Back in March of this year, Michael Jackson's former bodyguards (Mike Garcia, Bill Whitfield and Javon "BJ" Beard) spoke to Good Morning America about their former boss' lonely life, and their plans to write a book (entitled "In Defense of the King") about the years they spent working for Jackson.
Since the interview, the trio have been using Facebook to hear from the fans, receiving a deluge of questions in the process, some of which Mr. Whitfield takes the time to answer directly. This regular Q and A session provides an intimate peek into the everyday life of the King of Pop himself.
Among the tidbits shared by the bodyguards? Michael Jackson cooked home-made meals for his kids, owned a chocolate lab named Kenya, read the Bible daily, used his zoo as a pick-up line, loved Subway, and even had his own Facebook account (it's since been deleted, though, so no use in looking for it)!
Below are some of the many questions and answers compiled from the bodyguards' Facebook wall. Read and enjoy!
Q: If you were the only people working for Michael at that time, who did the cooking? I think it was Teddy Riley or Akon who said that Michael would cook for his children when they recorded songs in London.
- MJ did prepare meals for his kids.
Q: So he cooked, or opened a TV dinner?
- lol... [he] cooked.
Q: When you worked for him, did he have a large entourage working for him? Or was it just you guys (security), the nanny, and his cook?
- Just 3 security, nanny wasn't around much, He prepared food for his kids... Different things, we'll get into that in the book. FYI, there was a cook on occasion, but MJ prepared his kids food at least 3-4 times a week.
- We called MJ "SIR," and he would say, "You guys dont have to call me SIR." We would then say, "Ok, SIR." He started laughing.
Q: Bill, will you talk about Michael's disguises and where he would go in the book?
[A fan replies that even in disguise, Michael's trademark loafers and white socks would always give him away.]
- You are so right about those loafers and white socks -- I told him that many times, but he didn't believe me. I also said, "Sir, people know your walk." It's a big give away.
Q: May we know what [cologne] MJ [wore]?
- Yves Saint Laurent, Cartier, Armani...just to name a few. Black Orchid as well.
Q: What was Michael's favorite flower?
- Honestly, I don't know if he had a favorite flower, however I did buy white and red roses a few times at his request for the house.
Q: I remember reading in a book that Michael requested Subway sandwiches at times some years ago. Was that the truth or is that incorrect?
- I took him to Subway a few times, he loved it.
Q: Bill, it was known in the past that Michael loved to talk on the phone! Did he still talk on the phone for hours and hours?
- $3,000 monthly cell phone bill, What do you think?
Q: Did MJ have a Twitter account?
- No Twitter, he had a Facebook, though. [According to someone else that Bill replied to, the account's been removed by now.]
Q: I know that Michael knew how to drive, but I am curious to know if Michael would drive while you were working for him?
- The only car MJ drove (on my watch) was the bumper cars at the amusement park.
Q: Did Michael read show-biz magazines and newspaper, not tabloids?
- [He read] Rob Report, Wall Street, Mens fashion
Q: Did he ever pull pranks on anyone?
- Yes, he did pull pranks and we will mention it in the book.
- Oh yes, we will have many stories about MJ's sense of humor. He laughed a lot and joked around. He once gave security some food, but before he did, he put extremely, extremely HOT PEPPERS on the food, and watched security run around looking for water.
Q: Was Michael very vocal about his feelings, like sharing his past memories? You don't have to expose much, but was he ever reminiscent?
- He didn't talk much about his childhood, we always wondered why.
Q: I hope that this question doesn't sound too weird or too sad, but Mr. Whitfield, did you ever see Michael cry? And if you did, why did he?
- Yes, when something was printed about him that was false, he was hurt.
- He was sad a lot. Now I said he was sad a lot, but there were many times he laughed until it hurt. He laughed so loud while watching a movie and people were saying, "Dude, shut up!" They didn't know it was MJ.
Q: Hey Bill, I was wondering if you guys knew Dr. Murray? Would you mind share with us about what you recollect (if at all)?
- Yes, we know Dr. Murray, however we can't speak on that matter at this time. But I will speak on it soon.
Q: I wanna make a list of celebrities that actually stood by him during the dark times: Donald Trump, Chris Tucker, Liz Taylor, Whoopi Goldberg, Rick James, Stephanie Mills, Dick Gregory, Brett Ratner...
- You named someone that MJ really hated. I'm not gonna say who at this time.
Q: Really? I know they all defended him, though...
- So you may think!
- He and Whoopi were cool. [MJ and Donald Trump] were cool, too...that's all I'm saying on this matter.
TV / MOVIES
Q: Did MJ watch much TV? What were his favorite programs?
- He didn't do much TV, if at all.
Q: Bill, do you know which are some favorite movies of Michael's? Do you know if he liked to see romantic movies?
- He loved action movies, Spider Man, Transformers. He liked special effects.
Q: Did Michael and his children like the Lord of the Rings trilogy?
- Oh yes, he had the DVD collection.
Q: Bill, did Michael participate in any recreational sports; such as, swimming, bowling, snow skiing, etc?. Did he like to attend any sporting events under your watch?
- I've seen him watch golf.
Q: He watched golf? Did you guys ever just kick back, drink some beers and watch the Superbowl, NBA Championship, World Series or Stanley Cup?
- He pretty much had every movie ever made (LOL) while we were away in Virginia, somewhere deep, deep, deep in the woods we sometimes kicked back and watched a few movies together....he had the loudest laugh...good times.
Q: I wonder if Michael used to go outdoors, if he spent some time in forests, by the rivers...some trips into real nature?
- All the time while in Virginia. Sept 08-Nov 08.
Q: I was wondering, did you ever see or hear Michael working on his music or dancing? Either at home or in the studio? Did he work on his music a lot?
- Yes, we built his studio and dance floor in his house. We heard him personice all the time. It was amazing to listen to him, many times at 3 AM.
- We made the dance studio Sound Proof.
Q: Hey Bill, did MJ ever mention if he liked any song in particular, I mean one of his, 'cause I know his fav. song is Smile [by Charlie Chaplin].
- He listened to Classical music a lot, he talked about life in general, things he wanted to do, healing the world through his music.
Q: Did Michael want to bring out a new album? Did you listen to songs that were not released... new stuff?
- He was always working on stuff. Yes, we've heard a lot of unreleased music.
Q: Did Michael have any pets while you were working with him, and what were their names? Your interview [with Good Morning America] talked about [Paris's] cat named Katie.
- Chocolate Lab, [named] Kenya.
Q: Bill, I've read before that Michael was afraid of dogs. Is there any truth to that?
- He had no problem with dogs as we knew. The dog was an XMAS gift to Prince.
(A note from Paris to Bill Whitfield about her cat, Katie)
Q: I have read that Michael read his Bible a lot in the Thriller era, and I was wondering if you ever saw him reading the Bible or pray?
- He read the Bible daily.
Q: Could you share what MJ's religious beliefs were? Was he a Christian?
- No comment on that. Oh, believe me, I know where he stood religiously... I'm just not getting into that.
Q: Can you tell us honestly, is it true that MJ was lonely and unhappy and he was looking for a love?
- I can't say he was looking for love, he just wanted peace and to live a normal life.
Q: Random question... are you gonna talk about romantic interests [in the book]? Just curious who he was cheating on me with, lol jk
- He was not cheating on anyone..lol... we never said [he was] dating two ladies, we said he had two friends that he knew. People took that as something else....
[For reference: in the bodyguards' Good Morning America interview, they mentioned that Michael saw two women during the time they worked for him, and that when security would drive MJ and one of the women around, they'd sometimes hear them kissing in the back-seat of the limo . . . either that or "chewing gum loudly," lol.]
Q: Did you see MJ flirting with girls a lot? Was he a natural flirt or just avoided the whole thing because of his shyness?
- I was not going to answer this, but I'll give you guys a little. Yes, MJ was very charming, he did flirt from time to time. Sometimes he would ask me to get someone's number or ask do I think someone is cute? It was so funny to watch the dude flirt. I tell women I meet that I have a dog, I would hear MJ tell women he has a Zoo! How do you top someone that has a Zoo?
LIFE AS MJ'S BODYGUARDS
Q: Was it easy to work with Michael?
- Yes, but his managers made it hard sometimes.
Q: Were there any down sides to the job at all?
- Not being paid for 4 Months!
- Not once did we ever think about leaving MJ and his kids, though -- we knew it wasn't his fault. I can't get into whose fault it was right now.
Q: I have been curious as to how you three handled coverage for Michael. You all had to have days off -- did you rotate, do shift changes? Two on, one off? How did that schedule work?
- DAYS OFF? We were the only three that knew where MJ was, we were the only three MJ trusted, there was no days off.
Q: Hey, Bill, how did you ever socialize or date, if you were with MJ 24/7? Did you go on double dates?
- Honestly, me and my team put our personal lives on hold. We enjoyed seeing MJ lead a normal life at times. There was nothing better then to see him and his kids laughing, joking and lighing fireworks. He loved his fireworks! Oops, thats too much info.
Q: Why is that too much info? What kinda fireworks you referring to? LOL
- The 4th of July kind! He was setting them off weeks before and weeks after the 4th of July.
Q: Before you worked for Michael, were you a fan? Did you ever attend any of his concerts?
- I was a fan since the Jackson 5 signed with MOTOWN RECORDS! Honestly, that's the one thing I regret, I've never seen him in concert. I told him that and he promised me I'm gonna love the show in London. It's ok, because I was blessed with watching and hearing him rehearse at home. Nothing can ever compare to that!
Q: Bill, when was the last time you saw and/or spoke to Michael?
- 2 weeks before [his death].
Q: Can you tell us one of your craziest MJ's fan moments ever?
- Ok, I normally wouldn't do this: once, a fan sneaked into MJ's house and stayed in a guest bathroom for 4 days. They were caught by MJ when they were getting food out of the refrigerator in the middle of the night.
Q: What did Michael say?
- They sat down and had something to eat and then security took her home.
- MJ told me this, [she sneaked into] Neverland while MJ was away. The fan was in the house while everyone was away. She couldn't get through the house, 'cause of the security system, [so] she stayed in a closet in the kitchen area.
Q: Did he talk to you about us, his fans? Did he know how much we love him?
- Yes, he spoke of his fans many times in very good ways, however he was (as well as security) very cautious about which fans meant well. Remember, a fan killed John Lennon.
Q: To your knowledge, did MJ ever go to fan forums and read or post under an assumed name? (I'm not asking for the names, just curious if he did this.)
- Ok, yes, he did read a lot of fan posts, [but] not until it was viewed by security. He was not good with reading negative info, that made him completely shut down.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Q: When does the book come out? Is there a certain due date?
- We are trying for August 29 [Michael's birthday]. We are trying for August, but we are waiting to see what Mr. Halperin's documentary is about.
Q: What will the income of the book go to?
- We have a list of 10 different charities that MJ supported. We also want to build a memorial display of him in Vegas because he loved Vegas.... Yes, the charities will be listed, as for being discreet, there is no other way to be in honor of my former boss, he deserves nothing less.
Q: Will the Jackson Estate and the family be able to see the book first?
- We will seek Mrs. Jackson's blessing when the book is finished.
Original ABC interview - parts 1, 2
In Defense of the King website
Bodyguards' Facebook page