Michael Jackson, who was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy a decade ago but denied it, says in a new documentary that he still allows children to sleep over at his California ranch, Neverland.
"Whenever kids come here they always want to stay with me," he said.
Jackson allowed the British crew to film him with a 12-year-old boy who said he and his brother had spent a night in the singer's bedroom.
"Why can't you share your bed?" Jackson said, holding hands with the 12-year-old and letting him rest his head on his shoulder. "The most loving thing to do is to share your bed with someone."
The boy, who says he met Jackson after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, said when he asked to spend the night in the singer's bedroom, Jackson gave him and his brother the bed and slept on the floor himself.
In a later interview, Jackson also said he slept on the floor that night, but he added, "I have slept in a bed with many children," including former child actor Macaulay Culkin together with his siblings.
He said there was nothing sexual involved: "We go to sleep. I put the fireplace on. I give them hot milk, you know, we have cookies. It's very charming. It's very sweet. It's what the whole world should do."
The documentary aired on British television on Monday and is being broadcast exclusively in the United States on ABC's 20/20, on Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET. The interviews were conducted by British journalist Martin Bashir, who is well known for a 1995 interview in which Diana, Princess of Wales, admitted being unfaithful to Prince Charles.
Rare Look at Jackson's Own Children — in Masks
Jackson also allowed the British crew to film him with his own three children: 5-year-old Prince Michael I (who is known as Prince), 4-year-old Paris, and his infant son Prince Michael II, the baby he notoriously dangled from the balcony of a Berlin hotel in November.
All three children's faces were covered during filming, the two older ones in feathered masks, the baby in a green veil. Jackson told the filmmakers he never lets his children be seen in public without masks, in order to conceal their identity.
Prince and Paris were born during Jackson's three-year marriage to his dermatology nurse, Debbie Rowe. The children live with Jackson at Neverland, his 3,000-acre ranch three hours north of Los Angeles and do not see their mother. According to Bashir, 5-year-old Prince told him firmly, "I haven't got a mommy."
Jackson said Rowe prefers that they live with him. He said that when they wed in 1996, she understood that he wanted children from the marriage. "I used to walk around holding baby dolls ... because I wanted children so badly," Jackson said, adding that Rowe wanted to bear children for him "as a present." It was a "lovely gesture," he said. Rowe was seven months pregnant when they wed.
Wants Kids to Have a Normal Life
When Paris had a difficult birth in 1998, Jackson said, "I was so anxious to get her home that after cutting the cord — I hate to say this — I snatched at her and just went home with all the placenta all over her... Got her in a towel and ran." He said the doctors — and his wife, who had to stay in the hospital — said it was fine for him to take the child. He said he didn't remember how long it was before Rowe saw her daughter: "Oh, I don't know technically ... I kind of forget."