again, after women told me about their abuse was:
“You have to share your story with others, so abused women will gain the confidence they need to overcome their own situations.”
I was so honored to be acknowledged by so many women in this way, but I was still afraid. As I do with everything in life, I began praying to God every night:
Please give me the strength to help others who are in the same situation that you helped me to escape from.
My prayers were answered. I finally made peace with the fact that I was going to write this book and became excited to get started. My first thought was to tell my family before they heard about it in the media and got the wrong impression.
And then, before I had a chance to say anything, Mother came over to my house one day. We sat on the sofa in my living room discussing life, family, just our typical conversation we always enjoyed having, when my phone started ringing. It was Michael, and he asked to speak to Mother. When they were done with their conversation, Mother came right out with it.
“La Toya, Randy told Michael that you were writing another book about the family. Is that true?” she asked me.
I feared my mother’s reaction, but I knew I had to be honest. “Yes, Mother,” I said. “I am writing a book, a self-help book.” As soon as I spoke the words, I instantly went back into my shell, where I had
hidden from Gordon and the tension he caused within my family for so many years. “Oh,” Mother said. “I told Michael not to believe Randy; that he’s just talking.” Nothing more was said. I realized that I wasn’t the only one whose wounds had
been healed. The fact that I might write a book didn’t worry her because she knew Gordon was no longer around to make me include whatever he wanted. The real La Toya would never write or do anything to purposely hurt my family.
I once again had that old happy spirit, and I looked forward to waking up each morning to hear the birds chirping and see the sun shining. I was rebuilding my professional reputation, making music, and living out my lifelong dream of becoming a businesswoman. Best of all, I had been reunited with my family, and we were closer than ever. I began writing Starting Over in February 2008. I had a good deal of it completed by January 2009, but I didn’t know how I was going to end it, and so I put it aside.
And then, on June 25, 2009, I lost my brother Michael, and I knew that I had a second purpose in my life now, and with this book. Michael had confided in me years earlier that he feared assassination by those who wanted to steal his valuable publishing catalogue and estate. I believed him because I too had been manipulated and abused so that a greedy, heartless man could profit from me. And my brother was Michael Jackson, The King of Pop, beloved by millions of fans around the world, and head of a music empire that was valued at more than a billion dollars when he died, with the potential to earn billions more. If I had been a target, it was even easier to understand how Michael could be one as well. While I was lucky enough to escape, he did not. I decided I must investigate his murder and go public with what I found, as I do in this book, with the hope of getting justice for Michael by identifying those who really killed him.
Because I almost lost my life, I want to dedicate the life I have left to helping save the lives of other abused women. I know it’s not easy, but it is possible. I am living proof. It’s ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL to have freedom, and that’s what I want for everyone who reads these words. We can all start over, whenever we want, and as many times as we want. We just have to take that first step, and then support each other to keep walking.
Chapter One: HE’S GOING TO KILL YOU
I was lying in a pool of blood on the cold marble floor of my New York City kitchen on April 21, 1993. My heart was beating so hard it felt like it was about to bounce out of my chest. Every inch of my body was in excruciating pain. I started thinking to myself: This is it. I’m dying. What was my purpose here? I then heard my manager/husband Jack Gordon somewhere above me, talking on the telephone.
“I’ve killed her,” Gordon said. “I think she’s dead. I’ve killed her.”
As I listened to his panicked words, I recalled a conversation