It's a rare window into the extremely guarded life of [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist]: 30 hours of recorded conversations in which the reclusive pop star spilled his thoughts on life, love and the turmoil of his childhood. The tapes, recorded by the late pop singer's onetime spiritual adviser Rabbi Shmuley Boteach between August 2000 and April 2001, are the basis for Boteach's just-released book, "The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation."
Boteach appeared on "Larry King Live" on Tuesday to talk about the book, in which he details the complex life of the King of Pop, who died of acute propofol intoxication in June, revealing Jackson's feelings about [artist id="1098"]Madonna[/artist], [artist id="501686"]Britney Spears[/artist], his struggle to find true love and the conflicted emotions he had about aging in public.
Though Madonna gave a loving tribute to Jackson at the VMAs, at the time Boteach spoke to Jackson, the singer did not have kind words for her, painting the fellow pop star as "not a nice person." While Madonna joked about convincing Jackson to join her for dinner during her VMA address, in Jackson's view, she was pushy and rude.
"Madonna laid the law down to me before we went out. [She said] I am not going to Disneyland, OK? That's out," Jackson said. "I said, 'I didn't ask to go to Disneyland.' She said, 'We are going to the restaurant. And afterwards, we are going to a strip bar.'
"I said, 'I am not going to a strip bar, where they cross dress. Guys who are girls,' I said. 'I am not going to there. If that's how it is, forget this whole thing,' " he continued. "Afterwards, she wrote some mean things about me in the press. And I wrote that she is a nasty witch, after I was so kind to her."
He also described a scene in which a child approached them during dinner and Madonna reportedly brushed the kid off, leading Jackson to say, "Don't you ever talk to children like this.
"She said, 'Shut up,' " he recalled. "I said, 'You shut up.' "
Boteach said he first met Jackson at the singer's 41st birthday party at Neverland Ranch in August 2000, at which point he described the singer as "lifeless ... indolent ... energy-less" following the 1993 child molestation allegations against him. That case was settled out of court for a reported $20 million, but Jackson was convinced the world hated him, and he asked Boteach to record their conversations to "break through the filter and screen of the media, which he felt had always mis-portrayed him."
The book was originally slated for release in 2003 but was derailed when Jackson was arrested on allegations of child molestation in November 2003. He was acquitted in that case.
Jackson appeared to open up to Boteach, the Orthodox rabbi best known for his "Kosher Sex" book. Jackson revealed that he desperately wanted success and fame because, "I wanted people to love ... truly love me because I never felt really loved." Jackson also discussed his complicated relationship with his father, Joseph Jackson, saying that while his dad was often cruel to him, he owed his career to the former steelworker's vision. He also shared one of the rare moments he had with him, when Joseph hoisted Michael onto a pony at a carnival when he was 5 — an incident that was enough to convince him that his father had love in his heart.
In the talks, Jackson expressed a desire to "disappear" so that his fans would never see him age, and said that if it weren't for his love of children and his desire to help them, he would "throw in the towel ... choose death."
Among the book's other revelations:
— Seeing Britney Spears on his hotel television, Jackson said, "I don't believe that she'll have any great longevity in the public eye because she doesn't understand the power of mystery."
— Actress Brooke Shields was one of the loves of his life. Jackson said they dated "a lot" and that he had pictures of her all over his walls. After meeting her at the Academy Awards and exchanging numbers, he went home and stayed up all night singing and "spinning around in my room" out of joy.
— MJ claimed his father, who has denied ever beating his son, would make him strip down, then Joseph would oil up his body and hit him with the cord from an iron on the face and back.
— As children, he and sister Janet would play a game where they would picture Joseph dead in a coffin and discuss how they did not feel sorry for his pretend death.
— Jackson believed he could have changed Adolf Hitler's heart if he had been able to speak to the German Nazi Party leader responsible for the Holocaust.