Michael Jackson's Memorial Speakers Hardly Knew Him

Celebrity News Jul. 9, 2009 AT 3:06PM
Michael Jackson's Memorial Speakers Hardly Knew Him Credit: Kevin Mazur/MJ Memorial via Getty Images;Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The majority of boldfaced names at Michael Jackson's July 6 memorial at Los Angeles' Staples Center hadn't spoken to the the singer in years.

Many never even met him at all.

Brooke Shields - who broke down in tears as she remembered her "true friend" - last saw Jackson (whom she met as a teenager) 18 years ago at Elizabeth Taylor's 1991 wedding. (At the memorial, she recalled how the two of them sneaked into Taylor's room for a peek at her dress.)

See photos from Michael Jackson's memorial

Corey Feldman -- who befriended Jackson in the 1980s -- also hadn't talked to the star in several years after having a falling out. Feldman ended up wearing a Jackson costume to the ceremony. "I'm just drained," he told Us.

Many of Jackson's close friends were no-shows: Macaulay Culkin, ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley, Webster's Emmanuel Lewis, among others.

Quincy Jones, Jackson's longtime producer, and Diana Ross -- who was named in Jackson's will as a backup guardian to Jackson's three children -- also skipped the ceremony. Ross said she was at the memorial "in spirit," but that she "decided to pause and be silent" because it "feels right."

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Arnold Klein, Jackson's longtime dermatologist and biological father to his two oldest children, was also noticeably absent. Debbie Rowe, mother of Jackson's two eldest children, said she skipped because she felt she'd "be an unnecessary distraction."

As for Elizabeth Taylor? She said she stayed home because she didn't want to "be a part of the public whoopla."

Even Jesse Jackson, who counseled the singer during his trial, was not present to speak. (A source tells Us Joe Jackson dislikes him and made sure Rev. Al Sharpton -- who laughed about Jackson during a 2008 discussion on race -- delivered a speech instead.)

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Instead, most of the people who paid tribute to Jackson at Tuesday's memorial never met him at all.

Queen Latifah, who eulogized the singer, told David Letterman: "I never actually got to meet him. My partner met him because we managed Naughty by Nature and they did a remix with him. He thought I had beautiful cheekbones."

John Mayer -- who performed an instrumental version of "Human Nature" -- told Larry King he also "never met" the King of Pop. His only connection was listening to Thriller as a teen. He said the Jackson family asked him to perform. (The Los Angeles Times' Ann Powers remarked, "I don't know why John Mayer is here. Was Slash not available?")

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Jennifer Hudson -- who performed "Will You Be There" -- also had no prior relationship with Jackson. Mariah Carey covered the Jackson 5 classic "I'll Be There," which she sang at the memorial. Though she worked with Jackson on his 2001 charity single "What More Can I Give?" she wasn't close with the singer, a source tells Us.

Usher, who sobbed and touched Jackson's coffin while singing "Gone Too Soon," performed with Jackson at his 2001 celebration concert at New York City's Madison Square Garden. But "their contact was minimal," the source tells Us, even though Usher has stated how influential Jackson was on his career.

Twelve-year-old Britain's Got Talent finalist Shaheen Jafargholi's connection to Jackson? He toured as a young Jackson in the Thriller Live show and sang the Jackson 5 cover version of "Who's Loving You" on Britain's Got Talent.

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