Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley discuss proposal in 1995
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Their marriage only lasted 18 months, from the May 1994 wedding to the separation in December 1995. It was widely regarded with huge scepticism both during and after its high-profile collapse. Many believed the King of Pop had only married Lisa Marie as a smokescreen against the mounting rumours and accusations surrounding his relationships with young boys. It was also clear he was fascinated by her connection Elvis Presley. But Lisa Marie gave an emotional interview after the star’s death in 2009 which revealed a totally different side to their union. She also said that they had kept seeing each other for years and Michael had cried as he begged her for help in 2005.
The world only saw their brief time together, but the pair had been close for years before that. Michael had noticed her as a young woman, and then waited for her first marriage to Danny Keough to end. Even after their own divorce, he did not want to let go.
Lisa Marie told Oprah Winfrey: “We were going to get back together. We spent four more years after we divorced.. getting back together and breaking up, talking about getting back together and breaking up…
“He and I were still… I was flying all over the world still with him for years to follow.”
Michael had married Debbie Rowe and become father to Prince Michael and Paris, but there was never any indication that the relationship was anything other than a practical transaction for children.
Lisa Marie gave a powerful insight into the intensity of their love and insisted it was just as sincere on his side.
She said: “I know he’d had a few dates in his life but there was nothing profound for him in that area. He fell in love with me and I fell in love with him and it was very real…
“I have to say in retrospect that he tried so hard and went through so much with me. He’s never done that with any other female or anyone as much as we went through. We would argue, three-day arguments… I have to say that I admire he really gave it a good shot.”
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Lisa Marie also opened up about why, ultimately, their relationship fell apart and what prevented them from getting back together.
Although Michael expressed his fears that he would die like her father, Elvis, he continued to surround himself with enablers who did not have the strength or independence to deny him anything or help him curb his worst instincts.
Lisa Marie said: “I left him to stomp my foot in the ground, I was trying to take a stand and say, ‘Come with me, don’t do this (carry on down the same path).’ And it was a stupid move because he didn’t…
“I had to make the decision to walk because I saw the drugs and doctors were coming in and they scared me and that put me back into what I went through with my father (Elvis) and that ended it.”
From 2001 the couple became estranged but then Michael called his ex-wife out of the blue in 2005 with an emotional cry for help.
Lisa Marie said: “He wanted to tell me that I was right about a lot of people around him. That it had panned out to be exactly what he and I had talked about years ago. He asked if I still loved him and I told him I was indifferent. And he didn’t like that word and he cried…”
She later accepted that she had said it to hurt him and to try and sever a connection that was difficult and upsetting for her. Lisa Marie believed he had not loved her enough to fight for their marriage. But when he died she had a heartbreaking realisation that she had been wrong.
Asked if she now believed her ex-husband had truly loved her, she added: “I think so, sadly. I think… yes. When we were together we were really in love.”
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