Elton John’s new autobiography, Me, is full of stories featuring the incredibly famous faces that the singer met and got to know over the years – from Princess Diana and Sylvester Stallone to Freddie Mercury and Elvis Presley. One chapter in particular – which recounts what happened when Elton had Michael Jackson over for lunch – has been receiving a lot of attention.
Elton was hosting a lunch at his home in the mid-90s at which his parents were to meet now-husband David Furnish for the first time. After a psychiatrist friend that Elton had invited asked if he could bring his client, Michael Jackson, the Your Song singer felt obliged to agree – but he says the meal ended up being ‘stranger than he could have imagined.’
According to Elton, Michael refused to eat anything that was served to him, instead bringing along his own chef. However, Elton says that he didn’t eat anything his private chef made either. The entire party was forced to eat indoors with the curtains closed because of Michael’s skin condition, vitiligo, and he describes him as looking ‘awful, really frail and ill.’
Elton writes: ‘After a while, he finally got up from the table without a word and disappeared. We finally found him, two hours later, in a cottage in the grounds of Woodside [John’s house] where my housekeeper lived: she was sitting there, watching Michael Jackson quietly playing video games with her eleven-year-old son. For whatever reason, he couldn’t seem to cope with adult company at all.’
Elsewhere in the book, Elton reflects on how Michael changed from ‘the most adorable kid’ that he first met to a ‘genuinely mentally ill, disturbing person to be around’, suggesting that the former so-called King of Pop’s decline was down to prescription pills, disappointment at never being able to top Thriller and living ‘in a world of his own, surrounded by people who only told him what he wanted to hear.’