Michael Jackson ‘needs a shrink,’ tour manager said in email
Two people who were helping Michael Jackson prepare for his planned London concerts said the singer seemed to be deteriorating and in need of psychological help, according to emails shown to the jury Thursday at the singer’s wrongful-death civil suit.
The emails were sent after Jackson had an especially bad day June 19, 2009, during the rehearsals at Staples Center for the “This Is It” tour.
In an email that day, tour manager John Hougdahl wrote to Randy Phillips, chief executive of AEG Live:
“My laymen’s degree tells me he needs a shrink to get him mentally prepared to get on stage and then a trainer to get him in physical shape.... (Kobe’s should be available)
“I have watched him deteriorate in front of my eyes over the last 8 weeks.
“He was able to do multiple 360 spins back in April. He’d fall on his ass if he tried it now.”
The following morning, tour director Kenny Ortega wrote to Phillips:
“My concern is, now that we’ve brought the Doctor in to the fold and have played the tough love, now or never card, is that the Artist may be unable to rise to the occasion due to the real emotional stuff....
“Everything in me says he should be psychologically evaluated. If we have any chance at all to get him back in the light, it’s going to take a strong Therapist to help him through this as well as immediate physical nurturing.... Finallly, it’s important for everyone to know, I believe that he really wants this. It would shatter him, break his heart if we pulled the plug. He’s terribly frightened it’s all gong to go away. He asked me repeatedly tonight if I was going to leave him. He was practically begging for my confidence. It broke my heard. He was like a lost boy.
“There still may be a chance he can rise to the occasion if we get him the help he needs.
Phillips is a defendant in the wrongful-death suit brought by Jackson’s mother and three children. Suit contends that AEG Live and AEG executive Paul Gongaware negligently hired and supervised Conrad Murray, the doctor who gave the singer a fatal dose of propofol. Jackson died June 25, 2009.
The defendants say that it was Jackson who hired Murray and that any money AEG was supposed to pay the doctor was actually part of an advance to the pop star.
For the second day, none of Jackson’s relatives attended the trial. Jackson’s daughter Paris reportedly attempted suicide Wednesday.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.