The Iconic Women Who Loved Michael Jackson

From the legendary queen of Motown, Diana Ross, to the beloved Princess Diana to Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson has danced and performed with, serenaded and even married some of the world's biggest leading ladies.

In death, Jackson gave the greatest honor to Diana Ross, naming her to care for his three children if his mother, Katherine Jackson, was unable to do so.

The two first met 40 years ago, when Jackson was just 10 years old.

She, 24, was at the top of her game. He was the breakout star of the Jackson 5. And in 1971, when Jackson embarked on his solo career, he made his debut on Ross' television special.

In 1978, they would star together in "The Wiz," an urban take on the "Wizard of Oz." She was Dorothy. He was the scarecrow.

In Ross, Jackson had a mentor and role model. Jackson even went to live with Ross at one time.

"He did see … Diana Ross, in a way, as a showbiz mother," said People magazine's J.D. Heyman.

If Ross was Jackson's showbiz mother, Hollywood royalty Elizabeth Taylor told Barbara Walters that she was his best friend.

"So many people have robbed him, black and blind," Taylor said. "Why should he trust people? I think I'm the only person in his life that has not betrayed him."

For Taylor's 65th birthday, Jackson performed a song he'd written for her, called "Elizabeth, I Love You."

She stood by Jackson and supported him completely during his 2005 trial for molestation, even encouraging him to wear a red string as protection from the evil eye.

And Jackson hosted Taylor's eighth and last wedding at Neverland Ranch.

"Elizabeth Taylor, one of his closest friends, knows firsthand what it was like not to have a typical childhood," Heyman said. "She was a child star very, very young, and they had that in common."

Taylor will not be in attendance at today's memorial service for Jackson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, saying she didn't think he would want her to share her grief in public.

The King of Pop and the People's Princess

Jackson befriended other women whose careers began as children. His first date was with Tatum O'Neal.

The two very young stars were photographed dancing together, and in 1981 he took Brooke Shields to the Oscars.

Ten years later, he and Madonna rocked the world when they showed up on the red carpet together. And he was the best man at Liza Minelli's wedding.

"He loved big movie stars," Heyman said. "He was a fan on many levels and thrilled to be in the company of these great stars."

In 1988, on his "Bad" tour, Jackson was thrilled to meet a princess.

"I met her first at my concert in London," Jackson said in a 1997 interview with Barbara Walters about his introduction to Princess Diana. "She was very kind, very loving, very sweet."

"I wrote a song called 'Dirty Diana.' But I took it out of the show in honor of her royal highness. And she took me away, and she said, 'Are you going to do 'Dirty Diana?'"

"I said, 'No. I took it out of the show because of you,'" he recalled.

"Oh, no! I want you to do it. Do it, do the song," Jackson recalled the princess saying. "And she told me she was honored to meet me, and I said, 'It's an honor to meet you.'"

But it was Jackson's marriage to Lisa Marie Presley that brought together two American music dynasties and stunned the world.

In a 1995 interview with Diane Sawyer, the two denied the controversy surrounding their famous union, accusations that claimed they didn't sleep together and that it was a marriage of convenience.

"What do I love the most about him?" Presley said. "Everything. He's amazing. I really admire him. I respect him, I admire him, I'm in love with him."

Like many celebrity marriage, theirs didn't last, but he somehow stayed close with most of the first ladies in his life, and in his death their love remains.

On Twitter, Taylor wrote, "I keep looking at the photo he gave me of himself, which says, 'To my true love Elizabeth, I love you forever.' And I will love him forever."