My friend Justice4MJJ sent me some information she had compiled on Michael’s past eating habits. I always knew he had never been a big eater, but when I read all she’d sent me, all comments from either Michael himself, his mother Katherine, or close friends or family, I was shocked. Shocked that Kenny Ortega, Randy Phillips, et al somehow thought Michael was OK to tour in 2009? Or maybe they just didn’t give a damn.
Did they really think they didn’t need to be concerned about his weight? Or that he wasn’t eating or sleeping? That he had said in the past that he could not tour anymore or it would kill him? And on top of that the added stress and pressure of them arbitrarily adding 50 shows and nothing being prepared in time. And Randy Phillips raising Hell with Michael and pressuring him (via Ortega if not in person)?
Does the prospect of money make people that blind and deaf? Or, does it just make them not give a damn? Michael Jackson was a human being. Human beings need food and water and sleep to survive. Even Michael Jackson. My God, how could they not have been aware of this or concerned about it, especially Kenny Ortega who had been on tour with Michael before?
The following is from ‘My Family, The Jacksons‘, written by Katherine Jackson:
On pg. 145, Katherine speaks about Michael’s diet & weight, even though he’s said that food was the only thing in his whole life that he had control over, everything else was controlled:
The other key to his good health, I believe, had been his diet. Before Michael had left on tour, his doctor had insisted that he go on a high protein diet, including fish, so that he’d be able to keep his stamina up. Michael had reluctantly agreed. Even before Michael became a vegetarian in the late seventies, I’d worried about his lack of interest in food. When the family would go out for hot-fudge sundaes, he’d be the only one who wouldn’t want one. “I’m not hungry“, he’d say. Now what kid turns down a hot fudge sundae? I’m ashamed to admit that sometimes La Toya and I would eat two of them a day. After Michael took Jermaine’s lead and decided to forgo meat, he became even less interested in eating then before. He employed a full time chef, but I dont know why he bothered. When she took him his food, he’d eat two tablespoons then leave the rest. “If I didnt eat to live, I’d never eat“, he told me. One day a week Michael fasted, “I’m cleaning my body out, which is a healthy thing to do“, he explained. But instead of laying low that day to conserve his energy, Micheal would dance non-stop for two hours on his portable dance floor. Michael enjoyed having the last word in our arguments about his diet. “You’re always worrying about me being too skinny”, he’d say, “but you know what? My doctor told me I was in number one shape. So stop worrying about me. I should be worried about you. You’re the one who keeps putting all the bad stuff into your body.” But the Victory tour had gotten the better of Michael physically. He suffered from exhaustion and dehydration. The memory of his illness was still fresh in his mind when his doctor laid down the law about his diet for his solo tour. I of course, hoped that after a year of eating three square meals a day, Michael had developed a permanent interest in food. But my hope was dashed the first time we talked after I joined him overseas. Happy as he was with the way the tour had gone to that point, he told me, “I’ll be glad when it’s all over, so I can start eating the way I want to again. I’m tired of forcing myself to eat.”
More quotes from Michael himself:
When I get upset, I stop eating, sometimes until I’m unconscious. I’m a great believer in holistic natural foods and eating and herbs and things, you know, God’s medicine, instead of Western chemicals, not those things, you know.
-Michael Jackson, 2005, in an interview with Jesse Jackson
I go through these serious food crises when I could go weeks without eating. I take stuff to keep weight on. What turns me off is that I don’t like eating anything that used to be alive and now it’s dead on my plate. I want to be a strict vegetarian, but my doctors keep trying to throw in chicken and fish.
-Michael Jackson, between August 2000, and April 2001, on tape with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Dick Gregory Took Care Of Michael’s Health
Dick Gregory, a nutritionist and former comedian, said in an interview to US tv show ‘Extra‘ that during the trial Michael Jackson’s weight had fallen to just 43 kilograms (94 pounds). Due to the stress and emotional strains the entertainer didn’t eat and drink enough. Because Michael’s family was very much worried, they turned to Gregory for help.
When he arrived to counsel Michael, Gregory was shocked to see how much the dehydration and not eating enough had effected the entertainer:
I got this strange call from Joe Jackson one day. He said, ‘You gotta fly out here. Michael’s been in his room for 30 days, drinking nothing but water.‘ I was shocked when they gave him four IV drips. That’s how dehydrated he was.
Gregory then trained Michael Jackson’s personal cooks so they can mix vitamins and herbs into his food to help stabilize and build up Michael’s strength. “I took about three hours training them how to cook.”
Gregory also admitted that his client kinda collapsed after days in court when he returned to his Neverland Valley Ranch:
He was stronger at the trial than he was when he got home in the evening. That’s when he was able to collapse and deal with the pain and feel the hurt of his body. He was a zombie… He just didn’t have an appetite and he wasn’t eating. There was nothing he could do to get his appetite back.
-Dick Gregory, on Michael during the 2005 trial
Michael, from Moonwalk, page 227 – 230
When I first became well known, I had a lot of baby fat and a very round, chubby face. That roundness stayed with me until several years ago when I changed my diet and stopped eating beef, chicken, pork and fish, as well as certain fattening foods. I just wanted to look better, live better, and be healthier. Gradually, as I lost weight, my face took on its present shape and the press started accusing me of surgically altering my appearance, beyond the nose job I freely admitted I had, like many performers and film stars.
. . .
I’d like to set the record straight right now. I have never had my cheeks altered or my eyes altered. I have not had my lips thinned, not have I had dermabrasion or a skin peel. All of these charges are ridiculous. If they were true, I would say so, but they aren’t. I have had my nose altered twice and I recently added a cleft to my chin, but that is it. Period. I don’t care what anyone else says – it’s my face and I know.
I’m a vegetarian now and I’m so much thinner. I’ve been on a strict diet for years. I feel better than I ever have, healthier and more energetic. I don’t understand why the press is so interested in speculating about my appearance anyway. What does my face have to do with my music or my dancing?
Corey Rooney and Chris Apostle, former $ony Executives, talk about Michael not eating, drinking or sleeping when he toured:
This was years ago. I’m going to go back probably eight years ago and Michael told me, ‘Cory, I can’t tour anymore. I’m not gonna tour anymore. Ok?’ I said, ‘why Mike?’ He said, ‘Because it will kill me.’ That’s what he said to me. He said, ‘It will kill me.’ Why would you say something like that? He said, ‘Well, remember when I was preparing for my concert and I passed out at the Sony Studio?’ He said, ‘Well, it’s because when I get ready for a tour I get dehydrated. I don’t eat. I don’t drink. I don’t sleep. I put so much of myself into preparing for a tour.’
He said, ‘I’m not doing it on purpose. This is just something I don’t think about anymore. You understand? I’ve just become so driven that I can’t even think about these things anymore. They made me walk around with an IV last time’. He said, ‘So I just decided, my doctors decided that maybe you shouldn’t do this anymore’. He said he wanted to make the Invincible album work to the point where that was it. He’s done with the tour. He’s gonna do this Invincible album. He wanted to continue to put out albums. He said, ‘I’ll do albums till I can’t do it anymore, but I just can’t tour.’”
I met Quincy once at a dinner I cooked for some other musician. He loved my food and asked me if he could come and do something very important. He told me that he wanted to be Michael Jackson’s producer but every time he invited Michael to his house, Michael would never eat. He asked me if he could get Michael to eat some of my food. He said that Michael was a vegetarian and very picky about what he ate. I said I would try.
I went to Quincy’s house and there I met Michael for the first time. I took him aside and told him, “let me make you something very special. I know how to cook very healthy food from Brazil. All natural, all vegetarian. You will like it.” He agreed. I made him some black beans, collard greens, farofa and some other things and he ate four plates full!
Quincy was kissing me all night long and from that time, he has called me many times to cook for him.
I was living in West Los Angeles in a small apartment when I got a phone call. The person on the phone asked me to look outside. He said: “See the limousine? Get in it, now!” I told him I could not because I was taking care of a person off the street and could not leave him. They said that they would send someone to look after the person right away and for me to get into the car. I told them I had to change my clothes because I all dirty from cleaning. They didn’t care. Finally I agreed when the man arrived to take care of my guest and I was taken to a big building in Beverly Hills and up to the very top penthouse. It was very luxurious.
The man on the other side of the desk handed me a ticket and said “you are going to the airport right now. Here is your ticket.” I asked him why. He explained to me that Michael Jackson was having stomach aches and specifically requested me to be his “nutritionist” on the “Victory” tour. He was feeling sick to his stomach and refused to go on stage until they sent me to be his private cook. They were all very nervous. They said they were losing millions of dollars in canceled shows and I had to go right then.
I told them I could not and could only go in the morning. After a lot of arguing, the agreed to let me go home and they picked me up early in the morning and I was off to Birmingham Alabama.
I spent 8 weeks with Michael and his family on the road during the tour. It was an incredible trip I will never forget.
Michael and I became friends and I saw him number of times after that. I visited him in the hospital when his hair caught on fire and I saw him once in a while at an award’s show or party. I even cooked cooked for Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor alone in Michael’s house. That was very special.