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 Gothan Chopra on Dr. Drew about Lisa Marie and Michael /October 17 2011

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PostSubject: Gothan Chopra on Dr. Drew about Lisa Marie and Michael /October 17 2011   Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:19 pm

GOTHAM CHOPRA, FRIEND OF MICHAEL JACKSON: I was 17. It was my junior (ph) of high school.

PINSKY: That must have been mind blowing.

CHOPRA: I mean, what do you say when Michael Jackson asks to come on tour with him? It was the biggest rock tour of all time. You talk about the numbers, and it was staggering. It was overwhelming. Everywhere we went, there were police escorts. And I got to, you know, side-by-side with him.

So, I had this insight into his world, but it was police escorts. It was private. Everything was just completely mind blowing about it.

PINSKY: So, part of I imagine -- this is what got to ask you is part of Michael`s behavior is that he was in such a bubble, that he couldn`t get out. He couldn`t have a regular life of any kind, could he?

CHOPRA: Yes. I mean, you saw it up close and personal. On one hand as a 17-year-old kid, being with Michael Jackson on this rock tour, it was amazing, but gradually as time went by, I started to realize that, you know, all these millions of people and these hundreds of people on the tour, they`re having a great time, but he is in a bubble. He`s extremely isolated after the shows in front of hundreds of thousands of people.

He would retreat up to his penthouse hotel, and he would essentially be by himself, watching movies, drinking orange juice. There would be people, literally, hundreds of people downstairs, chanting his name all night. He would occasionally sort of stick his hand out or peek outside and wave at them. They would go crazy, but that was his existence. It was incredibly isolating.

PINSKY: And you were up there some of the time with him watching movies, hanging out?

CHOPRA: At first I was, because he had asked me to there, and it was cool to have that sort of access. Gradually, it was kind of boring, to be honest.


CHOPRA: And so, I asked out of that. I started working on the tour and hanging more with the dancers and the band and all of that.

PINSKY: So, you`re 17. How old was Michael?

CHOPRA: I think he was in his early 30s at that time.

PINSKY: Did that seem peculiar to you that a 30-year-old wanted to hang out with a 17-year-old?

CHOPRA: You know, not on the face of it. And I mean, I had -- you know, not the way I knew Michael which is while he may have been 30s, I related to him, he related to me. We talked about the same things. We talked about sports. We talked about movies. We talked about women, those sorts of things, and it just seemed sort of normal.

My parents were comfortable with it, and so, I never had any reason to question it. And by the way, it was well before all of the scandals and all of that.

PINSKY: Right. Did you have any hints of any impropriety? Was it a shock to you when those scandals broke?

CHOPRA: It wasn`t really a shock to me. I mean, I think, you know, by virtue of being around Michael and seeing how he interacted, yes, he interacted with a lot of young people, aside from me, some younger. And I think, certainly, that drew attention, and you could see where some of the allegations where he might get himself into trouble.

But in my presence, I mean, he was impeccable with his behavior, and that`s all I have to really go by.

PINSKY: I guess, you told us that Michael called, Gotham told us Michael called him one night after his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley and asked for some marital advice, but before we get to that, watch this 1995 ABC News interview with Diane Sawyer conducted with the newlyweds.


DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: What is it you love the most about him?

LISA MARIE PRESLEY, SINGER: Oh. What do I love the most about him? Everything. He`s amazing. I really admire him. I respect him, I admire him, I`m in love with him. We don`t sleep in separate bedrooms, thank you very much. I love everything about him.


PINSKY: Were you around him during that phase? I mean, he actually looks really happy there.

CHOPRA: Yes. I think, you know, I was in college at the time. And, he used to talk about his relationship, the good parts, the not so great, the frustrating parts, I should say.

PINSKY: What was frustrating or can you say?

CHOPRA: Yes. I mean, you know, it`s personal stuff for him, but I mean, it was the normal stuff. I mean, he would be frustrated by things she wanted him to do. He was traveling all the time. She wanted to settle down.

PINSKY: You`re not paying enough attention to me.

CHOPRA: Yes. I mean, you know --

PINSKY: Never here for dinner.

CHOPRA: Exactly. So, it was normal stuff. But it was also a symptom of Michael not having developed the skills, frankly. I mean, since the age of five years old, he had been on stage. He had been in front of the cameras. He had been --

PINSKY: No girlfriends?

CHOPRA: He had girlfriends, but I don`t think the sort of long- standing, deep relationships that most people go through and develop.

PINSKY: And then, here you are a college kid, a 35-year-old or something man is asking you about sexual advice with his wife. What did he want to know?

CHOPRA: I was a college kid. I mean, I was the one needing sexual advice.

PINSKY: I was going to say, I talked to a few college kids, they`re not always exactly on board with things, but what did he need to know at 35 or whatever it was, 30s?

CHOPRA: I mean, I think he just -- he did not have the experience of hey, it`s not just about the sexual act necessarily. That intimacy is a much broader thing, and that was just something he didn`t really know because he hadn`t gone through those formative relationships.

PINSKY: I don`t want to be tawdry, but can you tell us what the question was? I mean, I still don`t quite get it. I mean, is he saying how do we function better together or she`s complaining that I don`t pay enough attention? The usual thing is it`s not (ph) a foreplay. That`s the usual complaint. So, it`s one of those complaints. All right. Yes. It looked like every other marriage.


CHOPRA: And I think that`s like the broader context. Like, there were parts of Michael that were very normal. I mean, there were obviously things that were extraordinary and unlike anyone else in the world, perhaps, you know, few people in the history of human civilization had the same types of issues Michael did in terms of his celebrity but also the sort of tragedy of his life.

PINSKY: Well, let`s talk about the tragedy. A few weeks ago, prosecution played an audio tape that Dr. Murray apparently recorded of Michael slurring words about missing out on his childhood, his incredible connection with the pain of children. Listen to this for a second.


MICHAEL JACKSON, MUSICIAN: I love them because I didn`t have a childhood. I had no childhood. I feel their pain. I feel their hurt.


PINSKY: Now, of course, that`s a common thing for people that had been traumatized in childhood. They see their pain in other people and they confuse it. Did he ever talk about missing his childhood, having a lot of pain?

CHOPRA: Yes. He talked quite openly about the complete absence of a childhood. From the age of five years old, it was like he grew up on stage. He never got to play playground basketball.

PINSKY: Would he say Gotham, I feel horrible about this. I wish what you have this kind of thing?

CHOPRA: Oh, yes.

PINSKY: And how about the abuse. Jermaine in his recent book talks about Michael getting not just the belt but the belt buckle, which is, I mean, tearing flesh. I mean, that`s fantastic physical abuse. Did he talk about that?

CHOPRA: Yes. I mean, that was -- and he recognized that that was a big part. I think Michael which hasn`t really been talked about is, he didn`t separate that. And he knew in part that sort of terrible pain was in part why also he had been able to achieve such great things, why it had pushed him towards reaching these.

PINSKY: He would say that?


PINSKY: Interesting.

CHOPRA: He was a deeply sort of psychological person.

PINSKY: Why didn`t he ever get any real treatment or stay with treatment?

CHOPRA: Why didn`t he -- I mean, you can answer that better than I can.

PINSKY: Well, sometimes people would just say, I don`t believe -- would have all kinds of spurious excuses. I just wonder what his was.

CHOPRA: I mean, his was that he was trying, and he had tried, and he would try again.

PINSKY: So, people did treat him?

CHOPRA: Yes. He went through, you know, chemical dependency.

PINSKY: He had one treatment. Right. He identified as an addict, and then, blew it all off clearly. But he never had any ongoing kinds of relationship --

CHOPRA: I mean, I wasn`t around --

PINSKY: Your dad. Your dad did some of it.

CHOPRA: He did, but you know, my dad is not a -- he didn`t counsel him every single day. He didn`t go through that rigorous process that people need to get off of the stuff.


CHOPRA: Although he did identify it.

PINSKY: He told me, your dad told me this, and was dismissed from the circle, was not allowed access any more.

CHOPRA: Michael was very skillful at eluding people when he wanted to. I mean, I would go weeks, months without talking to him.

PINSKY: Did you ever confront him about anything that caused you to be dismissed? Did you have any fights?

CHOPRA: Yes, we had disagreements.

PINSKY: What did you fight about?

CHOPRA: You know, some of these dependency issues.

PINSKY: The drugs. You guys would fight -- interesting. Very interesting.

All right. Well, coming up, we`re going to talk with Gotham about a little known story involving Michael and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il. Pretty wild.

Now, go to for all the latest trial news, opinion, commentary, facts and figures. We will be back after this.


PINSKY: We are back talking with Gotham Chopra, a good friend of Michael Jackson who also helped the King of Pop pen a few songs from Michael`s "History" album. So, there was a story Michael reached out to Kim Jong Il regarding -- what was that?

CHOPRA: A couple weeks before he died. At the time, one of my friends, Laura Ling (ph), was one of the imprisoned journalists in North Korea, and Michael, you know, he used to watch the news lot, and he had seen (INAUDIBLE) and he had seen some footage of Kim Jong Il dressed up in these military uniforms which Michael incidentally used to do and was a big fan of when you see those shots of him in concert.

So, he asked me. He called me late at night and he said, do you think Kim Jong Il is a fan of mine because we wear a lot of the same sort of clothes. I said, Michael, I don`t know. I mean, I know Kim Jon Il had this fascination with American icons. I said I`ll find out.

And he said, yes, because maybe if he is, I could call him or I could write a letter or do something or send him some jackets and that would help. And, you know, it was like one of those sort of bizarre, but if you thought about it, somewhat logical things that Michael would say.

PINSKY: Well, it`s sweet and lovely, but grandiose and bizarre. One of the things he had Conrad Murray convinced of was that he and Conrad were going to develop a children`s hospital and Dr. Murray was going to be the medical director. This is grandiose stuff when the guy is dying of substances. What did you guys fight about? As specific as you can be, can you describe a fight over substances?

CHOPRA: I mean, yes, there were times here in this city in Los Angeles where I would see Michael and I would suspect that, you know, things were not normal, that he was using substances.

PINSKY: Using pills.

CHOPRA: And he was using pills. And I brought that up to him. And I said Michael, you really need to get help, and there are great places that can help you, great people who can help you with this. And he would either say yes, I understand and I`m going to get help and I promise you or he, at times, would sort of say it`s not a problem, you know, --

PINSKY: I just have pain.

CHOPRA: Yes. I just have pain. And he did have pain, and that`s also been talked about, all the surgeries and all the hair burning and scalp and all of that stuff. I was no expert. I`m not a physician. So, it was hard. And I wasn`t the only person. There were, I`m sure you talked to some of them, his family member --

PINSKY: Apparently, there were multiple attempts at intervention. Were you ever part of any of those?

CHOPRA: Not like a formal, you know, group intervention.

PINSKY: With less than 30 seconds left. Is there one thing that you can tell my viewing audience what this man was like that we will never know because we never get again to know him?

CHOPRA: He was a deeply complicated person, you know? He was amongst most brilliant people, an artist, but he was also -- I think when you think of people like (INAUDIBLE) or Vincent van Gogh, we`ve talked about the agony of an ecstasy of those people, and I think Michael experienced incredible triumphs, but ultimately, a terrible tragedy.

PINSKY: It seems like also part of that suffering artist was something they all protected and didn`t want him to get well, because it might affect his artistry. Even himself, I suspect.

CHOPRA: I was going to say. I mean, I think he also recognized that part of this tortured part of himself was also why he was so great at what he did.

PINSKY: Thanks, Gotham. Appreciate it. Very interesting.

Now, a few words before we go. In my line of work, treating addictions and mental health issues, there`s old saying. It says, more to be revealed. When you say it all the time, more to be revealed when we`re dealing with people that are lying, and distorting, particularly surrounding use of alcohol or substances.

I`m harkening back now to Baby Lisa`s mom. Now, I`m not saying she`s an alcoholic. I don`t know (ph) if she`s dependent on substances, but her admission two weeks after her little girl vanished about being drunk makes me question now everything. Add to this the discrepancies in the timeline she`s laid out, it is not looking good, and I think most of you out there are getting used to this.

Remind you of two words, Casey Anthony. There`s more to be revealed. Stay tuned. I`m going to stay on top of this story. Thank you all for watching, and we`ll see you next time.

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Gothan Chopra on Dr. Drew about Lisa Marie and Michael /October 17 2011
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