Corey Feldman, Macaulay Culkin and More Notable Young Men Michael Jackson Called Friends

HBO's Leaving Neverland documentary shares the stories of men who claim they had inappropriate relationships with the King of Pop when they were young — but they weren't the only boys and teenagers Jackson spent time with. A look at the famous young faces who Jackson befriended during the height of his fame.

Michael Jackson's 30th Anniversary Celebration - Audience and Backstage
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MACAULAY CULKIN

Michael Jackson with Macaulay Culkin in Bermuda, West Indies - 1991
Michael Jackson and Macaulay Culkin. Ernie Mccreight/REX/Shutterstock

Culkin first met Jackson when he was performing in The Nutcracker in New York City as a child, but it was after the actor starred in Home Alone in 1990 that the then-10-year-old received a random call from him. The pop star told Culkin he understood the pressures of child fame and offered to be his friend. Culkin then became a regular at Neverland Ranch, starred in Jackson’s "Black or White" music video and was named the godfather to Jackson’s daughter Paris in 1998.

“When Macaulay Culkin was little, [his brother] Kieran Culkin would sleep on this side, Macaulay Culkin was on this side, his sisters in there," Jackson told Martin Bashir in his 2003 documentary Living With Michael Jackson. "We all would just jam in the bed, you know, we would wake up at dawn and go in the hot-air balloon.”

Culkin took the witness stand in Jackson’s 2005 child molestation trial to defend the King of Pop. He said at the time that Jackson never molested him, and continues to call his friendship with Jackson “normal."

“It’s almost easy to try to say it was like weird or whatever, but it wasn't, because it made sense," Culkin, 38, said on the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum podcast. "At the end of the day, we were friends."

02 of 04

COREY FELDMAN

michael-jackson
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"When I was a kid, Michael and I became regular friends,” Feldman, 47, said in 2017 on Bravo’s Then and Now, recalling a time they went to Disneyland together. “So Michael and I were visiting one day and I wanted to do something. I was bored, and one thing that popped into my head was, let’s go to Disneyland. And he’s like, well you know, I don’t have my security tonight. We go into his closet and he’s got this whole array of costumes, so he gives me a wig and fake mustache, and he puts on a fake afro and a fake mustache and we get in the car and we drive to Disneyland.”

Feldman and Jackson then got a room at the Disneyland Hotel; The singer slept on a cot and gave Feldman the bed. “What it was like staying in a room him was that he was a total gentleman, more so than I would even be,” Feldman said.

The Gremlins star insists he and Jackson never engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior. Feldman has always stood by Jackson, but recently changed his mind after seeing the Leaving Neverland documentary.

“I don’t want to be perceived as I’m here to defend Michael Jackson, because I can no longer do that,” he told CNN. “I cannot in good consciousness defend anyone who’s being accused of such horrendous things.”

03 of 04

EMMANUEL LEWIS

Michael Jackson and Emmanuel Lewis
John Paschal/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Lewis and Jackson’s friendship started in 1983 when he invited the 12-year-old to the set of his "Thriller" video. Jackson then took the child star — and model Brooke Shields — to the 1984 Grammy Awards. He also brought Lewis up on stage during his Victory tour that year, and the two spent time together at Disney. Their friendship raised eyebrows when Jackson tried to check them into a hotel as father and son.

Lewis’s family took care of Jackson after he set his hair on fire while shooting a Pepsi commercial in 1984. Jackson moved in with them during that time.

“I said, that’s my boy — I can’t have him recuperate by himself in a hotel,” Lewis explained to Criss Angel in 2012 of why he invited Jackson to stay with his family. “I was like, we're coming to kidnap you. So me, my mom, my brothers, we all took him into our house … He literally recuperated for months living in my condo when I went to work.”

They stayed close friends throughout the ‘90s, and Lewis even got an invite to the Jackson family reunion in 1990. The Webster star, now 47, says he was never molested by Jackson and calls the time they spent together an “awesome experience.”

04 of 04

AARON CARTER

Aaron Carter and Michael Jackson split
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Jackson and the “Aaron’s Party” singer met in the recording studio in 2001, when Carter was 14. The 13-time Grammy winner wanted Carter to partake in his charity song “What More Can I Give?” Carter did, and by September of that year, he and Jackson had gotten so close that Carter performed “I Want Candy” at Jackson’s anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden.

“Michael and I have been friends for three years,” Carter told PEOPLE in 2004. “I went to Neverland for his [45th] birthday bash. We were smashing cake in each other's faces. It was really cool. Until 5 a.m., me, him and Chris Tucker were out on four-wheelers, riding around in the mountains. Nothing happened between me and Michael. We didn't sleep in the same room, we didn't share a bed. We have a normal friendship. There's nothing sexual to it.”

His mom Jane continued, “I don't know what happened at Michael Jackson's house, but I was concerned like any parent would be.”

The teen pop star was a frequent visitor at Neverland Ranch (he lived next door with his family in Santa Barbara), and he and Jackson “stayed in touch with him for many years,” Carter, now 31, told Fuse in 2017.

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