Michael Jackson used to be so lonely he would cry while watching children playing in the park and had a collection of mannequins he told his secrets to.
The King of Pop, who died of a drug overdose in June 2009, spent his childhood being hit, beaten and abused by his patriarchal father Joe Jackson, who denied him and his siblings their birthdays and Christmas celebrations.
Michael and his Jackson 5 co-stars were expected to sing and dance perfectly, with their father threatening them with violence if they made mistakes during their gruelling rehearsals.
As a result, the Thriller star would roam the streets looking for strangers to befriend and even watched kids in playgrounds while crying at his own lost childhood.
In conversation with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach shortly before his death, Jackson emotionally revealed the scars from his younger years and how he would talk to mannequins just to feel less alone.
"I was looking for people to talk to. I was so lonely I would cry in my room upstairs. I would think, 'That's it. I am getting out of here,' and I would walk down the street. I remember really saying to people, 'Will you be my friend?'" he confessed in The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation.
"They were like, 'Michael Jackson!' I would go, 'Oh god! Are they going to be my friend because of Michael Jackson? Or because of me?' I just wanted someone to talk to."
Jackson admitted he would watch the local children playing on swings in the park opposite his recording studio, explaining that he never felt like a real teenager.
"I wanted so badly to play in the park across the street because the kids were playing baseball and football but I had to record. I could see the park, right across the street. But I had to go in the other building and work until late at night making the albums," he said.
"I sat there looking at the kids with tears running down my face and I would say, 'I am trapped and I have to do this for the rest of my life. I am under contract.' But I wanted to go over there so bad it was killing me, just to [meet] a friend to say, 'Hi.' I used to walk the streets looking for someone to talk to.."
The singer admitted he "knew something was wrong" with him as he would confide in his many child-sized mannequins, which were discovered in his Neverland ranch after his death in an array of bizarre poses.
"I needed someone ... That’s probably why I had the mannequins," he told the Rabbi in his tapes.
"I would say because I felt I needed people, someone, I didn't have ... I was too shy to be around real people. I didn't talk to them. It wasn't like old ladies talking to plants. But I always thought I wanted something to make me feel like I had company.
"I always thought, 'Why do I have these?' They are like real babies, kids, and people, and it makes me feel like I am in a room with people."
Jackson added it was "children all over the world - all children" that gave him strength after his own horrifying childhood.