Michael Jackson was a complex human being who gave millions to charity and brightened lives with his talent, but also struggled with personal pain, says a book written by two of his bodyguards, who were with the singer in the last years of his life.
Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, record their experiences as the only gatekeepers between his family and the world outside, spending time daily with the ‘King of Pop’ for close to three years until he died of an anesthesia overdose in 2009.
By writing Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson In His Final Days, the duo say they want the world to see a glimpse of the good man they had the privilege of serving.
Whitfield, who was previously head of security for rapper Sean Combs, writes “Mr Jackson trusted no one.”
“The man was paranoid. Didn’t sleep much. He was always going around the house at three, four in the morning, checking the locks on all the doors,” says Whitfield.
The bodyguard writes that even Jackson’s father and siblings had to make appointments to meet him and nobody could get into the singer’s house unannounced with the exception of Katherine Jackson, his mother.
“Except for letters from fans and occasional visits from his mother he was just alone with his kids inside this little bubble,” says Beard in the book published by Harper Collins and co-written by Tanner Colby.
Jackson made his children – Prince, Paris and Blanket – the sole focus of his day-to-day life and concentrated on shielding them from the media’s harsh glare.
He used a variety of disguises like wearing a motorcycle helmet and leather and even wearing bandages on his face. He home schooled his children and kept his children’s faces covered with masks and veils when in public.
Michael Jacksons last days Shocking truth article:
“The tabloids said it was weird and crazy but they didn’t understand the reason. If no one knew what his children looked like they could occasionally go out in public places without him and have a somewhat normal experience,” says Whitfield.
Michael Jackson was devastated by allegations of child molestation and sexual abuse, says Beard.
After the singer was acquitted in 2005 he left Neverland, his self-made sanctuary in California, but the huge publicity the trial generated left him a broken man.
“I’m a father myself and I wouldn’t have worked for him if I’d had any doubt. He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Javon adds.
“The Boss”, as Whitefield and Beard called Jackson, had a phenomenal fan following, which made it difficult for him to do ordinary things like go out shopping.
He had to go after store hours and usually dropped huge amounts of money on toys and books and would sometimes buy everything in the shops.
Michael Jackson was very fond of reading and “at one point he actually bought a bookstore entire, and paid cash for it”.
The singer also had “particular fixations,” says his minders.
“Once he wanted something he wanted it, period,” writes Beard who recounts searching for a life-size Spider- Man figurine for the singer. Another time Jackson wanted to buy life-size figurines of the entire Simpsons family displayed in a theatre lobby.
Whitfield and Beard have recounted instances in the book about Jackson reportedly travelling with a silver briefcase containing two Oscar statuettes won by Gone With The Wind that he had purchased for more than 1 million pounds.
Although there were plenty of people coming into Jackson’s life, his guards say “there was nobody really in his life.”
“There was almost no one in his life on a personal level coming to say, hey, let’s hang out. Never in the whole time I worked for the man did I hear anybody just call him up to say hey guess what movie I saw? There was nothing like that going on it was just business.”
For Jackson the main contact with the outside world was through his fans. He got tons of fan mail from all over the world and every few days it would arrive in big sacks.
“It came from all over the world from Canada, England, Egypt, Japan, Ireland, India and Spain. He would read all of it,” says his guards.
The book details the sensitive side of Jackson when he used to hand out food and cash to the homeless in Las Vegas through a crack in his car window.
“Nobody could tell him who he was there was no media out there no cameras,” writes Jackson’s bodyguard.
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