Few people were invited into the carefully guarded world of the King of Pop, but the bodyguards hired to protect Michael Jackson and his children are speaking out on the financial and emotional troubles that plagued the late entertainer.
"We were asked to leave hotels because the credit card on file was denied," bodyguard Bill Whitfield told "Good Morning America" in an exclusive interview to air Tuesday.
"The bill wasn't paid," bodyguard Mike Garcia added.
"We smile about it," Whitfield said, "but it's really more painful and hurtful."
Watch Ashleigh Banfield's exclusive interview with Michael Jackson's former bodyguards Tuesday on "Good Morning America."
Jackson, who died June 25 after taking a lethal cocktail of prescription drugs and propofol, a powerful anesthetic typically used in the operating room, could also fly into rages, belying the soft-spoken demeanor he showed in public.
"He got so frustrated he threw my cell phone out the window, through the window and broke the glass," Whitfield said. "And he looked at me and said, 'Bill, you're going to need a new phone."
The bodyguards were also charged with protecting Jackson and his children from seeing images of the pop icon that were splashed across the front of magazines.
"I'll be ahead of him, because I know he's coming this way, and I'm looking at magazine racks that may have something about him on them and I'll turn it around," Whitfield said. "Sometimes he's seen them, and you would actually see him take it and turn them around so the kids didn't see them."
Jackson was weeks away from staging a comeback tour in London before he died. He had been struggling for years with his finances and his public image. In his later years, he became less known for his music and talent than for his flamboyant spending habits and his reclusive behavior.
Jackson's personal physician, Conrad Murray, has been charged with manslaughter in the pop star's death for administering the lethal dose of propofol. His three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, have been living with Jackson's 80-year-old mother since their father's death.