For the first time in many years, Macaulay Culkin agreed to an in-depth magazine profile in which it appears no topic was off-limits.
From discussing his abusive father to his former drug use, the iconic former child star, known the world over from the Home Alone films, was an open book for an interview with Esquire that was published Tuesday.
Towards the middle of the lengthy profile, accumulated over days’ worth of interviews, is a section on Michael Jackson, the late King of Pop whose name was in headlines again last year — a decade after his death — after two men accused the singer of molesting them when they were kids in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland.
Culkin was no doubt buried in requests for comment and reaction to the film, as it was well known he and Jackson were friends in his youth and spent a fair amount of time together. Culkin also famously testified in defense of Jackson in 2005 when the singer was charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy who had cancer. Jackson was eventually acquitted.
That was the last time to two ever spoke, in that courthouse, Culkin told Esquire, explaining there was a recess and he was in the restroom when Jackson happened to enter.
“We better not talk. I don’t want to influence your testimony,” Jackson said, according to Culkin, who added they then laughed at the moment.
As to whether he was ever abused or saw any abuse at the hands of Jackson, Culkin made it clear: No.
“Look, I’m gonna begin with the line — it’s not a line, it’s the truth: He never did anything to me,” Culkin told the magazine. “I never saw him do anything. And especially at this flash point in time, I’d have no reason to hold anything back. The guy has passed on. If anything — I’m not gonna say it would be stylish or anything like that, but right now is a good time to speak up. And if I had something to speak up about, I would totally do it. But no, I never saw anything; he never did anything.”
Culkin is the godfather of Jackson’s daughter, Paris. The two talk often, he said, and have matching tattoos.
Life is good for the actor, who will turn 40 this year. Culkin told Esquire that he is happy with his life, his love (actress Brenda Song, with whom is he trying to have a child) and their animals.
But he did talk about his past drug use, which he said almost got out of control, but led him to where he is now.
“I played with some fire, I guess is the best way to put it,” Culkin said. “At the same time, I’ve never been to rehab or anything like that. I’ve never had to clean out that way. There were certain times when I had to catch myself, once or twice. ‘You’re having too good a time, Mack.’ But I never went so far down that road where I needed outside help. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t had drugs in my life at some point or another.”
He added, “I had some illuminating experiences — but also it’s fuckin’ stupid, too, you know? So besides the occasional muscle relaxer, no, I don’t do drugs recreationally. I still kinda drink like a fish. I drink and I smoke. But I don’t touch the things. I do love them. They’re like old friends. But sometimes you outgrow your friends.”
This article originally appeared in THR.com.