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Michael Jackson’s love of children is no secret. However, many found his affinity toward children to be strange. It was further complicated when several young boys and their parents accused Jackson of sexual abuse. But one star who denies ever being abused by Jackson who says he shared a close and loving relationship with the King of Pop is The Young and the Restless star, Bryton James.

Michael Jackson on stage
Michael Jackson performs in concert circa 1986 | Kevin Mazur/WireImage

The soap opera star was a huge Michael Jackson fan

Before becoming a soap opera actor, James had dreams of becoming the next Michael Jackson. James spoke of his love for Jackson during a recent interview with the State of Mind podcast.

Source: YouTube

When he was 2 and a half, James went to a print modeling job for LA Gear and dressed in Jackson attire. “[I] had his own shoes at the time,” he explained, per Unfortunately, he didn’t get to meet Jackson that day, but showed anyone who was willing to see his MJ impersonation. “It was all rock. And then it was right before or around 2 years old I discovered Michael Jackson. I thought I was Michael…If someone would talk to me long enough, I would start singing and dancing.”

James continued working as a child actor, eventually landing a recurring gig on Family Matters. His work on the show would lead him to the pop icon.

Michael Jackson became a mentor of sorts

One of the women who worked on Family Matters was also a receptionist for Jackson’s production company. She delivered a letter from James to Jackson. Jackson wrote a letter back, which sparked a relationship between the two.

Source: YouTube

A year later, James and Raven-Symoné were asked to present Jackson with an NAACP Image Award. He was able to go backstage and meet a few of Jackson’s cousins. They remain close friends of his. 

Jackson also invited James’ family to the ranch at Neverland. “From that time on, he would just stay in contact with me,” James said of Jackson. “I know his goal was to make sure that I was having a good time and having fun being a child in the entertainment industry.” 

He shares his feelings on the child abuse scandal

James is old enough to remember the child molestation abuse scandal that Jackson underwent that began in the early 90s. He says he witnessed a few of the accusers have conflicting stories.

Source: YouTube

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 “I knew two of the kids who made claims about him, and then it’s come out publicly that they were told, forced to lie by their parents,” he said “It’s been tough to sit and watch.”

James has only fond memories of Jackson. He maintains that there was never any inappropriate behavior from Jackson, and no sexual abuse. In fact, he says he doesn’t find any issues with Jackson having children share his bed, something others found controversial. James says Jackson himself was childlike.

“If he slept in a bed with a child, it’s normal to him because he’s a child,” the host said, which James agreed with. “It was never just you and him,” James said. “There were also people there. The first time we stayed at the ranch with my dad, he invited me and my dad… ‘Stay in the room with all of us.’ His cousins were there.”