The release of the controversial documentary Leaving Neverland, which covers Wade Robson and James Safechuck’s accusations of sexual abuse against the late Michael Jackson, has caused many to reevaluate the pop star’s legacy. Others, such as Jackson’s former bodyguard, Matt Fiddes, are outspokenly supportive of Jackson. Fiddes has also revealed that Jackson was never quite the same after the 2005 sexual assault trial in which he was charged with molesting Gavin Arvizo.
In addition to spotlighting how the sexual assault accusations had affected Jackson, The Daily Star reports that Fiddes spoke about the effect that fame had on his life. According to Fiddes, Jackson struggled to find a girlfriend that could “get past” his fame and had a difficult time forming romantic bonds with women.
“That is one thing I did notice about Michael, he found it hard to find a girlfriend,” he said. “They wanted to talk about his music, his fame, and he just wanted to people to stop going on about it.”
Fiddes said that Jackson once met with an A-list Miami actress that he was “really into,” but left the first date disappointed.
“He said ‘all she did was talk about me,'” Fiddes revealed.
Jackson was reportedly told early on that a public relationship would drag down his career. He eventually married Lisa Marie Presley from 1994 to 1996 and then Debbie Rowe from 1996 to 1999.
"I love performing. It's a phenomenal getaway. If you want to really let out everything you feel, that's the time to do it." – Michael Jackson pic.twitter.com/p5uJ8LWpBV
— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) August 12, 2019
Presley, who is set to release a tell-all book about her relationship with Jackson, said in a 2010 interview with Oprah Winfrey that he feared someone was trying to kill him. She claims Jackson made the comment after he was hospitalized following a collapse. After Presley pressed the pop star about his drug abuse, he began asking her if she still loved him and said that she was “right” about the people he was surrounded by.
“And the final part of the conversation was him telling me that someone was going to try and kill him to get a hold of his catalogue and estate,” she said, per The Daily Star. “And I really didn’t know what to do with that.”
The paranoia that Presley described in Jackson mirrors previous comments by Fiddes. Although Fiddes claims that Jackson began to get healthier for a time following his 2005 trial, he soon began experiencing paranoia. According to Fiddes, Jackson was “terrified” of being “assassinated on stage” and — despite being assured he was safe by those closest to him — once thought about wearing a bulletproof vest during his performances.