Michael Jackson was an American songwriter, singer and dancer (but you didn’t need me to tell you that).
He died at just 50 years of age in June of 2009. Jackson was preparing for his comeback concert series This is It when he died of propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication on June 25th. He suffered a cardiac arrest.
Shockingly, the Los Angeles County Coroner declared his death homicide and Conrad Murray (Jackson’s personal physician) was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
Despite his life being cut short, whilst alive Michael Jackson achieved what most of us can only dream of – superstardom, international popularity and songs loved the world over.
Despite his fame, Jackson’s life was full of controversy.
His childhood years were spent in the iconic band the Jackson 5, where Michael appeared alongside his older brothers, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon. The boys’ father was their manager and a strict one at that.
Michael had a troubled relationship with his dad. In 2003 Joe Jackson (Michael’s father) admitted to regularly whipping his son when he was a boy.
His abuse towards Michael was verbal too, with Joe taunting Michael about his “fat nose”.
Another controversial side of Jackson’s life was his obsession with animals. He even owned a pet chimpanzee called bubbles (that he bought bubbles from a laboratory). When he did so, people claimed that he was becoming detached from reality.
He was also interested in fashion, but his unconventional choice of clothing meant he wore some very unusual outfits that got people talking.
Perhaps the most famous of the controversies surrounding the late singer were that he faced multiple accusations of child abuse. The first of these came in 1993. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money with no formal charges brought.
Nearly a decade later, in 2005, Michael was accused again. Michael was found not guilty on all counts by the jury.
Yet another talking point was the singer’s rumoured plastic surgeries.
Despite denying it until the day he died, it’s safe to say Michael Jackson had a lot of plastic surgery performed. Far too much, but that’s my own opinion.
The child star completely changed his skin complexion and the whole structure of his face.
It was such a sudden and dramatic change, and it saw him change from the baby faced child we all knew and loved.
Most notable is the narrowing of his nose – he had multiple operations on his nose, which got thinner and pointier as he got older. It seems likely to me that this choice was influenced by his father’s hurtful comments about his nose as a child.
The changes to his face were so extreme that at one point (because of the surgeries) his airways were blocked, meaning he couldn’t breathe out of his nose.
Some of the other surgeries the megastar had done included cheek implants, skin bleaching, chin restructuring, botox, fillers, and lip augmentation.
As you can see from the photos of Jackson as a child, his skin was a medium-brown tone. However, as he got older, his skin got whiter and whiter. This led to rumours that he had been bleaching his skin.
However, according to a biography on Jackson by J. Randy Taraborrellli, Jackson had the skin condition vitiligo which causes the skin pigmentation to change over time.
Jackson’s diagnosis of Lupus was another contributing factor towards the lightening of his skin. Lupus makes the skin sensitive to sunlight, meaning Michael had to keep himself shaded.
Speaking of his conditions, Michael said:
“It is something I cannot help. When people make up stories that I don’t want to be who I am, it hurts me. It’s a problem for me. I can’t control it.”
Interestingly, his autopsy diagnosed him with vitiligo, though not lupus.
So whether Michael Jackson really bleached his skin is unclear. However I think it’s undeniable that he had cosmetic surgery.
It’s too simple to say that Jackson was a self-obsessed man, spending his money on his appearance. Jackson’s many surgeries clearly had a deeper reason behind them, it wasn’t just pure vanity.
Michael continuously battled with his identity and dysmorphic disorders which ultimately led to his strange image.
As mentioned above, as a child Michael suffered from abuse and he seemed to struggle with his fame and wealth when he grew up.
It’s not surprising really that celebrities struggle in the lime light. Various estimates of Jackson’s wealth (net worth) exist. These range from – $285 million to + $350 million. These valuations are obviously very different. I think what can be deduced is that over the course of Jackson’s life he made (and lost) huge sums of money.
Most of us can relate to the high of being paid and having money in our accounts to the low of counting our last few notes, waiting for our next pay check. It’s stressful stuff. Now imagine that on a mega scale, where one day you have millions and the next you owe millions.
It seems like wealth and fame at such a young age isn’t always a good idea.
It’s possible to speculate that Michael altered his image as this was something he had control over (unlike his fluctuating wealth).
Recently a simulation was done which showed what the King of Pop would look like today if he hadn’t underwent all that plastic surgery.
It’s pretty incredible and shocking.
The simulation was apart of a new documentary called The 10 Faces of Michael Jackson.
In the documentary, La Toya Jackson (Michael’s sister) describes how he had was initially nervous about his first nose job that he had persuaded her to get one first. That way he could see how it looked and if it hurt.
La Toya, 58, said:
“He wanted to get his nose done . . . he kept saying: ‘What do you think? What do you think?’ I said: ‘Michael, if that’s what you want, if it’s gonna make you feel better, get it done.’”
“He asked me: ‘Can you be the guinea pig for me? Can you get your nose done and let me see how it looks, and if it hurts?’”
After being satisfied with La Toya’s results, Michael decided to go ahead and get the operation himself in 1979.
Despite the dramatic change to the appearance of his face, Michael kept deniying he had work done on his face.
During an interview with Martin Bashir, Michael said:
“‘I’ve had no plastic surgery on my face, just my nose. It helped me breathe better so I can hit higher notes. I am telling you the honest truth, I didn’t do anything to my face.”
Dr. Eda Gorbis, who is an expert in body dysmorphic disorder, believes that Jackson had up to 100 procedures during his life.
Body dysmorphic disorder is an anxiety disorder causing a person to have a distorted view of how they look. These people spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance.
I think its safe to assume that Michael Jackson had body dysmorphic disorder. He was obsessed with his appearance and changing it to fit what he saw as correct.
It’s a terrible mental illness to have. It’s estimated that up to 1 in every 100 people have BDD so it’s quite likely that you know someone with this (whether you realise it or not). If you know of anyone who has an unhealthy, negative obsession with their appearance then you may know someone with BDD. Be sure to check in on them and make sure they’re ok as this is a daily mental struggle for these people.
So, I think it’s safe to assume that Michael Jackson had BDD as evidenced by his totally different appearance when he died to that with which he was born.
The most shocking part of the 10 Faces of Michael Jackson documentary came when the experts showed what Michael would’ve looked like if he had left his face alone.
Take a look for yourself…
It’s really amazing to see what Michael would look like is he were alive today, without any changes to his face. His skin tone is the mid-brown he was born with (although as mentioned above, it was known that Michael had vitiligo and so the changes in his skin may have still occurred). His nose is the natural shape he had as a child and his hair is a black afro, again, just as he had as a child and young man.
Clearly Michael had his demons, and it seems that he took a lot of his frustration and insecurities out on himself and tried to change is appearance to battle those dark demons. It’s a real shame he felt the need to do this and a greater shame still that he was taken from us too soon.
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