In a wide-ranging interview with Esquire published Tuesday, actor Macaulay Culkin of “Home Alone” fame offered what he described as not just “a line,” but “the truth” about his much-scrutinized relationship with Michael Jackson: the pop icon “never did anything” to him.
The accusations of sexual assault and pedophilia against Jackson have been revived over the last year in large part because of the release of the 2019 HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which focuses on the allegations from two men who now say that the late-star sexually abused them when they were just seven and ten years old.
In the interview with Esquire Editor-in-Chief Ryan D’Agostino, Culkin, 39, underscored that now that Jackson has passed, he has no reason to lie about their friendship or the behavior he witnessed from Jackson during that period.
Jackson, D’Agostino writes, got in touch with Culkin (who now goes by “Mack”) after the release of “Home Alone” (1990) and ended up frequently serving as “the schoolmate” Culkin never had. “His parents neither encouraged nor discouraged the friendship,” D’Agostino writes. “The way Mack sees it, Michael had a similar childhood, which is to say that he didn’t really have one, because his father was forcing fame upon him. So, at twenty-two years older than Mack, living in a place called Neverland, he felt the same age, in a way.”
Asked about whether he is bothered by people’s assumption that Jackson abused him, Culkin responded, “Look. I’m gonna begin with the line — it’s not a line, it’s the truth: He never did anything to me. I never saw him do anything.”
“And especially at this flash point in time, I’d have no reason to hold anything back,” the actor added. “The guy has passed on. If anything — I’m not gonna say it would be stylish or anything like that, but right now is a good time to speak up. And if I had something to speak up about, I would totally do it. But no, I never saw anything; he never did anything.”
D’Agostino also recounts the last time Culkin saw Jackson, which occurred in the men’s room at the Santa Barbara County Superior Courthouse during a recess in the 2005 trial against Jackson, who was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy. Culkin, who was 24 at the time, testified on Jackson’s defense, and Jackson was ultimately acquitted.
“There was a short recess during Mack’s testimony,” writes D’Agostino. “Mack took a leak, and Michael came in. Jackson said, ‘We better not talk. I don’t want to influence your testimony.’ They laughed a little at this. Michael Jackson, who had been more famous perhaps even than Macaulay Culkin when he was eight, ten, eleven years old, looked whipped. Exhausted. Drained. They hugged.”
Ahead of their discussion about Jackson, Culkin described his current view of his famously turbulent childhood, acknowledging that certain things that happened to him, presumably in part referencing his troubled relationship with his parents, were “f***ed-up,” but asserting that in the end his life overall is “good.”
“It coulda been worse, you know? I wasn’t working in a coal mine. I wasn’t a child soldier. My father was not sexually abusing me,” he said. “Certain f***ed-up things happened, but f***ed-up things happen to kids all the time and they don’t come out the other end. I’ve got something to show for it, man. I mean, look at me: I got money, I got fame, I got a beautiful girlfriend and a beautiful house and beautiful animals. It took me a long time to get to that place, and I had to have that conversation with myself and go, like, Honestly, Mack? It’s not so bad. I want for nothing and need for even less. I’m good, man.”
During the interview, the star also pushed back on portrayals of him as “crazy, or a kook, or damaged,” but also made a point of acknowledging that he is “a pretty peerless person.”
“It’s one of those things where, like, the cliché that we’re all snowflakes? That we’re all unique?” he said. “Well, you know what? I actually am a snowflake.”