harder each time to follow up. You try to be as original as you can be without thinking about statistics, just you go from the soul and from the heart.

Oprah: And so when you think of that what do you do, you go, you meditate, you think, well I will now do the Superbowl.

Michael: Nooo, I just create out of my heart, really.

Oprah: Liz Taylor said you were king of pop, rock and soul. Where did this whole notion that you proclaimed yourself king of pop come from?

Michael: Well, I didn’t proclaim myself to be anything. I’m happy to be alive, I’m happy to be who I am, king of pop was first said by Elizabeth Taylor on one of the award shows.

Oprah: And that’s where this all started?

Michael: Yes, and the fans… all the stadiums that we played at they’d bring banners saying king of pop and jackets that say king of pop and T-shirts that say king of pop and they chanted outside my hotel, so it just became something that just happened all over the world.

Oprah: Do you go out, do you date?

Michael: Yes.

Oprah: Who do you date?

Michael: Well, right now it’s Brooke Shields. Well, we try not to be everywhere, go everywhere, it’s mostly at home, she’ll come over, I’ll go to her house, because I don’t like going out in public.

Oprah: Have you ever been in love?

Michael: Yeah.

Oprah: With Brooke Shields?

Michael: Yes, and another girl.

Oprah: And another girl? Let me ask you this, and it’s embarrassing for me to ask you this, but I’m gonna ask you anyway, are you a virgin?

Michael: Uhhhhh, how could you ask that question?

Oprah: I just want to know.

Michael: I’m a gentleman.

Oprah: You’re a gentleman?

Michael: I’m a gentleman.

Oprah: I would interpret that to mean that you believe that a lady is a lady and therefore…

Michael: That’s something that’s private, I mean, it shouldn’t be spoken about openly. … You can call me old fashioned if you want, but, you know I mean that’s very personal.

Oprah: So, you’re not going to answer it?

Michael: I’m embarrassed.

Oprah: Well, we would like to know whether or not there is a possibility that you are going to marry one day and have children?

Michael: I would feel my life is incomplete if I do not ’cause I adore the family life, I adore children and I adore that whole thing. And I would love to, that’s one of my dreams, but I couldn’t right now because I am married, I’m married to my music and there has to be that closeness in order to do the kind of work that I want to do and…

Oprah: What kind of woman makes you — in the video we’re going to see later, we premiere the world video, there’s a line where you talk about being quenched, so what kind of person does that for you?

Michael: [Sings] Quench my desire… Well Brooke, I’ve always liked her and when I was little I used to stay with Diana Ross, me and my brother stayed with her for years and I never said, but I always had a crush on her.

Oprah: You did?

Michael: Yes.

Oprah: I heard too, this was another one of those rumors, that you had proposed to Elizabeth Taylor at some point.

Michael: Elizabeth Taylor is gorgeous, beautiful, and she still is today, I’m crazy about her.

Oprah: Yeah, but did you propose to her?

Michael: I would like to have.Oprah: Well, Elizabeth Taylor is here. Liz? Can we bring Liz out now? Liz had said she wanted to be here to hold your hand through this. You don’t look like you need your hand held. Elizabeth Taylor!

Michael: Hi, Elizabeth.

Oprah: Hi.

Elizabeth: Hi.

Oprah: Have a seat.

Elizabeth: Thank you.

Oprah: Did Michael ever propose to you?

Elizabeth: No! And I never proposed to him.

Oprah: Never did! What do you think is most misunderstood about Michael Jackson?

Elizabeth: All the things you mentioned. He is the least weird man I have ever known. He is highly intelligent, true, intuitive, understanding, sympathetic, generous almost to a fault, of himself.

Oprah: Uh-huh.

Elizabeth: Uh, and he just, if, if he has any eccentricities, it’s that he is like larger than life and some people just cannot accept that or face it or understand it. His talent on stage, why I call him the king of pop, rock, soul, music, entertainment, whatever…

Oprah: Yes.

Elizabeth: … there’s nobody that can come near him. Nobody can dance like that, write the lyrics like that, the music, uh, cause the kind of excitement that he does.

Oprah: And why do you think you all are such good friends? What has brought about this kind of bond? Because people try to make this weird.

Elizabeth: Well, it’s not. I mean, our childhoods are very similar, and we have that from the very beginning in common. Um, I was a child star at nine, had an abusive father, um, and that kind of brought us close together in the very beginning.

Oprah: And what is it, I am going to ask Michael this question later on, but, what is it you most want the world to know about him?

Elizabeth: What a wonderful, giving, caring, generous man he is and how good he is.

Oprah: And he’s funny, too.

Elizabeth: Oh, he’s wildly funny.

Oprah: He can crack some jokes, I tell you.

Elizabeth: Yes, but he is a good man.

Oprah: When we come back… Thank you for joining us too…

Elizabeth: That’s fine.

Oprah: … cause I know you did not want to be on camera at first, but thank you. Coming up next, Michael is going to give us not only a tour of his incredible amusement park and movie theater, but also a very special dance performance. For all of you who say he is faking the ‘Moonwalk’ with mirrors, we’ve got some proof coming up in a minute.

[Cut to dance clips for intermission]

Announcer: Live from Santa Ynez, California. Michael Jackson talks to Oprah.

Oprah: Now this is what’s shocking to me, that you even drive. What we’re doing, everybody, is that we are coming from Michael’s house down to this amazing amusement park, which is, oh, about several hundred yards from the house. And this is, it’s incredible.

Michael: Thank you.

Oprah: And I want to know whether or not you did this for yourself or did you do it for all the children that you entertain here?

Michael: For myself and the children. Every three weeks we — terminally ill children that come to… uh…

Oprah: To the house?

Michael: Yes, yes.

Oprah: ‘Make a Wish–Foundation’, ‘Dream Street’, ‘Starlight’, yes?

Michael: Every three weeks… and these are sick children, children with cancer. And I entertain them.

Oprah: Uh-huh.

Michael: And they come here to enjoy themselves.

Oprah: This is unbelievable. What I have to say is, these are, as I was talking to some kids that were here, these are not just grandma rides here. These are some major rides.

Michael: [laughs]

Oprah: I mean the ‘Sea Dragon’, the ‘Ferris Wheel’, and there’s that ‘Zipper’ over there.

Michael: The ‘Wipeout’.

Oprah: Yeah, the ‘Wipeout’, and there are ‘Bumper Cars’ here, it’s really…

Michael: Thank you. Well, it brings out the child that lives in everybody. I love rides and things like that and I share it with the children.

Oprah: Were you able to do that when you were a kid?

Michael: Not really. Sometimes, sometimes, but not often enough.

Oprah: But now you can anytime.

Michael: Every day. It’s right in my back yard.

Oprah: How often do you actually come out here and do this?

Michael: Whenever I’m here I come out and I go on the rides.

Oprah: Well, is this a part of you, what we were talking about earlier, the pain of growing up and not being able to experience all the things that kids normally experience and so now you are fulfilling all those fantasies.

Michael: To compensate, yes.

Oprah: Really.

Michael: Yes, it is very true.

Oprah: Do you think you can ever really recapture it though? Does it feel the same? I mean, I don’t know.

Michael: [laughs] It’s more fun.

Oprah: Really?

Michael: I wouldn’t change the past if I could. I’m enjoying myself.

Oprah: And here we are inside the theater. I had once too many sugar babies at the candy counter.

Michael: [laughs]

Oprah: But the candy is here for all the kids. Pinocchio is here, ET is here. Did you… what’s fascinating to me about you is that obviously you have this childlike aura about you and I see children with you and they play with you like you are one of them. But, a child did not do this.

Michael: [laughs]

Oprah: A child did not put this together. This is really magnificent.

Michael: Well, thank you. I… I love to do things for children and I try to imitate Jesus… and I am not saying I am Jesus, I’m not saying that.

Oprah: Yes, we’re clear on that.

Michael: Right, I’m trying to imitate Jesus in the fact that he said to be like children, to love children, to be as pure as children, and to make yourself as innocent and to see the world through eyes of wonderment and the whole magical quality of it all and I love that. And we’ll have like a hundred bald headed children, they all have cancer, and they’re all running around.

Oprah: Um-huh.

Michael: And they are enjoying themselves and it makes me cry happy tears that I was able to do this for them, you know. 

Oprah: Um-huh.

Michael: Makes me so pleased inside.

Oprah: Well, when I came here to, um, about a month ago to shoot a commercial with you for promoting tonight’s event, one of the things that really impressed me the most, I hope you guys are getting shots of this. I don’t know how you are, if all the cameras are on us, but, oh, we got other cameras… is that there are, built inside the walls here… beds… beds for some of those sick children who come. And what I realized when I saw this is that you have to be a person who really cares about children to build it into your architecture.

Michael: Yes, yes. We have children that come who are… who intravenously… they are very sick, bedridden…

Oprah: They can’t sit up.

Michael: Right. They can’t sit up and these beds, they are hospital beds, you push a button, you go up or you go down and they are able to watch. We have a magic show, we show the current films, there’s cartoons, anything you know, anything so they can escape to that world of magic that they don’t have a chance to experience, the world I was deprived of when I was little.

Oprah: Now let me ask you this. You know I believe everything happens in people’s lives for a reason. Do you think that had you not missed a lot of, uh, the life and fun and fantasy of childhood that you would be so in touch with children today. Would you relate to them as you do?

Michael: I probably would, but not as much. That’s why I wouldn’t change a thing…

Oprah: Really?

Michael: Because I am happy with the way things are and my caring for young people and everything.

Oprah: Are you really happy now, because you seemed so sad for a long time.

Michael: [laughs] I was sad for years and years and years. But I’m happy, I’m getting there. Yes, I’m very happy.

Oprah: And what has made you happier.

Michael: Being able to give back, you know, and to help other people.

Oprah: Uh-huh.

Michael: ‘Heal the World-Foundation’ which I’ve formed which helps children in healing in the world. We’re doing ‘Heal L.A.’, which is uh, we have three primary goals in mind: Immunization of children, mentoring — a big sister, big brother program, and education in drug abuse. And Jimmy Carter has teamed up with us to do ‘Heal Atlanta’ and we’re going to go from state to state healing — you know we’ve gone to Sarajevo, we’ve done lots of places.

Oprah: I know, I know, we have photographs of you from all over the world where you are with all these children. One of the things I was saying before we went to the last break, before the alarm went off in the house and all that…

Michael: Yeah…

Oprah: … is that, uh, we were talking about the rumors. One of the strangest ones I heard was that when you’re ‘Moonwalking’, you’re faking it, that you have some mirrors in your socks someplace.

Michael: Oh, boy!

Oprah: And it’s not really real.

Michael: No, that’s not true.

Oprah: How did you, first of all, you know we’ve spent so much time trying to dispel the rumors, trying to get the truth out that I haven’t had a really opportunity to talk to you about how you conceive your music, how you conceive the dance. Where did the ‘Moonwalk’ come from?

Michael: Well, the ‘Moonwalk’ came from these beautiful children, the black kids who live in the ghettos, you know, the inner cities, who are brilliant, that just have that natural talent for dancing any of these new — the running man — any of these dances. They come up with these dances, all I did was enhance the dance.

Oprah: O.K. I want to see you dance.

Michael: Oh, God, no, no…

Oprah: I want to see you dance. I want to see you dance, live.

Michael: No, no. I can show you a step or two, but, I’m a little rusty right now.

Oprah: A little rusty?!

[Michael goes on stage and dances to ‘Dangerous’.]

Michael: That’s the ‘Moonwalk’ — wait, you need to catch it from the — sideways.

Oprah: You gotta turn sideways?

Michael: Are you from the front?

Oprah: Yeah, we got ya!

Michael: Catch it from the sideways.

Oprah: O.K. Just show me slow motion. Could you show me slow motion?

Michael: O.K., wait, it’s like, it’s pushing and then there’s like a popping type of thing.

[Michael stops dancing and comes down from stage.]

 Michael: I’m sorry.

Oprah: [applauding] Well, I saw it live, I saw it live, I saw it live. And so you took it from the kids who were doing it.

Michael: Yeah, because, um, I think they are the real dancers.

Oprah: Yeah! And when you are, for instance, when we were here before, when we were here before to shoot that commercial, you were…

Michael: You were supposed to do this with me! [laughing]

Oprah: I don’t know how to do this!

Michael: [laughing]

Oprah: You know I don’t know how to do this!

Michael: [laughs]

Oprah: You know what? I mean all the things that were printed in the tabloids, the only thing that’s ever been true was when they said I couldn’t dance. Now that’s the truth!

Michael: [laughs]

Oprah: When we were here the last time shooting the commercial, you were like in between shots running off and conceiving the dance, choreographing the dance, you were up all night dancing.

Michael: For the ‘Super Bowl’?

Oprah: Yes, yes.

Michael: Yes, well, I’m never satisfied. Even when I see something that I’ve done and people say oh it was so phenomenal — when I did ‘Motown 25’ and I did the ‘Moonwalk’ for the first time, I was backstage crying afterwards.

Oprah: Why?

Michael: Because I was unhappy.

Oprah: You cried after ‘Motown 25’?!

Michael: After ‘Motown 25’, yes. But, then as I was walking to the car there was this little boy, he was like 12, was a little Jewish kid, and he said, “Oooooh, you were amazing. Who taught you to ever dance like that?” And for the first time, I felt I did a good job, because I know children don’t lie and I just felt so good about it then.

Oprah: You wanted to, you felt so good, you probably wanted to say [imitating Michael] “Hee-hee”!

Michael: [laughs] Hee-hee!

Oprah: I want you to sing something acapella for me, if you can.

Michael: Oh, no! What could I sing?

Oprah: ‘Who Is It’, you know do that whole little beat thing, since we’re here in the theater.

Michael: Um, oh, boy, what could I sing? ‘Who Is It’?

Oprah: Where did that Hee-hee thing come from? Hee-hee.

Michael: Hee-hee! [starts the beat and makes instrument sounds to ‘Who Is It’] [sings] I gave my money, I gave my time, I gave her everything in life one heart could find. It doesn’t seem to matter and it doesn’t seem right, but the will has brought no fortune, still I cry alone at night. Don’t you judge of my composure cause I’m bothered every day, and she didn’t leave a letter, she just up and ran away…

Oprah: Aooww! Fabulous!

Michael: I mean, you wanted me to do it! I get embarrassed. I’m sorry. I get embarrassed.

Oprah: I like it very much. Thank you very much for that. We’re going to come right back with more of Michael Jackson live — That was great! [hugs Michael]

[Cut to clips for intermission]

Oprah: One of the reasons we wanted to look at that piece when we went to break there was because music videos used to be you, used to just be people singing their song until you came along and changed music videos. Did you know when you first conceived your first one that’s what you were doing?

Michael: Yeah. The idea was to make something that was a story so it had a beginning, a middle and an ending.

Oprah: Uh-huh.

Michael: So it felt like a mini movie, that’s what I wanted to do. And that is what we did with ‘Beat It’ and ‘Thriller’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’ and all those type of things.

Oprah: So when you start to look at a piece of work or look at a piece of music, are you already thinking about how you are going to…

Michael: Sometimes, yes, that is very true.

Oprah: Uh-huh. I wonder what it feels like, I will never know since I cannot sing one thing, but, what it feels like to be on stage with a sea of people, a sea of people. One of the things that has impressed me in putting the pieces together for you, is all around the world, the response to you is so incredible. I just wanted to, for the rest of you in the world who haven’t seen how people respond to Michael Jackson to take a look…

[Cut to concert clips and crowd scenes from around the world, with ‘Will You Be There’ playing as background music.]

Oprah: So, when you’re standing there and there’s a sea of people responding to you, screaming you name as they were, what does it feel like?

Michael: Love, you just feel lots of love and I feel blessed and honored to be able to be an instrument of nature that was chosen to give them that, what I give them. I’m very honored and happy about that.

Oprah: An ‘instrument of nature’ — that’s an interesting way to describe yourself.

Michael: Thank you, yes.

Oprah: Are you very spiritual?

Michael: In what sense?

Oprah: I mean, do you, do you meditate? Do you understand that there’s something bigger than yourself at work here?

Michael: I believe in God, absolutely… absolutely, very much.

Oprah: Uh-huh. And I believe that everybody comes to the world for a reason. I think, um, most of us spend our lives trying to figure out what the purpose of our being here is. What do you think your’s is?

Michael: My purpose?

Oprah: Uh-huh.

Michael: Oh boy, I think, um, to give in the best way I can through song, and through dance and through music. I mean, I am committed to my art. I believe that all art has as it’s ultimate goal the union between the material and the spiritual, the human and the divine. I believe that to be the reason for the very existence of art.

Oprah: Uh-huh.

Michael: And, um, I feel I was chosen as an instrument to just give music and love and harmony to the world. To children of all ages, and um, adults and teenagers.

Oprah: Do you think that by talking now, setting the record straight for yourself, that maybe people will be able to focus more attention on your music and not judge you for anything other than the kind of music that you play?

Michael: I would hope so. I would love that.

Oprah: Well, I hope that comes out of this, too. I’m also excited that the world is watching, and because the world is watching, we thought this was a good time to let the world see the world premiere of ‘Give In To Me’.

[Cut to world premiere showing of ‘Give In To Me’ video.]

Oprah: So, we want to know how it starts on a piece of pape — ‘quench my desire’ — and turns into that.

Michael: Well, ‘Give In To Me’, I wanted to write another song, you know, that was kinda exciting and fun and had a rock edge to it. You know, like when I did ‘Beat It’ and ‘Black or White’. And Slash, who’s a dear friend of mine, we love animals and things like that, he wanted to play guitar and I wanted him to play guitar. We got together and we went to Germany and we shot this thing in just like two hours. We had no time at all to shoot it. We wanted it to be exciting and fantastical and fans, you know, like it’s a rock concert and that’s how it ends up — that’s the result.

Oprah: You mentioned animals. I know everyone’s going to ask me when I leave here, where are all the animals? I said it in the opening, I expected chimps to be jumping all over the living room and I didn’t see any. Where’s Bubbles?

Michael: [laughs] Well, the animals are everywhere. They’re in their habitats. They’re all over the ranch. And they come out in the daytime and they play and jump around, they have their own playground and area.

Oprah: Why, why were you so fascinated by animals, do you think?

Michael: Because I find in animals the same thing I find so wonderful in children. That purity, that honesty, where they don’t judge you, they just want to be your friend. I think that is so sweet.

Oprah: I do, too. We’ll be right back with Michael Jackson, live.

Announcer: Michael Jackson talks to Oprah. Ninety prime-time minutes with the ‘King of Pop’.

Oprah: We’re live at Michael Jackson’s house, in his theater and we asked NBC for ninety minutes. I don’t think it was enough time.

Michael: [laughs]

Oprah: I think we’ve cleared up all the rumors though. There are no chimps running around the house…

Michael: [laughs]

Oprah: No oxygen tank in the house. I don’t know, are you going to lay off the crotch a little bit?

Michael: [laughs] Ask the music.

Oprah: Ask the music will you lay off the crotch. Oh, we didn’t get about the inauguration. Did you tell President Clinton that you had to be the only person there singing?

Michael: That is horrible. That is the stupidest, craziest story that I have ever heard. I mean, why would I just want me and nobody else could be on the show, just me. That’s so stupid, to me. I mean, it’s crazy. That’s not even in my heart. I would never say anything like that. Again, somebody made it up and the whole world believed it. It is so false, it’s incredible.

Oprah: What do you want, want most… what do you want the world to know about you most? I asked Liz that of you, what do you want them to know?

Michael: Like to be remembered for?

Oprah: Not to be remembered for… what about for now? Forget remembered.

Michael: Oh, known for now. As to be an artist, a great artist. I… I love what I do and I would love people to love what I do and to be loved. I just simply want to be loved wherever I go. All over the world, because I love people of all races from my heart, with true affection.

Oprah: Hmm. You know, Gene Siskel who’s a movie critic asked me this question once. And I love the question, so I am going to ask you.

Michael: Yeah?

Oprah: You’re 34 years old. What do you know for sure?

Michael: Hmm. What do I know for sure?

Oprah: What do you know for sure?

Michael: Oh boy, I’m still learning. I mean, life is an education for me. I can’t say that I know anything for sure. I really believe that.

Oprah: I can’t thank you enough for letting us in and I wish you all the happiness in the world. I loved being here because it makes me feel like a child again and one of the things I promised myself was that when this interview was over — live around the world — I was going to go get on that ‘Ferris Wheel’!

Michael: [laughs]

Oprah: And that is exactly what I intend to do. I’m gonna take off my blue shoes and I’m gonna ride that ‘Ferris Wheel’!

Michael: [continues laughing]

Oprah: I’m gonna have a good time and have myself a little popcorn, maybe, and maybe when it’s all over, you’ll teach me how to do the ‘Moonwalk’ — when everybody’s not looking!

Michael: O.K.! O.K.! That sounds good.

Oprah: Yeah! This was fun!

Michael: Yeah! Lots of fun!

[They leave the theater together to go to the amusement park.]


Prime Time Live (1995) with Diane Sawyer


Diane Sawyer: Make no mistake about it, for all that fantasy and flash Michael Jackson is serious business. Ask anyone in this town. Ask the people at Sony Music who say his next album and videos alone could bring in close to one billion dollars worldwide. So it’s not hard to understand why the shockwave of those allegations two years ago registered like the last earthquake out here. What everyone wants to know, is he really on his way back? This is the old MGM set at ‘Sony Pictures’ where all those dreams were put on film. Seemed like a good place to begin this hour. Because whatever you think about Michael Jackson, you cannot ignore what he achieved, a little boy with all those dreams in his voice.
It’s the once upon a time story that we all know by heart. Out of this tiny house in Gary, Indiana, where among the nine children of a crane worker at the steel yards, came the raw talent that rocked Motown.

This is the audition, which Michael Jackson charms, glides, and spins his family into stardom. But we’ve also heard the other side of this fairytale. The brothers claimed that their father drove them brutally, beat them. This is the man Michael said made him nauseous with fear.

Joe Jackson: I don’t know anything about him being sick but, regurgitating but if he, did ’gurgitate, he, he ’gurgitated all the way to the bank.

Diane Sawyer: But on stage the little boy felt invulnerable. Wielding the voice that would enchant for the next twenty-five years, even as the singer radically changed. We sat down a week and a half ago to talk only about music. We looked at the Ed Sullivan Show, 1970. He remembers exactly what he was thinking.

[Interview of Michael about his work]
Michael: That the whole world was like watching me. My father used to always say, don’t mess up, you know, and I felt I knew every part and if something went wrong, I felt I could cover it.

Diane Sawyer: But by adolescence a private price was being paid. He said it was agony. That people stared, clearly wishing that he was still that cute little boy. At the time, his mother worried that he was withdrawn.

Katherine Jackson: Michael is quiet now. When he was younger he wasn’t that quiet. And I don’t know I think the stage might have done that to him.

[Footage of an interview with Sylvia Chase, taped in the late 70’s]

Michael: Bein’ around, you know, everyday people and stuff, I feel strange, I do.

Sylvia Chase: Shy?

Michael: Yeah.

Diane Sawyer: 1979, 20-20. He told Sylvia Chase people won’t let him be just normal.

Michael: They won’t talk to me like their, well, their next door neighbor.

Diane Sawyer: But somehow Jackson used isolation to sharpen his sense of what was exotic and new. By 1983, the 25th anniversary of Motown, another Michael Jackson emerged. His own creation. From the music, to the muscle, to the magic. It was a triumph. But, he still sees only what he missed.

[Interview of Michael about his work]
Michael: I wanted to do the five spins and go on the toes and freeze there, and just hold it, and stay there, you know. And I didn’t, but they didn’t know.

Diane Sawyer: It’s the doubles bargain. A perfectionist trying to give the audience more. A chameleon, whose changes are more and more extreme, making you wonder if it’s all still part of his plan or like his prison. Because even today Jackson obsesses over every word, every note, every sound. Listen. What you’re hearing is not an electric drum machine; it’s a hard-wired, 48 track, digitally mastered human.

[Interview of Michael about his work]
Michael: [mimicking various instruments with his voice box] … You know what I mean. I’ll take that and use that as the main foundation for the track, and build, all the sounds around that. You know what I’m saying?

Diane Sawyer: So, whatever the future, the music will always be inside the man, who says soon he’ll be back, where he’s most at home.

Diane Sawyer: Are you really anxious to get back onstage?

Michael: Hmmm, I miss the fans. That’s my chance to get to really, you know, see them and, feel their presence.

When we do a concert, and there’s like a hundred thousand people out there, and you see a sea of people singing there, all in unison, holding up candles, and, you go, wow! You know it’s, it really makes your heart happy and that’s what really makes me feel like everything’s O.K..


Diane Sawyer: And with me, of course, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. Welcome to Prime Time.

Michael: Thank you.

Diane Sawyer: Glad you’re here. It occurs to me, looking at the two of you, I have got to start, by asking, how this marriage took place, how it began. Let me guess that it was not over miniature golf and a hot dog, or something. When did it start? When was the dating?

Michael: Well, we first met, she was seven years old and I was seventeen. This was in Las Vegas. She used to come and see my show all the time. We had the only family show on the strip, the Jackson 5. And, she used to come, as a little girl, and sit right up front. She came quite often. She came with a lot of bodyguards. And…

Diane Sawyer: Had you stayed in touch with her?

Michael: Sure, sure. And then she’d come backstage, then I’d, you know, talk and say hi and then she’d come again. And I thought she was sweet, and loving, and I hoped, I always hoped I’d see her again.

Diane Sawyer: And who first talked about marriage?

Lisa Marie: We didn’t stay in touch… after that.

Michael: We didn’t stay in touch after that, no.

Lisa Marie: He, he… go ahead, you wanted to say it. Go ahead.

Michael: No, you can say it. You can, you have a good memory.

Lisa Marie: Well, you said you were going to say it.

Diane Sawyer: Our first argument here, um, this hour. Who, who proposed? I mean, how did marriage actually get discussed?

Michael: Well, well, at first this is what happened. When she was 18, I used to tell my lawyer, John Branca. “Do you know Lisa Marie Presley?” He’d go, “Well, I represent her mother.” I’d go, “Well, can you get in touch with her, ’cause, I think she’s really cute.” And he’d laugh everytime. He goes, “I’ll try my best”, that’s what he’d say. Then he’d come back and I said “Well did you find out?” He said, “No, there’s nothing.” So I would worry him about this all the time. The next thing I noticed, there was a picture on a magazine cover where she’s married, which really tore me to pieces, because I felt that was supposed to be me, I really did.

Diane Sawyer: And what, what was the countdown to your marriage? Tell me, who said the word marriage first?

Michael: I did.

Lisa Marie: He did.

Diane Sawyer: When? Where?

Michael: When, where?

Lisa Marie: On the telephone.

Michael: Oh yeah, oh yeah on the telephone.

Lisa Marie: He first asked me, we were dating now for four months… right? Four months?

Michael: I don’t remember.

Lisa Marie: Anyway, we were spending a lot of time together. I don’t know how it didn’t manage to get in the press, because we weren’t hiding it. I was in Las Vegas, we were in…

Michael and Lisa: We were everywhere together.

Lisa Marie: Everywhere.

Michael: Went to bookstores,…

Lisa Marie: … to bookstores. We were not hiding it.

Diane Sawyer: And you said yes right away?

Lisa Marie: I was separated for four months now, and he said: “What would you do if I asked you, to marry me?” And I said, “I would.”

Michael: A big ‘I would’, you were really enthusiastic! [giggling] 

Diane Sawyer: I have to ask you this, because I can only imagine there are a number of lawyers involved in a pre-nuptual agreement, between these two fortunes. Is there one? A careful one?

Michael: Well, we’ve worked out things and we’ve signed certain things but, of course… that’s very confidential.

Lisa Marie: We agreed, we made agreements prior, yes.

Diane Sawyer: As you know, the reaction to this marriage, and I know you feel strongly about it, but the reaction to this marriage has been across the spectrum, everything from astonishment, to delight, to… suspicion. That it was somehow… too convenient. Lisa, did you ask Michael about the charges? Did the two of you think about the impact, of the marriage, on the allegations?

Lisa Marie: Absolutely not. He called… I was in touch with him through the whole process of this, charges going on. I was talking to him when he disappeared. I was actually supposed to go to Santa Juan, Puerto Rico, when he left and disappeared, and I got a call that he wasn’t going to be there, and I was actually part of the whole thing with him, by talking to him on the phone. So…

Diane Sawyer: Did you say to him: “Are they true?”

Lisa Marie: No, I didn’t. No… I actually did not.

Diane Sawyer: I want to take a minute here, and I’m gonna come back to the marriage…

Lisa Marie: Could I just… sorry. He, he, went, on and on and on about it, so I didn’t really have to say, “Are the allegations true?” He was gggrrr [imitating Michael’s outrage] on the phone, you know, and…

Diane Sawyer: Over and over.

Lisa Marie: Just constant… yeah.

Diane Sawyer: Well, [turning to Michael] because I know that you’ve wanted to express similar sentiments for a long time, I want to ask a few things about the charges. But first I want to establish for the viewers here, there are no ground rules. You have said to me you are not afraid of any questions. So, I wanted that understood by everybody before we proceed. I think I want to begin by making sure that the terms are clear. You have said you would never harm a child. I want to be as specific as I can. Did you ever, as this young boy said you did, did you ever sexually engage, fondle, have sexual contact with this child, or any other child?

Michael: Never, ever. I could never harm a child, or anyone. It’s not in my heart, it’s not who I am. And it’s not what I’m… I’m not even interested in that.

Diane Sawyer: And what do you think should be done to someone who does that?

Michael: To someone who does that? What I think should be done? Gee… I think they need help… in some kind of way… you know.

Diane Sawyer: How about the police photographs, though? How was there enough information from this boy about those kinds of things?

Michael: The police photographs?

Diane Sawyer: The police photographs.

Michael: That they took of me?

Diane Sawyer: Yeah.

Michael: There was nothing that matched me to those charges, there was nothing!

Lisa Marie: There was nothing they could connect to him.

Michael: That’s why I’m sitting here talking to you today. There was not one iota of information that was found, that could connect me…

Diane Sawyer: So when we’ve heard the charges…

Michael: There was nothing…

Diane Sawyer: … markings of some kind?

Michael: No markings.

Diane Sawyer: No markings?

Michael: No.

Diane Sawyer: Why did you settle the…

Michael: Why am I still here then?

Lisa Marie: You’re not going to ask me about them, are you? [laughing] Sorry. About the markings?

Diane Sawyer: You volunteered.

Lisa Marie: No, I’m just… the point is, is that when that finally got concluded that there was no match-up, then, it was printed this big [showing a tiny area], as opposed to how big it was, what the match-up was supposed to be.

Michael: Because it isn’t so!

Diane Sawyer: Why did you settle the case then?

Michael: The whole thing is a lie.

Diane Sawyer: Why did you settle the case? And, it looks to everyone as if you paid a huge amount of money…

Michael: That’s… that’s, most of that’s folklore. I talked to my lawyers, and I said, “Can you guarantee me, that justice will prevail?” And they said: “Michael, we cannot guarantee you that a judge, or a jury will do anything.” And with that I was like catatonic, I was outraged! …

Diane Sawyer: How much money…

Michael: … Totally outraged. So, I said… I have got to do something to get out from under this nightmare. All these lies and all these people coming forth to get paid and all these tabloid shows, just lies, lies, lies, lies. So what I did, we got together again with my advisors and they advised me. It was a hands down, unanimous decision — resolve the case. This could be something that could go on for seven years! …

Diane Sawyer: How much money was…

Michael: We said, let’s get it behind us.

Diane Sawyer: Can you say how much?

Michael: It’s not what the tabloids have printed. It’s not all this crazy outlandish money, no, it’s not at all. I mean, the terms of the agreement are very confidential.

Diane Sawyer: I want to ask…

Lisa Marie: He’s been barred to discuss it. The, the…

Diane Sawyer: The specific terms…

Lisa Marie: The specific terms.

Diane Sawyer: … of the agreement.

Lisa Marie: … the specific amounts.

Michael: The idea, it just isn’t fair… what they put me through. ’Cause there wasn’t one piece of information that says I did that. And anyway, they turned my room upside-down, went through all my books, all my videotapes, all my private things, and they found nothing, nothing, nothing that could say Michael Jackson did this. Nothing! …

Diane Sawyer: But let me ask you a couple of questions…

Michael: … to this day, nothing. Still, nothing…

Diane Sawyer: Let me ask you…

Michael: … nothing, nothing, nothing…

Diane Sawyer: Nothing. We got nothing. As you may or may not know, we have called everyone we could call, we have checked everything we can check, we have gone and tried to see if what we heard before is in fact the case… I want to ask you about two things. These reports that we read over and over again, that in your room they found photographs of young boys…

Michael: Not of young boys, of children, all kinds of girls and… everything.

Diane Sawyer: And that they found photographs… books, of young boys who were undressed.

Michael: Noooo.

Diane Sawyer: It didn’t happen?

Michael: No. Not that I know of, unless people sent me things that I haven’t opened. People send, people know my love for children, so they send me books from all over the world. From South America, from Germany, from Italy, from Sweden, I…

Diane Sawyer: So people say, that they found those things, that there’s an indication, let them come forward. Let them produce them, right?

Michael: Yeah, because I get all… I get all kinds… you wouldn’t believe the amounts of mail that I get. If you say to somebody, you know, if I let the fans know that I love Charlie Chaplin, I’ll be swarmed in Charlie Chaplin paraphanalia.

Diane Sawyer: What about…

Michael: If I say I love children, which I do, they swarm me with everything pertaining to kids.

Diane Sawyer: Any other settlements… in process now or previously with children making these kinds of claims. We have heard… that there is one, not, not a case that the prosecutors would bring in court.

Michael: No.

Diane Sawyer: But, but once again, you’re talking about shelling out…

Michael: No. That’s not true. No. It’s not true. I think, I’ve heard everything is fine, and there are no others.

Diane Sawyer: I guess, let me ask this, and I’m trying to think how to phrase it, though. I can hear out in the country people saying — and you’ve been cleared of all the charges, I want to make that clear. People saying, look here is a man who is surrounded by… things that children love. Here is a man who spends an inordinate amount of time, with these young boys.

Michael: That’s right.

Diane Sawyer: What is a thirty-six year old man doing, sleeping… with a twelve year old boy? Or a series of them?

Michael: Right. O.K., when you say boys, it’s not just boys, and I’ve never invited just boys to come in my room. Come on, that’s just ridiculous. And that’s a ridiculous question. But since people want to hear it… you know, the answer, I’ll be happy to answer it. I have never invited anyone into my bed, ever. Children love me, I love them. They follow me, they want to be with me. But… anybody can come in my bed, a child can come in my bed if they want.

Lisa Marie: I can say… I can, I can say… sorry. I’ve seen this, I’ve seen it a lot. I’ve seen kids. I’ve seen him with children in the last year. I’ve seen it enough to where I can see how that can happen. It’s… you know… I understand…

Diane Sawyer: Isn’t part of being an adult… and you have a two year old child… two year old boy.

Michael to Lisa Marie: Didn’t you want to finish?

Lisa Marie: Yeah. Let me just, let me just… sorry.

Diane Sawyer: O.K..

Lisa Marie: I, I just wanted to say I’ve seen these children. They don’t let him go to the bathroom… without… running in there with him. And they won’t let him out of their sight. So when he jumps in the bed, I’m even out. You know, they, they jump in the bed with him.

Diane Sawyer: But isn’t part of being an adult… and loving children, keeping children from ambiguous… situations? And again we’re talking about over an intense period of time here. Would you, let your son when he grows up, and is twelve years old, do that?

Lisa Marie: You know what, if I didn’t know Michael… no way. But I happen to know who he is, and what he is. And that makes it … you know. I know that he’s not, you know… I know that he’s not like that, and I know he has a thing for children, and I… go ahead, sorry.

Diane Sawyer: I just want to… is it over? Are you gonna make sure it doesn’t happen again? I think, this is really the key thing people want to know.

Michael: Is what over?

Diane Sawyer: That there are not going to be more of these sleep-overs, in which people have to wonder.

Michael: Nobody wonders when kids sleep over at my house. Nobody wonders.

Diane Sawyer: But are they over? Are you… are you gonna watch out for it now?

Michael: Watch out for what?

Diane Sawyer: Just for the sake of the children and for everything you’ve been through.

Michael: No! ’Cause, it’s all… it’s all moral and it’s all pure. I don’t even think that way, it’s not what’s in my heart…

Diane Sawyer: So you’ll… you’ll do it again?

Michael: I would never ever… Do what again?

Diane Sawyer: I mean, you’ll have a child sleeping over.

Michael: Of course! If they want.

Lisa Marie: He has…

Michael: It’s on the level of purity and love, and just innocence. Complete innocence. If you’re talking about sex then that’s a nut. That’s not me! Go to the guy down the street ’cause it’s not Michael Jackson. It’s not what I’m interested in.

Diane Sawyer: O.K., we’re gonna take a break now. When we come back, Elizabeth Taylor… talked to us a little bit about what she saw when she went over and talked to you, in the middle of this and helped you get treatment for addiction to painkillers.

Michael: Oh, wow… Elizabeth is on the show!

Diane Sawyer: When we come back.

[Commercial break]

Diane Sawyer: As we said, Elizabeth Taylor is going to talk a little bit about when she came to see you in the middle of this, what she called agony. And one of the things she was so…, I think she was so angry about with us, was that she said people always talk about one side of a person, they never give them credit for their accomplishments…

Michael: That’s right.

Diane Sawyer: … particularly, what they give to children and the money you give to children, that’s how it starts.

[Showing taped interview with Elizabeth Taylor]

Elizabeth: When he’s on tour… he goes to hospitals, without the press following him. Without anyone knowing. He’ll get up in a disguise and do it. Take his disguise off when he’s there, and the kids know, “Wow, it’s Michael Jackson!”.

Diane Sawyer: Was there no point at which you said to yourself… reading everything everybody had been reading… maybe this is true, maybe I completely didn’t understand who he was.

Elizabeth: No way. Absolutely not.

Diane Sawyer: Never?

Elizabeth: Never. I know Michael’s heart. I know his mind and his soul. I’m not that insensitive. Especially to him, or people I love.

Diane Sawyer: How did you decide to go to Singapore?

Elizabeth: He was my friend… he was alone. He was totally alone. And he just… he needed help. Nothing in the world could have hurt him more. If it had been calculated, if they’d planned an assassination, they couldn’t have done it any better. It almost… it almost broke his heart.

Diane Sawyer (voice-over): She said she recognised a friend turning to painkillers for escape.

Elizabeth: He wasn’t aware of what was happening, he was dulling his pain. But, it really frightened me because I have been there. And I know how easy it is to get there when you’re in mental or physical pain.

Diane Sawyer: And he knew right away that he had to deal with it, to…

Elizabeth: Not right away, not right away… but he knew.

[Back to interview with Michael and Lisa Marie]

Diane Sawyer: There were some reports during this period, Michael, that it was such agony for you that you were actually suicidal. Is that true?

Michael: I was never suicidal. I love life too much to ever be suicidal. I’m resiliant. I have rhinocerous skin. Never, ever suicidal.

Diane Sawyer: Did it leave you, though…

Michael: Heartbroken [touching his heart], but not suicidal.

Diane Sawyer: … did it leave you changed, completely? I… I’ve talked to you a little bit about what you’re thinking about where you want to live… in the world. Did it change your view about living here? Are you thinking about living someplace else?

Michael: I don’t care to stay in America anymore, no. I… I don’t care. I will always have Neverland, you know. ’Cause I… I have Neverland. I don’t like… I’m very sensitive to the smog. You know, so I can’t have the smog. And ah, I would like to go abroad. Matter of fact, I am.

Diane Sawyer: You are?

Michael: Yes.

Diane Sawyer: Where?

Michael: Ooh, I haven’t decided the exact place yet. Probably South Africa, maybe.

Diane Sawyer: To live permanently?

Michael: Maybe, aah, Switzerland.

Diane Sawyer: Lisa, are you in favour of it?

Lisa Marie: Can we just… change… wait, just go into the fact that we don’t live in separate houses for… to start this with.

Michael: Yeah, we don’t live in separate… this is just a dream.

Lisa Marie: … it’s ridiculous. Wherever the camera is. Anyway, um… sorry, heh.

Michael: No. Jump in any time.

Lisa Marie: What? How do I feel about the overseas thing? I think that it’s a nice place to visit, yes. I would like to have a… a house over there.

Diane Sawyer: Hmmm.

Lisa Marie: We would be completely and utterly harrassed beyond belief… but…

Michael: [laughing]

Diane Sawyer: Before we move away from the last two years, we told you, because we want to, that we are going to show, what is really your… comment of those two years. And ah… is a video you have done with your sister Janet, called ‘Scream’. And in it you have some words, for middle-aged people who can’t follow these words. Ahh, the words you’ll hear will be about ‘confusion’, ‘bashing’, ‘victimising’, “stop pressuring me”, he says, “makes me want to scream.” The last two years.

[‘Scream’ video is shown]

Diane Sawyer: We have some… wedding video, of the two of you. And I’m gonna let you tell us a little bit about what we’re seeing here… if our director Roger Goodman wants to roll it in, we will take you there, a years ago. Right?

Lisa Marie: Yes.

Diane Sawyer: Just about exactly.

[Wedding video is shown]

Lisa Marie: I look like an idiot, I can tell you that.

Michael: You don’t look like an idiot, you look more like a, ah… no!

Lisa Marie: [laughing] Do you want me to tell you…

Diane Sawyer: Yes.

Lisa Marie: … while we’re watching it?

Diane Sawyer: Tell us.

Lisa Marie: While we’re watching.

Diane Sawyer: Tell us. We’re watching here live.

Michael to Lisa Marie: I do.

Lisa Marie to Michael: What?

Michael to Lisa Marie: I do.

Lisa Marie to Michael: Hah.

Lisa Marie: In the middle he [judge] asks for his [Michael’s] autograph.

Michael: [Comments to Lisa Marie about his stretching in the video, but is inaudible.]

Lisa Marie: Right, now we’re out of time.

Michael to Lisa Marie: How do I look?

Lisa Marie to Michael: Great.

Michael to Lisa Marie: You sure?

Lisa Marie to Michael: Yeah.Diane Sawyer: So… I know, that you, Lisa Marie, have wanted to talk about this. There are a lot of doubters about this marriage. I’ve heard that it’s a Scientology plan, you are a member of the ‘Church of Scientology’, which… is said to influence its members greatly, and that the husband you divorced was a Scientologist, and he’s still very much in your life and this is all part of a calculation to get… Michael, and his money into the church.

Michael: Oooh, gee…

Lisa Marie: It’s crap. I’m sorry… it, it’s like ridiculous! It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I’m not… um. First of all, you can’t get influenced by anything… like that… and, and under a term of a marriage… I’m not gonna marry somebody for any reason other than the fact that I’ve fallen in love with them, period. Period. And they can eat it, if they wanna think any differently…

Michael: [laughing out loud!]

Diane Sawyer: To put it succinctly.

Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Diane Sawyer: What is it you love the most about him?

Lisa Marie: Ooh, what do I love the most about him? Everything. He’s amazing. I really admire him. I respect him. I admire him. I’m in love with him. And no, we don’t sleep in separate bedrooms, thank you very much. And um… I love everything about him.

Diane Sawyer: To finish up on that, though… are you a Scientologist? Are…

Michael: No.

Diane Sawyer: Plan to become one?

Michael: I believe in spirituality and I believe in a higher source, that is God. But I’m not a Scientologist. I read everything, I like to read, I love to study.

Diane Sawyer: You said you don’t sleep in separate bedrooms, and I’m going to confess, O.K.… this is live TV and I’m copping out right here, because I didn’t spend my life as a serious journalist to ask these kinds of questions. But I’m not oblivious to the fact that your fans… had one question they most wanted to ask of you.

Lisa Marie: Do we have sex?

Diane Sawyer: We have…

Michael: He, he, he… sh… she didn’t ask!! [holds his hand over Lisa’s mouth]

Lisa Marie: Ha, ha, ha.

Michael: She didn’t ask.

Lisa Marie: O.K., I won’t ask.

Diane Sawyer: O.K..

Michael: We don’t know what it was gonna be.

Lisa Marie: Is that what you were gonna ask?

Diane Sawyer: Let’s play just a minute or two.

Lisa Marie: Sorry.

Diane Sawyer: Let’s play one or two.

[Videotaped interterviews with people on the street]

1st person: We wanna know, if you’ve done ‘the thing’?

2nd person: Michael, I know this is an intimate question, but are you having sex, together, with Lisa Marie?

3rd person: Do you guys really love each other or are you just doing this to satisfy the media?

4th person: Are you guys intimate?

[End of videotaped interviews]

Diane Sawyer: Again…

Michael: I can’t believe it.

Lisa Marie: Wow!

Diane Sawyer: But this is about… the scepticism.

Lisa Marie: Yes. Yes! Yes.

Diane Sawyer: And… we have read in the papers, that you, are… expecting a child.

Lisa Marie: We won’t be expecting a child, no. When… I’m not gonna…

Michael: We’re not gonna say when, or…

Lisa Marie: It’s personal.

Michael: It’s in the hands of the heavens.

Diane Sawyer: But not yet?

Lisa Marie: Did we marry out of convenience? That’s really interesting, that’s really interesting to me.

Michael: It’s ridiculous.

Diane Sawyer: Why?

Lisa Marie: Well, why wouldn’t we have a lot in common? That’s the question. Why? Why not?

Michael: Like we’re faking this?

Lisa Marie: Like… no.

Michael: The most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

Lisa Marie: But you can’t live with somebody day to day. We’re together all the time, first of all. Second thing, how can you fake that 24 hours a day with somebody? Sleeping with somebody, waking up with somebody, having the…

Michael: It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

Lisa Marie: … He’s running around the house. I’m running around the house. You were in our house. We have a normal house, we have a nanny, we have a maid. And… we walk around, and he’s either in the studio or I’m in the kitchen. We’re running around like normal — I know its hard to believe — people.

Diane Sawyer: You go shopping together… you…

Lisa Marie: We go shopping. We go out to dinner. We argue… sometimes.

Michael: About what, may I say? [to Lisa Marie]

Lisa Marie: [laughs, looks at Michael]

Diane Sawyer: We also heard a report that maybe you were planning to adopt the children.

Michael: Oh, I would love to adopt children. I think that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. But children of all races: Arab children, Jewish children, black children, all races.

Diane Sawyer: But, Lisa’s children?

Michael: I love Lisa’s children. It’s been a mission…

Diane Sawyer: But are you going to adopt…

Michael: Pardon?

Diane Sawyer: To adopt them, though?

Michael: Oh, I love her children, they’re sweet.

Diane Sawyer: But to adopt? No?

Michael: Of course.

Lisa Marie: But if they have a biological father, and he’s the… he’s there…

Michael: I think they love me very much. I love them.

Lisa Marie: They do.

Michael: We have a lot of fun.

Lisa Marie: But I’ve never heard of that before, a person, someone adopting someone’s children, while they’re in a relationship with that person.

Diane Sawyer: We’re going to take a break for a minute, and come back with more questions.

[Commercial break]

Diane Sawyer: We’re going to show you a film now, created by Michael Jackson. And, it is causing a furor… in some movie theaters around this country. They say among other things that, it is clearly modeled, after ‘Triumph of The Will’. They mean, Riefenstahl. A Nazi film with a Nazi meaning to it.

Michael: It’s not true. None of that’s true. None of those things are true.

Diane Sawyer: Did you watch that film before you did it?

Diane Sawyer: I watch everything, I love movies, I love documentaries. It had nothing to do with that at all.

Diane Sawyer: But there are people who keep saying, this is… they look at it and say this is…

Michael: Absolutely not.

Diane Sawyer: You were…

Michael: It has nothing to do with politics, or communism, or fascism at all…

Diane Sawyer: Well, the critics have said that, it’s the most… body vein, glorious, self-deification a pop singer ever undertook with a straight face.

Michael: Good! That’s what I wanted.

Diane Sawyer: For the controversy?

Michael: Yeah! They fell into my trap.

Diane Sawyer: But the people who say that…

Michael: I wanted everybody’s attention.

Diane Sawyer: But for the people who say those symbols, matter…

Michael: No. The symbols… no…

Diane Sawyer: The suffering…

Michael: No. The symbol has nothing to do with that. It’s not political. It’s not Fascist. It’s not dogma. It’s not… you know, ideology and all of this stuff. It’s pure, simple love. You don’t see any tanks, you don’t see any cannons. It’s about love. It’s people coming together…

Diane Sawyer: About love. We’re gonna let everybody watch a bit of it.

Michael: Yeah, but it’s art. It is art!

Diane Sawyer: O.K..

Michael: We had a director, we get him to create art.

Diane Sawyer: The short answer, coming up… here it comes.

[Part of the ‘HIStory’-trailer is shown]

Diane Sawyer: Well, as we said, we’re gonna clearly agree to disagree maybe, on what this means to… some people watching it. There’s been another issue raised. In a song you say, “Jew me, sue me”. And some people are saying that that is anti-Semitic.

Michael: It’s not anti-Semitic. Because, I’m not a racist person. I could never be a racist. I love all races of people — from Arabs, to Jewish people, like I said before, to blacks. But when I say, “Jew me, sue me, everybody do me, kick me, kike me, don’t you black or white me,” [‘They Don’t Care About Us’] I’m talking about myself as the victim, you know. My accountants and lawyers are Jewish. My three best friends are Jewish — David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Stephen Spielberg, Mike Milkin. These are friends of mine. They’re all Jewish. So how does that make sense? I was raised in a Jewish community.

Diane Sawyer: I wanna ask you both about something ’cause it was the second most asked question by people on the street. And I know… I know it’s a sensitive issue for you, and you talked with Oprah about it. But, somehow, people still… are not, they don’t feel they’ve heard everything about the whiteness of your skin, and that it’s not somehow a choice on your part, along with the make-up… to be. Is it to be… neither black, nor white… neither… to look completely male, to be in the androgynous zone? I… I think they wanna know… it is a decision, on your part in some way, the way you look. Where does it come from?

Michael: I think it creates itself… it’s nature.

Lisa Marie: He… he’s an artist. He has every right…

Michael: I’m an artist, I’m a performer.

Lisa Marie: And he is constantly re-modifying something or changing it or reconstructing it or… you know, working on some imperfection that he thinks needs to be worked on. If he sees something he doesn’t like, he changes it! Period. He re-sculpted himself, he’s an artist.

Michael: And I wanna put a red dot right there one day [pointing to his forehead], And two eyes right here [pointing to his cheeks].

Diane Sawyer: But… but, do you wish you were… the colour you were, again?

Michael: Do I wish I was the colour?

Diane Sawyer: Black colour.

Michael: You have to ask nature that. I loved… I love black, I love black.

Diane Sawyer: But do you wish you were that way?

Michael: I envy her [pointing to Lisa Marie], ’cause she can tan and I can’t.

Diane Sawyer: One more question I wanna make sure I ask. Are you going to sing together?

Lisa Marie: No.

Diane Sawyer: The two of you.

Michael singing to Lisa Marie: I would love to sing with you, would you like to sing with me?

Lisa Marie shaking her head: Mm, mmm.

Diane Sawyer: You don’t sing?

Lisa Marie: I don’t sing. I did sing, if I wanted it. I mean, I’m not gonna marry someone for a recording career, just want to clear that up as well. Um.

[Michael makes Rabbit’s ears behind Lisa Marie’s head]

Michael: What? Heh heh.

[Lisa Marie pinches him]

Michael: Stop! [giggling]

Lisa Marie: Um, grrr.

Diane Sawyer: I’m gonna let the two of you dupe this out over here. We’ll take a break, and we’ll come back.

[Commercial break]

Diane Sawyer: And as our hour ends, I’d like to just ask each of you for a one sentence answer. Time’s so short. Where do you want to be in five years?

Michael: Oh boy, I love what I’m doing now… and to do everything I can to help the children… and hello Bobby Sherrit.

Lisa Marie: Ah, I just want people to know what they’re dealing with, before and… understand, that I’m not the, that we are not… the jokes, the degrading comments, all that kind of stuff, it’s really irritating. So I didn’t get to get it in there, I hope this is over alreay, but…

Michael: We want to choke them!

Diane Sawyer: Alright, so in five years you want to…

Lisa Marie: Yeah, we want to choke them.

Michael: Don’t believe the garbage, all the tabloid junk. Don’t read it, don’t listen to it. It’s junk, it’s stupid, enough of it.

Diane Sawyer: And tonight is over.

Michael: Yes! [raises his fist in victory]


Simulchat - August 17, (1995)


Speaker: Michael's here...we're just about ready to go!

MsMittens: Someone who couldn't access the chat, asked me to ask you how you are doing, and why are you doing this simulchat tonight?

Michael: I'm fine, doing alright. I'm doing this simulchat because I love my fans and I want to talk with you! I think this is incredible technology, just amazing, and I think we're pioneering here! Can I say hello to a couple of my friends? Hello Lisa Marie...Hello Paul McCartney...Hello Mrs.Disney...Hello to my friends in Gary, Indiana...I can't think of a good joke to say!

Brandon: I have been a longtime fan and I just want to know how after all the bad press you can keep going and doing the best job that any rock star can do? Is the fact that you have such a wonderful wife supporting you, or are there other reasons that you stay so damned great?!

Michael: Despite what the press says about celebrities and myself in general I move ahead, I don't pay attention to that tabloid junk. I have my dreams I'm a visionary. I feel as if I have a suit of armor around me, like a rhinocerous skin. Thank you for asking.

Bruce Ross: How has your marriage to Lisa Marie changed your life?

Michael: I think I find it more fun to appreciate what family really means. The fact that even though there were ten of us Jacksons...we were always doing things at different times, and I'm really learning the real meaning of love. Giving 100% of yourself all the time. Putting up with one another. So far it has been pretty joyous.

Sam: A story in the UK press claims a quickie divorce on the way. Is it true?

Michael: Never believe tabloid garbage. Don't waste your time, don't waste your money. No, it's not true. If you hear it from my lips, then you can believe it. But no, it's not true.

SiBiS: In Oprah's interview you said that you wanted to raise a family one day. Do you plan to do so?

Michael: Yes. That's my dream for a long time. My own children, I want to adopt them. Not only my own, but children from all over the world. I think we should be less territorial about it.

Kurt: How did you like working with your sister Janet on the "Scream" video and your beautiful wife Lisa Marie on "You Are Not Alone"? P.S: Best of luck to you two, don't listen to all the B.S going around!

Michael: That's a great question. The press creates all of these negative stories so people will buy their magazines or read their columns. You mustn't read everything you read. Most of it is not true, most of it's garbage. And I want everyone to be aware of what the tabloid media is like. I have had so much fun working with my sister and working on the set everyday. I haven't seen her in quite some time and she is busy and I am as well and it's like a reunion. I'm closest to Janet of all the family members. We were very emotional on the set. We laughed, we cried, we had a lot of fun. Everyday she'd come to me sad because of something in the press. I told her she'd just have to become resiliant. I had a lot of fun with Lisa Marie on the set. But when the director said, "Action", she became very shy. I was giving her a hard time too!

Daniel: If you could meet someone, dead or alive, and talk with them for an hour, who would it be and why?

Michael: It would probably be Michaelangelo because he was a phenomenal artist. I think I understand what he was trying to say, even though he was criticized. He was a true artist. He even disected cadavers, which was illigal at the time, because he wanted to get everything anatomically correct. I would have loved to sit and talk with him.

Al & Meg: We want to know what was it that inspired you to become involved in helping as many children as you do. I think what you do is just wonderful. You are what these children need to keep them going when times are so tough.

Michael: I truly care about children, and about the future for our children. I'm a little frightened about what the future is going to bring. I truly, truly love them and care about them. I will always help them. When I go on tour, I visit hospitals, terminally ill children. At my ranch at Neverland we have many terminally ill children as our guests. We do this every few weeks. We do it because we truly love them and we care.

Farfly: I was wondering if we'll see you in any old style videos and movies like "Thriller" and "Moonwalker"?

Michael: I love that, that's what I'd love to get back to doing. It's not just a video, with images and graphics, it's a short story, with a beginning, middle and end. But it take sometimes 6 or 7 months to do those. But it's my dream to do that. I'd like to make this announcement: My nephews are here and they want to sit in and listen!

From Alaska: You seem to be interested in many cultures. Have you ever studied the North. I live in Inupiat eskimo village at the top of Alaska. Life is different here. If you ever visit here, the people might inspire you. Do you ever travel for inspiration?

Michael: Yes I do travel for inspriation. I would love to come to Alaska some day. I've flown over it! I do love to travel. Maybe if you extended invitation, I'd be able to come!

Frogbelly: In your song "Childhood" you sing about how you've never really known the joys of youth. What is the one thing you missed the most?

Michael: Probably the simple, little things that kids do...like having a friend over, or going to the park, of trick-or-treeting, or Christmas, or a birthday. When we were little, we didn't have any of those things - we heard about them but never did them. Most kids take it for granted. I haven't celebrated my birthday yet, but I think maybe I will!

Applehead: It's one of Applehead's friends, guess which one...hint Family Matters...What is your favorite song on the HIStory album? Tell Lisa Marie and Janet I said hi!

Michael: I know exactly who that is! (laughter in room) My favorite song is, gee it's hard...probably "Childhood", "Earth Song" and "Stranger In Moscow". But nice to hear from you Brighton, I hope I get to see you soon. Tell all my other realtives I said hello.
Mr. Potter: Do you ever wish you could play small rooms with intimate audiences instead of maga productions?

Michael: Yes. I think that is the mark of a true performer, to be able to reach any audience around the world, any size. If you can directly relate to a small group, magic starts to happen. I started out playing those kinds of concerts. This Christmas, I'm doing an HBO special, and it's intimate. It's close-up. It will allow me to do a lot of things I've never done before.

Gary: I would like to know what is the favorite song you have recorded and do you still have your pet monkey named Bubbles who was shown in your video game.

Michael: If I had to pick one song, that's very difficult. Probably "Ben", "Got To Be There", one of the oldies. Bubbles is still alive and still my pet chimp. He's bigger, like to eat a lot...lots of pizza, ice cream...he loves snacks!

MJJ: What else do you want to accomplish in your life?

Michael: I love movies. My dream is to make films, not only to act in them, to direct them as well. And I love animation.

Brett: If you could be any superhero...like Batman, Superman...whom would you choose to be and why?

Michael: I like Batman a lot. If I could choose one, I like Morph from the X-Men. He constantly transforms himself. I think he can even teleport, which is interesting and exciting to me. He's not as popular as the others, but he's exciting.

Darkan: Are you ever going to tour America?

Michael: I'm not exactly sure. We kind of play it by ear, kind of spontaneous. It would be nice, but I'm not sure.

Jim: I want to know if you wish you could walk into public places and not be recognized?

Michael: I have every diguise I can think of. My dream is to just go anyplace...like Morph...to transform, so nobody would know who I am. I would love to do that. It's my dream.

Ally W: Hi Michael. You have an amazing voice. Whose music has helped influence your music most?

Michael: Thank you for the compliment. To be honest, I would say my first love and appreciation for music was classical. In kindergarden, Tchaikovsky, the great writting of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, and others. I love showtunes.

Brian: Is your new album doing as well as expected? Go MJ!!!

Michael: Yes, I am overly excited about how well the album is doing. It is the fastest selling album in my career. Despite what the press is saying. Unprecedented 7 million worldwide sold in the first week!

Jocelyn: When will the 3T album be in the store?

Michael: The 3T are expected around this Christmas. They're going to be very successful.

Marlie14: In your interview with Diane Sawyer you mentioned moving out of the country. Is this your future plans?

Michael: Yes it is.

Rros: Where is the most favorite place in the world you have travelled to and where would you most like to travel to?

Michael: My most favorite place that I've travelled to probably would have to be between South America and Africa. Because I love the people and I love the culture. The plight of the children is very interesting and I would love to continue to travel...to see more things and to help more people.

Blondie101: What inspired you to write the song "Beat It"?

Michael: Quincy Jones, for the album Thriller, asked me to write a song with a rock edge to it. I said yes, I can do that. So, the very same day I went to the recording studio and I literally just started to sing that song. It literally came that fast. Every song is different. The gestation process for "Beat It" was so fast, it was amazing. I thought about what I'd do in that situation...A confrontation with a gang...I wouldn't do what those people would do. The way I was raised I would turn the other cheek without creating a war or being a coward either.

Brandon: I come from a large family. Is it hard for you to see the animosity between your sister LaToya and yourself. You seem to be above all the petty gossip that others love to spread. I just want to give you two thumbs up on your maturity.

Michael: Gee - thank you very much! I love you. Thank you.

Curveball: Will there be a next album?

Michael: I am not sure. This might be the last album I ever do. I will always create music but I'm not sure if I'll create another album.

Midway Gal: How did you get into music?

Michael: I don't think I can answer that without sounding philosophical. We never had music or dance lessons. We were a family that sang all the time. We watched TV. We would entertain ourselves...we would take the furniture out of the living room and dance. I think you're pretty much born with a gift and you're compelled to create. That is what I have always felt. I remember when I was really little there was rain outside and we would make up songs. Janet and I would have a songwriting game while we washed the dishes...while we were cleaning. I think most kids don't do that these days. It was our destiny.

Even Beevu: Do you come up with the ideas for all your videos?

Michael: A lot of them I do come up with. A lot of the concepts do originate with me. After singing "Thriller" I knew that I wanted to do a short film. A simple guy goes out on a date and confesses to her that he's different. I wanted to transform into different things. It was fun. I had so much fun making that. "Beat It" is another concept I came up with. Confrontaion - two gangs - West Side Story. I wanted real gang members. I wanted to see real truisms...in the walk, in the character, in the clothes. I think it came across.
Pelon: What has been your proudest musical achievement?

Michael: One of them - it is a really difficult question to answer because I am not a woman, but writing a song is like concieving a child. I love all the songs. "We Are the World" is one of the most favorite things that I've done. I am proud of that...it has reached a lot of people, it has touched a lot of people. My secreatry called when I was in the car and said pull over. And it was like a prayer when all of the radio stations played it. I had tears.

MJJ: What is your process from going from creating a rhythm on your human voice box to the album version, such as in songs "Who Is It" and "Tabloid Junkie"?

Michael: The process is creating a rhythm to a click track - which is a sound, a timed beat. And you're doing these mouth sounds to that beat. These sounds can be taped according to how you sample it in the computer again and again. This is the foundation for the entire track - everything plays off this. It's the rhythm, like a beatbox rhythm. Every song I've written since I was very little I've done that way. I still do it that way.

Smufetty: I love you and have enjoyed your music since I could hear and see. Just one question: How can you keep going when the media makes everything so hard?

Michael: Thank you for your compliment. I believe in my work, like I said, I have great confidence in my dreams. When I have a great idea I have an iron will, even though the media creates such negative stories they do it to just sell more papers. If you look throughout history and I'm not trying to put my name with the names of the past, it's been pretty much the same. Ghandi, Christ, and I'm not saying I'm Christ, I don't want to hear the press saying that. Some of the worst attentions had to do with ignorance on the part of the people because of bad press. If it happened to them, it can happen to me.

Tristene: Who is your best friend?

Michael: Pretty much the same as I've said. The children of the world, for their innocence, thier simplicity, and their love. It's the same kind of innocence that I find in animals. They just want you for your love and I love that.

MJJ: It is rumored (and I know you hate that word) that you are doing another book. Do you plan on another book, if so, what will it contain?

Michael: I wrote a book called Dancing the Dream. It was more autobiographical than Moonwalk, which I did with Mrs. Onassis. It wasn't full of gossip and scandal and all that trash that people write so I don't think people paid much attention to it, but it came from my heart. It was essays, thoughts, and things that I've thought about while on tour. I'm not planning to write another book anytime soon. If you want to know how I feel, you can check out HIStory. It's a musical book.

Gemseeker: When and how did you learn to moonwalk? I think it's sooo cool!

Michael: Thank you soooo much! I've always loved illusion dancing when you can pretty much create a step or illusion with the body. There's a new step that looks like you defy gravity that I've been working on for a long time. One of my favorite movers is Marcel Marceau. But a lot of the steps that I do come from my heart. A lot of the steps come from the black community. From tap dancing, to the cake walk, to the Charleston. All these dances come from the black community to go all over the world.

Jamie Ballengee: Mr. Jackson, what advice would you give to someone who is in a similar position with the bad things from the press? My little sister Andrea Ballengee lost her Miss VA crown :-(

Michael: You don't pay attention to it. You become strong, you move ahead. The best advice I can give is to believe in yourself, know there's a tomorrow, walk tall...don't pay attention to the garbage...it's complete ignorance.

VanishR29: How do you feel about technology like the internet and it's effect on society?

Michael: I think it is wonderful. It is a wonderful way to correspond. It's growing and this is the tip of the iceberg. In the next year we will see some amazing growths in technology and I hope that I'm around to see it. I pray that we continue to serve the world in a positive way, not a negative way and not hurt anyone, because it's wonderful.

MJJ: How involved are you with the other groups of the MJJ label?

Michael: I'm very much involved, not to the point of always being there, but listening to tapes, collaborating on the telephone, picking artists, recommending ideas. The new 3T album, which I just heard, I think it's going to be a big success. I do believe that.
Michael: I want to say hi to Bill Bellamy in LA - he's a great guy. Thank you! Goodnight everybody. Talk to you soon. Bye!




VH1 Interview (1996)


Michael: Every interview I've ever done I've been forced into. And you guys (the fans) have been so nice to me and that's the only reason I agreed to do this.

Question: What are some of the things that make you angry?

Michael: I believe in perfection, and I try to create that in everything I do. We never seem to totally get there, but I believe in perfect execution. And when we don't get at least 99.9%, I get really upset, so that gets me upset.

Question: Are you going to be doing any more videos off your HIStory album?

Michael: There's a lot more releases from HIStory. We have the Ghosts (short film) coming up, which is a big one, and Stranger in Moscow, and it's just gonna go on and on. I mean, we're at 28 million albums right now, other than what the press continue to lie about - they're terrible. Don't read the tabloids - that's something you (the fans) can play. Don't read stories that aren't true. They write those stories to mislead you and you're making them rich. It's not true, don't read it, it's garbage, it's junk food. Believe what I tell you.

Question: Why are you wearing a silk mask in your latest appearances?

Michael: Because with time my skin condition has gotten worse. I hate to say it. I have vitiligo, and I'm totally completely allergic to the sun. I'm not even supposed to be outside actually. Even if I'm in the shade the sun rays can destroy my skin.

Question: Are there any songs you released that you wished you didn't?

Michael: Not that I can think of. Some of the Motown songs, the early ones, I remember getting upset with the songwriters 'cause I wanted to sing them one way and they wanted me to sing it another way. And I would call Berry Gordy, who is the chairman/owner of the company. He would say, "Look, let Michael do what he wants, I'm sure he's right."

Question: Was the atmosphere between Motown stars competitive or friendly?

Michael: Very friendly. Marvin Gaye used to come to my house at least twice a week to play basketball with my brothers. Stevie Wonder would come by for gatherings and parties, and I would go to the Supreme's house and Diana Ross would invite the girls over and it was really sincerely one happy family. We would have a baseball team where we played against one another, and I was just really little but they let me bat, and it was really a happy family and I do miss all of them - even the Temptations, they would come over to my house all the time.

Question: Are you going to retape the HBO special you cancelled last year, and if so, when?

Michael: Yes, we're planning on doing that in South Africa.

Question: Have you ever been scared to go on stage?

Michael: No. I don't remember ever being afraid to go on stage. I'm more comfortable on stage than giving this interview right now!

Question: Are you going to do any concerts here in the United States?

Michael: I'd like to - we're planning on next year.

Question: Do you ever plan on working with Quincy Jones again?

Michael: I would love to work with Quincy again. The doors are always open. We're very friendly with eachother. But I just like challenging and doing different things and experimenting. He's a very endearing person and I do love him very much.
Question: If you could spend one day in complete anonymity, where would you go and what would you do?

Michael: Probably go to Neverland, or an isolated island somewhere. What would I do? Probably write music or kind of create some music or stage play or something - something creative. I never stop working.

Question: Does the real Billie Jean know about the song and if she did what was her reaction?

Michael: There is a girl named Billie Jean, but it's not about that Billie Jean. Billie Jean is kinda anonymous. It represents a lot of girls who used to - they used to call them groupies in the '60s - they would hang around backstage doors and any band that would come to town they would have a relationship with. And I think I wrote this out of experience with my brothers when I was little. There were a lot of Billie Jeans out there. Every girl claimed that their son was related to my brothers.

Question: Which songs of yours are autobiographical?

Michael: Stranger in Moscow, Heal the World, We Are The World, I'll Be There. Those type of songs.

Question: What inspired the song Sranger in Moscow?

Michael: I wrote that in Moscow. The lyrics are totally autobiographical. When you hear lines like, "Here abondoned in my fame...Armageddon of the brain" - at the time, on the last tour when we were in Moscow - that's how I really felt. It kinda created itself. It fell into my lap, because that's how I was feeling at the time. Just alone in my hotel and it was raining and I just started writing it.


Molly Meldrum (1996)


Molly: Well, Michael, I can finally welcome you to Australia, and whether you like it or not, being the King of Pop and the biggest recording star in the world, what is your philosophy of staying at the top?

Michael Jackson: Boy, I think being humble and believing in yourself and having true love in your heart for the world and really trying to help people through lyrics and the love of music and dance because I truly do love people very much.

Molly: Realising that, but does it not put pressure on you, I mean that you have to be...

MJ: Well it always

Molly: ...and they hold you in such esteem.

MJ: Well it always does. The next album has to be better than the other. [laughs]

Molly: Well how do you cope with all the hysteria? I mean wherever you go, whether its London, whether its Munich, whether its New York, whether its Bangkok, whether its Japan and even here in Australia, how do you cope with the hysteria?

MJ: Um...I know its all love, so it makes my heart very happy and I like to give it back, you know through however I can give and it puts a smile on my face to see all the children and all the teenagers and the adults, the demographics. It makes my heart very happy, I love them, I love all the fans very much.

Molly: Well coping with the hysteria, I mean I can't cope with it, I mean watching all this going on around, I mean the press have been absolutely manic, its been manic mania. Can I ask you, do you ever relax? Does Michael Jackson ever relax? Cause I know you're a workaholic.

MJ: [smiles] Yes, I am a workaholic. Uh, I don't relax really, I don't sleep a lot, I like to continually... my mind never stops. I'm always creating. I never stop. But, I love a good water balloon fight or you know playing around, goofing off, nintendo games, arcades.

Molly: Now Michael, I have to ask you this question. Being possibly the biggest profile in the world, um I guess Princess Diana matches you, you read all these amazing stories about Michael Jackson. I mean I don't know whether they're true or not. You read that Michael Jackson's a weirdo, you read that Michael Jackson's bizarre, you read that he's done this, he's done that. Now I know some of those stories are not true because even I was accused of being at your wedding, and I knew that wasn't true. But how do you cope, how do you feel about all these stories that are written about you?

MJ: It's very sad, I just want the fans to know and to understand that is not the truth. 99.9% of it is not the truth. And don't read it, don't believe it, it's garbage. It's tabloid junk, I mean they just simply make it up for greed and money. So please don't listen to it, it's trash.

Molly: Alright now, there's one more question I've gotta ask you. It's about a personal friend of yours. But I have gotta ask you this question..

[Michael looks sternly at him]
(Molly was granted the interview on the condition that Michael had approval of the questions, and this bit was obviously not pre-approved)

Molly: I am a Stephen King fanatic, I have every book...

[Michael starts to laugh]

Molly: ...that possibly Stephen King has written, um... you can say mind your own business. And I know you've done Ghosts with him and I think that's a sensational piece of work.

MJ: Thank you.

Molly: Did you enjoy doing that?

MJ: Very much, yes.. yes.

Molly: I mean that skeleton blew me right out..

MJ: Where you there at the premiere?

Molly: No, but I've seen it at home.

MJ: Ooohh

Molly: It is just amazing. Can I ask you what is Stephen King like?

MJ: Stephen King is a very gentle sweet kind man I mean the profile that we see... the books, with his works... he's nothing like that. He's very humble.

Molly: Right.

MJ: Ahhh... A lot of people judge me the same way. I'm pretty simple... I love to create. I love to make magic. I love to create the unexpected. You know. And Stephen, he's just wonderful, he's not bizarre or strange or weird. He's a loving person.

Molly: And great to work with?

MJ: Great to work with. Together, he and I wrote Ghosts and had fun doing it.

Molly: Alright now, listen, I never normally asks for autographs. But this is a Stephen King book and it's called Insomnia, and I'm sure over the last week I've had no sleep...

[Michael starts to laugh]

Molly: ...with the Michael Jackson thing. Can you sign this book of Stephen King for me?

MJ: Sure. Sure. [Takes the book and signs it]

Molly: Thanks very much.

MJ: Thank you Molly.

Molly: Enjoy Australia.

MJ: Thank you.

Molly: And we look forward to more work from Michael Jackson, more records...

MJ: Thank You.

Molly: ..and being the biggest star if not the biggest star in the world, and entertaining everyone.

MJ: All my love to everyone, thank you.

Molly: Thank you.


OK! Magazine (1997)


The King Of Pop And His Little Prince

OK Magazine Part 1

OK: Michael, how does it feel to be a father?

Michael: It was an incredibly joyful experience. I'm in bliss 24 hours a day.

OK: Can you talk us through the birth of your son?

Michael: It's hard to take step by step, but the snapshots in my mind from the birth show our excitement and nervousness. Debbie was so strong throughout the delivery. There were shouts of joy when the baby was born. I couldn't believe the miracle I had witnessed. It was unbelievable!

OK: Michael, describe the relationship between you and Debbie.

Michael: Debbie and I love eachother for all the reasons you will never see on stage or in pictures. I feel for the beautiful, unpretentious, giving person that she is, and she fell for me, just being me.

OK: Debbie, what are your current feelings for Michael?

Debbie: I love him even more now then before our son was born. Fatherhood has brought out a very protective streak in him. He is so loving and strong.

OK: What is the boy's name? Why is he so named, and which of you does he look like the most?

Michael: His name is Prince Michael Junior. My grandfather and Great-grandfather were both named Prince, so we have carried on that tradition, and now we have a third Prince in the family.

Debbie: He is so beautiful! I think he has my eyes.

OK: Michael, among all your life's glittering achievements, how does fatherhood rate?
Michael: Words can't describe it. There is no miracle in life that compares with watching your son come into the world.

OK: Has the baby smiled or responded in any way to the two of you yet?
Michael: He smiles all the time and his eyes twinkle when I sing to him. He definately knows my voice. Debbie tickles his chin and he giggles.

OK: Debbie, does Michael change the babies nappies, get up in the middle of the night to feed him, and do his share of the chores?

Debbie: Yes, Michael does everything. He loves being involved in every aspect of caring for the baby. He is such a wonderful father, feeding him, holding him and, of course, singing to him.

OK: Debbie, you have married and had a baby with the most famous man on earth. What effect has that had on you?

Debbie: I have married and had a baby with the man I will always loved and I am on top of the world. The only time I feel sad is when I see quotes attributed to me that I never said or when I hear late night comedians taking cheap shots at my husband when they are not true. Don't believe 99% of the garbage you read or hear. I know that we will be under increasing public scrutiny and I don't look forward to that, but I know that will always be a part of being married to Michael.

OK: Michael, you so rarely give interviews what is the one thing you would like to say to your fans at this time?

Michael: Thank you to all my fans for understanding how important it is to me to protect my family from the public eye. I have lived in a "fishbowl" all my life and I want my son to live a normal life. You've stood by me through my career and now you share my greatest joy. I love you.

OK Magazine Part 2

OK: Michael, what are your hopes for Prince Michael Junior's future?

Michael: I want him to grow up being surrounded by love and family, to recieve the best education I can provide him with, to discover and develop his talents, and to use his resources to make life better for those less fortunate than he.

OK: Are you preventing Debbie from seeing the child?

Michael: No, that is completely false. We have been together as a family since the birth of our son and we've cherished every moment as a family.

OK: Michael, what has been your family's reaction to the birth of your son?

Michael: They are all very excited. I'm already getting tips and advice about schools and such.

OK: What sort of dad will you try to be?

Michael: The best! My father was always there for us through the stardom of the Jackson 5 and through the ups and downs that followed. I, too, will always be there for my son. It's the most important thing in the world to me.

OK: Debbie, what are you family's feelings about Michael?

Debbie: They're crazy about him. They were delighted to discover how warm and genuine that he is.

OK: And how would you describe Michael's strengths as a father?

Debbie: He's very patient and protective. He never rushes what he's doing with the baby. I was very proud of how tough he was about our privacy. He's incredibly strong.

OK: Michael, are you still close to your family? How often do you see your parents, brothers and sisters? Have they met your baby yet?

Michael: We talk and see eachother all the time. We recently had a big "get-together" where all the cousins met one another for the first time.

OK: We believe the child's godmother may be Elizabeth Taylor. What is it that draws you to Elizabeth? Many would call it an unlikely friendship. What do you have in common?
Michael: Elizabeth knew many of things I went through growing up in the spotlight. I can say a few words, or just sigh sometimes and she knows what I'm feeling. It was wonderful to find someone who understood me so well. I pray for her and I want her to share the joy of my son's birth for many years to come.

OK: What sort of gifts have you recieved for Prince Michael Junior?

Michael: We've recieved some fantastic gifts. Wonderful treasures, stuffed animals, toys and baby clothes from around the world. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all my wonderful fans for helping to welcome our baby into the world.

OK: Michael, what are Debbie's strengths as a mother?

Michael: Debbie is a very strong and caring woman. She is a wonderful mother!
OK: Can we expect a song about your son on your new album?

Michael: The birth of my son has been very inspirational to me artistically, and there will definately be a song in the future.

OK: And one about Debbie, too?

Michael: Any song about my son has to be about Debbie as well.


Barbara Walters (1997)

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Barbara: Up until last week the most photographed people in the world were Princess Diana and Michael Jackson. Now only one remains to talk about what it means to live under that kind of scrutiny. Since the allegations of child abuse made against Michael Jackson four years ago, he has been, if possible, even more pursued. By the way, we checked with the district attourney's office in Los Angeles and Sanat Barbara and learned that there is no active case against Mr. Jackson today.

Michael Jackson himself is notoriously shy about giveing interviews, but on my way home from covering Princess Diana's funeral, I met with him in Paris to discuss the paparazzi and his personal recollections of the Princess.

When it comes to the paparazzi, Michael Jackson says he feels a bond with Princess Diana. The paparazzi have been a part of his life since he was a small child, the youngest of the Jackson 5. He has been a superstar for 3 decades. At 39, he continues to sing and dance all over the world and the paparazzi follow him all over the world. He has been on a European Tour for the last five months playing for over 2 million people. The night Princess Diana died, Michael Jackson cancelled his concert, but his last two concerts were dedicated to her. He does not pretend that she was a close friend. She was a fan.

Michael: I met her first at a...um (clearing his throat) ...concert...in London. She was very kind, very loving, very sweet.

Barbara: What did you two talk about?

Michael: I wrote a song called "Dirty Diana". It was not about Lady Diana. It was about a certain kind of girls that hang around concerts or clubs, you know, they call them groupies.

Barbara: Groupies.

Michael: I've lived with that all my life. These girls...they do everything with the band, you know, everything you could imagine. So I wrote a song called "Dirty Diana". But I took it out of the show in honour of her royal highness. She took me away and she said, "Are you going to do 'Dirty Diana'?" So, I said, "No I took it out of the show because of you." She said, "No! I want you to do it...do it...do the song."

Barbara: So she had a sense of humor with you?

Michael: Yeah, of course. And she told me it was an honour to meet me. And I said, "It's an honour to meet you."

Barbara: How did you hear of her death?

Michael: Um...I woke up (in a quiet and reflective voice) and my doctor gave me the news. And I fell back down in grief, and I started to cry. The pain...I felt inner pain, in my stomach, and in my chest. (his voice starts to break slightly) So, I said, "I can't handle this...it's too much." Just the message and the fact that I knew her personally. Then on top of that one I said, "There's another one...real soon...I feel it coming...there's another one....it's another one coming and I pray it's not me...please don't let it be me." And then Mother Theresa came...

Barbara: Are you psychic...is that what you're saying?

Michael: I don't want to say that, but I've done it before.

Barbara: And you thought it might be you?

Michael: Yes. (looks down at his folded hands) I've been living that kind of life all my life. The tabloid press...that kind of press...not the press...the tabloids, the paparazzi, that type. I've been running for my life like that, hiding, getting away. You can't go that way 'cause they're over there...well lets go this way and pretend we're going that way...and we'll go that way. Someone should say, "Hold on! Stop! This person deserves their privacy. You're not allowed to go in there!" I go around the world dealing with running and hiding. You can't...I can't take a walk in the park...I can't go in the store...you can't...I have to hide in the room. You feel like you're in prison.

Barbara: What's been the most intrusive thing? What's the worst?

Michael: They have always been...they go as far as to hide things in places. They'll slide a machine up under the toilet...Tch, tch, tch, tch...(Michael makes the sound of a camera) and you go, "Oh my God!" They've done that.

Barbara: When you came into this hotel you had to come in, or you felt you had to come in, through the kitchen.

Michael: I've been doing it for years. In many lobbies, I've never seen the front door. Never.

Barbara: Did you ever try to outrace the paparazzi?

Michael: To outrace them?

Barbara: Yes.

Michael: They follow you. They chase us on thier scooters, "Vruuum, vrumm."

Barbara: Cutting infront of you?

Michael: Yes. And I have to say to the driver...I say, "Slow down." I jump in and I say, "You're going to kill us." I say, "Slow down." I've done that many times, "You're gonna kill us." So he jumps out of the car and yells at these people.

Barbara: You know, there is an argument that you rely on publicity to sell your albums...for your concerts, that you want it.

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Michael: When I approve of something, yes.

Barbara: But you can't always control the press. You can't approve everything. You can't invite them in again and again, and then at a certain point, close them out.

Michael: Yes, you can.

Barbara: Well how do you do that? What's that line?

Michael: By doing that. This is their time for this...and this you should not do. You should not say, "He's an animal...he's a..." You should not say, "He's Jacko." I'm not a 'Jacko'. I'm Jackson.

Barbara: How do you feel when they call you...

Michael: Yeah, Wacko Jacko, where did that come from? Some English tabloid. I have a heart and I have feelings. I feel that when you do that to me. It's not nice. Don't do it. I'm not a "wacko".

Barbara: There are those that would say that you add to the attention.

Michael: No, I don't.

Barbara: Well, the masks...the mysterious behavior.

Michael: There's...no, there's no mysterious behavior. There's a time, when I give a concert...I like to have as many people who would like to come can come and enjoy the show. And there's a time, when you like to be in private...when you put on your pyjammas and go to sleep, cut the light (makes a sound of a light going out) and you lay down, that's your private space. You go to the park. I can't go in the park, so I create my own park at Neverland...my own water space...my movie theatre...my theme park...that's all for me to enjoy.

Barbara: I don't wnat this to sound insulting. I'm just gonna be straight with you. But you are somewhat eccentric to say the least. The way you dress, the way you look, it invites attention. The whole appearance as you grew up was...larger than life...more extreme. Don't you think that draws the paparazzi to you?

Michael: No. (shaking his head) No, maybe I like to live that way...I like to dress that way. I don't want the paparazzi, really. But if they come, be kind, write the right...kind of thing to write.

Barbara: Michael, is it the journalist's role...or the press' role to be kind?

Michael: To be kind?

Barbara: Because the press also has to look into things, be tough. It can't always be kind.

Michael: (laughs) What you saw...what happened to Lady Diana...you tell me. There should be some boundaries, some kind of way. The star needs some space. Some time to relax. He has a heart...he's human.

Barbara: You cancelled the concert you were about to do when you heard of Diana's death.

Michael: Yes.

Barbara: And when you finally did a concert, you dedicated it to her. What did you say?

Michael: In my heart I was saying, "I love you Diana. Shine. And shine on forever, because you are the true Princess of the people." And in words I did not say it, but I said it for three minutes in showing a big picture on the jumbotron screens...Sony, big huge screens...and her picture was there shining...and the crowd went bananas (makes sound effects of the crowd's noises) And I played the song "Smile" and "Gone Too Soon".

Barbara: Give us some of the lyrics, if you can.

Michael: "Shiny and sparkly, and splendedly bright, here one day, gone one night...Gone too soon."

Commercial Break

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Barbara: You have said, "I grew up in a fishbowl. I will not allow that to happen to my son." Yet, when your son was born, you sold pictures to the National Enquirer and to other European papers, tabloids. Why did you do that?

Michael: Why?

Barbara: Why?

Michael: Because there was a race. There were some illegal pictures out. Illegally, somebody had taken pictures of a baby...millions of dollars...said, "Here's Michael's son."

Barbara: And it wasn't, as I recall.

Michael: And it wasn't. So, I took pictures of the baby. I said, "They're forcing me to get his pictures." There's helocopters flying above us...flying over my house...flying over the hospital, um, machines and satellites all over. Even the hospital said, "Michael, we've had every kind of celebrity here...but we've never had it like this. This is unbelievable." And so I said, "Here, take it." And I gave the money to charity

Barbara: So, rather than...what you're saying is...what you did was to get them off your back.

Michael: Yeah...and now they want to do it again...and I don't want..maybe I don't want to show him to the world like that. I want him to have some space...where he can go to school. I don't want him to be called "Wacko Jacko" that's not nice. They call the father that. That isn't nice...right?

Barbara: You said you don't want your child to be called "wacko jacko's son". How are you going to prevent it, so they don't do it to him?

Michael: That's the thing...that's the idea. Maybe you should come up with a plan to help me.

Barbara: You're his daddy.

Michael: There you go. They created that. Did they ever think I would have a child one day...that I have a heart? It's hurting my heart. Why pass it on to him?

Barbara: Do you like being a father?

Michael: I love it!!

Barbara: Are you very involved with him?

Michael: (laughs) Yes!

Barbara: Do you want more children?

Michael: Yes. (an embarrassed laugh)

Barbara: You have been in the spotlight since you were a baby yourself.

Michael: Yes.

Barbara: If your son shows any talent - by the way does he show any talent at nine months?

Michael: Well, I'll tell you this much...when he's crying, to keep him from crying, I have to do one thing

Barbara: What?

Michael: I have to stand in front of him...and dance.

Barbara: Really?

Michael: Yes. And he stops crying. His tears turn to laughter, and he's happy. (claps his hands) He smiles.

Barbara: And do you do your moonwalk with him?

Michael: Yeah. I do all kind of movements (imitates his dancing) (laughs)

Barbara: And then he stops crying?

Michael: And then he stops crying!

Barbara: You must do a lot of dancing.

Michael: (laughs) I do a lot of dancing, yes.

Barbara: Michael, if this little boy says, "Daddy, I want to go on stage."

Michael: (laughs and slaps his leg)

Barbara: After what you've been through?

Michael: I'd say, "Hold on, now. Hold on. If you do go that way, expect this...expect this...expext that." (counts on his fingers)

Barbara: You'd lay it all out?

Michael: I'd lay it all out. I'd say, "See you're gonna get all this, (points to one of the cameras) and all this (points to another camera) and all this (points to a third camera) You ready to do that?" "Yeah, I can't wait." Then I would say, "Go...and do it better than I did."

Barbara: But know what you're in for...

Michael: Know what you're in for.

Barbara: Our interview was over. We had told no one it was happening, nor had the Paris hotel. But when Jackson tried to sneak out through a back door, there was a huge crowd...already waiting.

Hugh Downs: Babara, we know now that Diana did not have adequate protection on that last day. What kind of protection did Michael Jackson have?

Barbara: Well, we saw at least four bodyguards...and he needed them. And by the way, I talked with a female superstar and she told me that when she goes out she has four bodygaurds, at least...and a car infront of her, and a car behind.

Hugh: That's what they really need isn't it?

Barbara: Unfortunately, it is.

Hugh: Now you told me that he told you why he wears only one glove.

Barbara: Yes.

Hugh: What's behind that?

Barbara: Well, he has a sense of humour, as I think you could see. He said, "Why one glove? Cooler than two!"




The Daily Mirror (1999)


Michael Jackson granted Britian's "The Daily Mirror" his first newspaper interview in 20 years. In Harrods, with his friend Mohammed Al Fayed at his side, Michael speaks about the allegations that threatened his career, his love for children, his career, his friendship with the late Princess Diana, and of his own family.

Speaking of the allegations of child abuse that have surrounded him since 1993, Michael, with tears streaming down his face spoke of the "evil people who think I could do this thing to children"; "I'd slit my wrists rather than hurt a child. I could never do that. No-one will ever know how much these wicked rumours have hurt me. If it wasn't for the children...I'd throw in the towel and I'd kill myself. I wouldn't care to live without children and without the inspiration they give me. They inspire me in all I do, every song I write, every dance I perform. People try and use that against me and it's just so unfair. I get very upset by it, it breaks my heart."

Michael went on to speak of his own children, two-year-old Prince and one-year-old Paris, "I love my children so much. They have changed me and my outlook on life. I just wish people would leave me alone to get on with my life. I'm just a person who wants to be honest and do good, make people happy and give them the greatest sense of escapism through the talent God has given me. That's where my heart is, that's all I want to do. Just let me share and give, put a smile on people's faces and make their hearts feel happy.

To see my kids leaping round the room going mad to my sister Janet's music is just fantastic. It fills my heart with so much joy. As soon as Janet's songs with a good beat like 'The Knowledge' or 'Rhythm Nation' come on they both go crazy. You'd think a machine is moving them around. I start singing and there's screaming all over the house. I start dancing and Prince is all in the way trying to dance with me."

Michael went on to explain that he doesn't play his own music for his children, "I'm saving that for a surprise when they are a bit older," he smiles.

Will he like his children to go into the intertainment industry? Michael said he would love that but that he is also aware of the consequences, "It's going to be hard for them. When Lisa-Marie wants to sing, people always compare her to her father, which is so tough. Of course, I'd love them to do something in the arts so I could teach them to sing and dance. But they'd have to want to do that without pressure from me."

Michael explained that currently the children were staying with a long-time friend, "They are staying with a friend of mine who I went to school with. We go back a long way. My children are with hers having fun which is great. I call them all the time and we have great conversations. Hearing them say 'Dad! Dad!' is such a thrill."

Speaking of his wife, and of a few parental pointers that Mohammed Al Fayed has given him, Michael said the following, " I love my wife, and we have a happy marriage. Debbie is a nurse who loves her work, who loves taking care of people. Every day she wants to get up and look after others, to help them and make them better. That's why I love her, and that's what gives her bliss in life, God bless her. "Mohamed is a lovely family man and has been giving me some great tips. He tells me to be loving, to take time with the children, not to leave them with anybody and to be with them as much as I can. To help them grow and let them know you love them by looking them in the eyes, and saying 'I love you.' And play, play, play with them."

Changing the conversation to a more serious issue Michael spoke of the hounding tabloid media in Britian, " The press are hard on me, especially in England which is a shame because I love it here and would like to live here one day. To give you an example, the last time I was here I flew Mickey and Minnie Mouse from Euro Disney to a hospital in London for the sick kids and took them a load of toys and things to cheer them up. The next day's papers said Wacko Jacko Snubs Sick Children. That really hurt me - I tried to help those children but people just wanted to make fun of me. It was cruel and unnecessary."

Speaking of the recent tragic events in Kosovo Michael, with tears returning to his eyes, spoke of the children, "I just want to go to Yugoslavia and hug every one of those children and tell them I love them. The TV footage just breaks my heart. It's just horrifying. I have to turn the set off - it makes me cry every day. It's time we did something. It's not enough to turn your head and pretend it doesn't exist. I've written a song for the refugees called 'What More Can I Give?' and I'm going to give all the profits to the Kosovan Albanians. I want to do what we did with the people in Africa, get all the celebrities together and sing for those poor families. I'd like to do this in Britain and get the biggest British stars to join me. I want those people to know I love them, that we all love them. They are my family, my children. They desperately need our money now to help them. We are all doing too much sitting back, and reading and watching TV saying how awful it is and not actually doing something about it. I'm not into politics and I don't talk about religion. But I think it's totally wrong and ignorant to hurt innocent children over some political or religious issue. It's genocide and ethnic cleansing and it's stupid. It shouldn't be happening."

Michael also took the time to speak of a friendship that few people knew existed, a friendship with Princess Diana. Michael reflected on the night that he was told about her death, "I had a concert on the day the news broke and my doctor woke me up to tell me Diana was dead. I literally collapsed, I fainted. He had to give me smelling salts to revive me and I cancelled my show because I simply could not perform. I just broke down. I wept and wept for weeks afterwards."

Through his friendship with Diana, Michael also came to know Dodi Fayed, "They were a match made in heaven. I thought they were so beautiful together. It was lovely to see them like that. Diana was a wonderful person with such a good heart. She went round the world as a philanthropist just like Mother Theresa. She proved that she really, really cared about people and children especially. The way that I do. She used to confide in me. She'd just call me on the phone and we would talk about everything that was happening in her life. The press were hard on her in the same way they were hard on me and she needed to talk to someone who knew exactly what she was going through. She felt hunted in the way I've felt hunted. Trapped, if you like. You can't talk about that to your neighbour because how would they ever understand? No normal person could possibly understand, could they? I've had that attention since I was a kid, whereas Diana had it suddenly thrust upon her at the age of 19. I've had it all my life so I had the experience to tell her how to handle it. I just said to her, 'Rise above it all'. I'd tell her how I would go on stage sometimes in the worst pain either emotionally, or physically with something like a toothache, and I would put whatever it was out of my mind and perform. I'd say, 'Be strong and be determined and nobody can hurt you. Only you can hurt yourself - so be defiant'. I think she appreciated it and got something from my words. I think I was able to comfort her. I adored Diana. We talked so many times, much more than people realised. When I heard about the paparazzi chasing her, I just thought how lucky I was that it had never happened to me because I've been chased the same way so many times and you always wonder. Diana's death was the saddest I've ever felt - it reminded me of when Kennedy died. It broke my heart so much, I just cried and cried. [Dodi] was wonderful, just wonderful. A really smart, charming guy. It was a terrible tragedy for Mohamed and my heart goes out to him and his family."

Although Michael never met Diana's sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, Michael said that Diana had wanted him to meet them, "Diana desperately wanted me to meet her children and we talked about it many times, but I never did get the chance. Mohamed talks very highly of the boys. He says they are wonderful and he had some good times on holiday with them and Diana. It would be nice to meet them sometime."

Once again Michael switched topics, this time discussing plans he and Mohammed have been making regarding creating films in Hollywood. The two men laughed together as they joked about the mischef and mayhem that they could create in Hollywood. With that Michael directed the conversation towards their friendship, "Mohammed has taken a lot of flak in this country, which is so unfair. He is one of the sweetest, kindest men you could ever know. The problem is that people judge people before they even know them. To me he is like a big Santa Claus. He loves giving, he's very wise and creative, talented and kind-hearted. Very giving. He has taught me a lot and I love learning from him."

Speaking of their recent trip to a European Football game Michael spoke of his newly discovered love for the sport, "I knew nothing about soccer and I've never been to any sporting event, so it was a great experience for me. I'm a soccer fan now, definitely. I'm addicted. It was so exciting and passionate - the fans were like the people who come to my concerts. They were screaming and shouting and cheering their players on. I loved it. I wanted to jump up and start dancing because I'm used to performing on stage when I hear all that noise. The fans were great, although they seemed pretty surprised to see me. I have no doubt that Fulham will be promoted, they seemed a really good team with a great spirit. I met all the players and they were so kind to me."

When the interviewer, Piers Morgan, informed Michael about a team that was up for sale, the gears in the head of Michael Jackson - business man, began to turn, "I don't know them, but I'd love to get involved with one of the big teams if it was right to do so. How much are they?" He was told the asking price was 6 hundred million. "Dollars or pounds?" He was told it was pounds, and after a long pause he answered, "That's interesting, very interesting. I'll have a think about that. It sounds intriguing. I'm astounded by how much I enjoyed the soccer, that's for sure."

Changing topics once more Michael discussed the impact of the new Millenium on his music career, "I have an album coming out for the Millennium which I'm half way through. It's going to be the best thing I've ever done. I'm putting my heart and soul into it because I'm not sure if I'm gonna do another one after this...This will be my last album, I think. I may do the odd movie soundtrack, but this will be my last proper album. I want it to be something that touches the heart and emotions of the world. From a child to older people, from the farmers of Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem. I mean I want to reach every demographic I can through the love and joy and simplicity of music. The Millennium is an appropriate time to change direction. I'd like to get more into movies. Mohamed and I are looking to set up a company and do some films together. It's going to be great."

After he finishes his solo album Michael discussed a project that is planned with his brothers, "We are doing an album together, it's legitimate and I'm going to do it. I'll play on three songs and produce the rest. It will be fun."

When asked how he unwinds now-a-days Michael answered that he has stopped secluding himself at home and has began to get out into the public more often, "Well, I've stopped being such a recluse now. My friend Elizabeth Taylor has got me out. Every Thursday we go to the movies together. She is Godmother to my son Prince and we get on so well. I said I could get Warner Brothers to put aside a studio just for us every week to watch films in private, but she forces me out. She's the only person who can get me out in public. We walk in, sit down, watch our film and walk out. And every time we leave the audience all stand up and applaud us. It's funny. The last one we saw was Patch Adams which we loved. It was so touching, it made me cry. It's a true story about a man who takes the time to make children happy. That's what I'd like to be considered as."



TV Guide Interview (1999)



"The Once and Future King"

TV Guide Interview - December 1999

The legend is almost too large to comprehend but never fails to fascinate. How to make sense of Michael Jackson, a man whose immeasurable talent is often overshadowed by tabloid headlines? The former Jackson 5 lead vocalist rocketed to solo fame with his 1982 album, Thriller (the video of the same name has been declared the greatest ever by TV Guide and MTV). Then, in 1993, claims of child molestation brought against him by a 13-year-old boy - charges that were settled out of court for an undisclosed sum which the singer has vehemently denied - heavily tarnished his platinum image. Still, Jackson presses on. Seated in a New York City hotel suite,. The notoriously shy pop star is charismatic and bubbly - a regular guy, even - as he discusses future projects, including an as-yet-untitled CD he describes as "happy, dance music, relationship stuff", and a reunion album with his brothers. And then there is "The Nightmare of Edgar Allen Poe", in which he will star as the 19th-century writer. Scheduled to shoot next year, Jackson says he's doing the film because Poe's "life is very interesting", adding, without irony, "I love an artist who doesn't play it safe."

TV Guide: "Thriller" changed music videos forever. Where did you get the idea?

Michael: My brother Jackie came to my house and said, "Are you watching this show that's on TV? All they do is play music. It's MTV." I put it on and thought the concept was very interesting. What I didn't like were the videos that were a collage of images; I thought that if I were to do one, I would do something with a little entertainment value. My dream was to make something with a beginning, a middle, and an ending, like a short film.

TV Guide: Did you ever imagine that Thriller and the videos from the album would catapult your career into the stratosphere?

Michael: I didn't really think about how the album would do; I just wanted to create what I would enjoy seeing. And my main goal for [the video] "Thriller" was to do something that would be scary, fun and exciting.

TV Guide: How do you look back on that era now?

Michael: I see it as a happy time and a sad time. Because it made a lot of my dreams come true. The notoriety was wonderful.

TV Guide: You also said it was a sad time.

Michael: Yeah. If I don't get exactly what I'm looking for, I get very depressed.

TV Guide: You mean the album still didn't live up to what you had envisioned?

Michael: Not completely.

TV Guide: Which songs disappointed you?

Michael: "Wanna Be Startin' Something." Songwriting is a very frustrating art form. You have to get on tape exactly what's playing inside your head. When I hear it up here [points to his head], it's wonderful. I have to transcribe that onto tape. "The Girl Is Mine" [his duet with Paul McCartney] wasn't completely what I wanted, but it's very nice. But "Billie Jean" is there. I worked so hard on that. I worked for three weeks on the bass lick alone.

TV Guide: The glove, the white socks, the red leather jacket - who came up with those things?

Michael: The glove was just - I thought one was cooler than two. I love to accent movement. The eye goes to where the white is - you know, the glove. And the feet, if you're dancing, you can put an exclamation point on your movement if it has a bit of light on it. So I wore the white socks. And for the design of the jacket, I would sit with the people who made the clothes and tell them where I wanted a button or a buckle or a design.
But I don't wear that look anymore. It's sad to get caught up in the past. That's why I don't put awards in my house. No gold records, no Grammys. They're in storage. I don't like to be puffed up with pride, 'cause I'd feel like I don't have any more things to reach for. And that's not true.

TV Guide: Do you feel like your most recent creative period is yet to come?

Michael: I think the best work is coming, but I'd like to go into other areas, not keep doing pop album after pop album.

TV Guide: Are there artists that are doing interesting things musically?

Michael: There's some wonderful creative ideas, but I don't think anybody's being innovative. They're mostly grabbing the old and trying to integrate it with the new.

TV Guide: Is there anybody that you'd like to work with?

Michael: There are a lot of artists I admire, but no.

TV Guide: What is your favorite music?

Michael: You'd be shocked. This morning I was singing Rogers and Hammerstein. That's the stuff I sing around the house - "My Favorite Things" from "The Sound Of Music", and "Absent Minded Me", that Streisand song. I'm also a fan of the great old MGM musicals. I love show tunes, I'm a big fan of melody.

TV Guide: What's your favorite song to perform?

Michael: "Billie Jean", but only when I don't have to do it the same way. The audience wants a certain thing. I have to do the moonwalk in that spot. [Laughs] I'd like to do a different version.

TV Guide: Who's your audience today?

Michael: I don't know. I just try to write wonderful music; and if they love it, they love it. I don't think about any demographic. [The record company] tries to get me to think that way, but I just do what I would enjoy hearing.

TV Guide: Is there a new Michael for the millennium?

Michael: Yeah, I have a couple of things planned. I think it's going to be totally different than what I did before. There's a song on the new album called "I Have This Dream". It's a millennium song about the world and the environment that I cowrote with Carol Bayer Sager and David Foster.

TV Guide: Do you think you will tour again?

Michael: I don't think so. It takes a lot out of me.

TV Guide: You rarely travel in public without a disguise. Why?

Michael: I don't see any other way. I've tried everything. [Laughs] Fat suits. Nuns. Clowns. Trick or treat is the best for me. And Mardi Gras.

TV Guide: Do you think you'll ever be able to walk around freely just as yourself?

Michael: I do disguises for different reasons. I like to study people - be like the fly on the wall. Even if it's two old ladies sitting on a bench or some kids on a swing. Because I don't know what it's like to fit in an everyday situation. One time I was in a record store, completely disguised, and these girls were pulling out my album talking all about me. I was literally next to them. It was wonderful. I loved it.
But if I go out as myself, I can't have fun. People always say, "Why don't we just go to a party?" Soon as I step in, the party's over - for me. It's a party for them, but they're all putting their cards in my face, saying, "Remember me? I met you four years ago at" And I say "I don't remember." So I can't enjoy the experience. They play all my songs. I didn't come to hear my music. And everybody starts chanting, "Dance!" "Well, I want to see you dance for a change."

TV Guide: Do you think, given all the negative press that you've had, that people will judge you solely on your music"

Michael: I don't think so. 'Cause [the press] has made me out to be this monster, this crazy person who's bizarre and weird. I'm nothing like that.

TV Guide: Is there anything you can do to change that impression?

Michael: Well, all I can do is be myself and create from my soul. But they take that and manipulate it.

TV Guide: But what will make you seem OK to people who think, "He's weird; he has exotic animals in his house, " or -

Michael: God created animals. And they're loving; they're beautiful. I feel the way [anthropologist] Jane Goodall does or any of those naturalists. I don't find my interest in animals weird or strange at all.

TV Guide: What about the plastic surgery?

Michael: All of Hollywood has plastic surgery! I don't know why they point me out. The press exaggerated it. It's just my nose, you know. They want it to be everything. Just the nose isn't enough. Elvis had his nose done - Lisa Marie [Presley, to whom Jackson was married from May 1994 to January 1996] told me. They don't talk about that. They single me out. It's not fair.

TV Guide: OK, well, now that you bring up Lisa Marie, I read that you said she regrets not having had your son and that she may still want to have a child with you. Is that true?
Michael: Well, I remember that's how she felt at the time. [Laughs] No matter what I say, I'm in trouble with this question - the next issue [of TV Guide] will probably say, "Well, Lisa said she doesn't ever want to see him again!"

TV Guide: Are you two friends now?

Michael: Lisa's sweet. I like her very much, and we are friends. And who knows what tomorrow brings? I have no idea how she feels today. I'll just say that. She comes to my house and sees the children [from Jackson's second marriage, to Debbie Rowe, whom he wed in November 1996 and who filed for divorce in October 1999], and we talk on the phone, that sort of thing.

TV Guide: Do you think you'll marry again?

Michael: That would be nice.

TV Guide: What would make the third time the charm?

Michael: It just has to hit me. You have to see that person and go, "This is it. This is the one."

TV Guide: Did you feel that way with both of your marriages?

Michael: Yeah. Of course.

TV Guide: Do you wish you were still married?

Michael: Yeah, I do. But you have to do what's best. What happens happens. You have to respect that.

TV Guide: Who are your closest friends?

Michael: Elizabeth [Taylor], for sure. We go to the movies every Thursday.

TV Guide: You go to a regular theater?

Michael: I want to go to the Warner Bros. Studio, and she refuses. She says, "No, I'm getting you out." So we go right into this area - which I can't say - and walk right in. And it's usually empty, because [most] people are working at the time. [The theater employees] go, "Wow, come on in," and we never really pay. And we're the ones who can afford it. [Laughs]

TV Guide: Lets talk about your kids [Prince Michael, 2, and Paris Katherine, 1]. I have to ask you about this business in the papers recently about you and Debbie not being the biological parents of your children, about her being implanted with another women's egg and then impregnated by artificial insemination.

Michael: That's total garbage. It's just trash and not true.

TV Guide: Do the kids live with you at Neverland?

Michael: They were at Neverland two weeks ago. I think they realized for the first time that it's their home. They used to always think it was some hotel resort. We stay in hotels everywhere. They didn't realize that the train and the train station is for them, and those rides are for them. Now they go, "We want to go to Neverland!"

TV Guide: What are their personalities like?

Michael: Prince tells me all day that he has to make movies. So I bought him this video camera. I say, "What are we doing this time?" He goes, "Star Wars." So we put some figures on the table, make them move. And Paris is just now starting to talk and walk. She's very sweet. And I'm surprised she loves dolls. My sister Janet didn't like that sort of thing. She was a tomboy. I thought [Paris] was going to be like that, but she isn't.

TV Guide: And you're changing their diapers and feeding them?

Michael: Yeah, I love it. It's a lot of work. I thought I was prepared 'cause I read everything about child rearing, but it's so much more exciting than I ever imagined it would be. The only regret I have is that I wish I had done it sooner.

TV Guide: Do you sing and dance for them?

Michael: That's how I keep them quiet if they're crying. If I just start dancing, they shut down.

TV Guide: Do you want to have more kids?

Michael: Definitely. I told my father [Joe] I'm going to match his record. He had 10.

TV Guide: What is your relationship with your father like now? You were estranged from him for a while.

Michael: I have the best relationship with him now that I've ever had with him. I think with age and time he's really mellowed out to become a nice person. He'll simply say to me, "How are you doing? Are you eating? That's all I wanted to know." Not, "Did you sign that contract". He just wants to know if I'm OK. I think that's really nice. And my mother [Katherine] is like the perfect angel.

TV Guide: At 41, are you happy?

Michael: Well, I usually am happy. I don't let anything get me down, no matter what. I like to hear the sound of water, and birds chirping and laughter, you know. I love all the real, natural, innocent things. I would never go to a party or a club. I did that when I was a kid, and I don't care to do that anymore.

TV Guide: I found it jarring to read a recent quote in which you said that if it weren't for your desire to help the children of the world, you'd throw in the towel and kill yourself. Do you really feel that way?

Michael: I always have. 'Cause I would feel I have nothing to live for.

TV Guide: Not even for yourself and your own creativity?

Michael: I wouldn't care. Everything I create is inspired by that kind of innocence. And nature, it's everything. It has to be. I mean, that's it.


USA TODAY Edna Gundersen (2001)


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Michael In The Mirror - Interview By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY 2001

Q: How do you respond to inaccurate articles about you?

MJ: I don't pay any attention. The fans know the tabloid garbage is crap. They always say to me, "Let's have a tabloid-burning." It's terrible to try to assassinate one's character. I've had people come to me, and after meeting me, they start crying. I say, "Why are you crying?" They say, "Because I thought you would be stuck up, but you're the nicest person." I say, "Who gave you this judgment?" They tell me they read it. I tell them, "Don't you believe what you read."

Q: Do these rumors persist because you don't refute them?

MJ: No. I've done so much in the past. I did the most watched TV interview in history with Oprah Winfrey [in 1993]. But [the media] tend to want to twist what you say and judge you. I want to keep it on the music and the art. I think about some of my favorite people who ever lived. If I could stand face to face with Walt Disney or Michelangelo, would I care what they do in their private life? I want to know about their art. I'm a fan.

Q: How do you shield yourself from being hurt by criticism?

MJ: Expecting it, knowing it's going to happen and being invincible, being what I was always taught to be. You stand strong with an iron fist, no matter what the situation."

Q: Critics refer to you as the self-proclaimed King of Pop. Did you choose that title?

MJ: I never self-proclaimed myself to be anything. If I called up Elizabeth Taylor right now, she would tell you that she coined the phrase. She was introducing me, I think at the American Music Awards, and said in her own words - it wasn't in the script - "I'm a personal fan, and in my opinion he is the king of pop, rock and soul." Then the press started saying "King of Pop" and the fans started. This self-proclaimed garbage, I don't know who said that.

Q: The New York concerts marked your first U.S. shows in 12 years. Were you nervous?

MJ: No. It was an honor to be back with my brothers again. The producer wanted a cavalcade of luminaries from different fields of endeavor. It was a great honor to have them salute me. It was heartwarming, a happy, fun occasion.

Q: Would you consider another tour with your brothers?

MJ: I don't think so. I would definitely do an album with them, but not a tour. They would love to tour. But I want to move on to other things. Physically, touring takes a lot out of you. When I'm on stage, it's like a two-hour marathon. I weigh myself before and after each show, and I lose a good 10 pounds. Sweat is all over the stage. Then you get to your hotel and your adrenaline is at its zenith and you can't fall asleep. And you've got a show the next day. It's tough.

Q: If you don't tour, how will you satisfy public demand as well as your need to perform?

MJ: I want to direct a special on myself and do songs that touch me. I want something more intimate, from the soul and heart, with just one spotlight.

Q: How did you react when 'Invincible' topped the chart here and in a dozen countries?

MJ: It was a lovely feeling. I cried happy tears to see all the love.

Q: 'Invincible' was several years in the making. Does your perfectionism slow the process?

MJ: It did take a while because I'm never happy with the songs. I'll write a bunch of songs, throw them out, write some more. People say, "Are you crazy? That's got to go on the album." But I'll say, "Is it better than this other one?" You only get 75 minutes on a CD, and we push it to the limit.

Q: Did you approach 'Invincible' with a single theme in mind?

MJ: I never think about themes. I let the music create itself. I like it to be a potpourri of all kinds of sounds, all kinds of colors, something for everybody, from the farmer in Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem.

Q: Has it become easier to write songs over time?

MJ: It's the most effortless thing in the world because you don't do anything. I hate to say it like that, but it's the truth. The heavens drop it right into your lap, in its totality. The real gems come that way. You can sit at the piano and say, "OK, I'm going to write the greatest song ever written," and nothing. But you can be walking down the street or showering or playing and, boom, it hits you in the head. I've written so many like that. I'm playing a pinball machine, and I have to run upstairs and get my little tape recorder and start dictating. I hear everything in its totality, what the strings are going to do, what the bass is going to do, the harpsichord, everything.

Q: Is it difficult translating that sound to tape?

MJ: That's what's frustrating. In my head, it's completed, but I have to transplant that to tape. It's like (Alfred) Hitchcock said, "The movie's finished." But he still has to start directing it. The song is the same. You see it in its entirety and then you execute it.

Q: After such a long absence, did you have doubts about your current relevance?

MJ: Never. I have confidence in my abilities. I have real perseverance. Nothing can stop me when I put my mind to it.

Q: After Sept. 11, you wrote a benefit song, "What More Can I Give?" What's the status?
MJ: It's not finished. We're adding artists, and I'm getting myself satisfied with the instrumentation.

Q: Is it your belief that music is a tool for healing?

MJ: It's a mantra that soothes the soul. It's therapeutic. It's something our body has to have, like food. It's very important to understand the power of music. Whether you're in an elevator or a department store, music affects the way you shop, the way you treat your neighbor.

[Prince hands Jackson a drawing. "I appreciate it," Jackson says. "Do you have to go to the bathroom?" Prince: "No."]

Q: 'Invincible' hasn't enjoyed record-breaking sales. Does 'Thriller' cast too big a shadow?

MJ: Absolutely. It is tough because you're competing against yourself. 'Invincible' is just as good or better than 'Thriller', in my true, humble opinion. It has more to offer. Music is what lives and lasts. 'Invincible' has been a great success. When The Nutcracker Suite was first introduced to the world, it totally bombed. What's important is how the story ends.

[Prince surfaces again with another picture. "What did you promise me?" Jackson asks. "To be quiet?" Prince responds, then retreats.]

Q: How has fatherhood changed you?

MJ: In a huge way. You have to value your time differently, no doubt about it. It's your responsibility to make sure they're taken care of and raised properly with good manners. But I refuse to let any of it get in the way of the music or the dance or the performing. I have to play two different roles. I always wanted to have a big family, ever since I was in school. I was always telling my father I would outdo him. He had 10 children. I would love to have like 11 or 12 myself.

Q: What have you taught your children?

MJ: I try to make sure they're respectful and honorable and kind to everybody. I tell them, no matter what they do, work hard at it. What you want to do for a lifetime, be the best at it.

[Prince is staring. "Stop looking at me," Jackson says, smiling.]

Q: And what have your kids taught you?

MJ: A lot. [Parenthood] reminds you to do what the Bible has always told us. When the Apostles were arguing among themselves over who was the greatest in Jesus' eyes, he said, "None of you," and called over a little boy and said, "until you humble yourself like this child." It reminds you to be kind and humble and to see things through the eyes of children with a childlike wonderment. I still have that. I'm still fascinated by clouds and the sunset. I was making wishes on the rainbow yesterday. I saw the meteor shower. I made a wish every time I saw a shooting star.

Q: What are your wishes?

MJ: Peace and love for the children.

[Prince returns, gazing intently. "Stop that," says Jackson, gently turning the boy's head away. "Can you be still?"]

Q: You've said you plan to home-school your kids. Given your fame, how can you provide a normal life for them?

MJ: You do the best you can. You don't isolate them from other children. There will be other kids at the school [on his property]. I let them go out in the world. But they can't always go with me. We get mobbed and attacked. When we were in Africa, Prince saw a mob attack in a huge shopping mall. People broke so much stuff, running and screaming. My biggest fear is that fans will hurt themselves, and they do. I've seen glass break, blood, ambulances.

Q: Are you resentful that stardom stole your childhood?

MJ: Yeah. It's not anger, it's pain. People see me at an amusement park or with other kids having fun, and they don't stop and think, "He never had that chance when he was little." I never had the chance to do the fun things kids do: sleepovers, parties, trick-or-treat. There was no Christmas, no holiday celebrating. So now you try to compensate for some of that loss.

Q: Have you made peace with your father?

MJ: It's much better. My father is a much nicer person now. I think he realizes his children are everything. Without your family, you have nothing. He's a nice human being. At one time, we'd be horrified if he just showed up. We were scared to death. He turned out really well. I wish it wasn't so late.

Q: Did music offer an escape from childhood worries?

MJ: Of course. We sang constantly in the house. We sang group harmony while washing dishes. We'd make up songs as we worked. That's what makes greatness. You have to have that tragedy, that pain to pull from. That's what makes a clown great. You can see he's hurting behind the masquerade. He's something else externally. Chaplin did that so beautifully, better than anyone. I can play off those moments, too. I've been through the fire many times.

[Prince is back. He leans against the chair to gawk at the king of pops. "Stop looking at me," Jackson implores, clearly unnerved by the tyke's scrutiny. "You're not making this easy." Both of them chuckle, and Jackson warns teasingly, "You may not get that piece of candy."]

Q: Do your religious beliefs ever conflict with the sexy nature of your music or dancing?
MJ: No. I sing about things that are loving, and if people interpret it as sexy, that's up to them. I never use bad words like some of the rappers. I love and respect their work, but I think I have too much respect for parents and mothers and elderly people. If I did a song with bad words and saw an older lady in the audience, I'd cringe. Q: But what about your trademark crotch-grabbing moves?

MJ: I started doing that with "Bad". Martin Scorsese directed that short film in the subways of New York. I let the music tell me what to do. I remember him saying, "That was a great take! I want you to see it." So we pushed playback, and I went 'aaaah!' I didn't realize I was doing that. But then everyone else started doing that, and Madonna, too. But it's not sexual at all.

Q: How are you spending your free time these days?

MJ: I like to do silly things; water-balloon fights, pie fights, egg fights. [Turning to Prince] You got a good one coming! I don't think I'll ever grow out of that. At my house, I built a water-balloon fort with two sides, a red team and a blue team. We have cannons that shoot water 60 feet and slingshots that shoot the balloons. We got bridges and places to hide. I just love it.

Q: After 38 years in show business, fans still mob you. Are you immune to adulation?
MJ: It's always a good feeling. I never take it for granted. I'm never puffed up with pride or think I'm better than the next-door neighbor. To be loved is a wonderful thing. That is the main reason I do this. I feel compelled to do it, to give people some sense of escapism, a treat to the eye and the ear. I think it's the reason I'm here.

[More Conversation with Michael Jackson - Outtakes from the Interview]

Q: Why do you think people are jealous?

MJ: If you look back in history, it's the same with anybody who's achieved wonderful things. I know the Disney family well, and Walt's daughters used to tell me it was difficult when they were in school. Kids would say, "I hate Walt Disney. He's not even funny. We don't watch him." Charlie Chaplin's kids, who I know well, had to take their children out of school. They were being teased: "You're grandfather is stupid. He's not funny. We don't like him." He was a genius! So you have to deal with this jealousy. They think they're hurting you. Nothing could hurt me. The bigger the star, the larger the target. At least they're talking. When they stop talking, you have to worry.

Q: How did you gear up for the physical demands of your special concerts [which aired as a two-hour CBS special]? Do you exercise?

MJ: I hate exercise. I hate it so much. The only think I do is dance. That's an exercise. That's why I like some of the karate stuff or kung fu. It's all a dance. But sit-ups? I hate it.

Q: Were you intimidated by any of the other superstars on the bill?

MJ: No. I enjoy watching performers. It's all school for me. I never stop learning. It was really inspiring.

Q: Are you more enamored with modern music or vintage stuff?

MJ: I like the earlier stuff. It's more melodically conscious. Today people rely on a beat or a rhythm, which is nice, but I said this time and time again, melody will always be king. You have to hum it.

Q: You've teamed with a huge variety of musicians. What attracts you to a particular collaborator?

MJ: If I see some potential in their ability as an artist or musician, I'll give them a hook or a line or a phrase and see how they play it or execute it. Sometimes we go all day and it's still not right.

Q: Did you learn that lesson from your parents?

MJ: Our parents taught us to always be respectful and, no matter what you do, to give it everything you have. Be the best, not the second best.

Q: You are often pursued by mobs of fans. Are you ever scared for your own safety?

MJ: Never ever. I know exactly what to do when it gets really rough, how to just play them. As long as they can see you, they're crazy, but you can put yourself in the eye of the hurricane. If you duck and they can't see you, they calm down.

Q: Your inner circle seems to consist of very young friends or much older ones. What connects you to people like Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor?

MJ: We've had the same lives. They grew up in show business. We look at each other, and it's like looking in a mirror. Elizabeth has this little girl inside of her who never had a childhood. She was on the set every day. She loves playing with a new gadget or toy, and she's totally awe-inspired by it. She's a wonderful human being. So is Brando.

Q: What happened to your plans to build theme parks in Europe and Africa?

MJ: We're still working on a couple projects. I can't say right now where. I love theme parks. I love seeing children coming together, having a good time with their parents. It's not like it used to be, when you put your kids on the merry-go-round and sat on the bench eating peanuts. Now you enjoy it with them. It builds a unity to the family.


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