Michael Jackson has been famous longer than most of us have been alive, so it feels like we know everything there is to know about him — but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In honor of the King of Pop’s 59th birthday, check out these 20 interesting things you probably didn’t know about the star.
20 Interesting Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Michael Jackson
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1. MJ was a victim of physical abuse from his father as a child. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he shed tears and claimed that he was so terrified of his father that he would often vomit when he saw him.
2. His favorite animated character from childhood was Pinocchio.
3. When MJ listened to the songs from his days in The Jackson 5, he said he sounded like “Minnie Mouse.”
4. His middle name was Joseph – Michael Joseph Jackson.
5. “Billie Jean” is allegedly based on a true story. MJ claims an obsessive fan tried to say he was the father of her child.
6. His first song to hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart was “Ben” in 1972.
7. MJ was a huge Beatles fan. He paid $47 million for the publishing rights to the Beatles back catalogue in 1985 and sold a share of it to Sony in 1995 for $95 million.
8. Get this… The costumes for the “Thriller” video came from the Salvation Army.
9. Jackson invented and owns the patent for the special anti-gravity boots he wore that allowed him to lean forward extremely far in live performances of “Smooth Criminal.”
10. MJ loved animals, and had several…strange pets. He had a python called Crusher, two llamas called Louis and Lola, and his most famous pet was Bubbles, the chimpanzee.
11. Sources say MJ “borrowed” the Moonwalk from street dancers he saw outside a hotel.
12. The original song title for “Thriller” was “Starlight.”
13. Sources say MJ slept in an oxygen tent to live longer and for cosmetic purposes.
14. MJ was a proud owner of a 2,700-acre Neverland Ranch that has a theme park, a menagerie, and a movie theater.
15. “Home Alone” star Macaulay Culkin was one of MJ’s closest friends, and is the godfather of two of Jackson’s children.
16. MJ’s estate signed a deal with Sony that gave them access to his unreleased recordings for $250 million.
17. MJ often wore a black armband to remind people of the suffering of children around the world.
18. The Los Angeles mansion he was renting just before he passed away once belonged to Sean Connery.
19. MJ was allegedly a pretty avid reader… He was once accused by a library of owing $1 million in overdue book fines.
20. Wikipedia, Twitter, and AOL’s Instant Messenger all crashed at 3:15PM on the day MJ died: June 25, 2009.