Former child star Macaulay Culkin, 24, is on the witness stand in the Michael Jackson trial today and has denied that the singer ever did anything improper to him, calling the accusation “absolutely ridiculous.” He added, “I’ve never seen him do anything improper with anyone.”
Culkin was called by the defense to deny testimony by former Neverland chef Philip LeMarque, who worked at Jackson’s ranch from 1990 to 1991, who said he saw Jackson fondle Culkin while helping the youngster play a late-night video game when he was around 10.
Culkin is the third young man, following Brett Barnes and Wade Robson last week, to deny having been molested by Jackson during frequent stays at Neverland in the early-’90s. Reprising a theme from last week, prosecutor Ron Zonen suggested Culkin could have been molested while he was asleep.
“I find that unlikely. I think I’d realize that something like that was happening to me,” Culkin said.
Yesterday, Jackson’s ranch manager Joe Marcus acknowledged Culkin was one of eight boys with whom Jackson has developed “special bonds” over the last 15 years, and under cross-examination Culkin admitted he often slept in Jackson’s bed during regular visits between the age of nine and 14.
Culkin said he remains Jackson’s friend and is godfather to two of Jackson’s children, but ceased sleeping in his bedroom in his middle teens. “I enjoy my privacy a little bit more.”
He also said he connected particularly well with Jackson because they were both stars as children. “We’re a part of a unique group of people. He’d been through that before, so he understood what it was like to be put in that position I was in, to be thrust into it …. Anyone who was a child performer, we keep an eye out for each other.
“One day I was a normal kid who happened to be an actor, and the next thing you know … I had a million acquaintances and no more friends,” he said.
Culkin, who starred in the hugely successful Home Alone and Home Alone 2 films, was the most famous and highest paid child star of all time before falling out of favor with the industry after a string of bombs in 1994 (The Pagemaster, Getting Even with Dad, Ri¢hie Ri¢h) at the age of 14.
In 1998, at the age of 17, he married actress Rachel Miner but they separated and subsequently divorced in 2000. “Mack” returned to the screen with Party Monster in 2002. He was arrested Sept. 17 in Oklahoma after police stopped a car in which he was a passenger and found more than a half-ounce of marijuana and several tablets of the prescription medication Xanax, used to treat depression and panic disorders. He has pleaded innocent to the charges and is free on $4,000 bail. Another hearing in that case is set for next month.