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CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Profiles of Angelina Jolie, Michael Jackson
Aired June 11, 2005 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, she's the Oscar-winning actress with a wild child reputation.
LEAH ROZEN, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: There is the actual actress who's really good. Then, here's Angelina, the wacky, wacky celebrity.
ANNOUNCER: A personal life that sparked a tabloid frenzy about the relationship with her "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" co-star Brad Pitt.
JESS CAGLE, SR. EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: Word from the set got out that there was great chemistry between these two people.
ANNOUNCER: She grew up a child of Hollywood, but rebelled against her famous father. Now, Jon Voight speaks out about their strained relationship.
JON VOIGHT, ACTOR/ANGELINA JOLIE'S FATHER: I was very, very concerned about Angie's behavior. I was concerned about it all the time.
ANNOUNCER: The complex life of Angelina Jolie.
Then, he is the self-styled king of pop, on trial facing child molestation charges, awaiting a verdict. He first topped the charts fronting the Jackson 5 with songs like "I Want You Back."
MICHAEL JACKSON, ENTERTAINER (singing): Ooh, ooh, baby.
JACKSON 5 (singing): I want you back.
ANNOUNCER: But behind the curtain was a demanding father and a lost childhood.
URI GELLER, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FRIEND: There was something blocking his mind, which makes him one of the children. He's just never grown up.
ANNOUNCER: His strange lifestyle and constant transformation would make more headlines than his music.
RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, JACKSON'S SPIRITUAL ADVISER: He expressed to me that he was made to feel that he was ugly. So now he's tinkering like crazy, and destroying his body.
ANNOUNCER: A look beyond the scandal, and behind the changing image of Michael Jackson.
Now, from the pages of "People" magazine and the network for news, a look at the most fascinating PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi, everyone, I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for being with us, and welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
She's a combustible mix of beauty, talent and contradictions. Angelina Jolie is a former wild child, an Oscar-winning actress, single mother and U.N. goodwill ambassador. Yet it is her bizarre behavior and many loves that often grabbed the biggest headlines. When asked about her personal life, Jolie is usually pretty candid, except when it comes to her rumored relationship with actor Brad Pitt, and her ongoing rift with her father, Jon Voight. He and Jolie are estranged.
But in an exclusive and candid interview with CNN, Voight shares his concerns about his famous daughter.
BRAD PITT, ACTOR: Sweetheart?
ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: You still alive, baby?
ZAHN (voice-over): On screen, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt sizzle as a pair of sexy assassins in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith."
PITT: Come on, sweetheart, come to daddy.
JOLIE: Who's your daddy now?
It was great. He's amazing.
PITT: It's good fun. I'm -- just good -- you know, a lot of good bouncing off each other.
PITT: Not for years.
ZAHN: Off-screen, their rumored romance and Pitt's split from Jennifer Aniston are getting as much press as the new movie.
Tabloid pictures of Brad and Angelina together, right after the breakup, have sparked speculation about their relationship.
JOLIE: You've got to be kidding.
ROZEN: It's so difficult to separate the film from the hype. Are they having an affair? Did she break up the marriage? What's going on?
TODD GOLD, WEST COAST BUREAU CHIEF, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: When Brad and Jennifer announced their separation, they made a point of saying there was no third party involved. It was obviously in reference to the swirl of rumors.
Angelina also denied being involved.
ZAHN: Thirty-year-old Jolie has had a history of rocky and often scandalous relationships, from her torrid and very public romance with actor Billy Bob Thornton to a brief fling with another woman. But it's her relationship with the first man in her life, dad Jon Voight, that's been the most tumultuous.
GOLD: Angelina's parents divorced when she was about 1 years old. It had a profound influence on her as she grew up. She has had, as a result, a difficult relationship with her father.
ZAHN: In fact, Angelina and her father haven't spoken in three years. In an exclusive interview with CNN, the Oscar-winner actor talks candidly about his strained relationship with daughter Angelina.
VOIGHT: She's talking about choosing lovers, you know, like she was picking out oranges in supermarket or something like that. I mean, there's something wrong.
ZAHN: Jolie's behavior has always made tabloid fodder. She's both intriguing and disturbing. She has 12 tattoos, is fascinated by S&M sex, and proudly wore a pendant necklace filled with human blood.
ROZEN: There are actually two aspects to Angelina Jolie. One, there's the actual actress, who's really good and can you just grab you off the screen like nobody else. Then there's Angelina, the wacky, wacky celebrity, who, you know, sort of always had this incredibly tangled personal life, now seems to be transforming herself into U.N. representative and human rights advocate.
ZAHN: Angelina is nothing if not complex. Behind the idiosyncrasies, she's a goodwill ambassador to the United Nations, and a dedicated mother. In fact, she says her number one priority is creating the perfect childhood for her 3-year-old adopted son Maddox. It was a time in her own life that was less than ideal.
VOIGHT: She was a baby when we divorced, so it surprised me when she said it affected her as severely as it did. But looking back, I can see that there were times when perhaps she expressed her anger in different ways.
ZAHN: A daughter of Hollywood royalty, Angelina Jolie Voight was born in Los Angeles, on June 4th, 1975. Angelina's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, was an actress and homemaker. Her father is best known for his high-profile roles in "Midnight Cowboy" and "Coming Home."
VOIGHT: Sure, gives you something to talk about over martinis, how you're helping out the poor cripples.
ZAHN: Growing up, Angie, as her parents called her, seemed to be taking after them. VOIGHT: She was dramatic when she was a young girl, and she was always dressing up and designing little things, skits for her friends and so on. I saw her -- you know, I thought maybe this gal would become an actress.
ZAHN: At age 7, she made her film debut, starring alongside both parents in "Looking to Get Out."
VOIGHT: Daddy is a -- he's a nice man.
JOLIE: You are, too.
VOIGHT: Now, when we divorced, I tried to keep the family together as much as possible. We did, we went on trips together. We -- I was the coach for the soccer team that the kids played on. And Marche was the soccer mom. And I was trying always to keep the family together and be there for the kids as much as possible.
ZAHN: Angelina modeled professionally, and attended Beverly Hills High School. But she wasn't like most other students.
NEELY MARGO, JOLIE'S DRAMA TEACHING ASSISTANT: She was very dark, very goth. I always remembering her wearing black lipstick. Her hair was very long. Very quiet. She didn't talk to anybody, really.
ZAHN: Angelina once dreamed of becoming a mortician and had a fascination with self-mutilation.
JOLIE: I collected knives and I always had certain things around. For some reason, the ritual of having cut myself and feeling, like, feeling the pain, maybe, feeling alive, feeling some kind of release, it was somehow therapeutic to me.
ZAHN: Jolie has also admitted she experimented with drugs in high school.
VOIGHT: Of course, that's upset me very much. And perhaps, this was the beginning of her retaliation against me, for the anger that she felt when I left her mother. And it was very difficult for me to scold her or reprimand her. And I backed down, partially because, you know, I felt some guilt about the divorce, partially because I was hoping that things would go away. But I wasn't as stern as I should have been, and I have to say that I take full responsibility for that. That was a big mistake.
ZAHN: But despite any personal problems, Jolie'e flair for the dramatic eventually led her into the family business -- acting.
JOLIE: Are you challenging me?
JOHNNY LEE MILLER, ACTOR: Name your stakes.
ZAHN: Angelina's first major film role came at the age of 19, in "Hackers," a 1995 thriller about computer geeks.
JOLIE: If I win, you become my slave.
ROZEN: You came out of the movie and said, "hmm, that girl's good, who is she?" And then found out she was Jon Voight's daughter. For her personally, she met the British actor Johnny Lee Miller on the film. He was he co-star. And they ended up getting married.
GOLD: It was an informal ceremony, most memorable for the fact that she wore, you know, black rubber pants and a white shirt and scrolled his name on her shirt with her own blood.
ZAHN: The pair divorced three years later, while Jolie was working on "Gia."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This must be Gia.
JOLIE: How do you know my name?
ROZEN: "Gia" was a made-for-HBO film that put Angelina Jolie on the map. It was a biopic in which she played a real-life character, a model named Gia, who was sort of one of these sort of superstar models, but had big drug problems, a complicated sexuality. And Angelina Jolie just bit into this role and chewed it like it was the juiciest steak around.
JOLIE: I do be the prettiest, prettiest girl. I do be that.
ZAHN: The Golden Globe-winning role about the heroine-addicted lesbian rattled the young actress.
GOLD: It scared her. The living on the edge, the experimentation, the exploration of drugs. And when she was finished, you know, she was completely depleted. In fact, she dropped out of Hollywood briefly, and enrolled at NYU Film School, where, as she told me, she wanted to explore, you know, what was inside her.
ZAHN: Jolie admitted in several interviews at the time that she experimented with heroin.
VOIGHT: And I didn't get the seriousness of it until it started appearing in the papers, when she was giving interviews, when she was a young, young actress. And then I realized what was going on. And I tried to get her help. And our relationship became a hide-and-seek relationship from that time.
ZAHN: Coming up, Jolie explores her sexuality, and the Oscar lip lock that had tongues wagging.
ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
ZAHN: By 1999, Angelina Jolie was an award-winning actress, divorced and at 24 years old, already controversial.
JOLIE: I'm just bad at press.
ZAHN: She began a short-lived romance with actress Jenny Shimizu, her co-star from the film "Foxfire."
JOLIE: I'm going to tickle you to death. Do you understand me?
JENNY SHIMIZU, ACTRESS: Yes, ma'am.
JOLIE: I thought she was the greatest woman I met. I had so much fun with her, and found myself loving her and wanted to express that physically.
GOLD: Angelina has been very public that she's as comfortable making love to a woman as she is to a man. You know, she really is somebody who pursues what feels good to her, what feels right, without thinking much about traditional conventions.
JOLIE: Good to know.
ZAHN: That year, Jolie starred opposite Winona Ryder as a mental patient in "Girl, Interrupted."
ELISABETH MOSS, CO-STAR, "GIRL INTERRUPTED": She would walk on to set and change the energy of the room. She was like -- it was as if somebody had released a tiger onto set that was prowling around.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes?
JOLIE: Got any hot fudge?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MOSS: I think we all knew during the filming of that that she was doing something extraordinary.
ROZEN: She was the fascinatingly crazy friend in the institution.
JOLIE: Good to be home.
ROZEN: And she just walked away with that movie and got an Oscar for it.
ZAHN: In her shocking Oscar acceptance speech, Jolie announced she was in love with her brother, and planted a kiss on his lips.
ROZEN: It was a tabloid frenzy. You look back now and you go, "What was that all about?"
JOLIE: There's nothing at all bizarre, sexual, or strange going on. My brother and I are very, very good friends. We deeply love and care about each other. And we came from a divorced family, and we have been through a lot together. And so we're extremely close.
ZAHN: Although the kiss created controversy, 24-year-old Jolie was actually in a serious relationship with 44-year-old Billy Bob Thornton, her co-star from the dark comedy "Pushing Tin." BILLY BOB THORNTON, ACTOR: If you ever want to sleep at night, don't marry a beautiful woman.
ZAHN: In May 2000, the couple eloped in Las Vegas.
GOLD: Then they were on the red carpets pawing each other, kissing, making out.
JOLIE: We wouldn't leave the bedroom.
GOLD: It just got weirder and stranger from there.
ZAHN: Jolie was known to wear a pendant necklace filled with Thornton's blood. For their first anniversary, Jolie bought her true love his-and-her burial plots.
CAGLE: He's not really an ugly guy, but there was a beauty and the beast quality to this. I mean, almost no one, except for Brad Pitt, is a physical match for Angelina Jolie, who is arguably the most beautiful woman in the world. So, wow, Billy Bob Thornton got Angelina Jolie, that's amazing.
ZAHN: But her father wasn't so amazed. He was worried about his daughter's marriage.
VOIGHT: There was a time when I was very, very concerned about Angie's behavior, and she was with Billy Bob at that time. And there was so much exhibitionism and displaying of negative values. I was deeply upset about it.
ZAHN: However, Voight says, because he loves his daughter, he tried to support her relationship with Billy Bob. The two eventually worked out their differences.
JOLIE: We're not as close as me and my brother, but -- and my mom, you know, but we're close in a different way.
ZAHN: Angelina even reached out to Voight, asking him to play her father in the film "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider."
VOIGHT: If you're reading this letter, I'm no longer with you. And I miss you and love you always and forever.
It was just the most joyous time for us both. We did nothing but laugh and tell each other how much we loved each other. And it seemed like the beginning -- there was a little hope coming through at that moment in time.
ZAHN: But will that love last? When we come back, the stormy father-daughter relationship takes an ugly turn.
VOIGHT: It's this situation where she surrounds herself with certain people and tries to stay away from me.
ZAHN: And then, what Angelina said about Brad.
GOLD: I don't think Angelina lies.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
ZAHN: 2001 was a high point for Angelina Jolie. Her film, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" was a box office hit. And she had rekindled her relationship with her father, Jon Voight. Jolie was also about to discover a newfound passion for helping others.
CLIVE OWEN, ACTOR: I knew nothing about that book. What was in the book, the equipment.
JOLIE: Did you handle the guns?
ZAHN: While researching her role in the film, "Beyond Borders," Angelina Jolie traveled to Africa and Asia as part of a United Nations refugee mission.
JOLIE: They didn't dumb it down for an actress. They said, "You know, we did have bets as to how much luggage you'd have and would you be wearing high heels, and make -- and we did sit around and wonder, what was this kind of strange creature that was coming to the middle of a place that seemed not to fit at all."
ZAHN: Jolie was such a perfect fit that in August 2001, she became a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency.
JOLIE: And I'm so proud to represent them. And it means a lot that I do it right.
ZAHN: In public, Jolie appeared to be the perfect diplomat. But her father says he was concerned about her private life.
VOIGHT: You see the way she talks about her sex life and the way she has gone from one marriage to another, which has been very painful to me to watch.
ZAHN: Voight says he tried to talk with Jolie about her promiscuous lifestyle.
VOIGHT: As soon as she saw a conversation going in a certain direction, she would push it aside. So the only way to reach her was to get her a letter that she would read, somehow fix the circumstance so she'd read it. And the essence of the letter was that I was in pain that she was exhibiting these traits and setting such an example for young people.
ZAHN: Angelina told "Vanity Fair" she found the letter hurtful and stopped talking with her father. Then, in March 2002, just after adopting her son from a Cambodian orphanage, Voight and Jolie's private problems became very public.
GOLD: The adoption was done in, you know, in pretty extreme secrecy. And he, without her permission, basically told the world the news that she had become a mother. He did it in the most public of ways, in front of the press at Academy Awards time.
VOIGHT: I had heard that she - the baby was delivered to her. And I just was in the middle of a lot of attention because I was up for an Academy Award. And they asked me about, "How is Angie?" And I said, "Well, she just got the baby today. So I guess that makes me a grandfather." I mean, you know, I was happy for her.
ZAHN: When Jolie didn't respond, Voight tried to reach her by appearing on "Access Hollywood" and "Inside Edition."
GOLD: He went in front of the press and said that she was suffering from psychological problems, and was unfit, was unbalanced. And, obviously, she was livid. If there was any chance of a relationship, it ended right there.
VOIGHT: When I was on "Access Hollywood," and obviously deeply emotionally distraught, she used that against me. She used everything -- you know, she turned everything against me. She indicated that I was looking for publicity. Holy smokes.
ZAHN: Jolie would not talk to CNN about personal relationships, but she did release a statement: "I have no anger towards my father. I simply don't know him. My son has never met him. And I'm doing my best at this to focus on a healthy life. I wish my father well."
In 2002, Jolie severed ties with Voight. That same year, her marriage to Billy Bob collapsed.
GOLD: Angelina has explained that the marriage ended because they simply grew apart.
ZAHN: Jolie has moved on and spends her days as a mom, and working with the U.N.
JOLIE: Understand how Philip thinks.
ZAHN: She takes film roles, like her recent turn in the epic drama, "Alexander," in order to donate more money to charity and has met with refugees in more than 15 countries.
JOLIE: It's these situations where you're just looking -- you think, "For God's sake, we've got to figure out some way to balance the world. There's got to be something."
ZAHN: Jolie's celebrity has brought a great deal of attention to the U.N. But it's her love life, specifically the rumors surrounding her and Brad Pitt, that continue to fascinate fans and make the cover of magazines.
CAGLE: The buzz started on the two of them pretty much the second "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" started filming. I think that, whatever was happening between them, certainly word from the set got out that there was great chemistry between these two people.
ZAHN: Shooting began in January 2004. Four months later, there were tabloid stories of a romance between Pitt and Jolie. Brad and Angelina denied them.
GOLD: I don't think Angelina lies. I don't think that there was any kind of physical relationship while they were shooting the movie.
VOIGHT: Angie had seen her mother go through that kind of pain, because of my adultery. So you would think she'd stay very far way from it. And she has actually said she does. She says it. But does she?
ZAHN: In a recent interview with "Marie Claire" magazine, Jolie said, "To be intimate with a married man, when my own father cheated on my mother, is not something I could forgive. I could not, could not look at myself in the morning if I did that."
Just after New Year's 2005, Brad and Jen called it quits. Only a few months later, Brad reportedly joined Angelina and her son on two African getaways.
GOLD: I think that can be seen as non-denial of a relationship that maybe has become a deepened friendship.
ZAHN: For her part, Jolie says she doesn't pay much attention to reports about her.
JOLIE: People writing about me are saying things about my personal life. And you never want anything that says something nasty against your character. You know, you don't like. But I know who I am.
ZAHN: For the actress accustomed to doing things her own way, any future relationship with dad, Jon Voight, or co-star Brad Pitt, would be impossible to predict.
PITT: Dance with me.
ZAHN: So, could "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" actually end up together off-screen?
CAGLE: Angelina and Brad actually make a nice pair. I mean, they look great together, obviously, and they are both interested in a lot of the same things.
I mean, he has been traveling a lot. He has been educating himself about everything from stem cell research to, you know, poverty in Ethiopia. She is similarly passionate about certain social issues. So they are a good pair. They make a lot of sense.
ZAHN: Meanwhile, Angelina's father is hoping for another reconciliation.
VOIGHT: Still, my concern is for my daughter. I'm still concerned for my daughter, you know? I want her happiness.
ZAHN: We should note that Angelina Jolie turned down our request for an interview. As for her new movie with Brad Pitt, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," it has now opened nationwide.
ANNOUNCER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, he's the legendary pop star, now more famous for his off-the-wall behavior and image makeovers than his music.
BOTEACH: He puts on that black thing, that mask. And I said to him, take that stupid thing off! You look like a monkey!
ANNOUNCER: Michael Jackson, from superstar to just plain bizarre, coming up next.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hello, everyone. I'm meteorologist Jacqui Jeras from the CNN Weather Center, with the latest on Tropical Storm Arlene. It is now over land, still packing a bit of a punch. It did make landfall between 2:00 and 3:00 local time. You can see showers and thunderstorms still swirling around the center of circulation, so winds are still going to be gusty associated with these storms. You can see, 30- to 40-mile-per-hour wind gusts at this time. Maximum sustained winds are continuing to drop now that the storm is weakening and over shore.
Also, the tornado watch has been expired across southern parts of Alabama, Georgia and into northern Florida. Although we can't rule out some gusty winds, we'll be watching if that threat changes throughout the evening.
Our biggest concern now is going to be the heavy rains; two to four inches will be possible into the watch areas, and look, the watches go from the Gulf Coast extending all the way up into Tennessee. We'll have complete team coverage coming up at 6:00 Eastern, 5:00 Central. Now, back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Michael Jackson's fate is now in the hands of eight women and four men. After a four- month long trial, the pop star's child molestation case went to the jury last Friday, and it's been a waiting game ever since.
A look now at the one-time King of Pop's transformation from international superstar to celebrity defendant.
ZAHN (voice-over): This is how we first saw Michael Jackson. A charismatic, precocious pop star singing songs like "I Want You Back" with his brothers, the Jackson 5.
Yet, this is the same person, the child who became the biggest star in the world, now on trial facing charges of child molestation.
For more than 30 years, we've been fascinated by Michael Jackson. We've watched as he's transformed himself from an African-American boy to something completely different. He's arguably one of the most famous men on Earth, yet seems to live in a child-like world of his own.
GELLER: There's something blocking his mind, which makes him one of the children. He's just never grown up.
BOTEACH: He would always give me these rational and intelligent explanations as to why his success was directly tied to him choosing to remain a child.
ZAHN: But what is reality and what is image making? Where does the truth start and the myth end? To paraphrase his hit song, who does Michael Jackson see when he looks at the man in the mirror?
J. RANDY TARABORRELLI, BIOGRAPHER: There is no star like Michael, no celebrity like Michael, and no person like Michael. He is completely unique.
ZAHN: Michael Jackson grew up in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children. Their steel worker father, Joe, turned five of his boys into a band with a then 5-year-old Michael out front.
PETER CASTRO, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: He was a symbol for the consummate entertainer. You know, not since Sammy Davis, Jr. had someone come along with such a diverse range of talents.
ZAHN: As seen in the video from a documentary produced by Michael Jackson, the group auditioned for Barry Gordy, founder of Motown Records.
TARABORRELLI: From the time most kids were building tree houses, Michael Jackson was building an image. At the age of 10, he was told to say that he was 8. And Michael was happy to play along with that, because he understood at a very early age that image-making and public relations was very important.
ZAHN: It worked. The Jackson 5 exploded onto the pop charts. Their first three singles, "I Want You Back," "ABC" and "The Love You Save," all hit number one.
But behind the image of the happy family and their rags-to-riches story, there was something else -- incredibly hard work and a father who pushed his children.
TARABORRELLI: When Michael discusses these beatings today, he gets very emotional. It's clear that he hasn't come to terms with any of that yet.
BOTEACH: On the one hand, he would always complain. My father didn't love me enough. My father made me into a performance machine. My father was too strict. He was too much of a disciplinarian. He would make me rehearse too much. I would see kids on the monkey bars and I would cry because I couldn't have a childhood.
ZAHN: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was a friend and spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson for two years.
BOTEACH: I said to him, "Look at the flipside of that. Because of that, you became a big performer. And maybe even because you weren't given enough love as a child, you wanted the world's love. So you worked really hard, perfecting your dance moves, and you became a superstar. Would you trade it in for a normal childhood and give up the celebrity?" And interestingly, he'd say to me every time, "No, I wouldn't do that."
ZAHN: Jackson and his brothers would become pre-teen idols, appearing in commercials and on magazine covers.
However, Jackson's teenage years were awkward. He suffered from bad acne and was self-conscious about his appearance.
BOTEACH: He did say to me that he was once on an airplane and his father said to him, "You know, your nose isn't nice," or something like that. And generally, he expressed to me that he was made to feel that he was ugly, that he was not pretty.
ZAHN: By 1979, the Jackson 5 had made a highly publicized split from Motown, and Michael Jackson was ready to spread his wings.
Michael soared with his first solo album, "Off the Wall." Songs like "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough," and "Rock With You" reaching number one.
JOHN NORRIS, SR. CORRESPONDENT, MTV NEWS: They are songs that still hold up today. They don't sound dated. I guess what none of us could have anticipated was the album that they would then produce after "Off the Wall."
ZAHN: That album was 1982's "Thriller," and it would catch fire when Jackson unveiled an out-of-this-world dance move on a TV special for Motown's 25th anniversary.
NORRIS: What a moment that was in pop culture history when he moon-walked across the stage there.
TOURE, CNN POP CULTURE ANALYST: So he's doing the moonwalk, which when he first did it, nationally, it was like, wait, is gravity being, like, messed with here, special effects, like what are we doing? And I mean, you know, within six months, every 10-year-old in Dallas could do it.
ZAHN: The transformation was complete. Michael Jackson was about to go from child pop star to the biggest star on the planet.
When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, chimps, oxygen chambers, the Elephant Man's bones -- Michael Jackson's bizarre behavior.
ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
ZAHN: In December, 1982, 24-year-old Michael Jackson released "Thriller," and with that historic piece of vinyl, a phenomenon was born.
TOURE: Michael was not a phenomenon with "Thriller." He was beyond phenomenon. I mean, the record flew out of stores. You know, it could not be stopped.
NORRIS: From the iconic look to the moonwalk to the glove.
CASTRO: The red jacket and -- with the zippers and glasses and the white socks.
TOURE: King of Pop is too small a moniker for him. He was beyond that.
ZAHN: Saying "Beat It" to the competition, for 37 weeks, the album sat at number one.
Fan clubs, trading cards, Michael dolls. The Michael Jackson craze reached fever pitch.
In 1984, Jackson took home seven Grammys. He also raised eyebrows with his red carpet companions, Brooke Shields and Emanuel Lewis.
TOURE: I don't think anybody, even, like, the Iowa housewives, were saying, well, you know, they're not sleeping together. And Emanuel Lewis was right there as the underline, like this is not sexual at all.
ZAHN: In July, 1984, the Jackson 5 reunited in a flurry of publicity. But their victory tour reviews were mixed. Seemingly, soft-spoken Michael was retreating into a world of his own.
NORRIS: Michael had begun to exhibit a certain, I think, aloofness and a tendency to kind of withdraw from the world.
CROWD: Michael! Michael! Michael!
ZAHN: By 1985, the pop star's plastic surgery began to take shape.
TOURE: Every few months, you would see him and you'd go whoa, hey, you're looking weird, dude. But I think it was about '85, '86, and I was like, wow, he's not going to be able to get any weirder than this. And then two years later, I was like, I was wrong.
ZAHN: In 1986, a photograph of Michael asleep in an anti-aging chamber rocked the tabloids. In 1987, his interest in the Elephant Man's bones, Bubbles the chimp, Liz Taylor, and an array of strange disguises set tongues a-wagging.
BOTEACH: And he puts on that black thing, that mask, and I said to him, Take that stupid thing off! You look like a monkey! You look like you're insane. And he said -- and even then, he said to me, well -- it was more like, he says, a razzle-dazzle king of thing. It's mysterious.
ZAHN: Jackson's follow-up to "Thriller," the album simply called "Bad" hit the stores in 1987.
The pop star's eccentric behavior hardly deterred the album's record-breaking five number one's.
"Bad" went on to sell eight million copies, and Jackson went on to change his image once again. Taking cue from "Bad's" title, he became a crotch-grabbing tough guy, a far cry from his gentle off- stage persona.
And yet, the money kept rolling in. In March 1988, Jackson finalized the purchase of a 2,700-acre ranch. The cost, $28 million. He filled the property with an amusement park, a private zoo, and named the oasis, Neverland.
NORRIS: There's a reason it's called Neverland Valley, you know. His fixation on the I won't grow up, I'm a lost boy, I'm Peter Pan.
BOTEACH: He repudiated the adult world. For him, it was a world of betrayal. He'd say to me, Shmuley, you know why I'm the biggest star? Because I'm so much more creative than others, I'm so much more playful. I experiment more. They don't. They're rigid. They've calcified, they've hardened. They've become adults. They've grown up.
ZAHN: And with Neverland, came the children.
TARABORRELLI: Michael began to sort of surround himself with young boys. And much to, I remember, the chagrin of people who were working for him.
ZAHN: Three years later, in the fall of 1991, "Dangerous" was released. Long awaited, the buzz was big. As a result, its lead single, "Black or White" shot to number one.
Coincidentally, fans were wondering about Michael's much lighter skin tone. Was he black or white?
CASTRO: If you believe the fact that he -- you know, that he has this congenital skin condition, that's why he's so white, then fine. But a lot people think that he has bleached his skin. With Michael Jackson, you never know what the truth is.
ZAHN: Coming up, not once but twice, scandal rocks the gates of Neverland.
NORRIS: There are people who to this day are convinced that he never abused a child in his life. I also know people equally convinced that 10 years ago he got away with something terrible, and that he is a predator, and that he may get away with something terrible again.
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ZAHN: By the early '90s, Michael Jackson's new music, even fresh R&B hits like "Remember the Time," couldn't come close to the phenomenon he had created with "Thriller."
Jackson's strange appearance soon began to overshadow his music. He became more reclusive, retreating further into Neverland, where he continued to surround himself with children.
Then in 1993, disturbing allegations surfaced, concerning his association with children. A 13-year-old boy filed a lawsuit, accusing the singer of sexual molestation. Jackson denied the accusation on TV.
JACKSON: I ask all of you to wait and hear the truth before you label or condemn me. Don't treat me like a criminal, because I am innocent.
ZAHN: The case was eventually settled for nearly $20 million. And the suit was dropped in 1994. But Jackson's reputation was seriously damaged.
Less than a year later, Jackson made headlines once again when he married Lisa Marie Presley, the 26-year-old daughter of Elvis.
TOURE: It was quite obvious to all of us from the beginning that it was a sham, that it was a publicity stunt, and it was just kind of disgusting and silly.
ZAHN: The marriage collapsed less than two years after the wedding. Presley filed for divorce in 1996. But later that year, Jackson sent shock waves around the world when he remarried. The singer tied the knot with Debbie Rowe, the nurse of his dermatologist.
TARABORRELLI: The thing about Michael is that he does want what he wants and he will find a way to get it. She offered to have a child for him. She thought he should be a father. And as unconventional as it is, if you really look at it, it's sort of surrogate motherhood.
ZAHN: Rowe gave birth to their son, Prince Michael Jackson, in 1997. The couple divorced in 1999, just a year after they had a baby daughter, Paris Michael Catherine. Jackson was granted full custody of the children.
In 2002, Jackson was front page news again when he dangled his newborn son, Prince Michael II, from the balcony of a Berlin hotel.
TOURE: He thinks he's being loving. I mean, you know, it's sort of like the anti-King Midas, like everything he wants to do just gets screwed up.
ZAHN: Just a year later, Jackson was catapulted back into the limelight when he was featured in the Martin Bashir documentary, "Living With Michael Jackson." In the show, 44-year-old Jackson admitted to letting children sleep with him in his bed at Neverland.
JACKSON: It's not sexual. We're going to sleep. I tuck them in. We put -- I put little, like, music on and it's a little story time. I read a book. ZAHN: Uri Geller, author and self-proclaimed psychic, became friends with Jackson five years ago. He said he urged the singer to keep children out of his bedroom.
GELLER: Michael Jackson doesn't listen to anyone. And he's his own man. I was the only person that had the chutzpah to scream at him and tell him that his business of inviting children to his bedroom is wrong. And Michael just stared at me. He cannot comprehend the severity of such an invitation.
ZAHN: That documentary triggered the bombshell news that pushed the faded pop star back into the spotlight. Just nine months after the show aired, the 13-year-old cancer patient featured in the documentary accused Jackson of sexual abuse.
Although Jackson denies the abuse allegations, he was arrested and charged with multiple counts of child molestation.
And now as we await the verdict of the sensational trial, will the world ever comprehend the true nature of this man?
GELLER: No one knows Michael Jackson really but Michael Jackson himself. I once asked Michael, here in this house, I looked into his eyes and I said to him, "Michael, are you lonely?" And he looked up at me. It was like a 10-second stare, and then he said, "I am a very lonely man." And I think that said it all.
ZAHN: If Michael Jackson is convicted on all 10 counts in his child molestation case, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Coming up next week, Chief Justice William Rehnquist. A look at his life, career and how the high court could change after he's gone.
I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for being with us. Hope you'll be back with us again next week.
ANNOUNCER: For more celebrity news, pick up a copy of "People" magazine this week.
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