As investigations into the death of Michael Jackson continue to take center stage, viewers will have a rare chance to hear the King of Pop in his own words this Friday, Sept. 25 in a “Dateline” exclusive, reported by Meredith Vieira. From 1999 to 2001, Jackson was a friend of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and he often confided in him. And now, recordings of those conversations — made with Jackson’s permission — will be made public for the first time.
In the tapes, Jackson comes out from behind his mask to reveal a man who in spite of all his fame, success and musical talent, was desperately lonely. He dishes about celebrities like Madonna and Brooke Shields, but also talks openly about his love of children, the torment of his childhood and his deepest fears. For the one hour special, Vieira interviews Rabbi Boteach, who calls himself “America’s Rabbi,” about their conversations, detailed in his new book, The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation. Rabbi Boteach will also appear live on “Today,” Friday, Sept. 25 and Tuesday, Sept. 29.
Below are excerpts from the tapes, mandatory credit and tune-in information to “Dateline NBC:”
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF DISAPPEARING:
Jackson: Yeah, I would like to some kind of way to disappear where people don’t see me anymore at some–at some point, and just do my things for children but not be visual. To disappear is very important.
IF IT WEREN’T FOR CHILDREN:
Jackson: If it weren’t for children, I would choose death. I mean it with all my heart.
ON WHAT HE’S BEEN THROUGH:
Jackson: Anybody else would probably be dead by now, or a junkie, with what I’ve been through, Shmuley.
ON MANNEQUINS IN PLACE OF HUMAN COMPANY:
Jackson: I needed someone. That’s probably why I had, uh, the mannequins, I would say. Because I felt I needed people, someone, and I didn’t have, I was too shy to be around real people.
ON HEALING POWER:
Rabbi Shmuley: You feel that God gave you a certain healing power?
Jackson: Yes and I’ve seen children just shower all over me with love. They want to just touch me and hug me and completely just hold on and cry and not let go and mothers pick their babies and put them into my arms. “Touch my baby, and hold them, touch my baby, touch my baby.”
ON GETTING OLD:
Jackson: when the body breaks down, and you start to wrinkle, I think it’s so bad
Rabbi Shmuley: so you would die before that happens?
Jackson: I don’t want to grow old.