A Friendship For The Ages: Elizabeth Taylor & Michael Jackson
First Published: March 24, 2011 8:43 PM EDT Credit: WireImage
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The seemingly unlikely friendship between Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson actually started in the most unlikely of ways — after the screen goddess left one of the King of Pop’s concerts early because she couldn’t see!
“Michael heard that I had left halfway through [his concert],” Elizabeth told Larry King of the origin of the pair’s famous friendship in an interview on “Larry King Live” in May 2006. “[He] called me the next day, and was like, in tears because he had heard that I’d walked out. I hadn’t walked out. I just couldn’t see anything!
“And then we talked on the phone for about three hours,” she continued. “And from there on in, we talked more and more on the phone.”
Believe it or not it, it was Elizabeth who first dubbed Michael the “King of Pop” (at the 1989 Soul Train Awards). Both icons in their given fields, the two stars achieved fame at a very young age and bonded over their commonalities, as Michael revealed in the 1993 “A&E Biography: Elizabeth Taylor.”
“‘We had a similar type of childhood, never really having the opportunities enjoyed by others,” Michael said of his friend in documentary at the time.
In 1997, Elizabeth shared a special occasion with Michael – her 65th birthday. She arrived with the pop star to her birthday celebration, a tribute show that aired on ABC.
In honor of his friend’s birthday, Michael wrote and performed a song called “Elizabeth, I Love You,” which included the lyrics, “My friend Elizabeth learned to outlast them all.”
The beloved violet-eyed beauty often stayed in one of the guest cottages at Michael’s Neverland Ranch and in 1991, she married her seventh husband, Larry Fortensky, at the ethereal estate.
Fiercely loyal, Elizabeth publicly came to Michael’s defense when he faced molestation charges in 2005 — which she felt were horribly wrong.
“I’ve never been so angry in my life,” she said told Larry King of the allegations facing Michael, in a 2006 interview on “Larry King Live.”
“Heartbroken” would be the word Elizabeth chose to describe her loss when Michael passed in June 2009. Devastated, she took to Twitter to announce she could not bear to attend his a public memorial in his honor, though she’d been asked by his family to participate.
“I’ve been asked to speak at the Staples Center. I cannot be part of the public whoopla,” Dame Elizabeth wrote on her Twitter page at the time.
“And I cannot guarantee that I would be coherent to say a word,” she added. “I just don’t believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others. How I feel is between us. Not a public event.”
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