Michael Jackson’s life had been a series of trials and triumphs with his every move followed by millions of people. His untimely death solidified his status in history and transformed him into an almost mythical being. With all the hype that surrounded the world-renowned pop star, the line between reality and fiction became so blurred that some rumors have come to be regarded as fact.
But now it’s time to set things straight, to separate fact from fiction. So here are seven so-called facts about Michael Jackson that everyone believes to be true, but which are actually false.
- He bleached his skin to turn himself white.
The change in Michael Jackson’s skin color was one of the biggest issues that hounded him in his life and even after death. When Jackson first started out in the industry, his complexion was much darker and distinctively African American, but by the 1980s, his skin started to become lighter. By the time his album History came out in 1995, he no longer resembled the man that appeared in the “Thriller” music video. The change in Jackson’s skin color was attributed to speculations that he had been insecure about his dark skin and that he started bleaching it to make it lighter.
— Katie Smokes (@KtSmokesHydro) January 8, 2015
In reality, the singer suffered from a condition called vitiligo, which causes the skin to lose pigmentation, resulting in white spots to appear in the person’s body. As expected, the condition is more noticeable in patients with darker skin. The singer discussed this condition with Oprah in 1993, and his dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein, later confirmed the diagnosis.
- He recovered immediately from the Pepsi commercial accident.
Michael Jackson’s well-known accident while shooting a Pepsi commercial has been pinpointed as the start of the singer’s bizarre behavior. During one take, the pyrotechnics went off early and Jackson’s hair caught on fire. The singer didn’t realize what had happened and continued dancing for a few more seconds before the crew was able to finally extinguish the fire.
The incident was widely reported, and numerous witnesses later described Michael Jackson as being calm and pleasant even as he was rushed to the hospital on a stretcher. However, the accident had severe consequences for Jackson who suffered second- and third-degree burns on his scalp and face, which caused him to lose all his hair. To hide how serious it was, Jackson had his hairline tattooed permanently on his forehead and started wearing wigs and hats.
- The King of Pop slept in a hyperbaric chamber.
A lot of people believed that Jackson slept in an oxygenated hyperbaric chamber to prevent his body from aging. The rumors started in 1986, largely because a photo of Jackson lying inside an oxygen tent was published. The chamber was reportedly donated to a medical center in California to help burn victims. Jackson denied the rumors and explained to Oprah that he merely saw the bed, tried it out, and happened to be photographed by someone.
Michael Jackson inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in 1986 pic.twitter.com/8ubQWnurM6
— علاج الأوكسجين النقي (@oxygenclinic) February 17, 2015
- He tried to buy the remains of the “Elephant Man.'”
Jackson was rumored to have been obsessed with Joseph Merrick, better known as the “Elephant Man,” and tried to buy his remains. It turned out that this was a hoax that was actually started by Jackson’s manager, Frank Dileo, and the singer himself.
- The singer allegedly molested numerous children during sleepovers at his Neverland ranch.
Arguably the biggest scandal that Michael Jackson was embroiled in was the allegations that he molested several children at his ranch. The allegations started in 1993 when Evan Chandler accused the singer of molesting his then-13-year-old son Jordan. The accusations were settled out of court for a reported $15 million. Abuse charges were leveled against Jackson once more in 2003, but a jury found him not guilty in 2005. Another round of molestation charges were filed against Jackson by choreographer Wade Robson in 2013.
Watch the Live Court Verdict of Michael Jackson’s Multiple Charges
The abuse allegations are a polarizing issue, with a number of people believing in Jackson’s innocence while an equal number believe he’s guilty. However, it must be pointed out that Jackson had been cleared of all the molestation charges and the proof that Jordan Chandler reportedly gave – that Jackson was circumcised – turned out to be false. Robson also initially testified in Jackson’s defense in 2005 and said the singer never touched him inappropriately. His case against the singer was said to have been motivated by the possibility of a lucrative settlement.
— Celebrity Bam! (@Celebritybam) May 28, 2015
- His autopsy report described him as “a virtual skeleton” at the time of his death.
Shortly after Michael Jackson’s death, the Sun reported that they had a copy of the star’s autopsy findings. It stated that at the time of his death, Jackson was “a virtual skeleton” whose body was full of needle wounds. However, the report was quickly debunked as false, and the Los Angeles County coroner released an official statement stating that the information that the tabloid received did not come from their office.
- Michael Jackson is not the father of Debbie Rowe’s children.
Back in 2009, several publications quoted Debbie Rowe, Jackson’s ex-wife and the mother of his children, as admitting that the pop star was not the father of her children and that she was “just the vessel” for their births. The magazines quickly retracted their statements after Rowe’s attorney revealed that the said interview was fabricated. As a matter of fact, the “interview did not occur,” and the article was totally made up.
— MJ Memorabilia (@jacksonbilia) November 19, 2014
Admittedly, the larger-than-life persona of Michael Jackson does make it hard to differentiate between the truths and lies about him. However, no one can deny that it was Jackson’s raw and undeniable musical talent that made him the real King of Pop.
[Photo by Brenda Chase/Getty Images]