Professional bodyguards Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, the authors of “Michael Jackson: Remember The Time” didn’t set out to destroy Michael Jackson’s credibility or reputation in their new book. They wanted to pay homage to the man they worked for for almost two years and give his fans some insight into how difficult his life had become in its last years.
Though they were not working with or around Jackson in the last months of his life, their experiences working with him gave them a glimpse into the challenges he faced. The ill-fated 50-date London tour, cancelled due to his death in 2009, they say, was not something Jackson wholeheartedly wanted to do.
“He wanted to do the tour but he didn’t want to do 50 shows,” Beard told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “He would tell us all the time that when people come to my concerts, they expect me to perform from the beginning to the end. I can’t do that any more. I’m 50 years old. I can’t sit on a stool like the Osmonds and perform my hits.
“When people come to my shows, they want me to perform from beginning to end. He was such a perfectionist. He always took pride in performing from beginning to end. He used to tell us a story that he would consume 6,000 to 8,000 calories every day before a show because he would lose 1-3 pounds per show.”
The bodyguards, who worked for free for part of their time with Jackson because he was in such financial disarray, were not bound by the standard non-disclosure agreement. They say things were so unorganized in his camp that they were often the ones ensuring other staffers signed them.
The book, according to fans and readers who have posted their feedback on it, also details Jackson’s devotion to fatherhood. His children were central to his life. Beard and Whitfield say that they don’t believe the pedophilia allegations that haunted Jackson throughout his career were true. (He was acquitted of child molestation in a sensational 2005 trial.)
They say he did have female friends – they would take him to visit two women while Jackson was on vacation in Virginia.
“The young ladies who came to visit him, they didn’t come to his house where his kids were. That only happened when we were on vacation in Virginia. These two women we would take him to them and they’d hang out, go to dinner, walk around downtown D.C.”
But Whitfield says that the women never stayed overnight with Jackson.
The bodyguards also provide some insight on how Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 for providing Jackon with a cocktail of drugs including propofol, an overdose of which killed him, became the singer’s personal physician.
When one of Jackson’s children fell ill in Vegas, a late night trip to a doctor’s office led the media to believe Jackson was ill instead. After that, the bodyguards say, he wanted a doctor who could come directly to the house for any medical issue. That is how he came under the care of Murray.
One of the biggest surprises for his guards was Jackson’s love for classical music. It’s what he enjoyed most when he was listening to music on his own, both in the car and in his home. And they confirm his legendary work ethic as well a a penchant for takeout food that included ice cream, popcorn and hot wings.
“When he went into his studio mode, we wouldn’t even disturb him,” says Beard. “You got to know him enough that you wouldn’t disturb him. We would call him or we would ring the doorbell. He would come to the door.”
The bodyguards laugh when asked about Jackson’s nose, rumored to have been whittled down to gristle after his multiple plastic surgeries.
“Not true that he didn’t have a nose,” says Whitfield. “He always had a nose We’ve seen his nose a million times.”
Though neither man was with Jackson in the last days of his life, both had a feeling that things were getting bad for him.
“I certainly got the vibe that it was totally different [when Jackson was rehearsing for the London shows.] I’m starting to see this whole King of Pop thing form,” says Whitfield. When asked if they felt bad about his declining physical condition in the time before his death, they both say yes.
“Sad for him, all the time,” Whitfield says. “I didn’t think he would not [make the tour] but I didn’t think he was enthused.”