Michael Jackson’s former nanny on his sad life; Chopra family defends her

The Times of London has a fascinating and perhaps partially embellished interview with Grace Rwaramba, Michael Jackson’s nanny for over ten years. Grace was fired by Jackson in December when she tried to stage an intervention for the drug-addicted star. The story paints a sad picture of the last few years of Jackson’s life as Grace describes how he wasted every scrap of money that came in and refused to trust the people who cared about him. As he pushed Grace and his family away, other people came in to fill the void and take advantage of him. In the end the frail singer was taking a cocktail of powerful drugs and living in a dirty rented home, incapable of paying a maid despite shelling out six figures in monthly rent and without the money to have a birthday party for his daughter. Grace’s statements are consistent with the details that are coming out in this case and with what we’ve read about Jackson in the press. According to people close to Grace, she was in a vulnerable place when she talked to the journalist, whom she considered a friend, and her words are being taken out of context and embellished:

Here are the highlights by topic:

On Jackson’s mother Katherine looking for money after his death:
Early on Friday, Jackson’s mother, Katherine, contacted Grace from his house. Shockingly, she wanted to know where his money was. Grace recounted: “Katherine just called me. She said, ‘Grace, the children are crying. They are asking about you. They can’t believe that their father died. Grace, you remember Michael used to hide cash at the house. I am here. Where can it be?’

“I told her to look at the garbage bags and under the carpets. But, Daphne, can you believe this? This woman just lost her son a few hours ago and she is calling me to know where the money is!

“I asked to speak to the children. She said they were sleeping. But she just said they were crying. She never let me speak to them. She said, ‘Grace, where are you? Come. I will pick you up from the airport.’ She sounded so strong. So strong!”

On Jackson’s sad personal state:
“I don’t know what to do. He doesn’t let me see my babies. I have written to him. He doesn’t answer. I can’t call him because he changed his phone number. These poor babies . . . I am getting phone calls that they are being neglected. Nobody is cleaning the rooms, because he didn’t pay the housekeeper.

“I just got a phone call that Michael is in such a bad shape. He is not clean. He has not shaved . . . His nails . . . He is not eating well. I used to do all this for him.

On Jackson’s drug use:
Grace was a witness to Jackson’s abuse of prescription drugs. She said he took a mixture of them — in her words, “he always ate too little and mixed too much”.

“I had to pump his stomach many times . . . He always mixed so much of it. There was one period that it was so bad that I didn’t let the children see him.”

She claims he was furious with her for getting his mother and sister Janet to help. “We tried to do an intervention. It was me, Janet, his mother. I co-ordinated it. He was so angry with me.

“He screamed at me, ‘You betrayed my trust. You called them behind my back.’ I told him, ‘Michael I didn’t betray your trust. I try to help you.’ But he didn’t want to listen. That was one of the times he let me go.”

On his sponsorship by the son of the King of Bahrain – he didn’t fulfill his promise:
Her account of the money and hospitality he received after his trial from Sheikh Abdullah, the son of the King of Bahrain, reveals a man who had no understanding of of money.

“During the trial Jermaine (his older brother) suddenly connected him to Sheikh Abdullah. I was happy because he was so down. He was scared. Nobody else called. So Michael was spending hours on the phone with Abdullah. He is the one who is sending the money for the lawyers.”

Abdullah, she said, called her one day and asked for her bank account. “I said why? He said he was sending money to Michael through my account. He sent $1m. Then another $35,000.

“Katherine needed money too. So Michael told me to give her my ATM card. She was cashing out of the machine every day. I checked it.”

Last year, Abdullah sued Jackson in the London High Court for £4.7m for reneging on a music contract that would have paid back this and other loans. Grace told me: “When Abdullah sued Michael last year, Michael said in the beginning, ‘Oh, I never got money from him.’ He tried to frame me that I took the money.”

“From the time we flew to Bahrain, we actually didn’t have a home. At the beginning they put us in the palace. The idea was that Michael would create a charity and a CD with Abdullah.

“But when Michael failed to do it, I felt that the atmosphere changed. After several weeks, we were told that the uncle of Abdullah was coming back and needed to have his house.”

On Jackson squandering money when they had nowhere to live:
“Suddenly — I can’t remember now how it came — he received some money. Instead of buying a small house, so that we won’t go from one hotel to another or stay with friends, he told me, ‘Grace, you have to go immediately to Florence to buy antiques.’ He wanted me to spend £1m.

I flew on my credit card. When I arrived in Florence and saw these antiques, I called him and said, ‘This is not worth anything.’ Michael never listened to me. He said, ‘Buy it. Buy it.’ We didn’t even have a home to live in so we had to put the antiques in some storage.”

On staying with friends in small homes and moving from hotel to hotel
All the time, they had the three children in tow. Grace was getting tired of “running with them from hotel to hotel” so she accepted an invitation to take Jackson and the children to stay with friends of her own near Dun Laoghaire on the outskirts of Dublin in Ireland.

“They own a recording studio. They were so nice to us. They did a favour for me. Michael left them bills, he never paid them back.”

By then it was mid-2007. The entourage’s next stop was in New Jersey, the modest family home of Frank Tyson, a Jackson aide named as one of the five “co-conspirators” during the sex abuse trial.

Grace said: “Frank’s family is not rich. They have a small house. We stayed there for weeks. Michael stayed there downstairs alone.

“The kids slept with me in one room. I didn’t mind because I tried to make it fun for them. But I felt so bad that we were staying such a long time at this family’s small home.

“I tried to develop a friendship with Frank’s mother just to tell them thank you but when Michael saw we were getting friendly he said, ‘Don’t trust her. She is not interested in you. She just talks to you because of me.’

On the Nation of Islam taking advantage of him
Back in California, Jackson rented a house from the Nation of Islam. According to Grace, he was grossly overcharged.

“The Nation of Islam was telling him that the house we had in Los Angeles, after Neverland was sold, cost $100,000 a month. I checked with many real estate agencies.

“To rent this house should not have cost more than $20,000-$25,000. He had no clue.”

[From TimesOnline.co.uk]

Grace suffers from lupus, but had no health insurance while she was employed by Jackson. She also wasn’t paid after October of last year. This is a sad, kind of heartbreaking account of a man who was a shy musical genius but became an addict incapable of managing money and unable to accept help or trust anyone close to him. It does put the last two decades of Jackson’s life in another light – if he was taking so many drugs in such dangerous combinations, no wonder he appeared so eccentric to the public. He was whacked out of his mind on heavy prescription painkillers and various drugs. So many people assumed that Jackson was just a strange kind of marginal character who was trying in vain to live his lost childhood. That was surely a large part of it, but ultimately it was the drugs that did him in, and the drugs that probably changed him from an eccentric best selling artist to a frail, paranoid addict who was unable to financially support his family despite earning hundreds of millions during his storied career.

Deepak Chopra’s daughter: Grace was taken advantage of for that story
Malika Chopra, Deepak Chopra’s daughter, is friends with Grace and penned an essay about this interview for The Huffington Post. Malika claims that the author of the piece in The Times, Daphne Barak, took advantage of Grace and used her friendship to get information on Jackson at a vulnerable time. It’s not true that Grace pumped Jackson’s stomach, claims Malika, although she doesn’t deny Grace’s account of Jackson’s drug abuse. Not all of the quotes are accurate, and Grace does want Jackson’s mother to get custody of his three children.

Grace’s quotes are now being picked up by other tabloids and will find their way into more magazines and articles. (People Magazine is also featuring some today, including the inaccurate claim the Grace pumped Michael’s stomach several times. For the record, Grace never pumped Michael’s stomach. She has no idea how she would even do such a thing.) Which quotes are true, which are in context, (many are not) to me frankly doesn’t matter. I will not be surprised if Daphne releases audios or videos soon.

Grace feels used, insecure and shaken that she could have been so naïve, particularly having witnessed so many vultures in Michael’s world over the years. She made a mistake. The sad truth is that when you are a celebrity, or a close friend or family of one, in a world of tabloids, you must be impeccable in what you say and to whom. Michael probably faced the epitome of vultures, bloodsuckers and hanger-ons displayed in his endless cycle of managers, enabling doctors, and new business partners. How could anyone blame him for becoming so paranoid in his life?

In the article, Daphne tries to portray a rift between Katherine Jackson and Grace. This is not true.

I would like to go on record, with Grace’s permission, to say that Grace firmly hopes that the Jackson family gets custody of Prince, Paris and Michael. It would be detrimental to the children to be separated, and they should be with Michael’s family. They should know their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and they should learn about who he was as a person, not just as an icon. She has no interest in custody, and just wants the children to be happy and secure. She will be there for them whenever they need or want her.

As for the appetite for the salacious details of Michael’s life, my hope is that we let him go in peace. We already know he led a tortured life. He also led a great one in which he loved, and was loved, by many.

[From The Huffington Post]

I guess we can’t be surprised that now that Michael is gone, those close to him are being exploited too. Malika Chopra explains this well, asking “Michael probably faced the epitome of vultures, bloodsuckers and hanger-ons displayed in his endless cycle of managers, enabling doctors, and new business partners. How could anyone blame him for becoming so paranoid in his life?” I still think it had a lot more to do with the drugs.

Grace Rwaramba is shown in Las Vegas with Michael Jackson’s children. Credit: Ben/Victor/Bauer-Griffin


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

28 Responses to “Michael Jackson’s former nanny on his sad life; Chopra family defends her”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Booboo says:

    This infantilized man checked out of reality years ago. You can see this happening right now with Britney Spears. It’s just too damn bad no one stepped in and showed him tough love, but retreating behind millions of dollars certainly didn’t help.

  2. diddy says:

    God ! the man has too many leeches around him , even in death they try to suck him dry ; no shame yuck

  3. bambam says:

    I thought it was weird that Nanny Grace would give a tell-all interview so soon after MJ’s death. If she really wanted to milk it, she could have waited a while then write a book about her time with Michael and his kids. Poor kids won’t know who to trust anymore.

  4. Maritza says:

    She looks like Whitney Houston in those pictures. I hope now Blanket can get a decent haircut.

  5. DD says:

    How exactly was this lady qualified to pump his stomach? Sounds like a lie to me.

  6. OXA says:

    I read an article in which Deepak Chopra
    said that the kids really loved Grace and called her mum. This whole mess is so sad and I believe it would really help them to have her be part of their lives. Grace was a constant presence in there strange and nomadic life they have led since their births.

  7. Linda says:

    Again, it’s always the children who suffer! Shame on Jackson’s family for allowing those children to live with a drug addict. Talk about leeches – don’t shake the money tree and keep your mouths shut about the life that these poor kids where led to live with a drug addict! The man MAY have been a musical genius – but he was a piece of crap as a human being.

  8. Zoe (The Other One) says:

    This whole thing just keeps getting sadder and sadder. No wonder the poor man was unable to trust anyone – not even his own father cares he has passed.

    As for the nanny, I have no doubt she has been a little gullible – as was said above, if she was truly wanting to cash in on her time with MJ she would have held out and written a book…not talked to some low level tabloid journo.

  9. Wow says:

    Vultures. I am amazed at the lies these reporters will give their editors to print and the magazines that go ahead and print them.

    The things people will do for money or noteriety is scary.

    I definitely believe Malika’s quote puts it accurately: “Michael probably faced the epitome of vultures, bloodsuckers and hanger-ons displayed in his endless cycle of managers, enabling doctors, and new business partners. How could anyone blame him for becoming so paranoid in his life?”

  10. vicsmith says:

    Maybe if he wasn’t a drug addict he would be able to stop the vultures in his life. He was a fifty year old man who handled his personal life poorly and his finances even worse. He has to be responsible for some of the crap his life became. He behaved like an infant/child and so many people are talking as if he was one. He was a grown man. He wanted to escape responsibility, one way or another, over and over and over.

  11. JustV says:

    This is so depressing, but not at all surprising. How many mega-watt idols live far into old age and aren’t addicted to some substance or detrimental activity. The saddest part is that he had young children with him on this spiral downward. And of all of the supposed family and friends around him, no one stepped in to attempt to secure the well-being of these children. The only person who did was the one person with the lease amount of power, the nanny. She was obviously underpaid for her services and had little assets, but she chose to take the risk because she cared about Michael and loved the children.
    It’s too bad that because of this interview, the Jackson family will probably prohibit any further contact between the children and the only real parent that they have ever known.
    How can anyone now claim to have a love and/or closeness for MJ or his children when they either were blissfully unaware of their living conditions and/or knew about them but didn’t care or didn’t do everything to help them.

  12. Zoe says:

    ::The man MAY have been a musical genius – but he was a piece of crap as a human being.::

    You’re right. Nevermind that Guiness Book of World Records achievement for being the most charitable pop star in history, having given millions of dollars to over 40 organizations around the world and creating his own. Yeah, MJ was a monster. Can I ask what you’ve done for society lately???

  13. emily says:

    ” ::The man MAY have been a musical genius – but he was a piece of crap as a human being.::

    You’re right. Nevermind that Guiness Book of World Records achievement for being the most charitable pop star in history, having given millions of dollars to over 40 organizations around the world and creating his own. Yeah, MJ was a monster. Can I ask what you’ve done for society lately???”

    Yacks, that was hard, Linda! But maybe next time try to think before you speak of someone you don’t even know. The tabloids are not a razonable source of information, ok?! Only MJ family and friends can tell if he was a piece of crap, witch i doubt since they talk good things about a person who didn’t find the peace and happiness he deserved. Heaven is the right place for him.
    Just to finish: Being a drug addicted doesn’t mean that you are a bad person incapable of love and taking care for your own children. Anyone can fall in this horrible thing. So dont judge!!!!

  14. ! says:

    Well what have you done, Zoe? Does millions of dollars erase the sin of molested children from Michael’s soul?

    I personally have never given millions of dollars, but I have given my time, over and over and over. Paid out of my own pocket to do missionary work in Mexico. Is that not valid because I didn’t have tons of money?

    Anyone remember the parable of the widow and the Pharisees? The widow gave but two cents at the temple and Jesus said she did more than any of the holy men dumping bags of money at the altar….because she gave all she had.

    Giving millions to charity is a simple feat when you have millions to give.

    The real heroes are the ones that do it even when they can’t afford it…and don’t have a heavy guilty conscience and an image to worry about.

  15. Meow Mix says:

    I think it is safe to say that he was mentally ill. Period. People are afraid to say it. Maybe it is because no one wants to speak ill of the dead but jeesshh…the guy was downright mentally ill and no one said a damn thing.
    At least Britney’s family intervened on some level. For someone to be that ill and not have you family intervene is really sad. Actually we should all be ashamed because we watched him become bizarre and weird and the public made excuse after excuse for his behavior. If any other celebrity started to keep a monkey name Bubbles and behave the way he did with ‘neverland?? would people go ‘oh look, there is Usher with his pet monkey and a closet fool of glitter. Isn’t that cute?!’
    THE GUY WAS MENTALLY ILL. It was drugs but only in the sense that this poor tortured individual was trying to medicate himself to stop the pain. Let him rest in peace or hold those around him accountable. I don’t think there is anything in between.

  16. Aspie says:

    @ Emily,


  17. Aspie says:

    @ !:

    TONS (and I mean TONS) of millionaire stars have the means to donate their disposable income to charity but THEY SIMPLY DON’T DO IT!

    At least Michael tried to shed light on the plight of others suffering around the world and gave his millions (when he really didn’t have to do it) to help them out.

    It disgusts me the way the media tries to constantly paint a negative portrait of this immensely talented and imperfect man.

    Are you perfect??

  18. olakat says:

    Let face it michael did not like is color he heated been black that why he keeping having all those surgery at the and he heated him self spiking of the nanny she is liar now that she is back hope the kids will go to school

  19. sickofit says:

    always interesting to read statements of hardcore MJ fans. He was jekil and hide at least. i too think he was mentally ill.very ill. and all of his genius can not excuse the very probable molesting of little boys.

  20. David Baxter says:

    Hey on reading this page I feel that the people gifted with the ability of real understanding and insight

    “know and appreciate” the sadness of this whole event

    I think God said ” Blessed be the meek as they will inherit the earth”

    Sir Paul McCartney alluded to this I commend him

  21. dark says:

    Olakat, sorry but i dont think the question is: Michael didn’t like to be black. At the end of 1980, many people thought that, because plastic surgery was something new and few people had the nerve to try to use this pratice. The problem is that Michael didn’t change his color in his first cirurgies. First, during the release of the Thriller album, he did his nose, his eyebrows,cheeks and lips. And then he started to get addicted to plastic cirurgies, trying to persuade some kinda of perfection (this is a disease). We wanted to be perfect, not for him, but for others, especially his father who used to make fun of his nose and voice, calling him “big nose” and “ugly face” everytime he beat him, and saying that he his voice sounded like a little girl.
    I never realised that until i read his biography, cause i used to think he changed his color skin only because he didn’t wanted to be black. But this is not true. His behaviour has more to do with mental illness that with race. It’s sad, but that’s the real truth.

  22. Bossyk says:

    I think the user with the exclamation mark! nailed it with their comment on the 29th of June at 1.12pm and a few others as well who have the emotional intelligence to disseminate fact from fiction. Michael Jackson was an enigma and one the world’s greatest modern day musical entertainers and his music, songs and choreography are a testament to his genius that will live on.
    MJ allegedly had an abusive childhood at the alleged hands of his father, he died allegedly of a heart attack brought on by yet again an alleged addiction to prescription medication, anorexia and was being allegedly treated for a psychiatric illness of depression along with chronic pain.
    MJ is also reported allegedly of being in debt for half a billion dollars worth of debt and how many of those people will see their money now? It is all well and good that he may have given anything from 1% or even up to 3% of his total gross income over the years to charities which is a drop in the pan compared to the likes of philanthropist Bill Gates and his wife and many others but is not the size of the money as was brought up by exclamation mark! with the parable of the widow and the Pharisees. Money should not buy silence, should not cover up criminal activity nor should it make one blind to the weaknesses of those individuals in the limelight with an alleged predilection for young boys.
    Shame on those of you who wish to marginalise those who give of their time and life to charity and do not have millions in their bank accounts to donate because of very nature of their actions and deeds they give of their time freely and do not get paid for their humanitarian behaviour. You’re totally right MEOW Michael Jackson the King of Pop should rest in peace and any death or loss of life is tragic and people need to grieve.
    All I ask is that people please do not lose focus or emotional intelligence and immortalise any person who is an alleged paedophile. There are victims out there who are damaged. Research indicates that a percentage of abused children go onto becoming abusers later in life however it does not eliminate or diminish their abhorrent behaviour.
    Let’s stop the cycle let’s stop sugar coating the pill. Paedophilia is Paedophilia and all the reports of alleged gifts of houses and multimillion dollar payouts cannot wash away ones sins because someone is a musical genius, a muse, famous or a star. Let’s not forgot those who were robbed of their innocence. Please do not blur the moral compass or be swept up in hero worship or idolisation. Think, read, research, evaluate, discriminate and then blog- that is at least what I have attempted to do.

  23. Bossyk says:

    P.S. Emily where have you been his own sister Latoya Jackson as documented as follows in 1993 went on record as making child sexual abuse accusations against Michael Jackson … Jackson’s older sister, La Toya Jackson, accused her brother of being a paedophile, …
    Check out Wikipedia and copy in the following 1993_child_sexual_abuse_accusations_against_Michael_Jackson – That young woman did an incredibly brave thing in an attempt to expose his behaviour and get him help. She did not turn a blind eye nor should you hon.

  24. Bossyk says:

    Yes folks you may question my percentages in my previous blog as it is also recorded that Michael donated $300 million of his earnings however he owes allegedly $500 million so who donated the funds ladies and gentlemen? Does it not point to the fact good people that all his creditors’ were the unintentional philanthropists? Unless they are paid out then does MJ really deserve the title of philanthropist? I am not infallible and could be wrong however that is what I am attempting to get some people to understand MJ was not infallible, you can be a fan but not fanatic, you can mourn his loss and appreciate his talent as I do and you can feel terrible sadness and empathy for his children as I do and just pray that Joe Jackson has no hand in their upbringing. I also pray his mother Katherine who is 79 lives a long and loving life so that she can give some stability and continuity to her grandchildren but just please, please do not close your minds. Shame on you Joe Jackson for your unabashed and brazen promotion of your own record company it says allot about why Michael was allegedly the way he was. How sad.

  25. New MJ Fan says:

    Far as I remember from my legal training, one is innocent until proven guilty in our society. Michael was never proven guilty. I agree he was mentally ill, though. NOT, however, a pedophile, as defined by the DSM-IV-TR, OR as defined by society in general. My opinion.

  26. intervention says:

    and some rumors that michaek jackson died before of drug overdose. But for me he died on carjack arrest.

  27. Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to mention that I’ve truly loved browsing your weblog posts. After all I?ll be subscribing in your feed and I hope you write once more soon!

  28. Rachelle Schnicks says:

    The spelling of many of the commenters on this site is atrocious. “cirurgies”?