Love first touched Michael at the tender age of 11 – when a schoolgirl as lonely and shy as he was helped him get over the snubs of other kids.
Jocelyne Danchick was the same age and the only person to befriend the Jackson 5 singer at Hollywood’s Gardner Street Elementary School in 1970.
The successful choreographer spoke for the first time about her friendship for the boy king by revealing: “We had the biggest crush on each other.”
And Jocelyne smiled: “Of course, at 11 we didn’t smooch all the time. But there was lots of flirting.
“He was timid but the sweetest, funniest kid. And though we never declared our love – you don’t at that age – we both had feelings.”
Jocelyne, now happily married and with her own dance company in France, herself felt out of place at school – until Michael arrived.
She explained: “My mom was a fashion designer with lots of wild friends like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.
“I never fitted in and it was the same for Michael when he moved from Gary, Indiana, to LA after he and his brothers signed for Motown. The other kids ignored him because of his fame and quietness- and me because I was a shy flower child.
“So while we weren’t in the same class, we still felt a connection and just hit it off. You know what first love is like. We both had twinkles in our eyes.
“Posing for our end of school picture, he even got me to stand right behind him.
“He really proved his sweetness, though, when we had to sing in front of our parents before we moved on to high school. I didn’t want to embarrass Michael by being out of tune. But he nudged me and squeezed my hand to let me know it was OK.”
The two lost touch when Michael went off on tour.
But a year later, as Jocelyne and her family were leaving for a new life in Europe, they ran into each other. She said: “I never expected that would be the last time I’d see him.”