He was the undisputed king of pop, michael jackson, voice behind the best-selling album of all time who set the stage for pop music, left a lasting imprint on generations of performers, but despite... See More
He was the undisputed king of pop, michael jackson, voice behind the best-selling album of all time who set the stage for pop music, left a lasting imprint on generations of performers, but despite the late singer's unparalleled talent, jackson's legacy was tarnished by addiction. His loneliness, the ultimate scandal and now a revealing new book is shedding fresh light on his private struggles, so here's abc's nick watt. ♪ Thriller ♪ there hasn't been anyone that famous in a single moment as he was during "thriller" time. I think that was probably the peak of celebrity for a human being. Reporter: Randall sullivan, the highly acclaimed journalist spent three years getting behind the mask of the most celebrated entertainer our world has ever known. It's a tale of family, fame, lost childhood and startling accusations that you won't have heard before. The portrait of a prescription drug addict who could spend $250,000 on a shopping spree without thinking. The shopping like the drugs were -- was a painkiller for him. Reporter: Apparently michael jackson would call business partners to bring round bags of cash. In one case that's a phone call asking for 7.5 million. For some reason it was like a french fry bag and gave it to michael so that became an injoke of I want to you supersize this order. He wanted money to put in his pocket. To him that was real money. Reporter: That's like a child. He was. Yes. Reporter: A manchild who couldn't leave fame or family behind. Michael was tired of being a song and dance man. He didn't want to perform on stage from the time -- well, from the time of the history tour which was 1995, 1996. ♪ Reporter: Jackson wanted to be an actor. He had wanted to buy the rights to every marvel character before anyone else thought of making them into movies. He wanted to play spider-man. How that would have worked i don't know. Reporter: He wanted to play willy wonka. He didn't get that role either. Jackson claimed to be a child trapped in an adult world. He never got to express, for example, his sexuality and he sort of -- Reporter: You think his sexuality was? I think he did all that he could to neutralize himself. I don't think michael was trying to be homosexual, heterosexual or pedophile. I think he was trying to be asexual or presexual. His insistence that he was peter pan was so total he got peter pan's nose. Reporter: There were, of course, the accusations that jackson's love of children was, in fact, sexual. There's no proof he molested anyone. He was cleared of the only accusation that made it to trial but admitted sharing a bed with prepubescent kids. He shared a bed with dozens of children. Correct. He wanted to be a child himself and wanted to believe he was another 12-year-old or 13-year-old. That was the goal -- Reporter: He wanted a sleepover. He wanted a sleepover. He felt he didn't get a childhood. Reporter: Because he was a star perhaps too soon. ♪ Uh-huh ♪ he was the focal point of the family from the time he was 7 years old. Reporter: A lead vocal on many hits including "i want you back." ♪ Oh baby give me one more chance." People want to believe the jacksons are a family of very talented people but really there was one very, very talented person. Reporter: Michael desperately lonely, apparently sought the company of a handful of other people on earth who could understand his level of fame. He was says sullivan given the brush-off by jackie o. And princess diana. Diana didn't want to be his friend. No, she didn't. You know, for lack of a better word I think she was a little creeped out by him because of the intensity of his desire to be with her. Reporter: In the book sullivan describes how various people including michael jackson's wife least have marie presley were beguiled by the star's intelligence and charm. And developed a deep affection for michael that i didn't see coming. Reporter: It seems that you've fallen for the michael jackson spell, as well. Well, I hope that what I fell for was what was good about him. I don't think I ever was blinded to the aspects of michael's character that are not so attractive. Or that are questionable. The ultimate question is, did michael jackson ever molest a child? My conclusion is that I don't think he did. My answer is probably not. I wish I could say conclusively, no, he didn't. I can't, there is -- there is a shadow of doubt and I learned -- I had to come to accept that i was going to have to live with that and I think anyone w is honest about michael will have to live with it too. Reporter: I'm nick watt for "nightline" in los angeles.
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