With the Michael Jackson child abuse documentary set to debut at Sundance later this month, the pop star’s relationships with kids are being reexamined. Macaulay Culkin, who was befriended by Jackson amid his Home Alone stardom and appeared in his “Black or White” video, finds himself again clarifying the nature of their friendship, saying it was “normal” and never “weird.”
Culkin appeared on the Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum podcast and at the end of a very lengthy, hour-plus interview was asked about his friendship with Jackson. While Culkin quipped about it being an “ambush,” he pleasantly spoke about it.
“[Jackson] reached out to me because a lot of things were happening — big and fast — with me, and, yes, I think he identified with that,” Culkin explained about their child star connection. “At the end of the day, it’s almost easy to try say, ‘Oh, it was like weird’ or whatever, but it wasn’t, because it made sense. At the end of the day, we were friends. In the most simple kind of [way].”
There was a 22-year age gap between them with Culkin being a young boy when they became friendly in the early ’90s. Culkin later supported Jackson after he stood trial in 2005 on molestation charges — his accuser was someone Jackson befriended as a child — and was acquitted. Jackson died 10 years ago this June from an overdose of Propofol.
“It’s one of my friendships that people question, only because of the fact that he was the most famous person in the world,” Culkin went on to say.
Rosenbaum said it wasn’t necessarily the fame — it was the age gap, which led to Culkin explaining that at the time he had nobody else to relate to.
“I was a peerless person,” Culkin replied. “Nobody else in my Catholic school had even this much idea of what I was going through. He was the kind of person who’d been through the exact same frickin’ thing and wanted to make sure I wasn’t alone.”
He went on to describe Jackson as “f***ing awesome,” “funny” and “sweet” and talked about how they would prank call people. “He was f***ing hilarious,” Culkin said, “He was charming, f***ing funny, silly.”
Culkin’s interview was wide-ranging, so he also talked about his family (he called his dad Kit, from whom he has been estranged for 20 years, a “mean bαstard”), past drug use (“I haven’t always treated myself properly” though said he never used heroin because “I’d really like it”) and his home life with his girlfriend, Brenda Song, and their cats.
The film Leaving Neverland will debut at Sundance — and will air this spring on HBO. It’s about Jackson’s long-running relationships with two boys, aged 7 and 10, and their families. The men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, are now in their 30s and tell the story of how they were sexually abused by Jackson, coming to terms with it years later.
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