1993 - February 2: "Michael Jackson Talks To Oprah" Televized Interview PDF Print E-mail


On the sacrifices of being a child star:

“[…] On stage for me was home. I was most comfortable on stage but once I got off stage, I was like, very sad.[…] 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 [when I was] very little, eight nine…[…] It was wonderful, there’s 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 a lot of yourself. […] 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 and 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. […] You don’t get to do things that other children get to do, having friends and slumber parties and buddies. There were none of that for me. I didn’t have friends when I was little. My brothers were my friends. […] And that is why, I think, 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 picture sessions. There was always something to do. […] They used to call me a 45 year-old midget wherever I went. I just used to hear that and wherever I went…just like when some people said 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. […] I loved show business and I still love show business, but then there are times you just 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 because I really did not want to go, I wanted to play. I did not want to go.”

On his family:

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 […]”

On the difficult transitioning from child to adult stardom:

“It was very, very, very difficult [transitioning from childhood to adolescence and adulthood]. 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 [the public] want to keep you little forever. And nature takes it’s course. […] 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 everyday. […] Oh, there’s a lot of sadness about my past and adolescence, about my father and all of those things. […] He’s never heard me say this. I’m sorry, please don’t be mad at me. […] But I do love him. […] And I am forgiving. […] I do forgive. […]”

On some rumors (he dispels):

“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 wanted 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. […] That, that story [about sleeping in an oxygen chamber] is so crazy, I mean it’s one of those tabloid things, it’s completely made up. […] That’s…I did a commercial for Pepsi and I was burned very badly and we settled for 1 million dollars and I gave all the money…like, we bulit this place called the Michael Jackson Burn Centre and that’s a piece of technology used for burn victims, right? So I’m looking at the piece of technology and decide to 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 I’m here to say. You know, don’t judge a person, do not pass judgement, unless you have talked to them one on one. I don’t care what the story is, do not judge them because it is a lie. […] That’s stupid. It’s completely made up. 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. […] [I didn’t buy the Elephant Man’s bones]. 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 the story, but no I never asked for the…where am I going to put some bones?… and why would I want some bones? […]”

“[I didn’t want to have a little white boy play me in a Pepsi commercial]. 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 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?”

On his skin disorder, Vitiligo:

“[…] Number one, this is the situation. I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of my skin, it’s something that I cannot help, OK? But when people make up stories that I don’t want to be what I am it hurts me. […] It’s a problem for me that I can’t control […].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. […] Oh, God no, [I don’t take anything to change the color of my skin], 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 Michaelangelo, if I had a 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.”

On the “King of Pop” proclamation:

“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. […] Yes…and the fans…all the stadiums that we played at, they’d bring banners saying ‘King of Pop’ and they chanted outside my hotel, ‘King of…so it became something that just happened all over the world. […]”

On having his own family one day:

“I would feel like my life is incomplete if I do not [think about having a family], because 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’m 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 […]”

On the purpose of creating Neverland Ranch and his relief efforts for children therein:

"[…] For myself and the children. Every three weeks we have terminally ill children that come to…[the house, from charitable organizations such as Make A Wish Foundation, Dream Street, Starlight etc]. […], and these are sick children, children with cancer. And I entertain them. And they come here to enjoy themselves. […] It brings out the child that lives in everybody. […] I love rides and things like that and I share it with the children."

"[…] I love to do things for children and I try to imitate Jesus. And no, I am not saying I am Jesus, I'm not saying that. […] 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. And they are enjoying themselves and it makes me cry happy tears that I was able to do this for them, you know. (It) makes me so pleased inside."

"[…] We have children that come who are fed intravenously...they are very sick, bedridden. 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 so that 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."

On whether or not a normal childhood life would have altered the degree of his rendering help to children and relating to them:

"I probably would (still relate to them), but not as much. That's why I wouldn't change a thing. Because I am happy with the way things are and my caring for young people and everything."

On what made him happier - as opposed to earlier years:

"Being able to give back, you know, and to help other people. "Heal the World Foundation", which I've formed, which helps children in healing in the world. We're doing Heal L.A. […] we have three primary goals in mind: immunization of children; mentoring, a Big Sisters, Big Brothers program, and education on drug abuse. And (former President,) Jimmy Carter has teamed up with us to do "Heal Atlanta", and we're going to go from state to state healing. We've gone to Sarajevo, we've gone lots of places."

On his true reward for his entertainment work:

“[…] When I did Motown 25 and I did the moonwalk for the first time, I was backstage crying afterwards. […] Because I was unhappy. […] But then as I was walking to the car there was this little boy, he was like 12, a little Jewish kid, and he said “Oooo, you were amazing, who taught you to ever dance like that?” And for the first time I felt like I did a good job. Because I know children don’t lie and I just felt so good about it then. […]”

On God:

“I believe in God, absolutely, absolutely, very much. […]

On his life’s purpose:

"I think…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. And 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 adults and teenagers."

On animals:

“The animals are everywhere [here in Neverland].They’re in their habitats. They’re all over the ranch. And they come out in the day time and they play and jump around, they have their own playground and area. 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.”

On a rumor pertaining to then President Bill Clinton’s inauguration:

“That is horrible, [I didn’t tell President Clinton that I had to be the only person singing at his inauguration]. That is the stupidest, craziest story that I have ever heard. I mean, why would I just want me and nobody else to 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’s so false, it’s incredible.”

On loving and being loved by people:

“[…] 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.”

On the things he knows for sure:

“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.”