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Pop star Michael Jackson remembered in book by his bodyguards

Michael Jackson is remembered in the book Remember the Time by his bodyguards
courtesy Weinstein Books used with permission

"Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days" is a book about late pop star Michael Jackson, written by the two bodyguards who protected the singer during his final two and a half years. "Remember the Time," by bodyguards Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, written with Tanner Colby, was released on June 3, 2014.

Whitfield and Beard share their memories of the two and a half years they spent protecting Jackson, who died suddenly in June, 2009. They alternate statements about Jackson, offering two points of view about the events during a time period when Jackson was living as a virtual recluse before the announcement of his final comeback tour "This Is It."

The book offers a look at Jackson's world during a time when he was not in the public eye. The authors portray a good, but flawed man in this respectful portrait of the pop star.

Michael Jackson was living in seclusion in the aftermath of the child molestation trial that destroyed his career. In 2005, after being exonerated, Jackson left America and traveled to Bahrain to live as the guest of Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The two men formed a record label with big plans for musical comeback but their relationship soured after a year. Jackson then traveled to Ireland, where he lived for six months. It is possible that he would have lived abroad indefinitely, but pressing business and financial problems required his attention and he returned to the United States.

Jackson, along with his three children and a skelton staff, quietly moved into a house in Las Vegas. Bodyguard Bill Whitfield was retained to provide security. Whitfield thought he would part of a team, so he was unpleasantly surprised to learn that he was a one man security detail. Whitfield knew that Jackson had a number of fans, as well as numerous people who hated him, and felt it was more than a one man job. Javon Beard was hired to help provide security for the pop star and his children: Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket. Whitfield and Beard worked as a two man team for most of the time they were employed by Jackson.

Jackson was plagued with financial problems, which is why he eventually agreed to the the "This Is It" tour. Large amounts of money constantly came in and went right back out. Lawsuits were a part of life and Jackson agreed to settlements instead of going back to court following his molestation trial. The bodyguards stayed loyal to Jackson, even though they did not get paid for months at a time, putting their families under duress. They placed the blame of Jackson's management for misuse of funds. Meanwhile, Jackson continued his out-of-control impulse spending, carrying $100,000 in cash while his loyal employees were losing their cars.

The pop star and his three children were isolated as he hid from the public and lived in seclusion. Jackson refused to see his family members, with the exception of his mother Katherine, unless they made an appointment. They detailed unpleasant confrontations with Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, and brother, Randy Jackson, who appeared at that gate demanding to see Jackson.

Randy Jackson crashed the gate, demanding to see Michael because he claimed that he was owed money. At the time, Michael was preparing to go the the birthday party of his close friend Liz Taylor, an event he had been excited about attending. Michael refused to see Randy but after the unpleasantness at the gate he was too downhearted to attend Taylor's party.

Jackson's bodyguards were up close and personal when Jackson was struggling to live a somewhat normal life as a father to three young children. They continue to hold Jackson in high regard and offer a respectful and balanced portrait of the controversial superstar.

The bodyguards state that they did not write this book for financial gain. The tabloid press offered large sums of money by for their stories and they turned the offers down. The book is their opportunity to tell the story of Michael Jackson's final months on their own terms.

A review copy of "Remember the Time" was provided to Christine Nyholm by Weinstein Books.

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