Jackson had a longtime relationship with Richie, even being named the godfather to Lionel's daughter, Nicole. The former singer of the Commodores even co-wrote "We are the World" with Jackson. Richie spoke with the magazine to try and "explain Jackson's complex personality."
Richie explained why Jackson always seemed to surround himself with children, saying, "Michael never got to hang out as a kid."
Richie originally met Jackson when he was just a child star in his family's group, the Jackson 5.
"So as he got older he was hanging out with the only people he felt comfortable with, and that was the kids. I get that when you're 19, maybe 22, but when you get to be 40 it doesn't fly," added the "Hello" singer.
Richie then shared his reaction to the news of Jackson's molestation charges.
"I freaked out... But Michael didn't know how to fight and he never saw the news, didn't watch TV, had no clue about current events. Even when he was the news."
Richie then goes on to share how he tried to help Jackson understand how his "menagerie, the relentless plastic surgery" and all the time spent with children was being perceived in the rest of the world, despite "the distortion of life in Hollywood," according to Hollywood.com.
He said, "There was something seriously wrong with Michael. But you have to understand that this is Hollywood so you can't use the word 'weird.'"
Richie remained Jackson's friend up until the end, seeing him a couple of weeks before he died.
Of that last visit, he said, "I last saw Michael about a week before he died. He was really thin, really not healthy, really not capable of making that tour."
So how have fans reacted to Richie's revelations about Michael Jackson? It has angered many of the King of Pop's fans, with some commenting "who needs enemies when you have Lionel Richie" and how the comments left some feeling "disgusted."
— arabella (@ilmjj) April 28, 2015
crazy how "friends" will do u...Disgusted with the things Lionel Richie said about his "friend" Michael Jackson pic.twitter.com/hF6Yc2DHzv
— xav (@xavierleeds) April 28, 2015
@LionelRichie..it is the worst kind of cowardice, to trash a man who trusted you...and who is not here to defend himself #MichaelJackson
— Melanie321 (@Mellie4Justice) April 27, 2015
No matter how you feel about Richie's comments, it is quite certain that Michael Jackson will not soon be forgotten, whether for his "weird" ways or his iconic music.
[Photo Courtesy of Fanpop]