In 2006, Michael Jackson was buzzing in an interview in Ireland with Access Hollywood's Billy Bush as he worked on some music — but just weeks later, Jackson left Ireland for Las Vegas, convinced to do so by his good friend Jack Wishna. And today, Wishna, the Jackson confidante, is opening up.
"It was December 23rd 2006, it was the day before Christmas Eve and we arranged it where a private jet would pick Michael Jackson up in Dublin, Ireland, and take him directly to Las Vegas," Wishna said in an interview for Access Hollywood and Las Vegas television station KVBC with correspondent Alicia Jacobs.
And Wishna revealed the vision he shared with Jackson.
"When he came off that plane, it was the old Michael Jackson of the 'Bad Tour,' type thing, it was the Michael Jackson that I grew up with," he said.
And although Jackson's use of prescription drugs became big news after his death, Wishna said he never saw any of that kind of stuff around.
"Never saw any drugs," Wishna said. "Never saw any intravenous, or needles or anything like that. Never met any doctors around Michael."
Naming their project "Rock City," Jackson was going to be required to perform just three days a month.
But once he was settled into his new home with his children and the comeback collaboration was underway, Wishna said Jackson's behavior turned erratic.
"As he stayed in Las Vegas, he started to get debilitated while he was here and debilitated from a mental health standpoint, debilitated from a physical standpoint," Wishna said.
"The family started to, you know, bother him again… His father Joe. It just started – a lot of the weirdness started to come back," he continued.
Wishna said he often had to conduct damage control, especially after one night when Jackson watched a fight, incognito in a wheelchair.
"My phone rings… It's The Associated Press and the person on the other end of the phone says Jack, 'What do you know about Michael being in a wheelchair last night with a coat over his head and sunglasses over his coat," Wishna recounted. "If you say, 'Michael, why did you do that?' That's the way he wanted to go out and if he wanted to go out that way, that's the way he wanted to go out."
Eventually, Wishna came to the decision that the negative publicity surrounding Jackson's antics were detrimental to the success of "Rock City."
"This was probably about June of 2007 and I said, 'Michael, I think we should shelve it. I think we should put it on the shelf, come back to it when you are' — these are the words that I used – 'mentally, physically, and vocally capable of being a part of this project,'" he explained.
Wishna was both right and wrong. As the world discovered from "This Is It," Michael's vocals and dance moves were at the top of his game, but his drug abuse tragically sabotaged it all.
"I believe Michael was troubled every single day of his life," Wishna said. "I believe that contributed to his untimely death."
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