Neil Ratner recently released book The Roc Doc, which details his life working with some of the world’s biggest music stars – including Michael Jackson.
Ratner worked as Jackson’s physician throughout the nineties, with the pair developing a close bond.
In part one of Daily Star Online’s exclusive interview with Ratner, the rock doc spoke about MJ’s attentive parenting and said the star sometimes had the tendency to be “too strict”.
The second segment of our Michael Jackson series sees Ratner reveal the real reason why the King of Pop clung to his youth.
Ratner said “[Michael] couldn’t let go” when it came to his childhood and he explained this was largely due to his upbringing – and his relationship with father Joe Jackson.
He explained: “I only know what he told me and when were on tour in South Africa on a few occasions his father came so I did get to meet his father, speak to his father and see his adult relationship with him.
“And it was obviously not good and it was turbulent and I’m not condoning Joe’s behaviour but you know they were a poor family and he was trying to get something to support the family.”
He continued: “But did he do it in the right way? Definitely not. Did he you know, treat Michael somewhat abusively from what he told me? I mean yeah, it seemed like that definitely went on and in anybody’s upbringing that kind of thing can have very significant effects later in life.”
Ratner recalled one story Michael told him about his childhood when he was rehearsing with his brothers, who would all go on to become the Jackson 5.
He said: “Michael was telling me a story of when he was really young – I think they lived in a house in Indiana maybe and the rehearsal studio was in the basement and you know how basements have like very small windows at the top.
“He said himself and his brothers would rehearse and rehearse and look out the windows and see the kids playing outside and he just wanted to go out and play with the kids and his father would say no, a couple more hours of rehearsal, a couple more hours of rehearsal.”
Ratner says that he thinks this MJ memory “sums up” Michael’s inability to let go of his childhood.
He added: “He just freaked out that he missed his childhood and he really related to the innocence of childhood.
“You know, we talked often about how we’re born an empty slate pretty much and as we grow older we’re taught various things and we tend to start to close off because of the things we’re taught.
“As children we’re an open book of sensory overload and we’re exposed to everything. And then as we get older and develop as human beings, the blinders come on and by the time we’re adults that innocent childhood is totally lost.
“We’re acting in a way we think we’re supposed to act because that’s what society tells us as opposed to children who will say and do anything. So you know, he was always fascinated by that and upset by how he we change as adults.
“And I think in many ways, that’s why he related better to children you know particularly when you’re big star a lot of people tell you a lot of stuff and you don’t know what’s real and don’t know who to trust.”
Ratner also revealed he was able to see the more nurturing side of Joe and Michael’s relationship.
He divulged: “We were on tour in South Africa and one afternoon the phone rang and he said ‘Hey doc, it’s Joe’ and and as a father he wanted to talk to Michael’s doctor to make sure he was okay and I definitely saw that morning a glimmer of a father wanting to make sure his son was okay.”
- Michael Jackson
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