Oprah: Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson.
[Michael Jackson enters the living room of his home. They shake hands and Michael kisses Oprah on the cheek.]
Oprah: How nervous are you?
Michael: How what?
Oprah: How nervous are you right now?
Michael: I’m not nervous at all, actually.
Oprah: You really aren’t?
Michael: No, I never get nervous.
Oprah: Not even for your first interview and it’s live around the world? I thought you’d be a little nervous but you’re not and that’s great because if you’re not nervous I won’t be nervous. I just wanted to let the world know that when we agreed to do this interview you said you would be willing to talk to me about everything.
Michael: That’s true.
Oprah: Very true. I was watching you in the background there watching you in the video of the early years. Did that bring back memories for you?
Michael: It made me giggle because I haven’t seen that footage in a long time. Did it bring back memories? Yes, me and my brothers who I love dearly and it’s just a wonderful moment for me.
Oprah: I saw you laugh when you saw yourself singing ‘Baby, Baby, Baby’.
Michael: Yeah, I think James Brown is a genius you know when he’s with the ‘Famous Flames’, unbelievable. I used to watch him on television and I used to get angry at the camera-man because whenever he would really start to dance they would be on a close-up so I couldn’t see his feet. I’d shout “show him show him”, so I could watch and learn.
Oprah: So he was a big mentor for you?
Michael: Phenomenal, phenomenal.
Oprah: Who else was?
Michael: Jackie Wilson who I adore as an entertainer, and of course music, Motown. The Bee Gees who are brilliant, I just love great music.
Oprah: When I look at those tapes of you, and heaven knows, putting this together I think I’ve seen every piece of video ever done of you, and watching those tapes when, especially in the younger years, you seem to really come alive on stage. Were you as happy off stage as you appear to be on stage?
Michael: Well, on stage for me was home. I was most comfortable on stage but once I got off stage, I was like, very sad.
Oprah: And sad from the beginning, sad since it first started, sad?
Michael: 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.
Oprah: Beginning at what age?
Michael: Oh, very little, eight, nine.
Oprah: When you all first became famous?
Oprah: So it wasn’t what it appeared to be to the rest of the world, all of us… I remember I was a little black child, wanted to marry Jackie Jackson, your brother, so I mean to all of us we thought this was the most wonderful thing in the world, who wouldn’t have wanted that life?
Michael: It was wonderful, there is 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 of yourself a lot.
Oprah: Do you feel… I talked with Suzanne de Passe the other day, and Suzanne de Passe worked with you at Motown and really groomed you all and found the outfits for the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’. We talked about your childhood, whether or not it was really lost, was it?
Michael: 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 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.
Oprah: I want to go to this and show some pictures of you as a little boy.
Oprah: Suzanne said it was a heavy price. I want to know how big of a price it was, losing your childhood or having this kind of life?
Michael: Well, you don’t get to do things that other children get to do, you know, having friends and slumber parties and buddies. There was none of that for me. I didn’t have any friends when I was little. My brothers were my friends.
Oprah: Was there ever a place where — because you know children — because I remember talking to myself and playing with my dolls — was there… and I think every child needs a place to escape into a child’s world, a child’s imagination, was there ever a time you could do that?
Michael: No. And that is why I think now 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 interviews or picture sessions. There was always something to do.
Oprah: Did you feel, Smokey Robinson said this about you, and so have many other people, that you were like an old soul in a little body.
Michael: I remember hearing that all the time when I was little. They used to call me a 45-years-old midget wherever I went, I just used to hear that and wherever I went… just like when some people “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.
Oprah: So here you were, Michael Jackson, you all had hits, you all had so many hits, four hits in a row, and you were crying because you couldn’t be like other kids.
Michael: Well, I loved show business and I still love show business, but then there are times you 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 while I was hiding because I really did not want to go. I wanted to play. I did not want to go.
Oprah: Were your brothers jealous of you when you started getting all the attention?
Michael: Not that I know of, no.
Oprah: You never felt a sense of jealousy?
Michael: Oh, let me think — no. No, I think they were always happy for me that I could do certain things, but I’ve never felt jealousy among them.
Oprah: Do you think they are jealous of you now?
Michael: I wouldn’t think so. I don’t think so, no.
Oprah: No. What’s your relationship like with your family? Are you all close still?
Michael: 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 and…
Oprah: You weren’t all upset about LaToya and LaToya’s book and the things that LaToya has said about the family?
Michael: Well, I haven’t read LaToya’s book. I just know how to love my sister dearly, I love LaToya and I always will and I always see her as the happy, loving LaToya that I remember growing up with. So I couldn’t completely answer on that.
Oprah: Do you feel that some of the things that she’s been saying are true?
Michael: I couldn’t answer Oprah, honestly I haven’t read the book. That’s the honest truth.
Oprah: Well, let’s go back to when you were growing up and feeling all of this, well, I guess it’s a sense of anguish, I guess, so there was no one for you to play with other than your brothers, you never had slumber parties?
Oprah: So I’m wondering for you, being this cute little boy who everybody adored and everybody who comes up to you they’re pulling your cheeks and how cute, how adolescence going through that duck stage where everything’s awkward, and I’m wondering when you started to go through adolescence having been this child superstar, was that a particularly difficult time for you?
Michael: Very. Very, very difficult, yes. 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 they want to keep you little forever.
Oprah: Who’s they?
Michael: The public. And um, nature takes its course.
Oprah: It does?
Michael: Yes, 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 every day.
Oprah: Your father teased you about your pimples?
Michael: Yes and tell me I’m ugly.
Oprah: Your father would say that?
Michael: Yes he would. Sorry Joseph.
Oprah: What’s your relationship like with him?
Michael: I love my father but I don’t know him.
Oprah: Are you angry with him for doing that? I think that’s pretty cruel actually.
Michael: Am I angry with him?
Oprah: Because adolescence is hard enough without a parent telling you that you’re ugly.
Michael: Am I angry with him? Sometimes I do get angry. I don’t know him the way I’d like to know him. My mother’s wonderful. To me she’s perfection. I just wish I could understand my father.
Oprah: And so let’s talk about those teen years. Is that when you started to go inside yourself? Because obviously you haven’t spoken to the world for 14 years. So you went inside, you became a recluse. Was it to protect yourself?
Michael: I felt there wasn’t anything important for me to say and those were very sad, sad years for me.
Oprah: Why so sad? Because on stage you were performing, you were getting your Grammies. Why so sad?
Michael: Oh, there’s a lot of sadness about my past and adolescence, about my father and all of those things.
Oprah: So he would tease you, make fun of you.
Oprah: Would he… did he ever beat you?
Oprah: And why would he beat you?
Michael: He saw me, he wanted me… I guess I don’t know if I was his golden child or whatever it was, some may call it a strict disciplinarian or whatever, but he was very strict, very hard, very stern. Just a look would scare you, you know.
Oprah: And were you scared of him?
Michael: Very. Frightened. Like there’s been times when he’d come to see me, I’d get sick, I’d start to regurgitate.
Oprah: As a child or as an adult?
Michael: Both. He’s never heard me say this. I’m sorry, please don’t be mad at me.
Oprah: Well, I mean, I suppose everybody has to take responsibility for what they’ve done in life. And your father is one of those people who also have to take responsibility.
Michael: But I do love him.
Oprah: Yes, I understand this.
Michael: And I am forgiving.
Oprah: But can you really forgive? If you haven’t gotten angry, if you haven’t dealt with how you really feel. I don’t know if you can get from having been abused to forgiveness…
Michael: I do forgive. 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 want 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.
Oprah: Um, we talked about all of the rumors just before we went to the break and there are so many. First of all, I have been in this house getting prepared for this and I’ve been all over the house upstairs when you weren’t looking, looking for that oxygen chamber and I cannot find an oxygen chamber anywhere in the house.
Michael: That, that story is so crazy, I mean it’s one of those tabloid things, it’s completely made up.
Oprah: Okay, but you are in something there, there’s a picture of you, where did that come from? How did it get started?
Michael: That’s… I did a commercial for Pepsi and I was burned very badly and we settled for one million dollars and I gave all the money… like we built this place called the ‘Michael Jackson Burn Center’ and that’s a piece of technology used for burn victims, right, so I’m looking at the piece of technology and decide to just 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 and I’m here to say. You know, do not judge a person, do not pass judgment, unless you have talked to them one on one, I don’t care what the story is, do not judge them because it’s a lie.
Oprah: You’re right, that story, it was just like it had legs.
Michael: It’s crazy! Why would I want to sleep in a chamber? [Laughing]
Oprah: Well, the rumor was that you were sleeping in the chamber because you didn’t want to grow old.
Michael: That’s stupid. That’s stupid. It’s completely made up and 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.
Oprah: Did you buy the ‘Elephant Man’s’ bones, were you trying to get them for…
Michael: No 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 in the story, but no I never asked for the… where am I going to put some bones?
Oprah: I don’t know.
Michael: And why would I want some bones?
Oprah: I don’t know. So where did that come from?
Michael: Someone makes it up and everybody believes it. If you hear a lie often enough, you believe it.
Oprah: Yes and people make money selling tabloids.
Oprah: All right. Just recently, there was a story and I know one of your attorneys held a news conference, there was a story about you wanting a little white child to play you in a Pepsi commercial.
Michael: 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 to be 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?
Michael: So, please people, stop believing these horrifying stories.
Oprah: Okay, then let’s go to the thing that is most discussed about you, that is the color of your skin is most obviously different than when you were younger, and so I think it has caused a great deal of speculation and controversy as to what you have done or are doing, are you bleaching your skin and is your skin lighter because you don’t like being black?
Michael: Number one, as I know of, there is no such thing as skin bleaching, I have never seen it, I don’t know what it is.
Oprah: Well they used to have those products, I remember growing up always hearing always use bleach and glow, but you have to have about 300,000 gallons.
Michael: Okay, but number one, this is the situation. I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of the skin, it’s something that I cannot help. Okay. But when people make up stories that I don’t want to be who I am it hurts me.
Oprah: So it is…
Michael: It’s a problem for me that I can’t control, but what about all the millions of people who sit out in the sun, to become darker, to become other than what they are, no one says nothing about that.
Oprah: So when did this start, when did your… when did the color of your skin start to change?
Michael: Oh boy, I don’t… sometime after ‘Thriller’, around ‘Off the Wall’, ‘Thriller’, around sometime then.
Oprah: But what did you think?
Michael: 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.
Oprah: So okay, I just want to get this straight, you are not taking anything to change the color of your skin…
Michael: Oh, God no, 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 Michelangelo, if I had the 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.
Oprah: How much plastic surgery have you had?
Michael: Very, very little. I mean you can count on my two fingers, I mean let’s say this, if you want to know about those things, all the nosey people in the world, read my book ‘Moonwalk’, it’s in my book. You know, let’s put it this way, if all the people in Hollywood who have had plastic surgery, if they went on vacation, there wouldn’t be a person left in town.
Oprah: Mmm, I think you might be right.
Michael: I think I am right. It would be empty.
Oprah: Did you start having plastic surgery because of those teen years because of not liking the way you looked?
Michael: No, not really. It was only two things. Really, get my book, it’s no big deal.
Oprah: You don’t want to tell me what it is? You had your nose done, obviously.
Michael: Yeah, but so did a lot of people that I know.
Oprah: And so, when you hear all these things about you, and there have been more…
Michael: I’ve never had my cheekbones done, never had my eyes done, never had my lips done and all this stuff. They go too far, but this is stuff that happens every day with other people.
Oprah: Are you pleased now with the way you look?
Michael: I’m never pleased with anything, I’m a perfectionist, it’s part of who I am.
Oprah: And so when you look in the mirror now and so the image that looks back at you are there days when you say I kinda like this or I like the way my hair…
Michael: No, I’m never satisfied with me.
Oprah: … or I’m kinda cute today…
Michael: … [giggles] cute today… no, I’m never pleased with myself. No, I try not to look in the mirror.
Oprah: I have to ask you this, so many mothers in my audience have said to please ask you this question. Why do you always grab your crotch?
Michael: [Giggles] Why do I grab my crotch?
Oprah: You’ve got a thing with your crotch going on there.
Michael: I think it happens subliminally. When you’re dancing, you know you are just interpreting the music and the sounds and the accompaniment if there’s a driving base, if there’s a cello, if there’s a string, you become the emotion of what that sound is, so if I’m doing a movement and I go bam and I grab myself it’s… it’s the music that compels me to do it, it’s not saying that I’m dying to grab down there and it’s not in a great place you don’t think about it, it just happens, sometimes I’ll look back at the footage and I go… and I go “Did I do that?”, so I’m a slave to the rhythm, yeah, okay.
[After a commercial break, some of Michael’s major achievements are shown:]
• # 1 Album of All Time
• # 2 Album of All Time
• Biggest Concert in History
• More Music Awards Than Any Other Artist
• The 80's Most # 1 Hits
• Biggest Endorsements Deal Ever - 15,000,000 dollars
• Billion Dollar Entertainment Contract
• Entertainner of the Decade
Oprah: When you have broken all those records, when you have the number one album ever sold, when you’ve broken every record there is to break, when you become an icon of an industry, is there always the pressure to do something bigger and something better.
Michael: Oh gee, that is something, um, it makes it harder each time to follow up. You try to be as original as you can be without thinking about statistics, just you go from the soul and from the heart.
Oprah: And so when you think of that what do you do, you go, you meditate, you think, well I will now do the Superbowl.
Michael: Nooo, I just create out of my heart, really.
Oprah: Liz Taylor said you were king of pop, rock and soul. Where did this whole notion that you proclaimed yourself king of pop come from?
Michael: Well, 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.
Oprah: And that’s where this all started?
Michael: Yes, and the fans… all the stadiums that we played at they’d bring banners saying king of pop and jackets that say king of pop and T-shirts that say king of pop and they chanted outside my hotel, so it just became something that just happened all over the world.
Oprah: Do you go out, do you date?
Oprah: Who do you date?
Michael: Well, right now it’s Brooke Shields. Well, we try not to be everywhere, go everywhere, it’s mostly at home, she’ll come over, I’ll go to her house, because I don’t like going out in public.
Oprah: Have you ever been in love?
Oprah: With Brooke Shields?
Michael: Yes, and another girl.
Oprah: And another girl? Let me ask you this, and it’s embarrassing for me to ask you this, but I’m gonna ask you anyway, are you a virgin?
Michael: Uhhhhh, how could you ask that question?
Oprah: I just want to know.
Michael: I’m a gentleman.
Oprah: You’re a gentleman?
Michael: I’m a gentleman.
Oprah: I would interpret that to mean that you believe that a lady is a lady and therefore…
Michael: That’s something that’s private, I mean, it shouldn’t be spoken about openly. … You can call me old fashioned if you want, but, you know I mean that’s very personal.
Oprah: So, you’re not going to answer it?
Michael: I’m embarrassed.
Oprah: Well, we would like to know whether or not there is a possibility that you are going to marry one day and have children?
Michael: I would feel my life is incomplete if I do not ’cause 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 am 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 and…
Oprah: What kind of woman makes you — in the video we’re going to see later, we premiere the world video, there’s a line where you talk about being quenched, so what kind of person does that for you?
Michael: [Sings] Quench my desire… Well Brooke, I’ve always liked her and when I was little I used to stay with Diana Ross, me and my brother stayed with her for years and I never said, but I always had a crush on her.
Oprah: You did?
Oprah: I heard too, this was another one of those rumors, that you had proposed to Elizabeth Taylor at some point.
Michael: Elizabeth Taylor is gorgeous, beautiful, and she still is today, I’m crazy about her.
Oprah: Yeah, but did you propose to her?
Michael: I would like to have.
Oprah: Well, Elizabeth Taylor is here. Liz? Can we bring Liz out now? Liz had said she wanted to be here to hold your hand through this. You don’t look like you need your hand held. Elizabeth Taylor!
Michael: Hi, Elizabeth.
Oprah: Have a seat.
Elizabeth: Thank you.
Oprah: Did Michael ever propose to you?
Elizabeth: No! And I never proposed to him.
Oprah: Never did! What do you think is most misunderstood about Michael Jackson?
Elizabeth: All the things you mentioned. He is the least weird man I have ever known. He is highly intelligent, true, intuitive, understanding, sympathetic, generous almost to a fault, of himself.
Elizabeth: Uh, and he just, if, if he has any eccentricities, it’s that he is like larger than life and some people just cannot accept that or face it or understand it. His talent on stage, why I call him the king of pop, rock, soul, music, entertainment, whatever…
Elizabeth: … there’s nobody that can come near him. Nobody can dance like that, write the lyrics like that, the music, uh, cause the kind of excitement that he does.
Oprah: And why do you think you all are such good friends? What has brought about this kind of bond? Because people try to make this weird.
Elizabeth: Well, it’s not. I mean, our childhoods are very similar, and we have that from the very beginning in common. Um, I was a child star at nine, had an abusive father, um, and that kind of brought us close together in the very beginning.
Oprah: And what is it, I am going to ask Michael this question later on, but, what is it you most want the world to know about him?
Elizabeth: What a wonderful, giving, caring, generous man he is and how good he is.
Oprah: And he’s funny, too.
Elizabeth: Oh, he’s wildly funny.
Oprah: He can crack some jokes, I tell you.
Elizabeth: Yes, but he is a good man.
Oprah: When we come back… Thank you for joining us too…
Elizabeth: That’s fine.
Oprah: … cause I know you did not want to be on camera at first, but thank you. Coming up next, Michael is going to give us not only a tour of his incredible amusement park and movie theater, but also a very special dance performance. For all of you who say he is faking the ‘Moonwalk’ with mirrors, we’ve got some proof coming up in a minute.
[Cut to dance clips for intermission]
Announcer: Live from Santa Ynez, California. Michael Jackson talks to Oprah.
Oprah: Now this is what’s shocking to me, that you even drive. What we’re doing, everybody, is that we are coming from Michael’s house down to this amazing amusement park, which is, oh, about several hundred yards from the house. And this is, it’s incredible.
Michael: Thank you.
Oprah: And I want to know whether or not you did this for yourself or did you do it for all the children that you entertain here?
Michael: For myself and the children. Every three weeks we — terminally ill children that come to… uh…
Oprah: To the house?
Michael: Yes, yes.
Oprah: ‘Make a Wish–Foundation’, ‘Dream Street’, ‘Starlight’, yes?
Michael: Every three weeks… and these are sick children, children with cancer. And I entertain them.
Michael: And they come here to enjoy themselves.
Oprah: This is unbelievable. What I have to say is, these are, as I was talking to some kids that were here, these are not just grandma rides here. These are some major rides.
Oprah: I mean the ‘Sea Dragon’, the ‘Ferris Wheel’, and there’s that ‘Zipper’ over there.
Michael: The ‘Wipeout’.
Oprah: Yeah, the ‘Wipeout’, and there are ‘Bumper Cars’ here, it’s really…
Michael: Thank you. Well, it brings out the child that lives in everybody. I love rides and things like that and I share it with the children.
Oprah: Were you able to do that when you were a kid?
Michael: Not really. Sometimes, sometimes, but not often enough.
Oprah: But now you can anytime.
Michael: Every day. It’s right in my back yard.
Oprah: How often do you actually come out here and do this?
Michael: Whenever I’m here I come out and I go on the rides.
Oprah: Well, is this a part of you, what we were talking about earlier, the pain of growing up and not being able to experience all the things that kids normally experience and so now you are fulfilling all those fantasies.
Michael: To compensate, yes.
Michael: Yes, it is very true.
Oprah: Do you think you can ever really recapture it though? Does it feel the same? I mean, I don’t know.
Michael: [laughs] It’s more fun.
Michael: I wouldn’t change the past if I could. I’m enjoying myself.
Oprah: And here we are inside the theater. I had once too many sugar babies at the candy counter.
Oprah: But the candy is here for all the kids. Pinocchio is here, ET is here. Did you… what’s fascinating to me about you is that obviously you have this childlike aura about you and I see children with you and they play with you like you are one of them. But, a child did not do this.
Oprah: A child did not put this together. This is really magnificent.
Michael: Well, thank you. I… I love to do things for children and I try to imitate Jesus… and I am not saying I am Jesus, I’m not saying that.
Oprah: Yes, we’re clear on that.
Michael: Right, 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.
Michael: And they are enjoying themselves and it makes me cry happy tears that I was able to do this for them, you know.
Michael: Makes me so pleased inside.
Oprah: Well, when I came here to, um, about a month ago to shoot a commercial with you for promoting tonight’s event, one of the things that really impressed me the most, I hope you guys are getting shots of this. I don’t know how you are, if all the cameras are on us, but, oh, we got other cameras… is that there are, built inside the walls here… beds… beds for some of those sick children who come. And what I realized when I saw this is that you have to be a person who really cares about children to build it into your architecture.
Michael: Yes, yes. We have children that come who are… who intravenously… they are very sick, bedridden…
Oprah: They can’t sit up.
Michael: Right. 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 you know, anything so 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.
Oprah: Now let me ask you this. You know I believe everything happens in people’s lives for a reason. Do you think that had you not missed a lot of, uh, the life and fun and fantasy of childhood that you would be so in touch with children today. Would you relate to them as you do?
Michael: I probably would, but not as much. That’s why I wouldn’t change a thing…
Michael: Because I am happy with the way things are and my caring for young people and everything.
Oprah: Are you really happy now, because you seemed so sad for a long time.
Michael: [laughs] I was sad for years and years and years. But I’m happy, I’m getting there. Yes, I’m very happy.
Oprah: And what has made you happier.
Michael: Being able to give back, you know, and to help other people.
Michael: ‘Heal the World-Foundation’ which I’ve formed which helps children in healing in the world. We’re doing ‘Heal L.A.’, which is uh, we have three primary goals in mind: Immunization of children, mentoring — a big sister, big brother program, and education in drug abuse. And Jimmy Carter has teamed up with us to do ‘Heal Atlanta’ and we’re going to go from state to state healing — you know we’ve gone to Sarajevo, we’ve done lots of places.
Oprah: I know, I know, we have photographs of you from all over the world where you are with all these children. One of the things I was saying before we went to the last break, before the alarm went off in the house and all that…
Oprah: … is that, uh, we were talking about the rumors. One of the strangest ones I heard was that when you’re ‘Moonwalking’, you’re faking it, that you have some mirrors in your socks someplace.
Michael: Oh, boy!
Oprah: And it’s not really real.
Michael: No, that’s not true.
Oprah: How did you, first of all, you know we’ve spent so much time trying to dispel the rumors, trying to get the truth out that I haven’t had a really opportunity to talk to you about how you conceive your music, how you conceive the dance. Where did the ‘Moonwalk’ come from?
Michael: Well, the ‘Moonwalk’ came from these beautiful children, the black kids who live in the ghettos, you know, the inner cities, who are brilliant, that just have that natural talent for dancing any of these new — the running man — any of these dances. They come up with these dances, all I did was enhance the dance.
Oprah: O.K. I want to see you dance.
Michael: Oh, God, no, no…
Oprah: I want to see you dance. I want to see you dance, live.
Michael: No, no. I can show you a step or two, but, I’m a little rusty right now.
Oprah: A little rusty?!
[Michael goes on stage and dances to ‘Dangerous’.]
Michael: That’s the ‘Moonwalk’ — wait, you need to catch it from the — sideways.
Oprah: You gotta turn sideways?
Michael: Are you from the front?
Oprah: Yeah, we got ya!
Michael: Catch it from the sideways.
Oprah: O.K. Just show me slow motion. Could you show me slow motion?
Michael: O.K., wait, it’s like, it’s pushing and then there’s like a popping type of thing.
[Michael stops dancing and comes down from stage.]
Michael: I’m sorry.
Oprah: [applauding] Well, I saw it live, I saw it live, I saw it live. And so you took it from the kids who were doing it.
Michael: Yeah, because, um, I think they are the real dancers.
Oprah: Yeah! And when you are, for instance, when we were here before, when we were here before to shoot that commercial, you were…
Michael: You were supposed to do this with me! [laughing]
Oprah: I don’t know how to do this!
Oprah: You know I don’t know how to do this!
Oprah: You know what? I mean all the things that were printed in the tabloids, the only thing that’s ever been true was when they said I couldn’t dance. Now that’s the truth!
Oprah: When we were here the last time shooting the commercial, you were like in between shots running off and conceiving the dance, choreographing the dance, you were up all night dancing.
Michael: For the ‘Super Bowl’?
Oprah: Yes, yes.
Michael: Yes, well, I’m never satisfied. Even when I see something that I’ve done and people say oh it was so phenomenal — when I did ‘Motown 25’ and I did the ‘Moonwalk’ for the first time, I was backstage crying afterwards.
Michael: Because I was unhappy.
Oprah: You cried after ‘Motown 25’?!
Michael: After ‘Motown 25’, yes. But, then as I was walking to the car there was this little boy, he was like 12, was a little Jewish kid, and he said, “Oooooh, you were amazing. Who taught you to ever dance like that?” And for the first time, I felt I did a good job, because I know children don’t lie and I just felt so good about it then.
Oprah: You wanted to, you felt so good, you probably wanted to say [imitating Michael] “Hee-hee”!
Michael: [laughs] Hee-hee!
Oprah: I want you to sing something acapella for me, if you can.
Michael: Oh, no! What could I sing?
Oprah: ‘Who Is It’, you know do that whole little beat thing, since we’re here in the theater.
Michael: Um, oh, boy, what could I sing? ‘Who Is It’?
Oprah: Where did that Hee-hee thing come from? Hee-hee.
Michael: Hee-hee! [starts the beat and makes instrument sounds to ‘Who Is It’] [sings] I gave my money, I gave my time, I gave her everything in life one heart could find. It doesn’t seem to matter and it doesn’t seem right, but the will has brought no fortune, still I cry alone at night. Don’t you judge of my composure cause I’m bothered every day, and she didn’t leave a letter, she just up and ran away…
Oprah: Aooww! Fabulous!
Michael: I mean, you wanted me to do it! I get embarrassed. I’m sorry. I get embarrassed.
Oprah: I like it very much. Thank you very much for that. We’re going to come right back with more of Michael Jackson live — That was great! [hugs Michael]
[Cut to clips for intermission]
Oprah: One of the reasons we wanted to look at that piece when we went to break there was because music videos used to be you, used to just be people singing their song until you came along and changed music videos. Did you know when you first conceived your first one that’s what you were doing?
Michael: Yeah. The idea was to make something that was a story so it had a beginning, a middle and an ending.
Michael: So it felt like a mini movie, that’s what I wanted to do. And that is what we did with ‘Beat It’ and ‘Thriller’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’ and all those type of things.
Oprah: So when you start to look at a piece of work or look at a piece of music, are you already thinking about how you are going to…
Michael: Sometimes, yes, that is very true.
Oprah: Uh-huh. I wonder what it feels like, I will never know since I cannot sing one thing, but, what it feels like to be on stage with a sea of people, a sea of people. One of the things that has impressed me in putting the pieces together for you, is all around the world, the response to you is so incredible. I just wanted to, for the rest of you in the world who haven’t seen how people respond to Michael Jackson to take a look…
[Cut to concert clips and crowd scenes from around the world, with ‘Will You Be There’ playing as background music.]
Oprah: So, when you’re standing there and there’s a sea of people responding to you, screaming you name as they were, what does it feel like?
Michael: Love, you just feel lots of love and I feel blessed and honored to be able to be an instrument of nature that was chosen to give them that, what I give them. I’m very honored and happy about that.
Oprah: An ‘instrument of nature’ — that’s an interesting way to describe yourself.
Michael: Thank you, yes.
Oprah: Are you very spiritual?
Michael: In what sense?
Oprah: I mean, do you, do you meditate? Do you understand that there’s something bigger than yourself at work here?
Michael: I believe in God, absolutely… absolutely, very much.
Oprah: Uh-huh. And I believe that everybody comes to the world for a reason. I think, um, most of us spend our lives trying to figure out what the purpose of our being here is. What do you think your’s is?
Michael: My purpose?
Michael: Oh boy, I think, um, 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.
Michael: And, um, 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 um, adults and teenagers.
Oprah: Do you think that by talking now, setting the record straight for yourself, that maybe people will be able to focus more attention on your music and not judge you for anything other than the kind of music that you play?
Michael: I would hope so. I would love that.
Oprah: Well, I hope that comes out of this, too. I’m also excited that the world is watching, and because the world is watching, we thought this was a good time to let the world see the world premiere of ‘Give In To Me’.
[Cut to world premiere showing of ‘Give In To Me’ video.]
Oprah: So, we want to know how it starts on a piece of pape — ‘quench my desire’ — and turns into that.
Michael: Well, ‘Give In To Me’, I wanted to write another song, you know, that was kinda exciting and fun and had a rock edge to it. You know, like when I did ‘Beat It’ and ‘Black or White’. And Slash, who’s a dear friend of mine, we love animals and things like that, he wanted to play guitar and I wanted him to play guitar. We got together and we went to Germany and we shot this thing in just like two hours. We had no time at all to shoot it. We wanted it to be exciting and fantastical and fans, you know, like it’s a rock concert and that’s how it ends up — that’s the result.
Oprah: You mentioned animals. I know everyone’s going to ask me when I leave here, where are all the animals? I said it in the opening, I expected chimps to be jumping all over the living room and I didn’t see any. Where’s Bubbles?
Michael: [laughs] Well, the animals are everywhere. They’re in their habitats. They’re all over the ranch. And they come out in the daytime and they play and jump around, they have their own playground and area.
Oprah: Why, why were you so fascinated by animals, do you think?
Michael: Because 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.
Oprah: I do, too. We’ll be right back with Michael Jackson, live.
Announcer: Michael Jackson talks to Oprah. Ninety prime-time minutes with the ‘King of Pop’.
Oprah: We’re live at Michael Jackson’s house, in his theater and we asked NBC for ninety minutes. I don’t think it was enough time.
Oprah: I think we’ve cleared up all the rumors though. There are no chimps running around the house…
Oprah: No oxygen tank in the house. I don’t know, are you going to lay off the crotch a little bit?
Michael: [laughs] Ask the music.
Oprah: Ask the music will you lay off the crotch. Oh, we didn’t get about the inauguration. Did you tell President Clinton that you had to be the only person there singing?
Michael: That is horrible. That is the stupidest, craziest story that I have ever heard. I mean, why would I just want me and nobody else could 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 is so false, it’s incredible.
Oprah: What do you want, want most… what do you want the world to know about you most? I asked Liz that of you, what do you want them to know?
Michael: Like to be remembered for?
Oprah: Not to be remembered for… what about for now? Forget remembered.
Michael: Oh, known for now. As to be an artist, a great artist. I… 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.
Oprah: Hmm. You know, Gene Siskel who’s a movie critic asked me this question once. And I love the question, so I am going to ask you.
Oprah: You’re 34 years old. What do you know for sure?
Michael: Hmm. What do I know for sure?
Oprah: What do you know for sure?
Michael: 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.
Oprah: I can’t thank you enough for letting us in and I wish you all the happiness in the world. I loved being here because it makes me feel like a child again and one of the things I promised myself was that when this interview was over — live around the world — I was going to go get on that ‘Ferris Wheel’!
Oprah: And that is exactly what I intend to do. I’m gonna take off my blue shoes and I’m gonna ride that ‘Ferris Wheel’!
Michael: [continues laughing]
Oprah: I’m gonna have a good time and have myself a little popcorn, maybe, and maybe when it’s all over, you’ll teach me how to do the ‘Moonwalk’ — when everybody’s not looking!
Michael: O.K.! O.K.! That sounds good.
Oprah: Yeah! This was fun!
Michael: Yeah! Lots of fun!
[They leave the theater together to go to the amusement park.]