Sixteen months after Michael Jackson's death, his ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley finally opened up about their much-scrutinized marriage.
"I didn't understand my relationship with him," Presley, 42, confessed on The Oprah Winfrey Show Thursday.
Though skeptics have labeled their 18-month marriage a sham, Presley insisted it was the real deal — though she understands why Jackson's behavior might cause people to question its validity.
"To some degree, he was a master at manipulating the media," she said. "I understand that nobody really knew who I was. They just assumed I was going along with something he would be doing….I understand it better now. The manipulation was a survival tactic for him."
After Jackson's death in June 2009, Presley said she's "come to have all this love again and understanding for him. I don't know why it had to take all that to have this happen. That upsets me a bit."
But Jackson's ex-wife admitted she didn't always have such warm feelings for the King of Pop, whom she divorced in 1996.
"I was very angry. I was so angry," she revealed. "I felt that we were so united, and then at some point he pushed me out."
According to Presley, part of the reason she felt distant from Jackson was due to his increased drug use, which he attempted to keep a secret.
"I didn't really suspect and catch on until just before I filed for divorce. There was just an occasion, an incident where he had collapsed and he was in the hospital," she recalled.
Though doctors blamed it on a viral infection, Presley said that "every day there was a different report. And I couldn't tell what was happening. I couldn't really get a straight answer about what was happening with him, and I think we were all a little bit in the dark."
Looking back, Presley wondered if she could have potentially saved her estranged ex-husband's life.
"I know it's naive to think that I could have, but I wanted to," she admitted. "Had I made a call, had I stopped being so shut off from him, had I just said 'How are you?' I really regret that I didn't."
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