What Started Elizabeth Taylor’s ‘Curious’ Friendship With Michael Jackson?

Celebrity icons Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson had a friendship that lasted throughout the last decades of their lives. The iconic actor once said the pop star was like family to her, but how did the two become friends in the first place?

Michael Jackson in a black top with diamond adornments, standing next to Elizabeth Taylor in teal and diamonds
Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor | ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson’s friendship began after one of his concerts

This Hollywood friendship seemingly started when Taylor walked out of one of Jackson’s concerts in the ’80s, which he later called her in tears over. After she explained to him that she only left because she couldn’t hear or see the performance, a bond was formed.

“Then we met, and spent more and more time with each other, and just became really good friends. Told each other everything,” Taylor said of Jackson in 2006 according to The Hollywood Reporter. Notably, she seems to be the first person to refer to him as the King of Pop — at least publicly.

Despite being 27 years apart in age, they were friends through many media spectacles, including extravagant weddings and allegations of child molestation against Jackson. At the time, Taylor defended him by providing an account of his behavior with kids at his home, the Neverland Ranch.

“There was nothing abnormal about it. There was no touchy-feely going on. We laughed like children, and we watched a lot of Walt Disney,” she claimed of her personal experiences, per THR.

Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson shared a curiosity about the world

In 1992, Taylor visited The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for her only interview with iconic host, Johnny Carson. He was interested in her friendship with Jackson, which he said intrigued him because the two stars appeared to come from such “different worlds.”

However, Taylor explained they were friends because they ultimately had quite a bit in common. Namely, they both came from show business families and began careers at very young ages. Jackson was only five years old when he fronted the Jackson Five, and the spotlight found Taylor at age 12 with her role in the film, National Velvet.

She explained how young fame could be isolating, so they both had “no childhood to speak of and went through the loneliness of that.”

But they also had in common a natural inquisitiveness about the world, Taylor said, and the pop star was like “litmus paper” because of the way he absorbed information. “He’s so curious,” she marveled about him.

On top of it all, they shared a love for animals and an inherent shyness. So, Taylor said she felt they could talk to each other on “so many different levels.”

Elizabeth Taylor loved Michael Jackson ‘from the depth of her being’

Following Jackson’s unexpected death on June 25, 2009, Taylor was in a state of grieving that she shared with fans. She wrote on Twitter, “I will always love Michael from the depth of my being and nothing can separate us.”

Despite her own declining health, she made her last public appearance at his funeral. She died on March 23, 2011.

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