In case your hunger for more Elton John deep-diving content wasn’t satiated by Rocket Man, fear not: The icon’s memoir, Me, is brimming with star-studded tales, featuring Sylvester Stallone and Richard Gere fist-fighting over Princess Diana, Freddie Mercury convincing him to quit drugs, and an odd lunch with Michael Jackson. While John hasn’t directly weighed in on the ever-present allegations of child molestation, he does detail interactions that he found particularly jarring, claiming that Jackson had grown into a “disturbing person to be around.” He goes on to talk about one particular lunch, to which Jackson was invited by a mutual friend. “The meal wasn’t as strange as I might have expected,” he writes. “It was stranger than I could have imagined.” He describes the event in the below excerpt:
It was a sunny day and we had to sit indoors with the curtains drawn because of Michael’s vitiligo. The poor guy looked awful, really frail and ill. He was wearing make-up that looked like it had been applied by a maniac: it was all over the place. His nose was covered with a sticking plaster which kept what was left of it attached to his face. He sat there, not really saying anything, just giving off waves of discomfort the way some people give off an air of confidence. I somehow got the impression he hadn’t eaten a meal around other people for a very long time. Certainly, he wouldn’t eat anything we served up. He brought his own chef with him, but didn’t eat anything he made, either. After a while, he finally got up from the table without a word and disappeared. We finally found him, two hours later, in a cottage in the grounds of Woodside [John’s house] where my housekeeper lived: she was sitting there, watching Michael Jackson quietly playing video games with her eleven-year-old son. For whatever reason, he couldn’t seem to cope with adult company at all.
Peculiar as this story may be, it’s doubtful that John’s account will really do anything to shake Jackson’s seemingly iron-clad legacy. Despite the chilling accounts in the award-winning HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, the late artist still maintains a dedicated following. In addition, Broadway is still moving forward with the recently rebranded MJ The Musical. So this, like many others, will likely live on as another one of John’s wacky stories of celebrity and excess.
John’s official autobiography, Me, is available now.