Michael Jackson enjoyed spending time with his children, cruising the Vegas strip and even ordering fast food through a drive through, according to three of his former bodyguards.
But the men also said Jackson's lifestylewas isolated and lonely and described it as full of "stress, paranoia and pain."
In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America," Mike Garcia, Bill Whitfield and Javon "BJ" Beard spoke out about Jackson's secretive life, describing some moments as just plain "sad."
For instance, when Jackson held a birthday party for one of his children, only Jackson, the teacher, the nanny and the three bodyguards would attend, the men said. No other children were there.
"None," the three men said.
"He's got his little doctor's mask on and he says, 'BJ, hi, I've heard so much about you. Go ahead and have a seat,'" Beard said.
The three men signed up for personal protection, but the job became much more, they said. Jackson trusted them with his life, his children and his secrets.
"We were with Michael Jackson the person, not the entertainer," Garcia said.
In fact, the bandages Jackson wore frequently in public were not concealing secret surgeries, Whitfield said. Instead, the singer was using them as a disguise.
"That disguise to him was the burn victim look," Whitfield said.
Although the men wondered what was going on, they never asked Jackson about the mask.
"He's coming down with the kids and we can't say, 'What the hell you got on, sir?'" Beard said. "How could you tell him that?"
Prior to his death, Jackson was staging a comeback tour in London. When the family was not on the road, Jackson called a rented Las Vegas mansion his home. But his bodyguards said the singer did not enjoy being there.
"For you and I, it's a great house…but for security for MJ and his kids…[it's a] horrible house," Whitfield said.
The men said Jackson was always paranoid about security.
Michael Jackson and His Three Children
The men described Jackson as an "awesome" dad who loved to spend time with his children and took them to fast food drive-throughs for Big Macs and fried chicken. Often, Jackson would insist on ordering himself, the guards said.
"The kids were constantly saying, 'I love you, Daddy…They were like four buddies," Garcia said.
Despite having a privileged upbringing, Whitfield said the children were very "polite" and "well mannered."
A note from Paris to Whitfield asking for tuna fish for the cat is filled with please and thank you.
In fact, the bodyguards said the children were the easiest part of their job, and remember, wistfully, moments when they misbehaved and tried to sneak extra Oreos.
"I mean, sometimes they would say little things like, 'Bill, Daddy wants you to go get some cookies for us,'" Whitfield said, remembering moments when Jackson's kids tried to trick him into getting them cookies.
The bodyguards said Jackson tried to shield his children from the media frenzy and "Wacko Jacko" headlines.
"Sometimes he would see [the tabloids] and he would take them and turn them around, so the kids wouldn't see them," Whitfield said.
Jackson and Child Molestation Charges
In 2005, Jackson was brought up on child molestation charges but later acquitted. When asked if they believed Jackson was a pedophile, all three men emphatically said "no."
"Being a man…men know men…and we [were] around him long enough to know…he was a man," Whitfield said.
Garcia said Jackson had "desires of women like we do. He had lovers."
The men said the pop star had at least two girlfriends and sometimes felt as though they were chaperoning two teenagers on a date.
"In the cars that we had, we had a curtain that covered the back seat…you couldn't see in the back seat. They talked back there…they didn't do nothing out of bounds…you can hear the kissing," Whitfield said.
ABC News' Sarah Netter contributed to this report.