Macaulay Culkin’s friendship with Michael Jackson will be discussed in the new HBO documentary Leaving Neverland. Throughout the doc, one of the men accusing Jackson of molestation, Wade Robson, claims that he was phased out once the singer met and befriended Culkin.
Culkin, 38, has defended Jackson throughout his career, saying that the two were merely friends and that the singer never made sexual advances towards him. Learn more about Culkin and his friendship with Jackson below.
1. Culkin Met Jackson When He Was Acting In a 1990 Production of ‘The Nutcracker’
Culkin recounted his first meeting with Jackson on the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron. He was acting in a Lincoln Center production of The Nutcracker in 1990, and Jackson was one of the celebrities in attendance. They met after the show was over, and struck up a friendship.
“He came backstage before the show. He loved dance, he was a dance man,” Culkin said. “He came backstage with Donald Trump, because they were friendly back then. I remember he looked at me like, ‘I know you from somewhere. Oh, Uncle Buck, yeah you’re funny.’ Then after Home Alone came out, he reached out to me and my family.” Culkin and Jackson’s friendship quickly became the focus of intense media scrutiny, given that there was a 22 year age difference.
“He was my best friend growing up for a good, fat stretch of my life. He enjoyed my youthfulness. He liked being a kid with me. It never struck me as odd. I never felt uncomfortable. That was just the way he was.” Culkin would go on to appear in the music video for Jackson’s 1991 single “Black or White.”
2. Culkin Says That He & Jackson Bonded Over Their Shared Child Stardom
When Culkin appeared on Michael Rosenbaum’s podcast Inside of You, he described his relationship with Jackson as “so normal and mundane.” He explained that it not as strange as the media initially made it seem. “It’s almost easy to try say it was ‘weird’ or whatever, but it wasn’t, because it made sense,” he said. “It’s one of my friendships that people question, only because of the fact that he was the most famous person in the world.”
When asked about the age gap between him and Jackson, Culkin reasoned that his movie stardom isolated him from other kids his age. “I was a peerless person,” he explained. “Nobody else in my Catholic school even had this idea of what I was going through, and he was the kind of person who’d been through the exact same freakin’ thing and wanted to make sure I wasn’t alone in that.”
“I think that’s one of the reasons also why we got along, is that everyone’s always thoroughly impressed by him,” he added. “So the fact that somebody treated him like a normal person… It was that simple. I think he identified with that.”
3. Culkin Admits to Sleeping In Jackson’s Bed But Insists Nothing Sexual Happened
Culkin testified on Jackson’s behalf when the latter was charged with sexual molestation in 2005. He admitted to sleeping in the same bed as Jackson several times between the ages of 9 and 14, but insisted that nothing sexual happened between them. “I’ve fallen asleep in the same bed with him,” he said. “I’d just flop down.” He said that Jackson had an “open door” policy, he never locked his bedroom door, and that whenever they slept together, he wore jeans, socks and a T-shirt.
Culkin added that his parents knew about the sleeping arrangement, and were fine with it. “They never really saw it as an issue,” he revealed. “I knew they knew I was in the room.” When Culkin was asked point blank whether he had ever been sexually abused by Jackson, he said: “As far as I know, he’s never molested me. I find that unlikely. I think I’d realize if something like that would be happening.”
According to CNN, one of Jackson’s former maids, Adrian McManus, said that she once saw Jackson put his hand on Culkin’s leg and buttocks and kiss him on the cheek. Culkin said that he did not recall this happening. “I’ve never seen him do anything improper with anybody,” the actor restated.
4. Jackson Accuser Wade Robson Claims That the Singer ‘Replaced’ Him with Culkin In the 1990s
While Culkin has maintained that nothing sexual happened between him and Jackson, Leaving Neverland stars Wade Robson and James Safechuck have given different accounts. Robson, who claims that Jackson regularly molested him over the course of four years in the late 1980s and 90s, says that he was “replaced” by Culkin once Jackson befriended him.
“Macaulay was where I was on the previous trips, by Michael’s side at every moment,” Robson says during the documentary. “Now, I was kind of on the sideline as far as being Michael’s friend, being his favorite.” Joy Robson confirmed her son’s claims, stating: “It was like there was a pattern. Every 12 months, there was a new boy in his life.”
Robson and Culkin were the only people to testify on Jackson’s behalf when he was charged with sexual molestation in 1993. Robson says that he initially tried to get out of testifying, but Jackson and his mother Joy urged him to do so. “You and Macaulay Culkin are the only two people in the world that can save him,” he recalls his mother saying. Robson’s testimony was later cited as one of the key reasons that Jackson was acquitted.
4. Culkin Is the Godfather of Jackson’s Daughter Paris
Culkin and Jackson were so close that the former was made godfather of Jackson’s only daughter Paris. When asked about Paris on the WTF Podcast, Culkin admitted that he was very protective of his goddaughter. “I’m going to warn you now, I am very protective of her so just look out,” he said. “I am a very open book when it comes to things but like with her, she is beloved by me.”
Paris Jackson, regularly posts photos of her and Culkin spending time together, and on August 27, 2018, she paid tribute to him with a birthday message. “Happiest of birthdays mack attack, I love you so so dearly and keep you very close to my heart,” she wrote. The photo included in the post has her and Culkin showing off their matching tattoos. Check it out above.