In 1983, while Michael Jackson was making the epic music video for "Thriller," two editors at Doubleday approached the King of Pop about writing his memoirs. Five years later, while he was in the midst of his Bad world tour, the autobiography, called "Moonwalk," finally hit bookshelves.
It almost never did. Shortly before it was to go to press, Jackson hesitated, fearful that in his quest to clear up all the rumors about his life, he had revealed too much. In the end, though, he allowed publication to proceed, and the book became a best-seller. A reissued "Moonwalk" comes out on Tuesday, and MTV News has obtained excerpts from the book, in which Jackson offers his frank thoughts on plastic surgery, drugs, depression, being abused as a child and more.
On his relationship with his father:
"He'd sit at home with us every day after school and rehearse us. We'd perform for him and he'd critique us. If you messed up, you got hit, sometimes with a belt, sometimes with a switch. My father was real strict with us — real strict. ... Dad would make me so mad and hurt that I'd try to get back at him and get beaten all the more. I'd take a shoe and throw it at him, or I'd just fight back, swinging my fists. That's why I got it more than all my brothers combined. I would fight back and my father would kill me, just tear me up."
On coping with fame, loneliness and depression:
"Many girls want to know what makes me tick — why I live the way I live or do the things I do — trying to get inside my head. They want to rescue me from loneliness, but they do it in such a way that they give me the impression they want to share my loneliness, which I wouldn't wish on anybody, because I believe I'm one of the loneliest people in the world. ... Success definitely brings on loneliness. It's true. People think you're lucky, that you have everything. They think you can go anywhere and do anything, but that's not the point. One hungers for the basic stuff. I've learned to cope better with these things now and I don't get nearly as depressed as I used to."
On plastic surgery:
"I'd like to set the record straight right now. I have never had my cheeks altered or my eyes altered. I have not had my lips thinned, nor have I had dermabrasion or a skin peel. All of these charges are ridiculous. If they were true, I would say so, but they aren't. I have had my nose altered twice and I recently added a cleft to my chin, but that is it. Period. I don't care what anyone else says — it's my face and I know it. ... They say I've had my eyes widened, that I want to look more white. More white? What kind of statement is that? I didn't invent plastic surgery. It's been around for a long time. A lot of very fine, very nice people have had plastic surgery."
On not taking drugs:
"I myself have never tried drugs — no marijuana, no cocaine, nothing. I mean, I haven't even tried these things. Forget it. This isn't to say we were never tempted. We were musicians doing business during an era when drug use was common. I don't mean to be judgmental — it's not even a moral issue for me — but I've seen drugs destroy too many lives to think they're anything to fool with."
On marrying and having children:
"I believe in relationships. One day I know I'll find the right woman and get married myself. I often look forward to having children; in fact, it would be nice to have a big family, since I come from such a large one myself. In my fantasy about having a large family, I imagine myself with 13 children."
On spending time with children:
"That's what I love about being with kids. They notice everything. They aren't jaded. They get excited by things we've forgotten to get excited about anymore. They are so natural too, so un-self-conscious. I love being around them. There always seems to be a bunch of kids over at the house and they're always welcome. They energize me — just being around them. They look at everything with such fresh eyes, such open minds. That's part of what makes kids so creative. They don't worry about the rules."
On the fate of other superstars:
"[P]eople thought that if I kept living in seclusion the way I was, I might die the way [Elvis Presley] did. The parallels aren't there as far as I'm concerned and I was never much for scare tactics. Still, the way Elvis destroyed himself interests me, because I don't ever want to walk those grounds myself. ... Often in the past performers have been tragic figures. A lot of the truly great people have suffered or died because of pressure and drugs, especially liquor. It's so sad. You feel cheated as a fan that you didn't get to watch them evolve as they grew older. One can't help wondering what performances Marilyn Monroe would have put in or what Jimi Hendrix might have done in the 1980s."