22 Jun 2011
La Toya Jackson Reveals What Michael Jackson's Kids Saw, Heard in His Final Days
By SHEILA MARIKAR
June 22, 2011
Much of Michael Jackson's death still haunts La Toya Jackson.
The pop icon's younger sister details her theory about what really killed her brother in her new memoir, "Starting Over," released Tuesday, days shy of the second anniversary of his death. She suspects a conspiracy behind his demise, a plot by his business advisers and doctors to work him to death with the "This Is It" concerts and then profit off his estate. (She calls Dr. Conrad Murray, who's facing trial for manslaughter in Jackson's death, the "fall guy.")
She also offers insights into their relationship and how he cared for his three children, Paris, Prince and Blanket.
The book is Jackson's latest foray back into the entertainment industry (she went into seclusion in the late 1990s after her hellish marriage and divorce from her manager). Earlier this year, she took part in NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice." She's set to release her final full-length album before the end of 2011.
But much of her attention has remained on her brother. Below, 10 revelations from "Starting Over":
On Michael Jackson's prediction of his death: "'La Toya, I'm going to be murdered for my music publishing catalog and my estate,' he had told me again and again. Michael believed there was a conspiracy."
On her theory of what happened the night he died: "I believe that when Michael walked in that house that night, whatever it was that greeted him, he knew that his end was upon him. And as soon as he had passed, some of the very people he had expressed suspicions about now controlled his estate."
On her suspicions about Dr. Tohme Tohme, Jackson's final business adviser, and his colleagues: "As soon as he began acting as Michael's business adviser, he fired key people who had been close to Michael for years. ... Once Tohme shut out the rest of the world, he would be able to steer Michael toward business ventures that were profitable for Tohme and his friends."
On Paris' description of her father's final days: "'Daddy was always cold,' she said. 'Daddy was always freezing. He would sit and fall asleep by the fireplace. He would always cry. And we would watch to make sure everything was fine. … And he needed a doctor. And then, they turned the lights out. We were in the dark ... and they cut the phones off.'"
On Paris' description of her father's last words to her: "Prince and I were arguing, and Daddy said, 'Stop fighting with your brother. I'm not always going to be here, and you're going to have to be the lady and watch over them.'"
On Paris' final gift to her father: "She had made a special request of me during our fitting for the clothes we would wear to the memorial: 'Auntie La Toya, I would like to give Daddy a half of a heart necklace. I'll have one half, and he'll have one half.' ... 'Daddy, this is for you,' she said. 'I have this part of the heart. And I want you to have this other part and carry it with you.' It was such a beautiful, sentimental moment."
On his strict parenting: "Michael was strict about what his kids were exposed to, allowing them to take in only educational programming. He also made sure that they never saw any of the news accounts about him. … Michael was also particularly careful about the music he allowed around his children. At that time, Paris was allowed to listen to only one song, 'Butterflies,' which singer Kolohe Kai had written for his own daugther."
On his religiosity from a young age: "He was deeply devoted to his study of God and the Bible. While my brother Randy and the other kids played basketball during the breaks at the private school we attended, Michael and I would sit on the lawn together and read our Bibles."
On how he was against all drugs before becoming addicted to painkillers: "Michael didn't believe in putting any chemicals in his body, and he was devoted to health food throughout his life. When we both lived at home, Michael once became upset with me when he saw me take an aspirin … 'La Toya, why are you taking that aspirin?' he asked. 'That's a drug.'"
On one of his many Neverland rituals: "Every time Michael came home to Neverland from a tour, a vacation, or even just a day spent shopping or in the studio, all of the staff members lined up from outside the front door, all the way down the stairs, and along each side of the walkway. When Michael stepped out of the car, he walked between the rows of employees, who numbered about 25, as they all stood at attention and addressed him when he walked by. 'Hello, Mr. Jackson,' one would say. 'Welcome, Mr. Jackson,' the next would say. As Michael passed by them, he took a moment to acknowledge each employee with a greeting and a smile or a nod of the head … These rituals meant the world to Michael."