Tormented and tainted star Michael Jackson poured out his pain after police raided his fantasy home, telling a friend: “Neverland has been taken away from me.”
The King of Pop never recovered from the allegations of child abuse which followed the raid and led to his 2005 show trial.
Despite being cleared, his former lawyer and friend Brian Oxman today reveals how Jacko – who would have been 60 this week – was left a broken man.
Every aspect of his life was revealed to the world and he remained haunted by claims of abuse against several other boys.
Today, Oxman reveals Jacko’s demons and tells how the singer:
- Turned to the Bible, felt he was persecuted like Jesus – and hated being called Wacko Jacko.
- Wished he’d stayed married to Lisa Marie Presley.
- Was in denial about his prescription drug addiction.
- Made peace with his tyrant dad Joe, who beat him as a child.
- Described being on stage as “making love to your audience”.
Oxman’s insight comes as Jacko’s family mark Wednesday’s milestone at a Las Vegas tribute.
The legal eagle – now a radio host – recalls Jacko’s misery after his ranch Neverland, in Santa Barbara, California, was raided in 2003. Cops found a hoard of dolls and pictures of nude boys.
Jacko faced court accused of abusing Gavin Arvizo, 13.
Oxman says: “Neverland was his escape from the world. He told me, ‘Neverland has been destroyed, Brian. It will never be home. I will never set foot in my bedroom again. Neverland has been taken away from me’.”
Guests there included the likes of Hollywood greats Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor.
Oxman adds: “Michael would say, ‘Hey Marlon, you cannot go anywhere in the world to experience this – only my house.’
“Marlon and him would sit at his table into the wee hours talking about Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Mae West and W.C. Fields.”
But everything changed after his trial. Oxman goes on: “It was the beginning of the end for him. He was cleared of every charge, but the damage was done mentally and physically. Michael lost his faith in people. He would ask, ‘Why would they do this to me? It is a witch-hunt’.”
The star died in June 2009 from a painkiller overdose. But Oxman says his pill hell began years earlier after burning his scalp while filming a Pepsi ad in 1984.
He then suffered chronic back and leg pain from performing.
Oxman adds: “I urged Michael to get help, but he was always like ‘Brian, I got it handled’. I said, ‘Your liver will give out, though’ and when I argued he would just say, ‘Don’t scare me, Brian’ and go quiet.
“But then he’d focus on my weight, saying ‘Don’t eat carbohydrates, don’t eat sugar. Don’t tell me I am addicted. You are 10 times more addicted than me’.”
Jacko’s dad Joe, 89, died in June – never forgiven by fans for dishing out beatings to a young Michael during his days with the Jackson 5.
But Oxman insists the pair had made their peace. He says: “Their relationship was far better than the world ever knew. He loved his dad and thanked God for him.
“He would tell me, ‘My dad is always there for me. When you are on stage, I rely on what I learned at 12 from my dad. And I cherish the day my father made me do these things’.”
Jackson was married twice – to Lisa Marie Presley, 50, and Debbie Rowe, 59, mum of two of his three kids.
Oxman reveals: “Michael was absolutely in love with Lisa Marie and she loved him. Anyone who claims it was an arranged marriage is talking nonsense. He’d say, ‘She understood me’ because she had been brought up in the microscope of the public eye with Elvis.
“After they split he confided, ‘I wish she was around now’. When I saw her after his funeral I told her Michael ‘wished things had worked out differently’ – and that she was in some way in his life.
“The way she reacted and cried, I knew they were in love.”
Jacko sold more than 750 million albums and Oxman says the star described performing as “making love to your audience”, adding: “He’d say you have to know the moment where your partner, your audience, is ready and you begin. He said, ‘There is no drug in the world that could compare’.”
But off stage, the star struggled to cope with the public’s perception of him. His looks changed drastically over the years after plastic surgery and skin lightening.
He was dubbed Wacko Jacko for his eccentric behaviour – he kept a chimpanzee named Bubbles, made his kids wear face veils and even dangled baby son Michael Jr over the fourth floor balcony of a Berlin hotel. Oxman explains: “Michael hated that nickname. He likened it to the way Jesus was treated. He found it hard to cope, but would read the Bible to learn about forgiveness.”
The lawyer last spoke to Jacko two months before his “This Is It” comeback at London’s O2. The singer died the day after a stunning dress rehearsal.
Oxman says: “It’s amazing that a man with a swollen brain, bronchitis, pneumonia, sleep deprivation, a body packed with medication who was sicker than a dog delivered those performances.”
Had he lived, Oxman believes Jacko would now be a movie director. He tried to buy Marvel Entertainment in 2002 and Oxman says: “He wanted to run the studio, possibly appear as a villain. You could never doubt his understanding of showbusiness.”
Despite a dark side, no one could deny Jacko oozed showmanship. This week his family will attend Cirque Du Soleil’s MJ ONE show in Las Vegas.
Fans believe it is a fitting tribute. And Oxman says: “He was the greatest entertainer in the world. Bottled up, it was just magic.”
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