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Elton John says Michael Jackson ‘couldn’t cope with adult company’ in new book

Legendary singer is releasing his first memoir, which is filled with anecdotes and encounters with fellow stars from his storied career

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Saturday 12 October 2019 14:29 BST
Elton John and Rocketman star Taron Egerton perform 'Your Song' together

Elton John has recalled an incident where he found Michael Jackson playing video games with the 11-year-old son of his housekeeper, after inviting him to a dinner party with his future husband David Furnish.

John wrote about the event in his first memoir, Me, which is released on 15 October.

In the book, John explains that one of his guests was Jackson’s psychiatrist, and Jackson happened to be in England at the time.

Jackson, whom John first met when the late “King of Pop” was 14 years old, ended up attending the party as well, which John had arranged so Furnish could meet his mother.

“I’d known Michael since he was 13 or 14,” John writes, explaining that they met after one of his shows in Philadelphia. “Elizabeth Taylor had turned up on the Starship with him in tow. He was just the most adorable kid you could imagine. But at some point in the intervening years, he started sequestering himself away from the world, and away from reality the way Elvis Presley did.”

John continues: “God knows what was going on in his head, and God knows what prescription drugs he was being pumped full of, but every time I saw him in his later years I came away thinking the poor guy had totally lost his marbles. I don’t mean that in the light-hearted way. He was genuinely mentally ill, a disturbing person to be around. It was incredibly sad, but he was someone you couldn’t help: he was just gone, off in a world of his own, surrounded by people who only told him what he wanted to hear.”

Jackson “looked awful”, John says, and wouldn’t eat anything served at the party, or anything served by his own chef.

“After a while, he got up from the table without a word and disappeared. We finally found him, two hours later, in a cottage in the grounds of Woodside where my housekeeper lived: she was sitting there, watching Michael Jackson quietly playing video games with her 11-year-old son. For whatever reason, he couldn’t seem to cope with adult company at all.”

Me, the official Elton John biography, is released on 15 October by Macmillan.

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