Michael Jackson: King of Pop shared how ‘childhood was lost’ in heartbreaking interview

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Michael Jackson is one of the most famous superstars in the world, and helped to shape the course of the pop music industry forever. But the singer also lived a troubled life and intense career, and faced several allegations against him that he molested young boys. Jackson died on June 25 2009 following a cardiac arrest just before he was due to perform a series of comeback concerts in July. One of the most fascinating interviews of the star was with American chat-show queen Oprah Winfrey in 1993, and was particularly mesmerising given the musician’s aversion to sharing his private life with the public eye.

Winfrey initially asked the pop star what performing was like and whether he enjoyed the experience as a young child.

Jackson later agreed his childhood had ripped away and he struggled growing up.

“On stage for me was home, it was most comfortable and still is,” Jackson began. “But once I got off-stage I was very sad.

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

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Michael Jackson: King of pop shared how his ‘childhood was lost’ in heartbreaking interview (Image: getty)

“It was from when I was very little – eight or nine. Yes when we all first became famous.

“So it wasn’t what it appeared to be to the rest of us?” Winfrey asked her subject, who smiled.

“It is wonderful, there is a lot of wonderment in being famous, you travel the world, you see things, you meet people, you go places, it’s great,” Jackson enthused. “And then there’s the other side, which I’m not complaining [about], [but] there’s a lot of rehearsal, you have to give up a lot of your time, give up yourself a lot.

Reflecting on an earlier conversation with the Bad singer’s former music producer Suzanne de Passe, Winfrey asserted that it sounded as though Jackson’s “childhood was lost”.

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Pausing, Jackson agreed: “Well I’ve come to realise, especially now, we would do our schooling which was three hours a day, with a tutor, then right after that, I’d go to a recording studio and record, and I’d record for hours and hours until it’s time to go to sleep.

“So it’d be nighttime. And I remember, going to the recording studio there was a park across the street and I’d see all the children playing and they’d be making noise and I would cry.

“It would make me sad that I would have to go and work instead.”

Asked whether it was a price he had to pay having this different kind of life, Jackson appeared to reason his history.


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“Well you don’t get to do things that other children get to do,” he said. “You know, the simple things that they so much take for granted, having friends and slumber parties and buddies and just hanging out.

“There was none of that for me. I didn’t have any friends when I was little, my brothers were my friends,” the hitmaker shared sadly.

Winfrey wondered if there was ever a place Jackson could escape as a child, into a “child’s world and imagination”, but the musician shook his head.

“No, and I think because I didn’t have that then, now, I compensate for that,” Jackson mused. “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.”

In another in-depth interview with Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera in 2005, Jackson shared the reality of his relationships with various family members, and how he coped with the gossip.

Jackson trusted his brothers and sister, and when asked if “blood was thicker than water”, he explained it was how the siblings had been raised.

“Blood’s everything to us” he said. “It’s what we were taught, value.

“We’re friends at the end of the day, which is important, despite what the public and press say, we’re friends.”

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