Tom Jones ‘saw what was happening’ to Michael Jackson in visits ‘Reality killed that star’

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Sir Tom Jones, 80, has opened up on his friendship with Michael Jackson, who died in 2009. The Delilah hitmaker revealed he noticed “what was happening” to the King of Pop after several conversations with him, but insisted that the situation “couldn’t be stopped”.

While reflecting on Michael’s visits to his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, in a new interview, Tom explained: “I got to know Michael Jackson when he was a kid, when he was with The Jackson 5. 

“I knew him, and then as time went on, I saw what was happening to him, you couldn’t stop it.

“But he used to come round to my house in Bel Air with his sister La Toya because Quincy Jones used to live around the corner from me, and Michael Jackson would be going there to see him.

“So sometimes he would come in to see me.”

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Sir Tom went on to reference Michael’s iconic moonwalk dance in discussing his death during his appearance on the Talk the Line podcast.

The Voice UK coach added: “So I knew Michael Jackson, and I saw him walking backwards, the moonwalk, walking backwards really, eventually too far.

“Reality killed that video star, Michael Jackson,” he mused.

Jackson was subjected to scrutiny during his music career, due to controversies and health battles that surrounded him in later life.


He died on June 25, 2009, amid preparations for his upcoming residency shows at the O2 Arena in London, UK, titled This Is It.

The 50-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest whilst in his home in Los Angeles, California. 

The star was treated by paramedics, but was later pronounced dead at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, was later arrested for involuntary manslaughter, as a result of the cocktail of drugs he had administered to the star before his death.

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Sir Tom previously gave further insight into his first meeting with Michael.

Recalling the moment in his autobiography Over the Top and Back, he said Jackson’s initial arrival at his home was a complete surprise.

He said: “One day, in the early 1980s, I’m in the kitchen when the gate buzzer sounds. I check the video entry-phone, and it’s Michael Jackson.

“The biggest pop star the world has ever known is outside my door in a baseball jacket and jeans, with La Toya, his sister, who’s driving him.”

Sir Tom added: “Apparently Michael is always coming past my house on his way up to Quincy Jones’s place and he loves the way the house looks and has often talked about stopping and asking if he could see over it.”

He continued: “Michael is all breathless enthusiasm. Childlike is the word everybody uses about Michael Jackson, but there’s no getting around it.

“There’s a lot of ‘wow!’ going on. When we get to the bar in the pool room, he spots the photo on the wall of me with Paul [McCartney], Ringo [Starr] and Dusty Springfield… taken at the melody maker awards in September 1966.”

Sir Tom then recalled correcting one of Michael’s statements at the time, revealing: “And he turns to me and says, ‘Wow, Tom. You had a great career.’ It feels important to me to correct him.

“‘Having,’ I say. ‘Not had. I’m having a great career.’”

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