Michael Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer who was best known for being one of the most influential artists of his generation and the undisputed “King of Pop.” He was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary Indiana, to Joseph Jackson and Katherine Esther Jackson. The future star came from a musical family and was the eighth of ten children. By the time he was six years old, Jackson joined his brothers’ band, “Jackson Brothers” which was later renamed the “Jackson 5.” After winning a talent show and being discovered by Diana Ross, the group slowly rose to mainstream stardom.
In 1971, Jackson signed up with Motown Records and started his solo career. He released four consecutive albums until he finally got his big break with “Off The Wall” in 1979. Jackson’s sixth album “Thriller” was released a few years later to critical and commercial successes. The album brought the hit singles, “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” and “Thriller,” and was awarded the best-selling album of all time. It was also the first musical album to dominate the charts for two years straight, cementing its cultural impact.
Over the following decades, Jackson would release four more albums: “Bad” (1987), “Dangerous” (1991), “HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book I” (1995), and his final album, “Invincible” (2001). The superstar’s music has been credited with breaking racial barriers and introducing music videos as an art form. Jackson also innovated in dance with his unique choreography, including the iconic “moonwalk.” At the time of his passing on June 25, 2009, Jackson had won one Golden Globe Award, six Brit Awards, 15 Grammy Awards, and 39 Guinness World Records.
With a career spanning four decades, Jackson wasn’t a stranger to controversy and speculation. Throughout the 1980s, his sexuality was questioned because of his flamboyant style and unconventional lifestyle. Jackson’s lack of steady relationships also got fans thinking: was Michael Jackson gay? In today’s article, we’ll discover the answer to this burning question.
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Michael Jackson’s Relationships
It’s no secret that Jackson had an unusual outlook towards his sexuality and sex in general. The singer was exposed to sex at a young age and had received conflicting advice on how to deal with the matter. His mother, a devout Jehovah’s Witness, maintained the teachings of the religion to his son. On the other hand, his father didn’t mind letting his children perform in strip clubs and bars. Jackson was also a witness to the sexual adventures of his brothers.
Some experts shared that these experiences may have shaped the way Jackson behaved in his relationships. Despite having a lack of interest in sex in his earlier years, the singer did have affairs and romantic connections with the opposite sex. Here are some of his most notable relationships throughout the years.
Michael Jackson and Diana Ross (1977)
Jackson was only nine years old when he met Diana Ross. Although the relationship was strictly platonic according to biographers, others have speculated that there may have been something more. Jackson himself referred to Ross in his autobiography as his “mother, sister, and lover all combined in one.” There were also rumors that the song “Dirty Diana” was actually about Ross.
Nevertheless, it was clear that Jackson and Ross had a close relationship. The latter was even named in the singer’s will and given primary custody of his children should their paternal grandmother die first. Ross was also devastated when she heard of Jackson’s passing in 2009.
Michael Jackson and Tatum O’Neal (1979)
In 1979, Jackson met the then 12-year-old child actress, Tatum O’Neal, whom he considered his first “serious relationship.” They dated for a time but because they were both extremely busy, they eventually drifted apart and remained friends. While they had different recollections of their relationship, O’Neal remembered Jackson as an incredibly shy and innocent person. In a 2001 interview with Rabbi Shmuley, Jackson recalled his time with the actress.
Michael Jackson and Brooke Shields (1981-1993)
During the 1981 Academy Awards, Jackson met the actress and socialite, Brooke Shields. Apparently, the singer was infatuated with Shields and kept pictures in his room. After exchanging numbers, the pair dated frequently and enjoyed a close friendship. Jackson also referred to the actress as “one of the loves of his life.”
Unfortunately, the relationship wasn’t meant to be and the couple split in 1993. At the time of Jackson’s death in 2009, Shields reminisced about her time with the singer.
Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley (1992-2000)
In 1974, Jackson met his future wife, Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, during one of their performances as the Jackson 5. At the time, Jackson was 16 years old while Presley was still a toddler. However, their relationship didn’t start until decades later, when Presley was already grown up, married, and had two children with actor, Danny Keough.
After having a private dinner in 1992, the pair immediately hit it off. Jackson and Presley bonded over their similar upbringings and shared many personal views. When the 1993 allegations emerged, it was Presley who got the singer through the court proceedings and supported him throughout his rehabilitation. The following year, Jackson proposed and the couple got married, shocking both their families and the world.
Alas, the relationship was too good to be true. Differences in their personalities emerged and little incidents soon turned into significant problems. The breaking point came when Presley stated that she didn’t want to have children with Jackson. Although the actress filed for divorce in 1996, the couple spent the following years trying to make their relationship work. Jackson eventually moved on to another relationship.
Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe (1996-1999)
Jackson’s complicated relationship with Debbie Rowe was well-documented. The two first met in the 1980s when Rowe was working as an assistant for Dr. Arnold Klein, who was treating the singer’s vitiligo. Jackson and Rowe maintained a close friendship despite being married to different people. After the singer’s divorce from Presley, the pair quickly got together.
In 1996, it was announced that Rowe was pregnant with Jackson’s child. According to reports, the relationship was an economic decision with Rowe agreeing to carry the singer’s child in exchange for compensation. However, with much urging from Jackson’s family, the couple did marry a few months later. They shared two biological children together: Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., also known as “Prince,” and Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson.
In 1999, Jackson and Rowe divorced with the latter giving full custody rights to the singer. Jackson went on to have a third child via surrogacy whom he named Prince Michael Jackson II, fondly nicknamed “Blanket.”
Was Michael Jackson Gay?
No, Michael Jackson wasn’t gay. The singer, his family, and friends have consistently denied that Jackson was gay. According to sources, he has only been in relationships with women. He was also married twice and had three children. At best, Jackson may be considered straight.