Michael Jackson’s untimely death came as a ‘high pitched scream in the heart’ for Elizabeth Taylor, who sobbed hysterically ‘for hours’ after learning her close friend was gone, according to a new book.
The late actress poured her heart out to the King of Pop in a heart-wrenching letter she wrote after his 2009 overdose, which is revealed for the first time in new biography, Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit and Glamour of an Icon, by Kate Andersen Brower, published December 6.
In the emotional posthumous note, the Hollywood icon said Jackson was in her ‘thoughts and heart continuously’ and that she was in ‘pain’ over his loss.
The poignant message marked the end of an unlikely friendship between two child stars that lasted 25 years.
A new biography about Elizabeth Taylor reveals new details about her unlikely, close friendship with fellow superstar Michael Jackson (pictured together in 1997)
MJ and La Liz met in 1984 and quickly bonded over their shared experience being thrust into the spotlight as children
The book reveals a never-before-seen heart-wrenching letter a grieving Taylor wrote to Jackson posthumously after his death in 2009
Taylor and Jackson – who were 26 years apart in age – were almost as famous for their tight bond as they were for their glittering careers.
The book reveals new details of their troubled lives behind closed doors, such as how Jackson used to ‘shoot up’ in Taylor’s bathroom, leaving her housekeeper horrified at the sight of a used syringe.
At the same time, the actress herself was struggling with her own addiction to pills, as previously reported by DailyMail.com.
Taylor even staged an intervention in 1993 to help Jackson beat his drug demons, meeting him off the stage at a performance in Mexico City and using a decoy to smuggle him away.
She also stood by him during his child sex abuse allegations and said that she remained ‘fiercely loyal’ to him at all times.
The new biography – released on December 6, was authorized by La Liz’s own family
Friends of the pair, such as singer Lionel Richie believed Taylor was Jackson’s ‘safety blanket’ – and without her in his life he could have died much sooner.
Taylor and Jackson bonded over being thrust into the spotlight as children, with Jackson becoming a star at the tender age of eight with the Jackson 5 and Taylor making her on screen debut at age 12 with 1944 film National Velvet.
Both also had domineering fathers who were physically abusive and pushed them to become celebrities.
The two met in 1984, at a time when Taylor’s storied career was on the decline while Jackson’s star was rising, and the pair bonded over the death of actor Richard Burton, who Taylor was twice married to.
Taylor spoke fondly of Jackson in the public eye and once spoke of their bond saying: ‘There is something in him that is so dear and childlike – not childish, but childlike – that we both have and identify with.’
Charlie Nicholson, who worked for Taylor in the late 1980s, recalled seeing the unlikely pair at a dining table together where Elizabeth was hand-feeding Jackson a salad.
‘She was lovingly feeding him, like a mother would feed a toddler,’ he said.
Mark Harmon also recalled one bizarre moment when he spotted Taylor and Jackson at a dinner in 1990 where the singer was hiding under the table. When they asked what he was doing, he said nothing, according to the author.
Mutual friend Lionel Richie, who was interviewed for the book, believed that without Taylor, Jackson’s life ‘might have been a disaster much sooner than it was’
The pair first met at a time when Taylor’s storied career was on the decline while Jackson’s star was rising, and they bonded over the death of her husband Richard Burton
Taylor remained ‘fiercely loyal’ to him at all times and stood by Jackson during his child sex abuse allegations
Mutual friend Lionel Richie, who was interviewed for the book, revealed that when he once asked Jackson why his friendship with Taylor was so important to him he had replied: ‘She understands.’
‘I can understand what a safety blanket she was. But you couldn’t be there all the time,’ Richie said.
‘As long as he was able to be near her or able to talk to her, that’s one thing, but as time went on he got so big that it was almost kind of impossible to counsel him at a certain point.
‘There was a danger to his innocence, there was also a sweetness to his innocence … without her in his life it might have been a disaster much sooner than it was.’
Jackson was such good friends with La Liz that he let her use his Neverland ranch as the venue for her eighth and final wedding in 1991 to husband Larry Fortensky, a construction worker who was 20 years her junior.
He even walked Taylor down the aisle and, in front of celebrity guests like Nancy Reagan and Brooke Shields, posed as the ‘father of the bride.’
The ranch was where Taylor and Jackson would ‘go on picnics together, two broken adults trying to recapture their stolen childhoods,’ according to Andersen.
Jackson once said about their friendship: ‘We try to escape and fantasize. I can really relax with her because we’ve lived the same life and experienced the same thing’.
Their shared experience of the ‘great tragedy of childhood stars’ meant they liked the same things: circuses, amusement parks and animals.
Andersen characterizes Jackson and Taylor’s friendship as one of the ‘closest celebrity relationships’ that included spontaneous visits, such as the time when the pop star asked to come around to the actress’s house – with his chimpanzee.
The book reveals that during the early days of their friendship, MJ had asked to come around to Taylor’s house – with his chimpanzee, Bubbles
Jackson’s Neverland Ranch was where Taylor and Jackson would ‘go on picnics together, two broken adults trying to recapture their stolen childhoods,’ the author writes
Jackson was such good friends with Taylor that he let her use his ranch as the venue for her eighth and final wedding in 1991 to husband Larry Fortensky and even walked her down the aisle
Jackson turned up at her door holding hands with Bubbles, his infamous pet chimp, and they were friends ever since.
Taylor once said that she ‘knew what it was like to be used by your family for money and fame.’
When a journalist suggested that Jackson and Taylor were like Peter Pan and Wendy, the pop star said: ‘But Elizabeth is also like a mother – and more than that. She’s a friend. She’s Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, the Queen of England, and Wendy.’
Taylor’s protective feelings towards Jackson were displayed in 1993 when he was indicted on 10 child sex abuse charges, which were later dismissed after a high profile and controversial trial.
With his career in grave peril, Taylor flew to Mexico City to whisk him away to get treatment for his painkiller addiction.
Andersen writes that she ‘escorted him to his private dressing room and convinced him to get treatment.’
Taylor arranged a plane for Jackson but wouldn’t even tell the pilot where they were going, such was the secrecy.
Once they arrived, a security guard who was about Jackson’s height served as a Jackson’s decoy, dressing in a robe and a hood, returning to his hotel to fool the press.
A police escort even followed her car while Taylor put Jackson on a plane and told him: ‘I am getting you out of here’ into a rehab facility.
According to Jackson’s lawyer at the time, Bertram Fields, his painkiller addiction was becoming ‘all-consuming.’
He said: ‘He was barely able to function adequately on an intellectual level. I’m not going to talk about his individual symptoms, but they were manifest.’
The two stars – who were 26 years apart in age – were almost as famous for their tight bond as they were for their glittering careers
Behind closed doors, however, both were deeply troubled and were battling drug addictions
But, Andersen writes: ‘Members of Jackson’s family were furious at Elizabeth because they did not want him admitting to his addiction.
‘Jackson’s life was so carefully controlled that Jackson had to ask his head of security for his own passport,’ the book states.
‘Like Elizabeth’s experience at Betty Ford, institutional life was humbling for Michael, who learned how to use a vacuum cleaner and how to perform other mundane tasks in treatment.
‘But for all the planning and subterfuge, nothing came of Jackson’s attempt to stop using.’
At the time Taylor was struggling with her own addictions as well, which her longtime housekeeper Bernadeta Bajda said was difficult to witness.
She said: ‘I cried all the time when she asked for pills. Sometimes she wanted to have alcohol. Someone told us not to give her alcohol, so we hid it very high and she couldn’t find it.
‘She was desperate. She was searching, searching, but she didn’t find it. Soon enough she did find the champagne.’
Bajda also revealed the moment she discovered a ‘terrible secret’ at Taylor’s home when Jackson was visiting.
She said: ‘Michael was in Ms. Taylor’s restroom and a moment later he ran downstairs.
‘I was in the bedroom and he didn’t see me, he ran past me. I went into the bathroom and I found an obviously used syringe on the floor.
‘But I didn’t touch it, I was scared to death. Then I heard him coming upstairs to pick it up so I hid and he took it and ran back downstairs. That moment to me was so, so sad.’
Elizabeth Taylor Michael Jackson attend the 20th Annual American Music Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California in January 1993
Tragedy would eventually strike and claim the life of the King of Pop in 2009, when Jackson took a fatal dose of Propoful at his home in Los Angeles administered by his personal doctor, Conrad Murray.
When Taylor learned Jackson had been taken to hospital she began to call his assistants in a panic. She eventually got a hold of one of them who broke the news to her.
Taylor became ‘hysterical’ and screamed: ‘No! No!’, and had to be consoled and held for hours while she sobbed, according the book.
She also decided against attending his star-studded public memorial at the Staples Center as she didn’t want to ‘put her grief on display’ because Jackson wouldn’t have waned her to do.
She did however attend a private funeral months later and tearfully said her goodbyes.
Such was Taylor’s grief for Jackson after he died that she wrote him a heartbreaking posthumous letter.
She wrote: ‘My Beloved Michael, I hope you remember how much I love you – and miss you.
‘You are in my thoughts and heart continuously. It is like a high-pitched scream is in my heart. I mourn you. I am in pain. When will I ever see you again? I love you too much and always will. Yours, Elizabeth.’
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