March 26, 2003
Lisa Marie: I Did Fall in Love with Him
Featured in the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine is a “no-holds-barred” interview with Lisa Marie Presley, currently making the rounds in support of the release of her upcoming album To Whom It May Concern. Not surprisingly, a good portion of the article is dedicated to Lisa Marie’s views on her ex-husband Michael Jackson. Below is the unedited version of what Lisa Marie had to say about Michael – the good, the bad and the ugly! RS: Presley knows that the world has never thought about her in quite the same way since her second marriage, her 1994 union with Michael Jackson. She is infuriated by this and by the notion that she wanted anything else out of it other than those things most people hope for in a marriage. LM: All I did get out of it was a @#%$ storm...And I got out of it. Now people go, 'You seem somewhat sane, you seem pretty together -- what the hell was that all about?' It put a stigma on me. A 'What the hell was she thinking?' stigma. RS: She says that Jackson first tried to get in touch with her when she was a teenager. She got a message through her lawyer -- 'He wants to meet you; he thinks you're very pretty' -- but she blew it off. LM: I was completely in love with Danny, and I thought he was weird, and I had no interest in meeting him. RS: A few years later a friend called and said that Jackson wanted to hear a demo she had made. She wasn't interested in being on his label but was persuaded it would at least be good manners to take the meeting. They were introduced at the friend's house, and that is how it started. LM: He was very real with me off the bat. He immediately went into this whole explanation of what he knew people thought of him and what the truth was. RS: Which was persuasive? LM: Yeah. You get sucked into the 'you poor, misunderstood person, you.' I'm a sucker for that. Then we sat down to talk, and he was so not what I thought he was. He was very real -- he was cursing, he was funny, and I was like, 'Wow. . . .I fell into that 'You have this whole Howard Hughes thing that goes on in the press, and you're not anything like that.’ RS: But why wouldn't he want people to know that? LM: I don't know. I think it worked for him to manipulate that image for a little while. The hyperbaric chamber thing and all that monkey @#%$ and the elephant @#%$. It made him mysterious, and I think he thought that was cool. But then it backfired, like it always does. I was always saying, 'People wouldn't think I was so crazy if they saw who the hell you really are: that you sit around and you drink and you curse and you're @#%$ funny, and you have a bad mouth, and you don't have that high voice all the time. I don't know why you think that works for you, because it doesn't anymore. RS: After that first conversation, they were friends who talked. Then the child-abuse accusations surfaced, and Michael Jackson's world exploded. LM: That whole @#%$ hit the fan and he was quick to call me and tell me what his side of the story was, so it looked like an extortion situation. I believed him, because he was so convincing. I don't know. . . . I just believed everything he said, for some reason. It's very strange, because there's not a lot of people who he'll allow to see who he really is -- there's probably only five or six people, not including kids, who have seen who he really is. But when you do . . . He didn't get where he is because he's an idiot. You see a real person who's very much the opposite of what he was presenting. RS: Jackson was under attack, and it brought out Presley's protectiveness. LM: I got into this whole 'I'm going to save you' thing,. I thought all that stuff he was doing -- philanthropy and the children thing and all this stuff -- was awesome, and maybe we could save the world together. OK. Hello. I was delusionary. I got some romantic idea in my head that I could save him and we could save the world. RS: At this point she was still married, and they were yet to become girlfriend and boyfriend. LM: He called me a …Confided in me a lot. Which could be very manipulative -- I don't know. I hung out with him more, and I made the mistake of saying I was not happy in my marriage, and the courting started. And I left [my marriage] probably quicker than I would have, and that was probably one of the bigger mistakes of my whole life."
RS: When you say "courting," do you mean as between any boy and girl? LM: Yeah. Flowers. Calls. Candies. You name it . . . everything started coming. RS: I think people are still pretty incredulous at the idea that you had any kind of normal married relationship with him.
LM: Right. RS: But I presume that is the case. LM: That is the case. Like I said, I got caught up in this thing of 'it was all a show.' That was my first experience with being accused of that, which was shocking for me.
RS: But, to be clear, is it fair to say that in private you were doing all the things that married people do: kissing, going to bed together, having sex?
LM: Yeah. That was part of it, for a while. And then it became the Def Con 2. It just got really ugly at the end.
RS: Before that, when it was good, was it your understanding that that was what he wanted? LM: I don't know what he wanted anymore. I know that it looks very timely for him, in retrospect -- the record was coming out, that other @#%$ was happening, and I was too caught up in . . . She stops, and recasts the thought. I can tell you my intentions; I can't tell you what his were.
RS: News of their union leaked out slowly -- of a marriage in the Dominican Republic in May 1994, first denied, then confirmed. Their first surreal public appearance was opening the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards, during which -- as they stood center stage -- Jackson kissed her fully on the lips.
LM: That was not my idea, by the way…I was terrified. It was his manager's idea. I thought it was stupid. All of a sudden I became part of a PR machine.
RS: It seemed like a blatant gimmick to prove -- to start with -- that he was straight.
LM: Yeah, but again, I wasn't looking at it like that. See, if I had been, that wouldn't have never happened.
RS: Even stranger and more astonishing was the interview the married couple gave to Diane Sawyer in 1995, in which Presley steadfastly defended her husband, the genuineness of their relationship and his character.
LM: I don't recognize who I was then, now, watching it…I was really in this lioness thing with him -- I wanted to protect him. Naive as all hell. I never thought for a moment that someone like him could actually use me for any reason like that. It never crossed my mind, and I don't know why -- I'm sure it crossed everybody else's.
RS: People are still confused by Michael Jackson's love of a certain kind of relationship with young kids, whether it's totally innocent or not. And you made a huge defense in the Diane Sawyer interview of how you watched him with kids and how it was all totally innocent. Is that what you think on reflection?
LM: The only thing I can say is that I didn't see anything that would ever allude to that ever. Otherwise I would have been the first one out there going, 'You @#%$.' I've got children. But I never saw anything like that. I meant what I said when I said it, because I didn't see anything weird or bizarre like that ever. And I did notice that he had an amazing connection to kids, whether it be a small baby or a two-year-old girl or a four-year-old -- children really responded to him.
RS: Back then did you ever worry or even think whether there could be any truth in what he was accused of?
LM: Did I ever worry? Of course I @#%$ worried. Yeah. I did. But I could only come up with what he told me. The only two people that were in the room was him and that kid, so how the hell was I going to know? I could only go off what he told me."
RS: And what do you think now?
LM: I don't know. I still don't know. I wasn't there. I never saw anything else that could possibly lead to that. And there's two sides of it. There's the side of the dad. Why would the dad take the @#%$ money? If I had a kid and he was molested, I would @#%$ take that guy and hang him by his balls off a tree and let him sit there and die like that. Nobody could buy me, ever, if my child were molested. @#%$ that. I don't care if I didn't have a penny -- I would take his ass down in front of everybody. I understand it did affect people's perception of me. That's fine; I understand why. But I did fall in love with him. I can't say what his intentions were, but I can tell you mine was that I absolutely fell in love with him and fell into this whole thing which I'm not proud of now.
RS: Do you rule out that he fell in love with you?
LM: As much as he can, possibly. I don't know how much he can access love, really. I think as much as he can love somebody he might have loved me. It was always like a mind that was constantly working. It was a scary thing -- somebody who's constantly at work, calculating, calculating, manipulating. And he scared me like that.