Lisa Marie Presley and Oprah Winfrey sat down in the English countryside to discuss her ex-husband Michael Jackson after his shocking death from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs last year.
Presley explained why she wanted to talk about Jackson now. “Every time I’ve ever had an interview in the past, I tend to get very defensive because I was usually promoting something and it would always cross into my personal life.”
“I wanted to sit and really have a conversation about things that are more on a personal level, before I do have an album coming out,” she said.
“I didn’t understand my relationship with him,” Presley admitted of how she felt when she was with the King of Pop from 1994 to 1996.
She realizes now why people though their relationship was a sham. “To some degree, he was a master at manipulating a little bit with the media. I understand that nobody really knew who I was. They just assumed I was going along with something he would be doing.”
“He was conditioned to get himself where he needed to go for his career and with his talent. He became very good at making and creating and pupeteering and manipulating to some degree,” Presley continued. “I always confused that manipulation thinking that that manipulation meant that he didn’t love me. I understand it better now. The manipulation was because it was a survival tactic for him.”
Lisa Marie said she was in England when she heard the news and John Travolta was one of the first to break it to her.
When Oprah asked what she felt, she replied, “Real honest to goodness shock, not even tears. I was floored, honestly floored.”
On Jackson’s drug problem, she claims she didn’t notice until the very end of their marriage. “I didn’t really suspect and catch on until just before I filed for divorce. There was just an occasion, an incident where he had collapsed and he was in the hospital,” she described of the scene in 1995 when Jackson collapsed while rehearsing for an HBO concert and doctors blamed it on a viral infection.
“It was very confusing what was wrong. Every day there was a different report. And I couldn’t tell what was happening,” she added. “I couldn’t really get a straight answer about what was happening with him and I think we were all a little bit in the dark. At that point, I think I got from various indications that that was going on then.”
“There were times that I would pick him up from certain doctors’ offices and he would not be coherent,” Presley remembered.
Something she wanted to make clear, their romance was for real. “I honestly can tell you, it was every sense a normal marriage.”
“One of the very highest points of my life was when things were going really well and he and I were united together and he and I had an understanding about some of the people and things that could go on around him and he was with me on those things and we were a unit and I could take care of him,” she told Oprah.
“For some reason, I don’t know what happens when someone passes away and this is what’s come of it. But I’ve come to have all this love again and understanding for him. I don’t know why it had to take all that to have this happen. That upsets me a bit,” Presley opined.
“Were you angry with him before?” Oprah questioned.
“I was very angry. I was so angry. I felt that we were so united and then at some point he pushed me out.”
“There was a very profound point in the marriage when he had to make a decision — was it the drugs and the sort of vampires or me? And he pushed me away.”
She compared Jackson to her father, Elvis Presley. “The one thing that correlates with Michael and my father on this subject, they had the luxury of creating whatever reality around them they wanted to create.”
Winfrey brought up the similar way in which both her father and her ex-husband lived and died.
“It really blows me away, to be honest with you. I still try to figure out why? What is it that I had to go through this twice?” she recalled. “I went through it once, that was painful and I went through it again.”
She reveals that she wished she had reached out to Jackson before his death. “I know it’s naive to think that I could have (saved him) but I wanted to. Had I made a call, had I stopped being so shut off from him, had I just said ‘How are you?’ I really regret that I didn’t.”