Janet Jackson Blames Dr. Conrad Murray for Michael’s Death
In Exclusive Interview, Jackson Tells Robin Roberts Brother’s Death ‘Felt Like a Dream’
Nov. 16, 2009 Speaking out five months after Michael Jackson’s death, Janet Jackson placed blame on Dr. Conrad Murray, saying the doctor should no longer be allowed to practice medicine.
"He was the one that was administering," she told ABC’s Robin Roberts. "I think he is responsible."
Michael Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, remains the
focus of a manslaughter investigation into the pop star’s death. Murray
has admitted to administering the anesthetic propofol, but has denied
giving Michael anything that should have killed him.
Jackson, who has walled herself in silence, fiercely guarding
her private thoughts about the death of her beloved brother, Michael,
opened up to Roberts in an exclusive interview that will air,
Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 10 p.m. ET.
"It’s been a tough year," she said. "You have your days where
it’s just really — it’s hard to believe. And a day doesn’t go by that
I don’t think about him."
Jackson recounted the details of the morning of June 25, before
she learned that Michael had collapsed, and her world turned upside
"I was at my house in New York. You know, another day. Another morning.
And I get a call … [my assistant] said, ‘Your brother’s been taken to
the hospital. It’s on CNN right now,’" she told Roberts. "I called
everyone’s. There’s a line busy or — someone wasn’t picking up. I
spoke to mother. I spoke to Tito. I spoke to my nephew Austin. I spoke
to my sister La Toya."
"I told them to call me when they got to the hospital. And I remember
thinking nobody’s calling me back, so I tried calling again, and that’s
how I found out that he was no longer … I couldn’t believe it," she
Jackson said the she and the entire family were in a state of disbelief.
"It just didn’t ring true to me. It felt like a dream," she
said. "It’s still so difficult for me to believe. It’s, you know, you
have to accept what is. But it’s hard. You have to move on with your
life. You have to accept what is and I understand that."
"My brother’s favorite song is ‘Smile.’ And I thought Jermaine
sang it beautifully, beautifully. And that’s his favorite song as well.
…There being some sort of a closure, I suppose, at that time," she
said, getting emotional.
Growing Up Jackson
Janet, who has sold 100 million records and became a five-time Grammy award-winning artist, was the youngest of nine children in the brood. Growing up, she said that she was always closest to Michael.
"We were incredibly close," she said, "A lot of similarities, his love
for children and me being a baby. …We would practically do everything
together from morning to night every day. Everyday."
She recalled how the two would play after school, feeding the
animals together at the family’s Hayvenhurst compound in Encino, Calif.
"We’d feed all the animals, took care of the babies. All the animals —
giraffes, mouflon sheep, deer, they had fawned. All kinds of animals,
all kinds of birds. And I remember I would come home from school with
the hay like I’m going to a ranch," she said.
In later years, she famously wore the key to the animal cages in all her music videos — a memento from her youth.
But Jackson does not look back on all of her childhood memories as fondly.
Living in the shadow of the Jackson 5, then the most famous family act in America, her father Joe Jackson took the reins when it came to her career.
Jackson, who once had dreams of going to college to study
business law and pursuing an acting career, said her father changed her
father said, ‘I think you’ll make more money singing than as an
actress… And that was it," she said. "Obviously, he saw something.
And it’s sad that it takes away your childhood. If I had to do it all
over again, would I go about it the same way? I would really have to
think about that."
Joe Jackson, the patriarch and the driving force behind his
children’s success, has been accused by Michael and others of being an
abusive stage father.
When asked by Roberts if her father was "abusive" or "old
school," she said: "You have to keep in mind that I’m the baby…I
think it’s old school. And that may extrapolate into — a — being a
little abusive. Do you understand what I’m saying?"
In a July 2009 interview with Chris Connelly,
Joe Jackson addressed accusations that his children sacrificed a normal
childhood for life on the stage. Joe Jackson denied allegations of
beating Michael, but admitted to spanking as a form of physical
discipline. He said he did not regret any part of Michael’s upbringing.
"I was very young, very young. I can’t remember the exact age,
but very young, younger than ten, younger than nine. …I remember when
I had called him daddy, and he said, ‘No, you call me Joseph, I’m
Joseph to you.’ Never said it again," she told Roberts. "…We called
mother — everybody called mother, mother. So I don’t know, I don’t
know why. And I’ve never asked. I’ve never questioned it. It is what it
is, and I just let it go. Joseph."
Jackson Childhood: No Birthdays, Cartoons
The Jackson children had a unique childhood. As devout Jehovah’s
witnesses, they did not celebrate birthdays or Christmas because of
"I would love to have experienced what it would be like to celebrate
Christmas and birthdays. …I had my first birthday party when I was 23
years old. And I’d never celebrated my birthday before then," she said.
"You kind of feel like you missed something. But then again, you have
to, to say to yourself, it’s like a catch-22 — well, how can you miss
what you didn’t have? You know? I — we grew up pretty quickly."
Two days before her 43rd birthday was the last time Jackson saw Michael.
"We had a lot of fun, laughing. …I was being silly, acting
silly. And he was sitting in front of me and just cracking up, laughing
at me," she said. "I was being loud. And he thought it was so funny. I
was just being stupid, acting silly."
Janet Jackson: Family Not Naive About Michael’s Drug Addiction
Nov. 18, 2009
Exclusive: Jackson Tells Robin Roberts Family Staged Drug Interventions, But ‘You Can’t Make ‘Em Drink the Water’
Janet Jackson told ABC’s Robin Roberts that her family was not naive about Michael Jackson’s drug problem, saying that she reached out to her brother throughout the years, but was unsuccessful.
"I did," she said. "Of course, that’s what you do. Those are the things that you do when you love someone. You can’t just let them continue on that way. And we did a few times. We weren’t very successful."
Jackson, who stood by her brother through the low points in his life — the molestation trial and his addiction to painkillers — shared her private thoughts about the death of her beloved brother in an exclusive interview to air Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 10 p.m. ET.
Jackson said Michael understood that the family’s motives for the interventions were out of love.
"How do I say this? Understanding. I guess that will be the best way to — understood that it was out of love, because of caring. But when it’s something like that, people can tend to be in denial," she said.
When asked if her brother was in denial about his addiction, she replied, "Possibly."
"I wish he could answer this question for you and not me," she said. "I felt that he was in denial."
"You can’t make ’em drink the water. … I’m a true believer in prayer, a big believer in prayer — but it’s, it’s something that you can’t do for them. Something they have to do for themselves," she said.
Toxicology results have shown that Jackson had lethal amounts of propofol — a powerful sedative typically used in operating rooms — in his system when he died, along with a cocktail of other prescriptions. His death was ruled a homicide.
Michael Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, has admitted to administering propofol but has denied giving Michael anything that should have killed him.
Murray is still under investigation in Los Angeles.