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The actress — who died Wednesday of congestive heart failure at 79 — and singer became fast friends after they met in the 1980s, when, according to the New York Post, Taylor left one of Jackson’s concerts — and he called her afterwards in tears to ask why. She explained that she couldn’t see the performance or hear the music.
“Then we met, and spent more and more time with each other, and just became really good friends. Told each other everything,” Taylor said in 2006.
They bonded over their “horrible” childhoods, which she said was destroyed by becoming famous as kids. Indeed, Taylor achieved fame at age 12 in National Velvet, Jackson began his career at the age of 5 as the lead singer of the Jackson 5.
They remained close, despite a 27-year age difference, as Jackson faced child molestation accusations and a trial. She always defended him, saying she’d spent nights at Neverland Ranch as well without seeing anything.
“There was nothing abnormal about it. There was no touchy-feely going on. We laughed like children, and we watched a lot of Walt Disney. There was nothing odd about it,” Taylor said then.
He often attended her AIDS charity events, and they hit red carpets together.
They even lived nearby in Bel Air and Beverly Hills.
According to some reports, Taylor first called Jackson the “King of Pop” when she presented him with the Soul Train Heritage Award in 1989.
“I’ve met a lot of people in my life, and very few are real, real friends,” Jackson said in a 1993 home video. “I can probably count them on one hand. Elizabeth is one of the most loving, loyal, caring people that I know.”
The Post says she was deeply affected by Jackson’s death as her own health continued to decline.
“I’m home from the hospital sore, but intact. Of course I’m still grieving for Michael . . . I always will,” Taylor Tweeted shortly after Jackson’s 2009 death. “My heart . . . my mind . . . are broken. I loved Michael with all my soul and I can’t imagine life without him. We had so much in common and we had such loving fun together.”
Taylor also referred to their friendship as “the purest, most giving love I’ve ever known… I don’t think anyone knew how much we loved each other.”
In a statement released Thursday, Jackson’s sister, LaToya, said Taylor was “an incredible friend to my brother, at his side through some of his most difficult times, and, of course, loved by his children and our family. She will live on in our hearts forever.”
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