2005 - February 7: "At Large With Geraldo Rivera" T.V. Interview PDF Print E-mail

 

On his children and fatherhood:

“[…] I enjoy taking care of my children myself, it’s... it’s fun, that’s why I had them, so I could take care of them and it’s just great relief for me, you know, it’s a pleasure, it keeps me happy and laughing and, you know, they’re wonderful sweet innocent children. […] [My children] mean… it’s hard to put it into words because they mean everything. The way you would explain how your children make you feel... They’re the world for me, I wake up and I’m ready for the day because of them. I get them breakfast, I change diapers, if they want to read, we do a lot of reading, we play hide and seek, we play blind fold and have a wonderful time with it. […] I want to be the best father in the world, of course.”

On his family:

“Family is everything. It’s love. It’s what we were taught. We’re friends at the end of the day, which is important. Other than what the public or press people say, we’re friends. We love each other very much.”

On coping with media sensationalism and then recent allegations resulting in trial:

“It is like looking at a fictitious movie. Because it’s fiction. It’s like watching science fiction. It’s not true. And I know myself and it’s sad when people have to read those things and they believe it. […] I know eventually, the truth will prevail and I’m about truth. […] Does it affect me [being so frivolously sued]? Yes, but I’ve become immune in a way too, I have rhinoceros skin but at the same time I’m human. So, anything can hurt like that, but I’m very strong. And, I just don’t like people hearing about such false information. […] The bigger the star, the bigger the target. I’m not trying to say I’m the super-duper star, I’m not saying that. I’m saying the fact that people come at celebrities, we’re targets. But truth always prevails. I believe in that. I believe in God, you know?”

On his best friends:

“[…] My children, my family, my brothers and my sisters and yeah, most people have [are my best friends].”

On creating his own normal life at Neverland:

“I don’t [have fun outside of my property]. I go off property sometimes, but not all the time. I create my world behind the gates, you know, because I can’t go to the local movie theater down the street or the local park down the street or go pick up ice cream at the market, at the corner store. So, you want to create that world behind the gates and that’s what I try and do. And it’s not just for me, if I could share with my family, friends, or whoever I do.”

On his motivation for his relief efforts:

"Caring. And reading the Bible, learning about God, Jesus, love. He said, 'Bring on the children', 'Imitate the children', 'Be like the children' and 'Take care of others.' Take care of old people. And we were raised with those values. Those are very important values and my family and I we were raised with those values and they continue strong in us today."

On the tsunami relief record planned at the time:

"I saw [the news] the day after Christmas and, as the numbers kept escalating, it just became phenomenal and not even I could believe that it was true. I was amazed. I said, I thought I should do something. That’s what God gave us talent for. To give and to help people and to give back. So, my brothers and I decided to put a song together. […]”

On dwelling on past success:

“I try not to think about it too hard, because I don’t want my subconscious mind to think I’ve done it all, you’re done now. That’s why I don’t put awards or trophies in my house. You won’t find a gold record anywhere in my house. Because it makes you feel you’ve accomplished. ‘Look what I’ve done’. But I always want to feel, ‘No, I haven’t done it yet’.

On the source of his compassionate nature:

“It’s important to love your neighbors…[…] I truly think it comes from my mother and God. The way we were raised. The values my mother instilled in us in youth. She was always with the Bible teaching us - we’d go to service all the time. Four times a week, and I’m so glad we did that, because those values are very important. I don’t know if I could have done as well without them. It’s wonderful. At this stage, you tend to appreciate more who your parents are more and what they’ve done for you. You start to retrack where you are in your life and all the wonderful things they’ve instilled in you. You start to see them come forth. I’m starting to see a lot of things. Traits that my father influenced me on and my mother.”

On how he views himself:

"I try to be kind and generous and to give to people and to do what I think God wants me to do. Sometimes I pray and say ‘Where do you want me to go next, God? What do you want me to do from here?’ I’ve always been very spiritual in that way. It’s nothing new."

On the reasons for which he created Neverland:

“I created Neverland as a home for myself and my children and it was created simply, it was almost like it was done subconsciously […] For me and sharing with others. It gave me a chance to do what I couldn’t do when I was little. We couldn’t go to movie theaters. We couldn’t go to Disneyland. We couldn’t do all those fun things. We were on tour. We were working hard. And we did enjoy it. But this allowed me to have a place behind the gates where the entire world I love is there. […] It’s calling God silly if you [believe having animals is silly] because God made all things great and small. Other men have their Ferraris and their airplanes or helicopters or wherever they find their bliss. My bliss is in giving and sharing and having simple innocent fun."

On wearing jewelry:

“I’m modest in that way. If I had it on, I would probably give it away to the first kid to say, ‘Wow, I like your necklace.’ When I was growing up, stars like Sammy Davis, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly… if I admired something they were wearing, If I simply said, ‘I love that shirt you’re wearing,’ they would give it to me. It’s a show business trait. Hand it over.”

On his reasons for inviting inner-city children over at Neverland:

"I’ve traveled the world over 8 times. I do as many hospitals and orphanages as I do concerts. But, of course, it’s not covered (by the press). That’s not why I do it, for coverage. I do it because it’s from my heart. And there are so many children in the city who haven’t seen the mountains, who haven’t been on a carousel, who haven’t pet a horse or a llama, never seen them, so if I can open my gates and see that bliss, an explosion of screaming laughter from the children and they run on the rides, I say ‘Thank you, God.’ I feel I’ve won God’s smile of approval, because I’m doing something that brings joy and happiness to other people."

On his perception of mankind:

“It’s a commonality in mankind that I don’t like. That part of it, but then there’s a beautiful side to mankind too, isn’t there?”

On his best friends:

“What about friendship? […] My children, my family, my brothers and my sisters and, yeah, most people have (been my friends). Most people have. […] The faithful, you wouldn’t know them, so…”

On whether he expected where his world would be as a 46 year old man:

“I never thought about it. I knew I wanted to do something wonderful all my life and to help people and I never clearly really thought about it when I was really little. I just sang and danced and didn’t understand why people were applauding and clapping and screaming. You really don’t. You don’t know why… […] It takes longer [to understand] when you get older. You get a more rounded personality and your brain starts to grow. You start reasoning and understanding more things, researching. […] I’m like this (normal, reasonable) all the time. I’m just being myself.”

On his act of largesse:

“It’s just the idea. I don’t know if it’s the psychology of it or what. I just love working hard on something. Putting it together. Sweating over it and then sharing it with people and then having them love it and I always pray that they like it. That’s what gives me great satisfaction as an artist.”


His written statement relating the allegations of child abuse:

“IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS, A LARGE AMOUNT OF UGLY, MALICIOUS INFORMATION HAS BEEN RELEASED INTO THE MEDIA ABOUT ME. APPARENTLY, THIS INFORMATION WAS LEAKED THROUGH TRANSCRIPTS IN A GRAND JURY PROCEEDING WHERE NEITHER MY LAWYERS NOR I EVER APPEARED. THE INFORMATION IS DISGUSTING AND FALSE.

YEARS AGO, I ALLOWED A FAMILY TO VISIT AND SPEND TIME AT NEVERLAND. NEVERLAND IS MY HOME. I ALLOWED THIS FAMILY INTO MY HOME BECAUSE THEY TOLD ME THEIR SON WAS ILL WITH CANCER AND NEEDED MY HELP.

THROUGH THE YEARS, I HAVE HELPED THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN WHO WERE ILL OR IN DISTRESS.

THESE EVENTS HAVE CAUSED A NIGHTMARE FOR MY FAMILY, MY CHILDREN AND ME. I NEVER INTEND TO PLACE MYSELF IN SO VULNERABLE A POSITION AGAIN.

I LOVE MY COMMUNITY AND I HAVE GREAT FAITH IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM. PLEASE KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND LET ME HAVE MY DAY IN COURT. I DESERVE A FAIR TRIAL LIKE EVERY OTHER AMERICAN CITIZEN. I WILL BE ACQUITTED AND VINDICATED WHEN THE TRUTH IS TOLD.”

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On if there was anything else he would like to say:

“I would just like for the public to keep my family and myself in their prayers. That would be very nice. Thank you, Geraldo.”