Just because I’m a Michael Jackson fan doesn’t mean I subscribe to the whole “MJ was the greatest person on Earth and I love him! Squeeeeeeee!!!” posts that I see all over the internet. I don’t speculate on what kind of guy he was for one simple fact: I never met the man and I never spent time with him. I’ve worked around famous people long enough to know that public personas and private personalities can often be very, very different. I love the man’s music, but he was obviously a flawed individual. Why? Because we’re ALL flawed individuals, and no one goes through the kind of experience that Michael went through without some serious issues. It’s just not possible. One thing that’s piqued my interest for a long time is the nature of his relationship with Lisa Marie Presley, his wife for almost two years.
There have been many stories floated about the nature of the MJ and LMP relationship over the years. Was it a sham marriage designed to reinforce the image of Michael as a heterosexual? Did Lisa marry Michael for money (um…seriously??) or a record deal (as though labels wouldn’t have been chomping at the bit to sign Elvis’s daughter in the Nineties)? Was the marriage arranged by Scientology gurus to get Michael to join the cult religion? Or…was it true love? Well, several things have happened since Michael’s death that have led me to believe that maybe it was the latter after all.
First, there was the obviously heartbroken, personal blog post Lisa put on her MySpace page the day she died. Most recently, there was her appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show, where she spent most of the hour talking about her relationship with Michael and her reaction to his passing, as well as the parallels between MJ and Lisa’s father, Elvis Presley.
I think I’ve watched Oprah maybe 5 times in the past twenty-five years, so the fact that this interview was as riveting as it was turned out to be something as a surprise. I came away thinking that if Lisa is lying about any of this, then she’s in the wrong profession, because she would be an Academy Award winning actress. I also came away with a new respect for MJ biographer J. Randy Taraborelli, because Lisa basically confirmed a couple of things that wound up in his book “Michael Jackson: The Magic & the Madness”. Most notably, Lisa confirmed that a major goal of their relationship was to produce children, and Michael mentioned to her that if she wouldn’t have his baby, then he would get Debbie Rowe to do it-which is exactly what happened. It takes titanium steel balls to say something like that (especially to someone like Lisa Marie, who I think has thrown a punch or two in her day), or a serious sense of entitlement. For Michael, who was certainly not used to people saying “no” to him, I imagine that it was more the latter. I also respect the fact that when Oprah asked the expected question about Michael’s behavior around children, Lisa reinforced the fact that she never saw Michael do anything appropriate, although she backed up that statement by saying the only two people who know what went down in that situation are Michael and the child (or children) who made the complaint. That’s the honest way to look at the situation. Hey, I don’t think so, and that type of behavior was never exhibited around me, but I can’t say unequivocally, because I wasn’t there.
Ultimately, though, the one emotion that came through the most in the interview was regret. Lisa, despite being conflicted over the relationship for a long time, very obviously cared about and loved him very much, and is stuck with a lot of guilt concerning whether she could have helped him avoid the demons of drug addiction (or the sea of sycophantic ass-kissers that surrounded him) that led to his ultimate destruction. Lisa came off as a very no BS kind of woman (as she always has), although she appeared to choose her words more carefully than usual, quite possibly so as not to speak ill of the dead or to tell Oprah more than she needed to know. I’m glad she did the interview to set the record straight, especially since she didn’t have an ulterior motive to talk, unlike his mother Katherine (who’s promoting a book) or Janet (who was promoting a movie). Here’s a clip from the interview. Track down the whole thing if you can.
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