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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Michael Jackson's Mother Discusses Their Relationship; Exclusive Access to Large Collection of Jackson's Paintings

Aired May 14, 2012 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight the exclusive interview three years in the making. The one person who knew Michael Jackson better than anybody else. His mother Katherine.

KATHERINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S MOTHER: Every morning, all through the day I think about Michael.

MORGAN: Katherine Jackson speaks out on Michael's childhood.

JACKSON: So Michael looked back at those childhood and he said he was abused. Well, they call it abuse. But sometimes if it wasn't for the strap, what would this world be like today?

MORGAN: On what he missed.

Did you ever hope that he would find true love?

JACKSON: I always thought about that, but Michael seemed happy. He found a lot of joy in his children.

MORGAN: On the talent Michael that hid from the world.

JACKSON: Michael loved art a lot. He loved paintings. He loved water colors. He loved even the crayons.

MORGAN: And her explosive theory about Conrad Murray.

JACKSON: He did a terrible thing. And there might have been others involved. I don't know that but I feel that.

MORGAN: Katherine Jackson, an extraordinary hour. The PIERS MORGAN interview starts now.

Tonight an extraordinary look at Michael Jackson's private life through his deeply personal artwork. He started drawing as a child. The pictures are new revelations about the iconic singer. Much of it kept in a secret location, at an airport hangar in Los Angeles. Some of it is in the studio with me tonight.

Joining me now in an exclusive interview is Michael's mother Katherine Jackson and his mentor and good friend artist Brett Livingston Strong.

Welcome to you both.

JACKSON: Thank you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

MORGAN: We're surrounded by this incredible art. Most of which has never been seen. That your son Michael did. What I'm struck by, I love this picture, Katherine which is -- how old is he there, Michael?

JACKSON: He's about 9 or 10 there.

MORGAN: And he's clutching his own work of art.

JACKSON: Yes.

MORGAN: He painted that.

JACKSON: Yes.

MORGAN: I don't know what's more impressive, the art or the fantastic hat he's wearing.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Very stylish. But clearly from an early age he loved art. Tell me about that side of Michael.

JACKSON: Michael loved art a lot. He -- he loved paintings, he loved water colors. He loved even the crayons. And he would always draw. And when he was even in school, he would draw pictures and they took one of his drawings and put it on the front of the yearbook. And --

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Was he self-taught? Did he teach himself?

JACKSON: He taught himself.

MORGAN: Amazing talent.

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: Just the talent that he had. And I can't say too much more about him, only his father -- his father was an artist, too. He loved to paint and draw. So I thought maybe he might have picked it up from him. But he had a natural talent for it, Michael did.

MORGAN: And did he always paint, I mean, throughout his life? Was he always painting secretly without people really being aware of it?

JACKSON: Yes. Yes. Because when he was just a child, when we moved to Havenhurst, before we remodeled, it had a little house in the back and he took that little house and he made it out to -- of an art studio for himself.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: What do you think the art brought him? Painting and stuff, what did it give him? JACKSON: Well, you know what? I really don't -- I really can't answer that question. But sometimes when he's not doing anything he would go and start painting. And I think that's just -- it's a way of him just relaxing.

MORGAN: A bit of escape, is it?

JACKSON: Yes.

MORGAN: Brett, you got to know Michael 25 years ago. Tell me about how you met and tell me about this art collection because it's -- people don't really know much about.

BRETT LIVINGSTONE STRONG, ARTIST: Right. Well, we first met about 1979 through Mayor Bradley of Los Angeles and also through (INAUDIBLE). Two different occasions. And the first time that I had a chance to talk to Michael, he says now, you're a sculptor. And I said yes. What type of sculpture? I said I build monuments. And he goes, wow, I've never met a monument builder before. And I said to him, I knew who Michael is, but I said well, what do you do, Michael? And he says, I love life.

I'll always remember that. He said, I love life. And I said wow, that's a great job. I love life, too. And he says, I'm an artist, too. And I like to draw things that inspire my life. And --

MORGAN: And this collection, how many pieces are there in it?

STRONG: Well, I have -- we have 98 pieces. Other people have some. And there's about -- maybe there's about 20 of those pieces I draw, he did artwork on the other side. I made the paper for Michael in the 1980s, special paper, so if anybody got it they couldn't, you know, counterfeit it. And so he -- we ran -- he ran out of the paper. That's why he started doing artwork on the reverse side.

MORGAN: I mean some of the pieces here, I mean, the Martin Luther King picture, Abraham Lincoln. Apparently, he painted a lot of -- drew a lot of -- a lot of former presidents. He loved to do that.

STRONG: He loved Abraham Lincoln. He loved freedom. He loved the whole aspect of people being free. Being able to create, you know, beautiful things to inspire people like he wanted to, you know, create his music.

MORGAN: And Katherine, he had a strange obsession with the number seven. And with chairs. Now tell me why those two things are in the pictures all the time.

JACKSON: Well, Michael was a seventh child. He -- his name had seven letters in it. He would always talk about that. And, you know, seven -- the number seven means completeness in the bible, it tells us. So --

MORGAN: So it's like a lucky number for him.

JACKSON: For him. MORGAN: And what about the chairs? Why did he like drawing or painting chairs?

JACKSON: He just had an obsession of chairs. The chairs that -- not just a plain chair, but chairs that you see had a lot of art in it. A lot of curves, a lot of other things like that. He would draw that.

MORGAN: There's one very prophetic picture which is of a little boy sitting on his own in a corner. And just seeing it on the screen. What's poignant is that Michael had written next to this in his own handwriting, "Before you judge me, try hard to love me and look within your heart. Then ask, have you seen my childhood?"

What do you think he meant by that, Katherine?

JACKSON: You know what? I couldn't tell you. But that is the picture. I have one, too, like that. Are they showing it on?

MORGAN: Yes. We're looking at it now. Yes. And it's -- it's a very -- I mean the boy looks, I guess --

JACKSON: He looks sad. And he looks -- you know, I think it's because Michael always said he missed most of his childhood.

MORGAN: Yes.

JACKSON: And he loved to run and play. He loved children. And I think this is what this picture stands for.

MORGAN: I've interviewed a lot of people about Michael. Many of your family, your children I've interviewed, Janet, La Toya, Jermaine. All said the same thing that Michael was such a happy child. He loved just playing pranks on people, that kind of thing.

Do you ever feel a regret as his mother that he did lose the childhood, really, to super stardom? I mean if you had your time again, would you want the kids, especially Michael, to go into that crazy world?

JACKSON: Well, to a certain extent. None of my children were really just loose. Because my husband was sort of -- I should say very strict about things like that because where we came from, there was a lot of crime. And we cared about our children. We didn't want them out there on the street running around, breaking in cars and doing like most other children did back then.

And we did things with them in the house. And that's when they started singing. But as far as having a good time and all, they were in the little league and things like that. Then they learned to play the music. And Michael always said he didn't have a childhood, but he enjoyed what he was doing.

MORGAN: I think that's true, isn't it? You talked about his father's being tough with them. Was he too tough or not, do you think? Did he -- did he have to be that tough? JACKSON: I didn't think he was too tough, but in -- back in those days everybody raised their children about the same. If you did something wrong, it was terribly wrong, you got a scolding for it and you also got a licking as they called it. But today you can't do that. So Michael looked back at those times and they said he was abused.

Well, they call it abuse, but sometime if it wasn't for the strap, what would this world be like today?

MORGAN: Do you think that the world has gone a bit soft in terms of discipline?

JACKSON: I think it's gone a bit too soft. I really do. And then they have too much things out for our children to do. And they're too open with a lot of things. So things that we weren't open years ago about. And I just feel bad because I know that the world is -- I think it's doomed.

MORGAN: Do you?

JACKSON: The bible tells us the world will be destroyed. So I think --

MORGAN: When you look at America, modern America now, where do you think people are going wrong especially in bringing up children?

JACKSON: Well, I think society is sometimes is the fault of it. Because they tell the children to call 911 and in some cases, maybe they need to do that. But then some cases -- some parents are afraid of their children. And some children tell their parents well, if you do this to me, I'm going to call 911 or I'm going to call the police or whatever children can. What are the parents to do?

MORGAN: I mean it's interesting. When I talked to your children, all of them have said at various stages of their lives, well, we had this really tough upbringing. Our father was very really strict. But they all -- as they got older and in some cases have their own kids they've begun to realize that maybe it was the kind of tough love that they needed.

It's been interesting for me to talk to them. Now they're a bit older. It must be -- for you it must be an interesting experience, too, to hear their views change as they get older.

JACKSON: They do. Children change. For instance, Tito, he was one of them that said -- excuse me -- that said I'm going to raise my children just like -- they called their father Joseph. Just like Joseph raised me. Because he always said my children don't get in trouble or anything like that. All these terrible things they laid on Michael, he didn't do these things. But it's just there are wicked people out there and they accuse you of them. But --

MORGAN: It must have been -- must have been very hurtful for you as his mother.

JACKSON: My gosh.

MORGAN: Some of the things that Michael was accused of, the court cases he had to fight and stuff. How did you feel as his mother?

JACKSON: Oh, my gosh. It almost destroyed me in a way. You know when I say it just hurt. Because I know Michael didn't do those terrible things. But then there are so many wicked people. Why are they doing this to him?

MORGAN: Just hold that thought for a moment, Katherine. When we come back, I want to talk to you about Michael's life and what his legacy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: I'm back now with Michael Jackson's mother Katherine and his longtime friend Brett Livingstone Strong.

Did you ever try and advise Michael that his own behavior -- you know, I interviewed Michael a few years ago and he had a very childlike quality to him. But did you ever feel concerned that he was allowing himself to get put into positions, you know, when he had all these young boys coming around to stay and so on? Did you ever say as his mother, Michael, I think you should be careful of this? The rest of the world may not see this in the innocent way that you do?

JACKSON: I've talked to him about it. I never told him to stop you having children around. But he did stop having a lot -- most of the children that were around Michael was his own relatives. And I can remember that my sister-in-law, she walked into the store and she saw this -- one of these tabloids. And they had something ugly to say in them in the headlines. And she just went berserk. She said those are my grandchildren, they're Michael's cousins. Why are they saying this about him?

MORGAN: Do you think all the accusations, the allegations, the trials he had to go through, do you think it all contributed in the end to his physical condition and his early death? I mean do you think that all the drugs he was taking for the anxiety, for the lack of sleep, the painkillers and so on, was it all connected, do you think, in the end to the pressure that he felt and the tension and the stress?

JACKSON: You know what, I think a lot of that was exaggerated about the different things that he was taking. Because I've been to my son's house unannounced. And I've been there announced. I have never seen him in that way. I know he was taking painkillers because he got burnt on top of his head. Very painful. But all this other stuff they added to it, I don't know if that was the truth or not. But I don't think that had anything to do with the way he died.

MORGAN: What do you think, as his mother, caused his death?

JACKSON: I don't know. All I know is they used propofol, and they shouldn't have used it. They were using the wrong setting. That's all I know and that's what caused his death.

MORGAN: What are your feelings towards Dr. Conrad Murray? Do you blame him?

JACKSON: You know what? I can't even describe the way I feel about him. He did a terrible thing, and it might have been others involved. I don't know that, but I feel that. You know what, I'd rather not answer that question. The only thing he did for a person's life, four years in jail is not enough. I'll never see my son again. But he can get out and he'll enjoy his children. But --

STRONG: Michael trusted him.

JACKSON: Yes, he did. He did. He trusted him.

STRONG: He trusted a lot of people.

JACKSON: He trusted everybody.

MORGAN: Did you ever meet Conrad Murray?

JACKSON: Never met him. Still to this day I have never met him.

MORGAN: Has he ever tried to contact you?

JACKSON: I don't think so.

MORGAN: He's never written to you or anything?

JACKSON: No.

MORGAN: And I think it was a devastatingly awful thing to happen. You lose this son of yours. He's just 50 years old. I mean it's half a life, really.

JACKSON: Yes.

MORGAN: Will you ever get over this, Katherine, do you think?

JACKSON: Never. Every morning, all through the day, I think about Michael. If I wake up through the night, my mind is there. But --

MORGAN: What do you think when you think of him?

JACKSON: I just miss him. But being a Christian and believing in the resurrection, I feel that I'll see him again. I'm sorry. I just --

MORGAN: It's perfectly understandable. You're his mother. You know? It's -- I can't imagine a worse thing. I'm a parent myself to four kids. I can't even imagine how horrendous it must be to lose a child.

JACKSON: I know.

MORGAN: It's so unnatural, isn't it?

JACKSON: Yes, it is. And it should be --

MORGAN: Lots of people say, Katherine, that Michael in the buildup to his death was working too hard, was too tired, he couldn't sleep, all that. You've heard all this. Is that true? Because I've also heard from people who were working with him on the tour and everything that he was pretty fit. That he was enjoying it. He was having a good time and he was excited. What's the truth?

JACKSON: What's the -- excuse me? What's --

MORGAN: How did you think he was in the buildup to his death physically?

JACKSON: You know, we have a trial going on and I'd rather not say. I talked a lot already about it.

MORGAN: Were you concerned about him?

JACKSON: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Because when they told me that he had 50 shows going on, I was concerned about those shows. I thought it was a little bit too much because Michael hadn't been on stage for about 10 years. You know? And I called him. And I told him because the way they had it structured, they said every other night that he would be working. On a night, off a night, on a night, off a night. And he was -- he was used to working at least once or twice a week.

And I just kept calling him telling him they had to change that schedule because that was -- I didn't like the way it was going. I thought it was a little bit too much for him.

MORGAN: Did he listen to you, Michael or --

JACKSON: Oh, yes.

MORGAN: Do you feel that there were bad people around him?

JACKSON: Yes, I do.

MORGAN: Enabling, I guess is the word you would use. People that were just allowing him to --

JACKSON: It was -- I just don't want to answer those questions right now. But I do feel that it was. They didn't care about him. All they cared about was money.

MORGAN: It was all about money, you think?

JACKSON: Yes.

MORGAN: Let's take a short break. When we come back, I want to talk more about this incredible art. I also want to talk about how Michael's children are doing. You're raising them now.

JACKSON: Yes.

MORGAN: I think people are fascinated by that and how they're getting along. They seem to be getting along great which is -- which is good news.

JACKSON: Yes, they are. MORGAN: We'll come back in a moment.

JACKSON: OK.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARIS JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S DAUGHTER: Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just wanted to say I love him so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: A heartbreaking scenes at Michael Jackson's memorial service there with Paris Jackson, his daughter. A moment many will never forget.

I'm back for an exclusive interview with Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, and his art mentor, Brett Livingstone Strong.

Incredibly painful for those poor kids, particularly in public like that. You've now taken them into your home. You're bringing up Michael's children.

JACKSON: Yes.

MORGAN: How are they getting along?

JACKSON: They're getting along very well.

MORGAN: They seem -- I mean, to be doing remarkably well. They also seem to have, between them, all his kind of zests for life. His talent, his confidence in public. All those things. It's extraordinary to watch. It must be for you, too. It must be like almost reliving Michael.

JACKSON: They're in school, and the two oldest children go to private school. The youngest doesn't want to leave home yet, so he take -- we have a tutor, a teacher there for him. Excuse me. In school. And the oldest, Prince, the oldest boy is such a great student.

MORGAN: Is he?

JACKSON: His grades are so good. They're A-pluses.

MORGAN: Do you see the spirit of Michael in them?

JACKSON: Yes, I do. I do.

MORGAN: How would you feel if they want to go -- I mean Paris has already started down this road. If they want to go into show business?

JACKSON: Yes, Paris does.

MORGAN: Do you feel pleased about that or concerned?

JACKSON: Well, I'm pleased and I'm concerned at the same time because I didn't -- I don't think that Michael would wanted her to be out there this soon. But she wanted it so badly and she kept saying, please, grandma, I want this. You know? And so it was something she really wanted so I just gave in and said OK.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: And how good is she? I mean how talented are they?

JACKSON: She's very good. I --

(LAUGHTER)

She was showing me, I said, well, how do you know you can act? You haven't had acting. So I sent her to acting. You know. After than. But before then she said I -- just try me, just try me, she said. And she said, I can cry on cue. And she showed me how she can cry. And then --

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Amazing. That's not easy.

JACKSON: She's very good. She is good.

MORGAN: How do you think they have coped with losing their father?

JACKSON: You know, I don't think that they act like normal children. They play, they have good time. But I don't think they'll ever forget. I don't think so. But they're doing quite well. Very well.

MORGAN: Brett, come back to you and Michael. Because you knew him extremely well. Very heart rending talking to Katherine about all of this stuff. Can't get a more powerful voice, really.

STRONG: No.

MORGAN: Than Michael's mother. Does this resonate with you? I mean, what was your feeling about Michael and the buildup to his death? Were you concerned about him as a friend?

STRONG: Well, his enthusiasm to succeed brought all the strength out in him. And he just wanted to create more. And he wanted to be in front of his fans again. You know. And he was enthusiastic.

MORGAN: Were you concerned as a friend of his about what was possibly going on?

STRONG: Well, during the time that he was pretty much studying to do these concerts, I had very little contact with him. So the contact that I did have, it was upbeat and enthusiastic. He would call me early hours of the morning and leave me some fantastic messages. So I never knew that he ever had any problems. But I do know that over the years that, you know, he would trust people and he would not do any due diligence or sometimes his inner feelings would -- he wouldn't listen to them. And I think he had a lot of trust that he should have questioned.

MORGAN: You also said an interesting thing to me in the break about Michael's relationship with his father.

STRONG: Yes. He loved his father. And I think a lot of the publicity that's come out that his father, you know, may have been harsh on him, I think people should know that he respected his father. He thought his father was fantastic, that gave him and his brothers and sisters a wonderful future.

And he respected them. His father turned up at all those terrible trials that he had to go through. He was all supporting of him. He loved him.

MORGAN: Katherine, what would you like Michael's legacy to be?

JACKSON: I know he'll be remembered as the artist he was. But a lot of people misunderstood him. They didn't know Michael loved life. He loved people. And he gave so much to charity. And he always loved to give to the people that didn't have, even since he was a little kid about six or seven years old.

As I always tell the story about he was laying on the floor watching TV, and remember when the little black kids had flies around their mouths and all and he would start crying. And he was telling me -- he said mommy, one day, I'm going to do something about this.

MORGAN: You mean the scenes from Ethiopia and places in Africa with the starving young children?

JACKSON: Starving young children with the big bellies. And he's always gave -- he's always been giving to charities and things like that. And he gave more than people knew.

MORGAN: What do you think is the biggest misconception about Michael for people who didn't know him?

JACKSON: The things that were coming out, the things that media -- and most people believe what they hear and what they read. These were all terrible lies.

MORGAN: Like what?

JACKSON: Like they were saying he was molesting young boys and other things that he was doing, that he might have been on painkillers, things like that. But as far as them trying to make him out to be a terrible person, he was not that.

MORGAN: Let's take a quick break. We'll come back and talk about this a little further in just a few moments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHAEL JACKSON, KING OF POP: There have been many disgusting statements made recently concerning allegations of improper conduct on my part. I ask al of you to wait and hear the truth before you label or condemn me. Don't treat me like a criminal, because I am innocent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: You're his mother. You would know Michael better than most people. Do you think it is even remotely possibly that he could have done anything inappropriate with a young boy?

JACKSON: No way. No way could Michael have done that. He would always tell me that the things he loved most was children. He would rather slit his own wrists than to hurt a child. And we would sit and talk about that. And he said people want to make out for me to be this terrible person.

STRONG: He was misinterpreted by people who may have been jealous of his success. But also he loved animals. He loved nature. And children was -- had a special feeling in his heart. It was an inspiration for him.

MORGAN: Michael, he was unconventional. He never really grew up, even though he was a fantastic businessman and incredibly successful. You always got the feeling that he wanted to be in a childlike world. It was like a security blanket for him in many ways. Is that how you felt?

JACKSON: You know, Michael, he was one of my younger children. And his brothers had children. So he grew up also with them. He grew up playing all the time. He grew into an adult, and the kids would come over and he'd still play hide and go seek with them and everything. And he did Neverland, he did it for children. And also I imagine he did it for himself because he didn't get a chance to go to those theme parks like other children did.

And he would have bus loads of children, school classes, children that -- even in his theater he had two beds, two hospital beds and he would have the sick children to come and watch movies and rides and things like that. And the children that was bedridden, he made sure that he had a place for them, so they can see the movies or have shows on the stage and all of that.

MORGAN: How did you feel about the extraordinary level of fame that Michael had? Because he was the most famous person on the planet for years. Did that scare you, that level of fame?

JACKSON: No, not really. I was like Michael I guess. He didn't act like it. He didn't act like he was the most famous person in the world. He didn't act like -- he was just a down to Earth person. He's very, very mild tempered.

MORGAN: How often would you talk to him?

JACKSON: I talked to him at least twice a month and sometimes more.

MORGAN: Did you feel you had a very close relationship?

JACKSON: Yes.

MORGAN: Do you feel he confided in you?

JACKSON: Yes, he did.

MORGAN: Did you ever hope that he would find true love?

JACKSON: You know, I always thought about that, but Michael seemed happy. So I wasn't too worried about it. He found a lot of joy in his children and in his -- some of his nephews and nieces that he would -- he was very close to.

MORGAN: The thing that I think that was -- should always be reminded, I think, when we talk about Michael is just his unbelievable talent. I mean, I have never seen a more talented entertainer, the singing, the dancing, the showmanship.

I was telling you before we -- we started about this show I saw in Paris, when he did the stunt at the end and the space guy flies out of the stadium. It was just so crazy and it was so brilliantly done, you really thought Michael had done this.

And it was the end of a spell binding concert, the like of which I have never seen before or since. He was a unique talent, wasn't he, one of the greatest talents ever in entertainment. Can you answer that as his mother or not? Did you feel that?

JACKSON: I -- I did. Michael was a perfectionist. Whatever he did, he wanted to be the best. He was the first one to have so many number one hits on his album. Because you remember, albums used to be where you only had one hit or two hits and the rest of them would be album songs.

MORGAN: All his songs were hits, were number ones.

JACKSON: He told me -- he said I don't believe in album songs. I believe every song should be a great song.

MORGAN: Would he try stuff out with you?

JACKSON: Yes, he played most of the things he had. He played for me.

MORGAN: If you said Michael, I don't really like that one, would he drop it?

JACKSON: Yes. You know what? I didn't see anything that I didn't want like that he did.

MORGAN: What was your favorite of all his songs?

JACKSON: "Man In The Mirror."

MORGAN: Was it? Why?

JACKSON: That's one of my favorites. And I like the "Earth Song."

MORGAN: Why "Man In The Mirror"?

JACKSON: Well, it was a message of greatness. A lot of his songs had messages, but I think this was the best of them.

MORGAN: Was Michael happy in the end, do you think?

JACKSON: I felt he was happy. I could never -- and I always talked to the girl that was the kids' nanny, Grace. She always said -- I always said, is Michael happy because they were accusing him of all these things? And she would always say Michael had good times. We had good times together. Me and the kids and Michael, we would play.

Michael liked to run and play on the beach or whatever. And she assured me that, you know --

MORGAN: Despite everything, he managed to have a lot of happy times.

JACKSON: Uh-huh.

MORGAN: That's good to hear, isn't it?

JACKSON: It's good to hear. But when you know you're not guilty of anything -- but if he thought, you know what, if he was guilty of these things they were accusing him, he could never smile again, I would imagine, because -- and they put it in the papers and they had the trials. And this -- the first kid that accused him of child molestation because his father made him do it. He even told Michael his father made him do it.

I don't know if many people know that but after Michael died -- I think his name is Jordan.

MORGAN: Jordan Chantley (ph), yeah.

JACKSON: Yes, Jordan. He came out and he said that he wished he could have told Michael before he passed, let him know that he had come into the public and admitted he had never touched him.

MORGAN: How did that make you feel?

JACKSON: It made me feel good. But I knew it all the time, that Michael hadn't done anything, because I knew he wouldn't do that.

MORGAN: Coming up, Michael's great wish was to build a memorial. I want to talk to both of you about that after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Piers, we're coming to you tonight from the Syrian/Turkish border. This is one of many refugee camps on the Turkish side of the Syrian border. Some 23,000 Syrians have sought refuge here. Tonight, we want you to hear their voices, voices that the regime of Bashir al Assad has tried to silence now for 14 months with tanks and with torture, with bombs and with bullets. Tonight you will hear the voices of these Syrian citizen who say that they want freedom, and they're willing to fight and die for it. We'll have a full hour of coverage from this refugee camp along with CNN's Ivan Watson, Senator John McCain and professor Fouad Ajami (ph) will be joining us as well. Now back to Piers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: I'm back now with Michael Jackson's mother Katherine and his long time friend Brett Livingston Strong. I remember when Michael died, I went home to London. And I've got three sons. My youngest son was only eight years old. And he suddenly began playing Michael's music over and over for weeks and months. He'd never heard of Michael Jackson before.

It was really amazing to me that that whole new generation -- and it was the one positive I could see coming out of his awful death, was that actually a whole new generation of kids fell in love with Michael Jackson again and played his music and realized how phenomenal and entertaining he was. Amazing thing.

Brett, let's talk about two things I want to wrap up with. One is what are you going to do with this art?

STRONG: Well, Michael spent a good part of 25 years making this art. And it was like a private world for him. While a lot of the public thought that he may have been doing things that they thought he shouldn't be doing, he was actually creating art. And it was like a world for him to -- to retreat into, into this spiritual type of feeling where he would express his ideas. And he absolutely loved it, and it made him feel good.

MORGAN: People are going to hear about this. They're going to see these amazing pictures? And they're going to want to know if they can get ahold them?

STRONG: Well, Michael always wanted to exhibit his art. Unfortunately that didn't happen. He did want to sell it. And so a few pieces were sold before his passing. But since then, we've been working together, planning what -- how to exhibit them.

But he did, a long time ago, want to build a monument for where he wants his fans to get married. And we have a model of it here.

MORGAN: It's amazing. It's based on the Prince Albert Monument in London?

STRONG: Michael and I went around that monument. We went all over the world together. Many -- he loved monuments, and he thought I was deeply into monuments, so he wanted me to come along. So we went around and found a monument. He wrote post -- he wrote on a card that he got that day. And he said he wanted -- he said we should try to work out a design together on that. We came up with this kind of gothic, futuristic.

MORGAN: His concept was that it would become like a wedding chapel. (CROSS TALK)

STRONG: His statue. But in 2002 -- this is years before, but by 2002, he had one of his lawyers write me a letter saying, hey Brad, can you put a sculpture of Michael's three beautiful children in there; Michael wants that. He just wanted me to have that, get that officially, so that I had that in writing saying he wanted that. He wanted somewhere where his fans could go and in this structure he wanted his music?

MORGAN: Is this going to get built?

STRONG: Yes, because we can sell his art and build his -- even though it's a monument for where people -- he wanted people to get married, it's a monument to his love of life.

MORGAN: Where will it go?

STRONG: At the time, he was thinking Las Vegas. After what happened to him in Santa Barbara, he wanted to live in Las Vegas. He found a house. He was calling it Wonderland. But he was counting the success of "This Is It."

MORGAN: -- would be -- obviously that monument, but also to maybe exhibit the pictures and to sell some of the pictures.

STRONG: Yes. He would like -- he wanted to -- he thought that his fans would support his art. And by the sale of the art, he could support the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. And we all went there and put some of Michael's art in the hospital when it was opened. And he was hoping to be there in 2007 or '08, after he came back from Bahrain.

He wanted to put some of his art there, but they weren't finish with the hospital. So when it did get finished, we went there with Burt and Mary Sugarman. And so I was hoping that they would permanently put Michael's art in there, because it's a children's hospital. I thought they welcomed his art with open arms.

MORGAN: That would be great.

STRONG: He also wanted from the sale of his art to support not only children, but animals. And some of his music was in support of the world. He was a very warm person who -- like his dear mother here, very sweet and honest person.

MORGAN: It's been a fascinating experience meeting you, Katherine, and talking to you. You're one of those people I have looked at from a distance and always wondered what you would be like, how you would talk about Michael. It's been a riveting interview.

I wasn't expecting this. I do appreciate you being so honest and open. I think a lot of his fans will too, because you've certainly given them an extraordinary insight into your son and what he was like. Good luck with raising his kids. I can't think of a more valuable testimony I guess to his life than that those kids get the best chance in life to live up to him.

JACKSON: Thank you for having me here.

MORGAN: It's been a real pleasure, thank you. Very nice to meet you.

JACKSON: Thank you, nice meeting you also.

MORGAN: Nice to meet you too, Brett.

STRONG: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: Extraordinary interview, Katherine Jackson and Brett Livingstone Strong.

Coming up, Only in America.

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STRONG: This is a very interesting piece, because Michael wrote this quote about Michelangelo. He loved Michelangelo's work. And he often wrote these little notes. Here he is quoting Michelangelo.

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MORGAN: A rare look inside the private world of Michael Jackson, an exclusive tour of the secret location full of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art that Michael created.

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MORGAN: For tonight's Only in America, the Michael Jackson we never knew. You saw some of his drawings and sketches here tonight. But most of his art work is behind closed doors at a secret airport hanger. Few have ever seen it until now. This is Michael's private world of paintings and portraits. We've been given rare and extraordinary access inside that hanger. Its location, as I say, has to remain a secret.

But its contents have now been revealed. This is how the icon found happiness away from the stage and studio, with brushes, pencils and, in particular, watercolor. He wanted to be known as an artist, not just the most famous entertainer in modern history. These are Michael's pastels he liked to work with.

Some estimates have valued the collection at a staggering 900 million dollar. Here a picture of the Statue of Liberty. Here a sketch of Frankenstein and Peter Pan.

He was obsessed with chairs and the number seven. He was the seventh child, as his mother explained earlier. And here on paper, words from Michelangelo that Michael cherished. It says, "I know the creator will go, but his work survives. That is why to escape death, I attempt to bind my soul to my work." Michael Jackson did not escape death, but his soul does live on in the music and art he created and above all, the lives he touched and forever changed. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.