A Little Crush
Marlon Jackson, Todd Gold’s book, mid 70s
There was, for instance, an early teenage crush on one of Smokey Robinson’s nieces. “He called her a girlfriend,” Marlon says. “We used to talk about her all the time.”
Jermaine Jackson, “You Are Not Alone,”
In his rooms [when he was younger], photos of Ava Gardner were pinned up because he ‘loved her grace and beauty.’
Pete Bennett, Promoter, 1974/5
Bennett, born Pietro Benedetto in the Bronx, signed Michael and his brothers on with CBS’ Epic Records in the mid-1970s. Bennett is also a close friend of Trenton casting director, Roz Clancy.
Beverly Johnson, a model, actress and writer, was the first black model ever to grace the cover of Vogue magazine in August 1974. She appeared on more than 500 magazine covers, including Glamour. Bennett said that Jackson had the hots for the sultry, black star.
“He had an eye for pretty girls, especially Johnson. She was about 25 and Michael was 16. But Beverly, I believe was dating Arthur Ashe at the time,’’ Bennett said.
Michael Jackson and I had a very wonderful relationship… I always thought he was going to wind up being a box-boy at Gelson’s because he had a crush on a very beautiful young lady who was about 4 ½ feet tall who was working there. [She had] very white porcelain skin with big blue eyes; real red-haired, that she wore in little pigtails and he used to come over and act as a box boy for her; pack the groceries for the people who came through her aisle. I always came through there and he would say, ‘Hello Mrs. Berlin’. My son, Will, used to play with the Jackson Five, basketball, at their home.”
“I think they hired him (laughs). He … would come [to the market] dressed up as The Wiz; wearing these shoes that were like on stilts…He came to see that pig-tailed, red-head girl….He loved her. He knew everyone that came to Gelson’s.
Bobby Colomby, Todd Gold, Destiny Album 1977-78
Michael, on the other hand, was utterly infatuated with the woman whom Colomby was then living with, actress Pam Grier, the tall sexy star of low-budge black exploitation films like Foxy Brown. “When he found out I was living with her, he just flipped out,” Colomby recalls. “She’d walk into the studio and he’d squeal and run out and hide.” When Grier called, Michael felt tongue-tied. “She’d want to have him over for dinner. I’d say, hey Michael, it’s Pam and I’d hand him the phone. He couldn’t handle it. It’d just drop in his lap and he’d stare at it. He wouldn’t even talk.”
But Michael’s curiosity was like an open floodgate and he couldn’t stop talking about Grier. “What does she do with you, Bobby?” he asked. “What do you mean?” Colomby replied. “She must hit you with skillets,” Michael laughed. “I think when you come home, she throws a skillet at you. She bops you over the head.”
Cousin Tim Whitehead sometime 70s/early 80s
“His brothers are much more open in the way that they pursue women but Michael is more discreet. He’s a gentleman. I know that Michael was once interested in a woman, a famous woman who was married at the time. I promised Michael I would never say who she is. Of course, he didn’t go after he because of the way he feels about marriage.”
Conversations With Michael, Shmuley Tapes 2000/2001
MJ: A woman I really liked and respected was Princess Diana.
MJ: Because she was classy and sincerely cared about people and children and the plight of what was going on in the world. She didn’t do it for show. I like the way she made her kids wait in line to get on a ride for something.
SB: Can we say that there was an ever so innocent slight romantic attraction? Or do you not want to say that? Do you just want to say that you thought she was a very special? She was a feminine kind of woman?
MJ: Very feminine and classy. She was my type for sure, and I don’t like most girls. There are very few I like who fit the mold. It takes a very special mold to make me happy and she was on of them. For sure.
SB: Because of her love of kids?
MJ: It takes a lot to find a mirror image, a mirror image. People always say that opposites attract and I think that is true, as well. But I want somebody who is a lot like me, who has the same interests and who wants to help and they gotta go to hospitals with me and care about Gavin. That’s why you saw LMP and me at those kind of things. She cared about stuff, too.
SB: Did you ever think of asking Princess Diana out?
SB: So why didn’t you have the never to ask her?
MJ: I never aksed a girl out in my life. The have to ask me.
MJ: I can’t ask a girl out.
SB: If she would have asked you out?
MJ: Absolutely. I would have gone.
Conversations With Michael, Shmuley Tapes 2000/2001
MJ: Jennifer Lopez looked awfully good the other day, she did. I was shocked ’cause I never thought… she looked good.
Frank Cascio on Britney performing with Michael at the MSG shows in September 2001, “My Friend Michael”
Before we left the hotel, I found myself with another fire to put out. It was Britney Spears. She was supposed to sing The Way You Make Me Feel with Michael, but she was having cold feet about performing live next to Michael.
This wasn’t the first time I’d seen a seasoned professional get nervous in Michael’s presence. Some even behaved like overexcited fans. Cindy Crawford had been so eager to get close to Michael that she all but pushed people out of the way and climbed over chairs to get to him. Justin Timberlake, even Mike Tyson, seemed humbled around him. Michael, who was actually nurturing a brand new crush on Britney, was understanding about her nerves. In the business unfortunate things like Britney’s stage fright happened sometimes.
David Gest’s autobio, MSG Concert, September 2001
“Beyonce blushed when I told her Michael had a crush on her.”
David Gest, June 30th 2009
David, who called Jackson ‘M’, has told how the megastar always kept up to date with music and revealed his favourite contemporary artists were Beyoncé, Eminem and Dr Dre, the Black Eyed Peas and Kelly Rowland, whom he had a crush on.
German figure skater and model, did a performance to Michael’s “Bad” in 1988
Dieter Wiesner, “Michael Jackson: The Whole Truth”
Michael told Dieter that he wanted to marry Katarina Witt. He said that he was impressed with her sense of discipline and thought that she was pretty.
Randy Jackson Jnr’s facebook, summer 2009
When asked on his facebook which celebrity Michael had a crush on, Michael’s nephew responded “Aishwarya Rai.”
Jermaine Jackson, “You Are Not Alone”
“In his rooms, photos of Ava Gardner were pinned up because he ‘loved her grace and beauty.’ In later years he had pictures of child star Shirley Temple and then, towards the end of his life, Alicia Keys.”