A star is born
Michael Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana. He was the 7th of nine children. Michael Jackson and four of his brothers (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon), at the encouragement of their father, performed in a talent show when Michael was six years old. They won 1st prize. Motown Records signed the brothers in 1968 and the Jackson Five was born.
The Jackson Five and a Solo Career
Together the Jackson Five recorded 14 albums. In 1972, Michael recorded his first solo album. 10 years later, Michael recorded Thriller. Thriller went off the charts. It spent 80 weeks in the American Top 10. It was during this time that Michael Jackson performed his jaw dropping Moonwalk on live TV at the Motown 25 Today, Yesterday, and Forever show (the crowd was astonished and audibly gasped at the incredible maneuver). It was at this time that the name “Wacko Jacko” was coined after rumors flowed that he slept in an oxygen tank and attempted to buy the remains of the Elephant Man.
A body begins to change
Michael continued releasing Top 10 records year after year, breaking sales records with each new release. During this time, his appearance and behavior began to change and strange events began to plague him. In 1984, his hair caught on fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. Fans and press alike noticed that his facial structure had begun to change and his skin color had lightened significantly. Fans felt Michael was resorting to plastic surgery and skin bleaching in an attempt to achieve a more “white” appearance. Michael publicly denied the charges.
Sexual Abuse Accusations and Bizarre Behavior
In 1993, Michael Jackson was accused of sexually abusing a 13 year old boy. His Neverland California ranch was raided and many of his personal possessions confiscated. During this same year, Michael confessed to being addicted to painkillers and cancelled his tour for his Dangerous album. He publicly announced on the Oprah Winfrey Show that his lightened skin was due to a disease called vitiligo. His child molestation accusation was pushed aside when he reportedly settled with the family for a substantial amount of money – charges were never filed.
The following year, the world was shocked again when Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley. Many thought the marriage was a ploy to dismiss rumors that Michael was gay and a pedophile. They divorced two years later in 1996.
Immediately after the divorce, Michael married Debbie Rowe. They divorced three years later in 1999. Strangely, the couple never lived together.
In 2003, a television documentary, Living with Michael Jackson, disclosed that Michael still had sleepovers with young boys. Following the show, Michael publicly aired his own rebuttal. Two years later, Michael was charged with molestation of a young boy – an incident that supposedly occurred in 2003. Americans were horrified when he exited the courthouse, smiling and laughing, and jumped atop a parked Limo and flashed the “V” sign to the crowd.
Following the accusations, Michael lived on and off in France, Bahrain, and Ireland, avoiding living in the United States.