Elton John has branded the late Michael Jackson “disturbing” and “mentally ill” in his new memoir.
Elton, 72, first met the King of Pop as a teenager, but became concerned for him in later years due to his bizarre behavior.
The Rocket Man singer credited the musician’s troubles due to a dependence on prescription drugs. A sedative overdose resulted in Michael’s death, aged 50, in 2009.
“I’d known Michael since he was 13 or 14.. He was just the most adorable kid you could imagine,” the British star writes in a new extract, published in Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.
“But at some point in the intervening years, he started sequestering himself away from the world, and away from reality the way Elvis Presley did.
“God knows what was going on in his head, and God knows what prescription drugs he was being pumped full of, but every time I saw him in his later years I came away thinking the poor guy had totally lost his marbles.”
Explaining that Michael’s notorious eccentricity wasn’t harmless quirkiness, he added: “I don’t mean that in the light-hearted way. He was genuinely mentally ill, a disturbing person to be around.”
The British singer also recalled Michael’s tendency to prefer children’s company to adults’ writing that at one of his parties, the pop star went off and played with his housekeeper’s son.
“For whatever reason, he couldn’t seem to cope with adult company at all,” Elton remembered.
Two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, have also accused the Billie Jean hitmaker of sexually abusing them as children, in the documentary Leaving Neverland, earlier this year (2019).
Michael’s family and estate have furiously denied their claims.
The singer was acquitted of abusing a teenager, Gavin Arvizo, in 2005, and also settled a complaint made by another teen, Jordy Chandler, for $23 million in 1994.