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Interview with La Toya Jackson

Aired June 21, 2011 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: La Toya Jackson lived her whole extraordinary life in the spotlight. Now, she's starting over.

Her looks, her love life, strained relationship with her family -- all of it makes headlines.

If that's what you know about her, you don't know the real La Toya.


LA TOYA JACKSON, AUTHOR AND MUSICIAN: Piers, there are certain things that I haven't told anyone. But, tonight, I'll tell you.


MORGAN: Tonight, she speaks out of what it is like growing up a Jackson.


JACKSON: There's always this misconception of what people think the family is or the way the family should be.


MORGAN: A marriage to her abusive manager.


MORGAN: And what was he physically doing to you?

JACKSON: He was beating me.


MORGAN: On why he thinks Michael was murdered.


JACKSON: Michael told me that they were going to murder him. He was afraid.


MORGAN: La Toya Jackson, for the hour.



MORGAN: La Toya Jackson's second memoir is called "Starting Over," and La Toya joins me now.

Welcome, La Toya.

JACKSON: Thank you. Welcome. Thank you for having me.

MORGAN: Listen, my pleasure. It's a fascinating book title, I would say, and a great cover picture of you and your brother Michael because, of course, there's the -- the irony, you're starting over --


MORGAN: -- Michael can't, he -- he's --

JACKSON: Absolutely.

MORGAN: -- no longer with us. He's a big figure in this book.

Tell me about the motivation. Was it Michael dying that motivated you to write this new book?

JACKSON: No, actually, Piers, I started writing this book in 2008, and I kept writing and kept writing and there was always something that was coming up that prevented me from actually putting it out. So, I -- I finally got the nerve to put it out eventually and it was on the back burner for quite a while.

And then, Michael, of course, the tragedy happened with him and that's when I just moved forward because I felt it was something that was necessary.

I think it's important for everybody to start over in their life when it's not going properly or the way they think it should go or should be going, or if there's problems in their life. However, Michael doesn't have and he didn't have the opportunity to start over, which is so sad, because he's not with us any longer.

MORGAN: Do you think if he'd even lived, Michael, and I -- I interviewed him once, a fascinating experience.

JACKSON: You did?

MORGAN: Yes. And he was -- he was smart.


MORGAN: He was funny. He had these two voices, one was the quite high-pitched --

JACKSON: Yes. MORGAN: -- gentle voice and then when he talked about business, bam --

JACKSON: Oh yes, everything changes, doesn't it?

MORGAN: -- down it came.

JACKSON: And you see the seriousness in him when he talks about the business --

MORGAN: Yes, totally --

JACKSON: -- and how -- how he's really involved in what he's doing in his career and how he's passionate about his job.

MORGAN: But really focused and he knew about business in a way that really surprised me and I saw then that he was a kind of, you know, a chameleon character, you know, in many ways. I'm sure he could be a totally different Michael given the situation that he was in with all sorts of different people, but a fascinating guy and, I've said this before, the greatest entertainer, certainly, that I've ever seen.

JACKSON: Thank you.

MORGAN: Do you think he -- if he had lived, would he have ever had a chance to start over, Michael, do you think?

JACKSON: That's -- that's what hurts me more than anything else because he could have started over. And now, he's not able to start over. It's so important for everyone who -- who's going through anything in their life to start over. And, yes, Michael could have started over.

My biggest regret is that I wasn't there to help him start over. I feel he probably would have been here today had he started over properly.

MORGAN: Let's talk about you for a moment. How has it been for you starting over?

JACKSON: It was a very difficult task for me to start over because there were so many different interruptions when I was about to start over, and I would have to put everything on the back burner but I think that in everybody's life we go through different journeys and different paths and it doesn't always take us the way that we think it's going to take us. But I feel that every life experience that we experience in life is a learning tool and it's up to us to find out what is the best way for us to go when we're taking these paths and different roads -- paths through life. I think you learn something in everything that you do.

MORGAN: What's also interesting to me in this book --

JACKSON: And, it's important to start over. MORGAN: -- is that you're searingly honest and, I mean, it really is -- it's, in parts, difficult to read how open and frank you are about some difficult stuff.

JACKSON: You have to be. Especially if you are starting over, you have to be honest with yourself.

MORGAN: But you never used to be. I mean, I remember this sort of seven or eight year wall of silence you had where --

JACKSON: Well, I was very quiet, very shy, and I was very controlled. But now, things have changed. I'm very free. I'm very open and when you start over you have such a wonderful feeling because, you know, this is the beginning of the rest of your life and you can make that better and it's up to you to make that better.

MORGAN: I interviewed your sister, Janet, earlier this year, who I love.

JACKSON: Yes, isn't she adorable?

MORGAN: She is. Although she did say you were the diva of the family.

JACKSON: Jan would say that, wouldn't she?

MORGAN: And I thought --

JACKSON: She would say that.

MORGAN: -- I did think, and I love her dearly, but I did think pretty rich coming from Janet Jackson.

JACKSON: Yes. Well, she would -- she would, well, that's what she thinks. I think that -- well, it actually depends on how you interpret diva, but Jan is more or less, she's more on the tomboyish side and I was never that way and she used to really get angry when we were younger and my mother would say, you have to go to etiquette school and she would look at me, "It's all your fault, it's because of you I have to etiquette school, you act too much like a girl." I'd go, "Well, Jan, I've never gone."

And she was so defiant. She did not want to go and I have this memory in my head about Jan because she -- we took her to the school and my mother was driving and Jan was in the back of the Mercedes and the minute my mother got out of the car to open the door, Jan locks the door, locks my mother out, props her foot against the door and she holds it like this, like, no, you're not going to make me get out of this car. I'm not going to.

She -- she was rebellious. She refused to go to etiquette and charm school. She didn't want that.

MORGAN: She still has that kind of naughty streak, I think.

JACKSON: Yes, but she's a wonderful person and she -- after all, she didn't need it. She's a lady today.


How do -- when you all get together, I mean, you come from what appears on the outside to be -- let's be honest, a fairly dysfunctional family, simply because of the ludicrous fame that you've had to all live in for so long.


MORGAN: And yet, when I talked to Janet, I found that she was -- I don't want to be patronizing, but refreshingly normal to talk to.

JACKSON: Yes, of course.

MORGAN: I didn't get a sense of somebody who was a crackpot. I got a sense of somebody -- a smart businesswoman. But, she was very honest like you'd be too about particular difficulties of growing up a Jackson.

I mean, for all of you it's been very, very tough surviving that period, isn't it?

JACKSON: Well, I think what it is, Piers, is that when you grow up in the spotlight that everything is magnetized and everything is totally actually blown out of proportion. And in the Jacksons' case, it has been that throughout the entire careers of everyone and there's always this misconception of what people think the family is or the way the family should be or -- but the fact of the matter is, everybody's quiet, everybody's shy and jovial and just love to have fun.

And people mention the word dysfunctional. I don't really see that. I know that every family had their problems and I'm sure the Jacksons have their share of problems -- we all do.

However, no, it's nothing compared to what I've been seeing in reality TV. It's like, people really act this way? Because, we were nothing like that. We're so quiet and shy and it's like, gee.

MORGAN: Are you -- are you, oddly, because of the tragedy of Michael, as a family, are you oddly closer now than you've ever been do you think?

JACKSON: I would love to say, yes, we're closer than we've ever been but it's really interesting, Piers, because when -- when a loved one in your family and Michael was the first that we've lost. And it hurt so badly and everybody wants to be on the same page and it's not always that way.

I think it was very difficult when it came to the plans of what we were going to do with him and the burial. Everybody had different opinions and we would have to vote on which way we were going with it.

So, you want that togetherness, you want people to come closer, yes, it's closer in a sense. But, at the same time, no, it isn't, which is really sad.

MORGAN: I want to take you back, just show you a clip from when you were young --


MORGAN: -- performing with some of your family, and just see what your memory is when you see this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, if you guys are going to fight, I can bring out a replacement. Ladies and gentlemen, the Jackson Girls, Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How's it going, pipsqueak?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This one's because I'm funny.





MORGAN: I mean, when I watch that, it's almost at the end there you get to the Jackson Brothers and off they go and they do this amazing thing. A little part of me, I'll be honest with you, it feels slightly -- you know, I've got three children -- like you all had your --your childhood, your innocence taken away from you. You didn't really have much choice.

You got pushed into this world and that's what you knew and that was your life and you didn't have a normal existence when you were young, any of you.

JACKSON: Well, this was our life and that is what we knew and that's all we knew, and how could someone rob or take something away from you if you don't know anything else? That's -- that's --

MORGAN: When you -- when you look back on it now, do you feel that?

JACKSON: When I look back on it now, it was fun times, it was wonderful times. I wish that I had known a little bit more about the world because then you can control your life a little bit better because you know what -- what you're about to face.

However, no, I have no regrets when it comes to that. I think that, when I look at those brothers and it's just amazing to me, because I used to watch the girls just faint over them and I couldn't understand to save my life, what are you guys fainting over? And the screaming and the paramedics running in and the whole bit. It's like, come on, they're just guys. I couldn't understand that because, you grew up with this music and you grew up with them and to me they were nothing special. They weren't special at all.

But for outsiders, they were just like screaming and, "Oh, you're so wonderful and look, Jermaine, waved at me," and I was just like, so, he waved at you.

MORGAN: You're like, he's my brother. What are you getting at?

JACKSON: I know. It's so funny though.

But, I'm not taking it for granted, but it's so funny when you think about how people look at you when you see yourself totally differently. We see ourselves as very normal and people -- like, oh, I can't believe I touched you and things of that nature.

MORGAN: Do you ever wish you hadn't gone into show business?

JACKSON: I didn't want to go into show business. I refused to -- I wanted to go into business law and I wanted to go to school to be an attorney, and eventually, I got off and I went to school for a little while and my father took me right out. He says, no, you're going to sing like everybody else in this family, and you're -- you're born here to entertain and this is what you're going to do.

And, when he did it, I didn't want to do it but I -- I loved it. Ever since he's done that I said, wow, this is great, I kind of like this a lot.

MORGAN: It's funny, in talking to Janet. I mean, she clearly had slightly bittersweet view of your father. He's clearly an incredibly tough guy. He's a disciplinarian.

You know, he did what he did -- I don't think for his own gain. He did it because he believed in you as children that he thought that the only way you're going to make it big is if he kept pushing and pushing and pushing and that -- very hard, particularly for the girls, I think, to deal with that.

JACKSON: No. He was absolutely right. You must remember that he was a disciplinarian and my father, at the same time, he had that drive. He saw, in his children, how good they could be. He saw the talent.

And, if you don't make people, and children, of course, if you don't show them that if this is what you truly love you must really, really go headstrong with it, and my father was there to make sure that everyone did what they needed to do.

As far as show business was concerned, he would rehearse them and rehearse them, and they became perfectionists. And, look at the result of it today. I thank him very, very much because if it wasn't for my father, we really wouldn't have had the Jackson 5, we wouldn't have had the Jacksons, we wouldn't have had Michael or Jan -- or anybody for that matter.

MORGAN: We're going to take a short break. I want to talk to you more about your dad. I want to ask you, really, if you ever felt it was an abusive relationship.

And then I want to talk to you about what was clearly an abusive relationship, the one that you had in your marriage which makes for horrifying reading.

JACKSON: Very well.


MORGAN: Tonight, my special guest is La Toya Jackson.

La Toya, before the break, we were talking about your dad, Joe, tough man, hard man in many ways. Did you ever feel that in his relentless pursuit for you guys to be successful, that the relationship you had with him crossed the line, that it became abusive in any way?

JACKSON: No. And, let me tell you why I'm saying no to you. It's because my father instilled the music in us. It was already there but he made sure that we knew what was right and what was wrong when it came to that.

He was a disciplinarian, as I said to you earlier. I also feel that when you're young, as children, you don't understand when your parents are trying to discipline you. You feel that it's wrong and they shouldn't do this -- this way or that way.

MORGAN: Did he hit you then?

JACKSON: But, as you grow older -- yes, I got one spanking. But, as you got older, you realize, well, geez, he was doing this for the best, for the best of us, and that's what he was doing. But you must also remember, Piers, during those days and back then in that time, people did spank their children.

Today, it's totally different. People don't do that.

MORGAN: That's completely true and, actually, you know, I think -- I think Janet said he'd hit her once with a belt or something.

JACKSON: Yes, I got one spanking.

MORGAN: But what she found more abusive in a way it seemed to me was when she said to me that the really sad thing, when she tried to call him Dad or Daddy once and he stopped her and said, no, my name is Joe. And, I found that, as a parent, hard to listen to.

And I think she -- I just got a sense that she wished she had been able to have a normal father in that respect.

JACKSON: He was a normal father. I think, probably -- now, I don't know the experience with the Joe and the dad part with her, but I do know --

MORGAN: What did you call him?

JACKSON: Joseph. We all do. That's -- that's what we know him as, Joseph.

MORGAN: But everybody else would call their father, "Dad," "Daddy," or "Father."

JACKSON: Dad or Daddy. Yes, of course. But that's what we call him and we call our mother "Mother" and that's --

MORGAN: Do you still call him Joseph?

JACKSON: Yes, of course. Of course. That --

MORGAN: But if you called him dad, what would happen?

JACKSON: I don't know. He'd probably be shocked. He'd probably be surprised.

MORGAN: You laugh exactly like Janet.


MORGAN: Exactly the same.

JACKSON: That's funny. That's probably the last thing I --

MORGAN: How do you get on with him now?

JACKSON: Very well. I love my father very, very well. I'm so happy that I'm older and I'm able to see things differently than I did when I was a bit younger. So, I understand.

Well, as you get older and you start -- I don't have children of course, but, when you start with your nieces and nephews and you begin to raise them and watch them, you understand and realize why your parents did the things that they did.

MORGAN: Do you think modern parents are a bit soft with their kids?

JACKSON: I do. I do.

I think parents are too lenient with their kids today. I think that -- I think we've really, really and truly lost the respect factor from children today. Children have absolutely no respect in regards to elder people -- elderly people. I would love to see children much more respectful.

MORGAN: I think that's completely true.

JACKSON: Of course it is. I mean, don't you find that true when you --you see -- MORGAN: I do, and I think the discipline thing is a really interesting subject because I know with my kids, now, if they're kept inside all day, they become little monsters. A bit of fresh air, a bit of, you know, playing sport, whatever it may be, they get it out of their system.

But, when they're really aggressive, you know, you can't just sit there and watch them terrorizing people which is what happens. Kids can be like that.

JACKSON: Yes. How are they with you? Do they speak back to you? Or they --

MORGAN: Sometimes, and I don't like it.

JACKSON: Well, what do you say when they speak back?

MORGAN: I have pretty strong words with them.

JACKSON: Really?


JACKSON: And then do they learn from that or?

MORGAN: No, I'm like you, I'm big on respect. I don't -- particularly from the young to their elders. I think it's really important.

JACKSON: Yes. Because if you don't teach your children respect, how are they going to go out in the world and respect other people? You must teach them this so they can understand. You give them respect, you get respect back. And that's so important.

MORGAN: Did your mother have a kind of slightly complicated relationship with the way your father treated you all or did she go along with it completely?

JACKSON: My mother was very quiet. She was very shy and she was very quiet. I don't know if she went along with it or not, because she would never really say. Sometimes, she would say, "Oh, that's just Joe's way of expressing his love or showing his love" -- which, my father, don't get me wrong, he's a very loving person.

MORGAN: Has he ever told you he loves you?

JACKSON: Yes, all the time. As a matter of fact, I just spoke to him --

MORGAN: But only now, he didn't when you -- when you were younger, right?

JACKSON: When we were younger -- no, no.

MORGAN: Do you remember the first time he said that? JACKSON: I think I told him first, I said, "Joseph, I love you very, very much, and you mean the world to me, I want you to know that." And, Piers, I had seen a man that I had never seen before. He became like a little humble boy with his eyes got watery and the whole bit. And --

MORGAN: Really?

JACKSON: Yes, and you must remember something which is very interesting is that I don't care who you are in life, everybody is looking for love. Everybody wants to be accepted.

So, when my father heard those words, you have to remember, it was almost as if, geez, I've never heard this before from any of my children. This is wonderful.

And it made him feel good. It made it feel like he was someone because, after all, we're all children, no matter how old or how young we are we're all children and I always become very analytical with people.

If someone's mean to me or saying something very negative, I say, "What went wrong in their life? What went wrong in their childhood? Why are they reacting the way they're reacting?"

So, what I did was I began to study my father. Watch what he was doing. Watch his ways. Learn a little bit more about his parents and that taught me about him.

I learned that my father was a loner. His mother wasn't there for him. He was the one who raised his brothers and sisters. He's the one who took care of them. He's the one who walked five miles to school every day.

MORGAN: So, he never really had love himself?

JACKSON: He never had love himself and so, how -- if you don't --

MORGAN: He didn't know to express it really.

JACKSON: Yes. You can't give away what you don't have. If you don't have love in here to give away, how can you give it away?

But, he did have love in there. He just didn't know how to express it. And, now he does.

MORGAN: Did Michael ever say I love you to Joseph, do you know?

JACKSON: Yes, he has, he did say that to him, yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

It was something that we always said. We shared that with our mother all the time.

With my father, it was probably in the past 10, 12 years. MORGAN: He's a fascinating character.

JACKSON: He's a good guy though. He really is.

MORGAN: I'm suspect history will -- will be kinder to him --


MORGAN: -- than his past history has.

JACKSON: Oh, yes, it would be, and I think it's a very bad misconception of him and when you don't know how to handle that misconception, it makes it sometimes even more difficult. But, as you come around and receive love and you embrace the love and you embrace it the way he's embracing it, he becomes a better person and I see that.

MORGAN: We're going to take another short break. When we come back, we're going to talk about what I was going to get to in that segment, it was fascinating about your dad, and that's the marriage you had with Jack Gordon who emerges in a pretty horrendous manner from this book and I want to talk to you why.


MORGAN: Back with La Toya Jackson.

La Toya, some of the most difficult stuff to read in this book, and it's a powerful book in many ways, is about your manager who became your husband, Jack Gordon. I've got say -- I mean, he comes over as a complete monster in this book and it sort of prompts the question, when I talk to you now, you seem intelligent, you seem quite worldly-wise, how did you ever get together with a man like this in the first place?

JACKSON: It started with my having to go to Japan and my mother wasn't able to go with me, and she asked my father if he could go with me to Japan and my father wasn't able to go with me. So, they sent Jack Gordon, my father sent him, Gordon, to go to Japan.

Once we got in Japan, he took my passport and told me I wasn't going back, that was it.

MORGAN: He just sort of seized control of your life.

JACKSON: Yes, seized control of my life and you have to remember, back then, I was -- I didn't know what I know today -- meaning, I was a Jehovah Witness, I didn't know the outside world. I lived by the motto of "bad association spoils useful habits," so I always associated -- if I did associate, it would only be with Jehovah Witnesses.

So, you trust everybody, you believed what the said, you thought they were being honest with you. And he took my passport and he just never allowed me to come -- go back home and I didn't --

MORGAN: How did you feel when he did that?

JACKSON: I couldn't understand why. I said, "Please, can I have it?" It was no, no, no. But, please.

And then from there, he went from there to Germany and, just -- you're not going home, you're not going back.

But why? I couldn't understand why.

And it was one of those situations that I wasn't strong enough to say "I'm not going to listen to you, I'm not going, I don't want to do this." I just -- I went along with it.

MORGAN: Where were your family in all of this? Why weren't they steaming in to save you?

JACKSON: My family was there. My family was there. They would call and see how I was doing.

He monitored the calls. He wouldn't let me speak or say certain things. It became a very, very complicated relationship, very, very difficult.

The control factor -- you must remember, Piers, and this is very important about women and that's why I tell them it's very important to start over, is that it starts very slowly, very gradually, and they start saying, well, you're going here because you have to do this and I just got this contract for you to do this and you have to do this.

MORGAN: So, it all sort of makes a bit of sense.

JACKSON: It makes sense and you're going along with it because --

MORGAN: But you're slowly being sucked into something from which there's almost no escape.

JACKSON: You're being sucked into something and there -- there's deadlines and things that you have to make according to him and you're beginning to believe this, because it's making sense, it sounds true. But at the same time, in the back of his mind, he has a motive, he has a plan. You don't know that, because you're not part of that plan but you are the plan.

MORGAN: You say in the book he forced you to marry -- marry him.

JACKSON: Yes. Absolutely.

MORGAN: Even then, you tried to get away.

JACKSON: Yes. Then I tried to get away. I tried desperately to get away at that point and I wasn't able to.

MORGAN: Did you love him?

JACKSON: I walked out many, many times. No, I did not. No, I did not.

MORGAN: You never loved him?

JACKSON: No. No. We were -- we were a manager and artist. Manager -- and he would always ask me that. He would always say, "Do you love me?" And I would say, my answer would always be, "I love everybody. I love everybody."

And that would be my answer.

MORGAN: But when did he first start being physically abusive to you?

JACKSON: It was shortly after we were together. It was shortly -- it started, Piers, little terrible things, just answering the phone. You don't answer the phone, squeezing my hand and then twisting and turning. I would go, ow, why are you doing that to me?

Because you don't know, you don't understand what's going on. I said, OK, I won't. Reaction. Phone rings and it's like, uh, and then there it is again, you don't answer the phone and then, all of a sudden, "I told you not to answer the phone," there's a slap.

And then you're thinking, oh, no, I better obey. And then you become very -- you start obeying.

MORGAN: And at its worst, how bad was the violence?

JACKSON: Well, it put me in the hospital?

MORGAN: And what was he physically doing to you?

JACKSON: He was beating me. He took -- I think the worst beating that I -- well, there were so many, I'm trying to -- one of the worst beatings that I endured was probably when we were in Italy and I asked for an annulment.

I said, "It's been six months, please, can I get an annulment, you told me I could." And he said listen, I own you. Don't you understand that? I own you.

He took my head and he started beating it on the corner of the desk in the hotel room, the table and the desk. And I remember falling back and coming back and I said -- I go please, please, please, don't.

He kept beating my head on the table. I recall trying to get over to the telephone to call downstairs to the operator. And I managed to do that. I called the operator. And you're in Italy, and nobody came up. No one came up. Nobody came up or anything.

The next day, he sends in the aupaire. Sends her up, and she knocks on the door and asks me, she says Latoya, I would like to pack your clothes, we are leaving in an hour or whatever time it was. I said no, it's OK. I'll do it myself. She said is there anything in can get you. And I said well, yeah, can you get a bucket of ice for me, please, and just leave it at the door, just knock and let me know that you left it at the door? She said sure.

She did that. And I waited for about three minutes to make sure she wasn't around. And I opened the door to get the ice. As I reached down, there she was, standing. And Piers, the first thing that came out of my mouth -- I don't know why I said this, I can't even tell you to this day. She looked at me, she went oh, because my eyes were al black and everything. And I said I slipped in the shower.

I don't know where that came from.

MORGAN: The classic excuse.

JACKSON: I said I slipped in the shower. I was protecting him for some silly reason. She didn't say anything. She said can I come in now and pack your things? And I said yes. And she packed my things. We left. He totally ignored me. He never spoke to me in the limo, at the airport, when we got back to London. I was going to my home in London, didn't speak to me there.

When I got there, to the home in London, she asked me are you hungry. I said, a little, I'm OK. She said why don't we get something to eat. I said you know I can't do that. She said yes, you can. You can do whatever you want. I said, no, I can't.

She goes I have the key, you can go. She was allowed to have the key to our home. I wasn't allowed to have anything. I wasn't allowed to have keys or anything, whatsoever.

MORGAN: Was that the moment you broke free?

JACKSON: No, it wasn't. Actually, we walked down. We were living next door to the Hilton Hotel. I can't think of the name of the hotel at the moment that's right across the way from it. We were living right next door to the Dorchester Hotel. They were having some kind of event at the Hilton. Photographers were there. They happened to get pictures of me. I had on my sailor hat and glasses.

And I put my head down so they could take pictures. My glasses fell to the ground. I said oh no. I picked them up my glasses and I put them on like this. Then they got my wrist. And this is when they were -- they just surrounded the house for about three days, I can remember or more.

And I couldn't go out. He told me you did this purposely. You did this so they can see this. I said, I promise I didn't. Yesterday you told them I beat you. I said, I did not, I never said a word.

He said OK, I'll fix that. He goes, I'll fix that. I said please, I promise you. He said, you want me to go to jail, don't you. He says you know I am on probation. He was on probation.

And at that time the media kept calling and calling. He kept making up stories. He gets on the phone and goes, I never touched her. That's plastic surgery. She had surgery. And the reporter said oh, really, they said surgery? And all of a sudden, they said, then what is all the bruises on her wrist? That's not surgery. Where is this coming from?

That's when he knew that he was caught. But Piers, he would not allow me to go see a doctor. My head was boiling. I could feel something shaking in my head. I didn't know what was wrong with my head.

MORGAN: Hold it there. I want to continue this after the break, and find out how you finally got away from this guy.


MORGAN: That will be the inspiration to all of America, how you finally got away.

JACKSON: Oh, yes.


MORGAN: Back with Latoya Jackson. We left before the break with you talking about this abuse from Jack Gordon, your husband. I mean, he was such a control freak, he alienated you from your family. He made you pose for "Playboy," which you didn't want to do. And I think to this day, you regretted that.

But the worst thing for me -- I remember this as a journalist, when it happened -- was when he made you do that press conference about Michael, when you basically went along with all of the allegations against your own brother at a time when Michael most needed probably support of his family.

JACKSON: Absolutely.

MORGAN: That was a despicable thing for him to do.

JACKSON: It was just the lowest of all. It was the lowest. And that's one of the things that --

MORGAN: Do you absolve yourself completely? There will be people watching and reading the book -- you know. You've had this before. They say you can blame somebody to a point.


MORGAN: But when you denounce your own brother in public --


MORGAN: Part of you has to take responsibility yourself for that.

JACKSON: You have to. You have to take responsibility. And I do take responsibility for it, I must tell you. But at the same time, I have to tell you that if I didn't do what he asked me to do, he blatantly told me -- not just me, but others -- my other loved ones -- that he would kill Michael. And I believed him because I believed the actions.

So when he says you get up there, you read this and you say this -- prior to this allegation about Michael, there I was on television saying oh, my brother is wonderful; he would never, ever, ever do a thing like this. This is despicable, the whole bit.

Then Gordon gets this idea, OK, is that what you're saying? No, you're going to change that story. It was like no, no.

MORGAN: How did Michael react when you did that?

JACKSON: I don't know how he reacted at the time. I know how he reacted later, when I talked to him about it. He and I had a conversation. And I told him, I said I need to talk to you, Michael. I want to tell you what exactly happened, what went on. He says Latoya, you don't have to. I said no, I want to.

He said Latoya, I know you. You're my sister. I know you. I love you. I know you would never, ever, ever in your heart do a thing like that. Piers, when my brother said that, that made me feel so good.

MORGAN: How did you finally get rid of him? How did you get out of his clutches?

JACKSON: I got rid of him. I was in New York. And he had taken my passport and everything, wasn't allowed to have my passport. I begged for it that night. He wanted me to do a pornography film. He says you're doing it. I said you've destroyed me. He said, you're nothing now. You're doing this film. You're going to do the sex scene with two guys. He just went on and on, what I was going to do.

I said, please, don't make me do this. I can't do this. I can't do this. He says you're doing it. He was getting money for it. He was getting quite a few million for me to do this. And I said I can't do this. I won't.

So I decided that I was going to leave him. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. I said this is it. I have to leave. He promised me if I left, he would kill me and he would kill Michael. I called my brother on the phone. I picked up the phone when he got in the shower.

MORGAN: Which brother did you call.

JACKSON: The first Jackson I saw. It happened to be my brother Randy. Randy told me, you're lucky, I never answered the phone. And he did. And immediately he got my mother and father on the phone. My father said, Randy, just go get her right now. I was in New York. They were in L.A.

They were just so happy to hear from me, and the whole bit. And I was so nervous, Piers, the entire time, because we were in a hotel. He was in the shower. They had the red lights on to know that somebody is using a phone line. I kept thinking, I can't talk. If he looks at the phone and sees the red light on, he is going to kill me.

I waited for Randy to come, which seemed like forever. Finally, Randy knocked on the door, and he and my cousin came. And Piers, I just left with nothing. I had on my pajamas before that.

MORGAN: When you got out, how did you feel?

JACKSON: I felt like there was freedom, but I was still nervous. Because we were still at the hotel. I thought he would be lurking at the elevator or somewhere. I didn't know how I was going to escape this guy.

By the way, we got in the car, got on the plane, and I felt so good. It was the best feeling in the world. Yet, there is still that part of me, Piers, that told me you're not safe yet. You know this man. You know you're not safe.

MORGAN: You never did go back to him.

JACKSON: Never went back, Piers, never.

MORGAN: Let me conclude it with him. How did you feel when you heard he died in 2005.

JACKSON: When I heard he died, I was very, very hurt. I felt sorry for his family. And everyone that I knew and that knew me were very happy, and they were rejoicing. I would say to them -- I said, you can't rejoice over someone's downfall.

MORGAN: We're going to take a short break now. When we come back, we are going to talk about Michael and talk about the day that he died. And I want to talk to you about all of the conspiracy theories and whether you still believe, as you stated recently, that he may have been murdered.


MORGAN: Latoya, let's talk about Michael. Where were you when you heard that he died?

JACKSON: I was at home when I heard that he had passed.

MORGAN: Hear in Los Angeles?

JACKSON: Here at home in L.A., yes.

MORGAN: How did you hear?

JACKSON: My father had kept calling and telling me to get over to his house, because I live about two or three minutes away from him, and to go over to his house. He heard something was wrong with him, that he was sick or something of that nature.

I said OK. Then he called back and said, I need for you to go now. He goes, no, go the hospital instead. He had his assistant -- they kept calling me. And it was my mother who initially said to me -- my cousin, when I decided to go to the hospital, I was talking on the phone. I said please, you've got to tell me which way. I said, how is he doing? How is he doing?

Because I didn't know he had passed. And I kept saying how is he doing, please tell me. He would never tell me. I said, why can't you tell me. I heard my mother in the background say who is that. And he said it is Latoya. She said give me the phone.

She grabbed the phone and she screamed as loud as she could, Piers, he's dead! As loud as she could. And when she said that, I was driving at the moment, and I almost wrecked the car, ran into people. I just -- everything went limp. Everything just -- I couldn't do anything. I got so weak.

And I started begging people on the street to drive me to the hospital. Just please, can you take me to the hospital. I couldn't do anything. And it was so sad. And I got so nervous, I rushed into the hospital. And they took me upstairs to where my mother was, my mother there. And I walked in the room, and there she was sitting, and all the kids.

Michael's kids were sitting on her lap just crying, just crying. And it was the worst thing I had ever seen or experienced in my life. I didn't know what to do. It's one of the most helpless feelings in the world, that you have no power, no control over. And you don't know what to say.

And I didn't know what to say. And his kids kept crying and crying and crying. And I said, "mother, is it true? Is it true? " She says yes, it's true. Going up there one of the nurses said, you can relax. Your brother's still with us.

And then I got happy. And then I saw them all crying. Yeah. And I didn't know what to do.

MORGAN: Did you see Michael, after he passed?

JACKSON: Yes. Yes. I went in right away. The kids demanded to see him. We were in the hospital. And they kept saying, "please, aunty Latoya, we want to see him one last time". And they asked the nurse, "please we want to se him one last time. Please, can we go se our daddy? "

I looked at the nurse. I didn't know if this was appropriate or not. And she said yes, I want them to see them. I said are you sure? She said yes, because this will be closure for them.

They were crying the whole time. We all went in to see him. And Michael's three kids and myself and the nurse came with us. And we all held hands. And we all prayed to him. And we all just said all of our special thanks to him, what he's done for the world and for his family and the whole bit, and how much we loved him, and brushing his hair, wiping his face. And just -- I just kept kissing him and telling him how much I love him. And we all went around separately saying little things to him. And the minute it was done, the nurse felt that it was enough for everybody to be there, which was quite awhile. The kids walked out. And they never cried again. I never saw them shed a tear after that.

MORGAN: Really? It's like they had shed all the tears then?

JACKSON: Yea it was closure. It was closure for them, like she said.

MORGAN: How do you think he died? You've been quoted as saying you believe it may have been murder. Do you still think that?

JACKSON: Absolutely. Absolutely.

MORGAN: Why are you so sure?

JACKSON: I will never ever think differently. First of all, Michael told me they were going to murder him. He was afraid for his life.

MORGAN: Who were going to murder him?

JACKSON: The people that were involved in his life. The people that were controlling him. This book "Starting Over" is about my life and it's about Michael's life. It's the parallel between the two of our lives. We shared that same life, where people come into your life, wiggle their way in, control you, manipulate, control your funds, your finances, everything that you have. And you must do what they tell you to do.

That's what Michael was going through. And he new that everything that was happening to him was not kosher. It wasn't right. And it disturbed him greatly.

They controlled Michael. They controlled everything that he did, the people that were around him. This whole show, the whole bit going from 10 to 50 shows that he didn't agree with. He wasn't capable of doing. They knew he wasn't healthy enough to do those shows. But yet they sad he was fine, yet they took out insurance on him, yet it was time to go to Lloyds of London for another insurance.

The day when he gets there, he's supposed to go there and go directly to the hospital. But Michael never makes it there because they knew he wouldn't be healthy enough. Yet they put their own doctor in, who said Michael -- he passed with flying colors. He's in perfect health.

Michael was not in perfect health. He was very, very fragile, very thin. And the coroners, I will tell you -- this was not an O.D. The coroners told me immediately that the only drug that was in Michael's body was the drug that was administered to him that night. And that was it. He was totally clean.

MORGAN: Do you think we'll ever find out the truth?

JACKSON: I'm going to make sure we do.

MORGAN: We're going to take a final break. When we come back, I want to talk to you about how the kids are doing now, how the family has dealt with life after Michael.


MORGAN: Latoya, how are the kids doing now, Michael's children?

JACKSON: The kids are doing very well. Thank you. Thanks for asking. They are very happy. They enjoy their life. They enjoy just doing what they've never really had a chance to do, because my brother kept them really, really just confined to the house, and home schooling and the whole bit.

Now they're going to -- well, a private public school, of course, but it's public as long as you're not at home.

MORGAN: Your mother's been bringing them up.


MORGAN: I mean, you know her better than most people.


MORGAN: What sort of job is she doing, do you think?

JACKSON: She's doing a great job, fabulous job. I see the kids all the time. I'll see them in two days, of course, again, family day. We'll see everybody again.

I see them all the time. I try to go to my mother's house every Sunday and visit the kids and see how they're doing. I speak to them all the time and we text back and forth. And just call each other and see how they're doing, making sure their grades are fine and they are doing good in school. And they are.

MORGAN: If you had the chance to talk to Michael again, what would you say to him, that you never had a chance to maybe?

JACKSON: I would tell him that I'm sorry that I wasn't there to help him to start over. I wasn't there to prevent this from happening to him, what took place and what happened, this control. Had I think I been there, I think he would still be here today. I know he would. Because I wouldn't have allowed it to happen.

I'm -- there's so many things that I could say, that I'm sorry that he's no longer with us, that these people took control of him, took advantage of him, because he was a kind, meek person, a very loving person. And people preyed on that.

MORGAN: I mean, awful that it was that Michael died -- it was. I remember just being so shocked. A huge fan of his. I had ticket to the first show in London. I was excited by seeing him again.

I could never imagine him as an old man somehow.

JACKSON: I know.

MORGAN: Michael. In a funny way, the kind of immortalizing that went on after he died, awful that it was for the family, I think for his memory -- when all his records went back to the top of the charts, I had a 10-year-old -- a 10-year-old son, my youngest, got really into Michael Jackson music after he died. He was on the radio all the time.

I liked that, that at least the legacy was protected. Because there was a time when you thought the Michael Jackson legacy might be tarnished forever.

JACKSON: Yeah. As long as I live, as long as you live, your children, your grandchildren, your great great grandchildren, you will never, ever, ever find an entertainer as special, as talented, as loving and as caring as Michael Jackson. I promise you that.

Michael is a gift from God.

MORGAN: It's been fascinating. The book is a riveting read. Thank you for sharing it with me. And it's a pleasure to meet you finally.

JACKSON: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

MORGAN: Thank you very much. That's all tonight. Now here's Anderson Cooper with "AC 360"