The Irish-American dancer said he and Jackson discussed putting on a dance and music spectacular
Riverdance star Michael Flatley was in talks with Michael Jackson about doing a show together when the King of Pop died.
The Irish-American dancer said he and Jacko discussed putting on a dance and music spectacular before the Thriller singer’s 2009 overdose death.
Multi-millionaire Michael, 55, said: “Once he came to my house, he had just turned 50 and we were born the same year. I said, ‘Why don’t we do something together and we’ll call it 50/50’.
“We were that close to it happening and it broke my heart. It would have been a dream. Michael was such a great performer.”
Speaking to Piers Morgan for the new series of Life Stories, Michael, who married dancer Niamh O’Brien in 2006, also spoke of his past womanising.
He revealed that when police pulled him over for speeding in his red Ferrari in 1998 a woman had been performing a sex act on him.
“I told the truth that it had been my dream to own a Ferrari and got a fine,” he said. “They never knew about the woman, though!”
But he fought back tears as he spoke of being falsely accused of rape at a Las Vegas hotel in 2002.
Michael will be on Life Stories on ITV this Autumn.
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Michael Flatley, 52, is the brains behind dance extravaganzas Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance. He chats about suffering from a debilitating virus that threatened to end his career and the Lord Of The Dance 3D film.
Do you celebrate St Patrick’s Day by wearing a silly hat and drinking Guinness?
I don’t. I grew up in the US and I’ve seen the celebrations where they dye the river green – like they do in Chicago. Some of it can be good but the majority of people who do that aren’t Irish. It’s wonderful there’s one day when everyone wants to be Irish.
What’s the appeal of your shows?
If you asked 100 different people, you’d get 100 different answers. Everyone tells me they like something different. It seems to have crossed all barriers – from Mexico to Moscow our show sells out.
Did you get ridiculed for your dancing as a child?
I grew up in a pretty tough neighbourhood in Chicago so I didn’t go out telling people: ‘I’m a dancer.’ No one knew about it until I started winning championships.
When you started Riverdance as an interval act at Eurovision did you suspect it would become a multi-million-pound empire?
I’d toured the United States for ten years with The Chieftains, getting standing ovations. I knew if I could get a team of dancers, the impact would be more profound. I was ready to show this art form to the world. We’ve been blessed with our success.
Do you attract groupies?
We do. Every touring show does. Being on the road for 16 years, there are some people who literally follow the shows around but their hearts are good and their intentions are sincere. I just consider myself lucky anyone cares about what I’m doing at all.
What have been the highlights of your career?
Every day is a highlight since I was so ill.
Has your illness left any complications?
I’ll always keep an eye on my health because it was never truly diagnosed. It was a devastating time and nobody gave me any hope of getting better, never mind dancing again.
How did you recover?
I’d seen every doctor I could. I lost count of how many and no one could pinpoint what it was. I was at home in my castle in County Cork and I’d invited over an energy healer. I believe in working with positive energy and tried to remain positive through the illness and, within half an hour of seeing him, I felt better. I hadn’t been outside the front door for six months and went out and walked a mile. I came home and threw away the pills the doctor had given me. Everything in the world is energy and I believe your body can heal itself.
Has anyone surprising said they’re a fan of your shows?
We’ve had beautiful quotes from everyone from Nelson Mandela to Muhammad Ali. A few years ago, we had Michael Jackson as a guest in our castle and he said he was a fan of my work. That mutual respect meant a lot to me.
What’s been your most extravagant purchase?
I spent five years building a vintage E-Type Jaguar with a guy from Surrey. He had meticulous attention to detail. It must have cost £250,000 but it’s an outrageous car – the ultimate in automobile design. You don’t get better than a 1966 E-Type Jaguar. I know I don’t need it – I’ve got a nice collection of cars – but I don’t think there’s a more beautifully designed car and it’s the bees knees to get around London in.
What do you think of Stavros Flatley from Britain’s Got Talent?
What can you say about them other than what a wonderful father and son team? We can all learn a lot from their relationship. It’s heart-warming. I took their act as a compliment, fair play to them. It’s wonderful in today’s society to see a father and son treat each other in that way and I’m delighted it was me they decided to take off.
Lord Of The Dance 3D is out on St Patrick’s Day, Thursday