Hair was very tall, music was very synth, and Michael Jackson was at the height of his global reign when Soleil Moon Frye charmed America as the spunky, titular character on the popular kids’ show Punky Brewster.
When Frye’s path crossed with the late King of Pop, it was before his high profile criminal trial on charges he had engaged in inappropriate acts with minors. Jackson was known for often keeping company with high-profile kid stars back then, spending time with 80’s teen star Corey Feldman and 90’s pop icon Aaron Carter.
In a new memoir, Frye recounts having visited Neverland and being “babysat” by Jackson:
“We went outside on his stunning property and began walking over a bridge when a swan jumped out at me… Michael threw me to the ground in an effort to protect me. he explained that the female swan was pregnant and so the male swan was protecting her. Seemed normal, I guess.”
After the swan incident, Jackson invited Frye “to take a Jacuzzi” with him, and the two spent time “talking about life, love and the secrets of the world” while in the tub. But like many of Jackson’s child-friends who have since grown, Frye recalls a kind and insightful man that treated her with respect and regard:
“I remember him talking about the fact that he related more to kids than adults and that grown-ups never completely understood him. He sat across from me and we had a dialogue as if we were peers – a true heart-to-heart. He never made me feel like this was a bizarre situation. It just seemed as if he really wanted someone to talk to, someone who would make no judgments about him.”
In fact, the actress holds the memory fondly, and says:
“This story is not one I have shared often, but now I realize, if even for only one night, Michael Jackson was my babysitter. As strange as it all sounds – and I know it sounds strange – it was a highlight in my young life.”
Frye said the encounter was her one and only with the King of Pop.