it looked like a florist’s shop. I had never seen so many beautiful flowers in one room in my life. I opened the many cards, and they were all from the same person, Gordon. I thought it was a nice gesture. But these kinds of gifts – admittedly, in smaller quantities -- happen so often in show business that it’s almost customary. When Gordon and I met again before the taping, I didn’t immediately recognize him as the same man from the Solid Gold set and the Grammy Awards. But he told me that it had been him, and that he later contacted my father, who was then my manager, to negotiate a deal to have me host this program, which he was producing. I didn’t tell him that I didn’t want to host his show and was only there because Joseph had told me to do it. The entire time I was there, I behaved with the courtesy and professionalism that my siblings and I had been taught growing up. When I was done with the taping, Gordon asked for my direct number. I declined because I did not feel comfortable giving my number to a man I didn’t know. I was a devout Jehovah’s Witness at the time, and we had extremely strict rules about dating, and it wasn’t something I was really interested in anyway.
Gordon kept in touch with Joseph and began working on my father’s vast sympathy, calling him daily and finding ways to be around constantly. In fact, Gordon earned everyone’s trust by being the nicest person in the world. He knew my mother loved board games, so he’d come over and play with her for hours. Every time my family had an event in another state, he would either just show up, or say he was already going to be in that particular state while we were there. He hung around so much that, eventually, my father hired him.
Joseph has the biggest heart and can never say no to a person in need. When Gordon told him that he had fallen on hard times, my father found work for him in his own office. After that, Gordon quickly made himself indispensible. This was not unusual, as there were always aggressive people who wanted to work with our family. It used to be that anyone who hung around Hayvenhurst for long enough would be given a job. But with all of the times my family’s kindness and generosity have caused us to be taken advantage of over the years, and sue, everyone is much more careful with who they trust now. Especially me.
In 1984, when I went on a ten-city radio promotional tour for my third studio album, Heart Don’t Lie, I started receiving the biggest bouquet of flowers in every hotel suite, all from Gordon. At first I was a little uncomfortable that he might want to date me. Then, I started to fear that he was stalking me, which was not uncommon in my family. Screaming girls had waited outside the gates of Hayvenhurst for my brothers since the first day we moved in, and we once found an obsessed female fan that had been living in Michael’s closet for three days. I was both relieved and upset when I later found out that my father had given Gordon my itinerary. If I had known the depths of misery he would later bring me to, I would have been even more afraid than I was at the time.
I couldn’t wait to get back to Los Angeles from the radio tour because my mother and I were about to go on the road with my brothers for their “Victory Tour.” Before we left, I had a doctor’s appointment because I wasn’t feeling very well. The doctor had bad news: I needed an emergency hemorrhoidal operation. I guess that’s what I get for my lifelong love of Tabasco sauce, jalapenos, and anything else that burns the stomach. The whole experience was so painful that I could barely walk, even after surgery. The doctor suggested I stay home and rest. I was devastated to miss the excitement of the tour, but I knew I didn’t have a choice. My brothers were expecting Mother to be with them, so she went ahead without me. I was left home alone with only the staff and security.
Gordon made his move. He sent flowers, get well cards, and candy. Every day there was a new gift waiting for me. He kept calling the security booth, trying to talk to me. When I wouldn’t see him, he tried another tactic.
“I have a gift for you,” he said when he finally got me on the phone.
“You shouldn’t have,” I said. “But thank you. If you leave it at the security booth, they’ll