Did Fame Fuel Michael Jackson's Addictions?

By McCarton Ackerman 11/13/12

A new bio of the King of Pop claims his shopping and prescription addictions began during the peak of his celebrity.

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One of many alleged shopping trips.
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A biographer is claiming the pressures of fame drove the King of Pop into his ultimately fatal battle with addiction. In a new book Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson, journalist Randall Sullivan, who spent three years researching and interviewing Jackson and people close to him, alleges that Jackson struggled with addictions to both shopping and prescription drugs following the massive success of the song "Thriller." Sullivan details the singer's routine six-figure shopping sprees, and his frequent requests to borrow cash from his business partners. "The shopping, like the drugs, it was a painkiller for him," says the author. "In one case there was a phone call where he's asking (business partner) Marc (Schaffel) for $7.5 million. When Schaffel first gave him cash, for some reason he put it in an Arby's bag, it was like a French fry bag or something and gave it to Michael...He wanted to have money he could actually put in his pocket. To him that was real money." Sullivan also claims the psychological damage from Jackson's celebrity led to the singer's "pre-sexual" identity confusion. "I think he was aiming to be pre-sexual because he saw that as the one place where innocence and purity and great ideas and you know, artistic visions and poetic fantasies all abided," he writes. Untouchable, which debuts in stores today, does not contain any interviews with members of the Jackson family; they declined to be interviewed.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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