Michael Jackson left us one year ago today—with plenty of questions unanswered and mysteries unsolved.
On the first anniversary of the genius pop icon's death, his family, friends and fans still don't have closure on his affairs. But beyond the sadness, much of Jackson's own shocking behavior still remains unexplained:
Questions about his health have gone unresolved, and much of what we know about the King of Pop is still, quite frankly, a mystery.
There have been many cases of accused child molesters and supposed plastic surgery addicts, and these are plenty heartbreaking. But what makes Michael Jackson's case so tragic was that he was a musical genius beyond compare. Yet what he chose to do with his gifts was undermined by speculation and scandal about his personal life.
We don't have the answers to the unresolved questions that diehard fans (as well as Jackson detractors) and caring family members are still seeking. But we can offer a digest of Jackson's greatest unresolved scandals, pivotal points of interest that should not die simply because he did:
1. The Original Settlement
In 1993, Jackson was accused of abuse by 13-year-old Jordan Chandler and his father, Evan, the first of the molestation allegations. In the original affidavit, Jordan recounts engaging in masturbation and oral sex with Jackson, and gives a description of Jackson's genitals which later proved to be an inconclusive match.
The whole debacle caused tabloids, fans and even some of Jackson's family members to turn on him, forcing the singer into rehabilitation (and, though maybe not as forcibly, a relationship with Lisa Marie Pressley). In 1994, the case was settled out of court for $22 million, but not without casting a shadow of doubt on Jackson. Why did he pay up if he was completely innocent?
Jordan Chandler would not testify in court, yet gave a stunning interview to police and his psychiatrist. Was the degree of detail in the then-13-year-old's deposition genuine? It sure seemed so. It was far too graphic for a child to simply make up, given a kid's limited knowledge at that age, suggesting that either an adult (Jackson's defense pointed to Jordan's father) coaxed Jordan into the claims just to cause a profitable ruckus—or the whole allegation was real.
2. The Trial
Since the first case was settled out of court, the second round of accusations—that Jackson had intoxicated, abducted, molested and conspired to hold captive a minor—resulted in Jackson's first trial in the summer of 2005. The public media spectacle around the Santa Barbara trials and the growing interest in Jackson's accuser, Gavin Arvizo (who was 13 at the time of the alleged crimes), ensured that the masses were glued to the proceedings.
Jackson was acquitted, but was the jury right in their decision? Was the evidence, including that pulled from the 1993 case, all fabricated? Why were there so many accumulative charges against Jackson? Was everyone just...making it up?
3. The Martin Bashir Interview
British journalist Martin Bashir, made famous by getting Princess Diana to weep before his cameras in 1995, pulled it off again in 2003, this time with a stunningly forthcoming Jackson. Bashir's documentary on MJ had many striking moments, such as Arvizo holding Jackson's hand and resting his head on the singer's shoulder. Jackson also revealed that he had slept next to Arvizo.
The creepy interaction between all three caught the world's attention, and provided a memorable image for Jackson's accusers. Some critics of the documentary argued that Bashir heavily edited the footage in order to portray Jackson in a negative light (the documentary was broadcast more than two weeks before Arvizo accused Jackson of molestation).
On the other side, Jackson's camp released their own footage that showed Bashir complimenting Jackson and his relationship with his kids. No one's really sure how much of Bashir's interrogation was self-interested editing, and how much was actually an accurate portrayal of "Wacko Jacko."
4. The Nose, the Skin and the Surgeries
In 1986, Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo, an autoimmune disorder that causes depigmentation of his skin. Skeptics claimed he bleached his skin, but this one goes to Jackson: In death, Jackson's disease was confirmed in his autopsy report.
The question remains, did Jackson use the disease as an excuse to have extensive surgery?
In the '70s and '80s, MJ had two rhinoplasties and had a dimple created in his chin before becoming a habitual client of Dr. Arnold Klein. Further speculation says that Jackson had a forehead lift, thinned lips, cheekbone enhancement and more, adding up to around 10 surgeries. Jackson has admitted to some of the surgeries, but not all. So while he told the truth about his skin disease, was he also telling the truth about the surgeries?
5. The Drugs
Jackson started to abuse drugs when the allegations of child molestation came up in the early '90s, and most sources agree that, despite previous use, he truly became addicted. He stopped eating and lost weight, causing a drastic change in his overall health and behavior.
Upon his death, the drug addiction became even more well-known, following police raids on his and Dr. Conrad Murray's home and office. Jackson used more than a dozen aliases to get drug prescriptions.
We still don't know how many drugs Jackson was on at any given time, how he kept his team mum, or how his drug use affected his erratic behavior over the last decade of his life.
The mysteries—and great sadness—surrounding Michael Jackson's life and death remain. And they aren't going anywhere soon.
—Additional reporting by Marc Snetiker
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