Mar 26 2011

“I guess you could say we exchanged elephants”

Category: Family,Friends,Photos,Quotes About MJ,VideosSeven @ 9:23 am

Who doesn’t know that Dame Elizabeth Taylor loved extravagant gifts, especially jewelry! She did, and her dear friend Michael Jackson was more than happy to shower her with some very special gifts. In a surprisingly positive and factual article about Elizabeth and Michael recently featured on, Michael’s propensity to shower his always-delighted and beloved friend with gifts is mentioned.

While she spoke up for him, he shelled out for her. Jackson indulged in Taylor’s love of jewels, giving her diamond bracelets, watches and necklaces. He allegedly promised her a $600,000 piece of jewelry for allowing footage of her to be used in the 2003 TV special “Michael Jackson’s Private Home Movies.”

But he was generous before he needed her as an ally. In 1991, Taylor married her last husband, construction worker Larry Fortensky, on Jackson’s sprawling Neverland Ranch. The ceremony featured A-list guests including former President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, the drone of paparazzi and police helicopters, and hot air balloons Jackson launched in an attempt to drown out their noise.

Due to her famous love for and collection of fabulous jewels, Dame Elizabeth published a book in 2003 called “My Love Affair With Jewelry.”  For those that don’t know, the Krupp diamond given to Elizabeth by Richard Burton during their marriage was over 33 carats, and was purchased in 1968 for approximately $305,000.

Elizabeth and her Krupp Diamond ring

Elizabeth and her Krupp Diamond ring

In Elizabeth’s book are of course some anecdotes about Michael and the gifts he gave her over the years. Here are some of those stories:

Over the years Michael has given me some truly incredibly jewelry. Once he gave me a huge diamond ring and kept saying, ‘Put it on, put it on. Look at the way it sparkles. I bet it’s bigger than the Krupp.’ So I asked innocently, ‘Really? How many carats is it, Michael?’ ‘Seventeen,’ he answered. I embraced him and whispered in his ear, ‘My honey darling, you missed.’

Another time we were at an auction together and I was getting excited about bidding on a pair of long shaggy Marina B diamond earrings, so I told him that he had to buy something, too. I showed him this delightful monkey necklace made up of diamonds, emeralds, and rubies with matching earrings. He probably thought I had something like ‘auction fever’ when I pointed out that the two monkeys symbolized us, bonded in friendship. In hindsight, I must have made some sense, because these little monkeys are perfectly at home with all my other beloved jewelry.

A year or two ago, Michael and I and a couple other friends decided to go to Las Vegas for my birthday. We stayed at the incredibly beautiful Bellagio, where we had dinner and watched the fountains. The whole thing was just perfect for me because I’ve grown tired of big-deal birthdays. At one point, I turned to Michael and said, ‘All right, where’s my present?’ Well he looked at the ground, he looked around the room, he looked at our friend Arnie Klein, but he didn’t really say anything. So I said, ‘Michael, I know they have great jewelry shops in the lobby. I can’t believe you haven’t noticed.’ Michael and Arnie start giggling. I continued, ‘This is really breaking my heart, Michael. I’m not sure I can go on.’ You know, I was really hamming it up. Finally, Michael and Arnie excused themselves and returned to the table some time later with a perfectly interesting-sized book.  Any box can be interesting to me! I opened it and inside was some weird padded black wrapping, protecting the most exquisite titanium elephant evening bag. A saddle of rubies and pearls was dangling from its backside, and the dear little creature had huge diamond eyes.

The elephant purse Michael gave Elizabeth (from her book 'My Love Affair With Jewelry')

The evening bag Michael gave Elizabeth (from her book 'My Love Affair With Jewelry')

‘Michael! Michael! I was just kidding around!’ I mean, this was the most unusual thing I’d ever seen. I was playing with the long dangling pearls, in part because I was so happy and because I was a little embarassed that he had actually gone and gotten me something this amazing. But Michael and I do kid around a lot, and I knew I hadn’t really overstepped my place in our relationship.

When I got home, there in my front hall was a huge box, tied with a red ribbon. It was my real birthday present from Michael, the one had planned to give me all along – one of those superflat TV sets. Truly, the biggest one I’ve ever seen. I was an innocent in all of this, the most happy innocent. And Michael played it totally straight.

Years before, soon after Larry Fortensky and I got married at Michael’s Neverland Valley Ranch, I couldn’t think of what to give Michael to show my undying thanks. He rarely invites anyone to Neverland, and this was the first time, which was so generous, such a glamorous compliment to our friendship. I had been trying to think of a truly meaningful way to thank him. Then I got an idea: Michael has a zoo. I’ll get him an elephant! That clinched it. I got him a great big Asian elephant named Gypsy. I guess you could say we exchanged elephants.

Michael receiving Gypsy from Elizabeth

Michael receiving Gypsy from Elizabeth

Below, video of Michael receiving Gypsy. Michael named the elephant Gypsy because of the adorable gypsy outfit Elizabeth was wearing that day.

In a piece titled: “She Was the King of Pop’s Queen“, mutual friend David Gest had this to say about Michael and Elizabeth’s friendship and about her delight when Michael showered her with gifts, his feeling that he could be ‘human‘ when he was with her:

I recall the time we were having dinner at La Scala restaurant in Beverly Hills. People flocked around her – it was funny because for once Michael wasn’t the centre of attention.

I remember he leaned over and whispered to me, ‘Now that’s what you call royalty.’

To Americans she was royalty, she was the closest thing they have to a queen and everywhere she went people fawned over her.

Michael once told me that the reason they got along so well was that she was a child star herself, so understood him completely.

Gest says [Michael] would often shower the ‘Cleopatra’ star with gifts, and felt he could be “human” when he was with her.

They would take trips together to New York or London. And Elizabeth loved lavish gifts. Michael would shower her with presents of jewellery and said she was like an excited little kid when he presented her with something new.

She loved this specific violet rose which you could only get in this one Beverly Hills florist.

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9 Responses to ““I guess you could say we exchanged elephants””

  1. TLS says:

    To mark Elizabeth’s passing, I watched Cleopatra. Even knowing how the movie ends, I wasn’t prepared for seeing her clad in gold, lifeless in her tomb. I was struck by how such a tiny lady had shown so much strength–going to bat for gay men during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic when few others would, and staying loyal to MJ when no one else of her stature did. RIP Elizabeth.

  2. Solar says:

    “I see people turning into angels and God giving them their wings…I have this dream…this I believe….If we could take LOVE to its highest level….” – Michael Jackson.

    The LOVE that Elizabeth and Michael shared was at its highest level, trascending human comprehension. Michael not only spoke of LOVE, he was LOVE and lived LOVE at its highest level!

    See Seven’s post “I Have This Dream” to listen to this song’s beautiful melody and read the profound words that reach deep down into the soul of humanity.

    It’s up to each one of us now to carry on and work towards helping to make Michael’s Dream a reality.

  3. Michelle says:

    Aren’t these two awesome? No wonder their friendship was sooooo beautiful.

  4. Dialdancer says:

    “While she spoke up for him” “He shelled out for her”

    This is a slap not only at Michael as if to say he would not have had her friendship if he had not bought it, but it says Elizabeth the woman and her friendship could be bought.

    This is why not enough of our society cannot see anything except evil they are missing that specialness of a child’s love and innocence.

  5. emma says:

    A wonderful post, with an expressive title. “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” is an exceptional movie and performance of Elizabeth Taylor. I loved the special features section as much as the movie, where one can learn about Elizabeth as told by her mother, co-stars and movie directors. It makes you understand more the bond between Her and Michael. Rest in peace.

  6. Hayat says:

    I don’t know if you saw the video on Youtube – how Michael and Elizabeth opened their christmaspresents, i ADORE her in that footage!
    So relaxed, so much fun to be around with, such a sweet incredible woman!
    I love the bit where she’s snatching his presents, and especially where she exclamiates when she finally gets her squirt gun: ‘AAAAAAAAAAAAA! SUPERSOACKEEEER!! YEAAAH’!!’
    For me, its just such a huge relief to know that he had that one person in his life for all those years – that made him feel humane.

  7. Seven says:


    I have seen that video many times. Absolutely heartwarming.

  8. Seven says:


    That is a slap, it seems. However they do somewhat redeem the article when they later add:

    “But he was generous before he needed her as an ally. In 1991, Taylor married her last husband, construction worker Larry Fortensky, on Jackson’s sprawling Neverland Ranch. The ceremony featured A-list guests including former President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, the drone of paparazzi and police helicopters, and hot air balloons Jackson launched in an attempt to drown out their noise.”

    It is a caveat to the insinuation that he ‘bought’ her friendship because he needed her as an ally. He was generous with her before that. One comes away from the article with the impression that these are two dear friends who simply loved to delight and treat each other.

    Larry King and others have spoken about Elizabeth’s tenacity and loyalty to her friends. Overall, I think it’s well-known that her loyalty to those she loved did not have to and in fact could not be bought. Therefore we can only believe that Michael and Elizabeth’s friendship was truly genuine.

  9. june says:

    Elizabeth could have bought herself anything, including jewelry, which struck her fancy, and often did. The theory that she would speak positively for Michael only in exchange for jewelry is ludicrous and I don’t believe this was the intent of the quoted ABC news piece. Elizabeth and Michael were generous with each other in so many ways long before the 90’s. She said she loved him “like a son”, and I believe, to Michael, she was a second mother.

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