When last we checked in with Home Alone star and quintessential child star Macaulay Culkin he was putting to rest The Pizza Underground, the pizza-themed Velvet Underground parody band he started as a lark. In a new interview on the WTF With Marc Maron podcast, Mac touches on that project, but, more interestingly, delves into a number of the topics he’s more or less kept schtum about all these years—namely, his relationships to both Michael Jackson and his father.
Of the former, Culkin asserts that his relationship with Jackson, who was charged with seven counts of child molestation in 2003 before being acquitted, was never unsavory. “He was my best friend growing up for a good, fat stretch of my life,” he said, detailing how he first met Jackson backstage at a performance of The Nutcracker at the Lincoln Center. Hilariously, Jackson was with Donald Trump at the time.
Maron grilled Culkin on Jackson’s behavior, and while Culkin admited that Jackson was “emotionally young,” he framed it innocently. “He enjoyed my youthfulness. He liked being a kid with me,” he said. “It never struck me as odd. I never felt uncomfortable. That was just the way he was.”
He also provided a bit of insight into Jackson’s mindset in his final years. “He didn’t wanna go back home. Everything in his life felt tainted,” he said. “That was what happened with that last trial [in 2005], everything felt tainted. The only thing that was important to him was his immediate family.” Culkin then revealed he’s the godfather of Jackson’s daughter, Paris.
What’s truly heartbreaking was Culkin’s discussion of his relationship to his father. “We didn’t like each other,” he said. “He was a bad man. He was abusive, physically and mentally. I can show you all my scars if you want to. He was a bad dude.” Culkin said his father’s abuse extended to the rest of his family, too, and briefly touched on what forgiveness looks like in a situation such as that.
The good news is that he’s living an amazing life these days, alternating mainly between New York City and Paris, where he paints, writes, and drinks. He’s dabbling in acting again with Seth Green’s upcoming Changeland, though he sounds as if he has no interest in pursuing it further. “I treat myself like a retired person,” he said. “Everything I do is a hobby now.”
He also just started a podcast, Bunny Ears. You can listen to it here.
First, though, listen to the WTF interview here. Maron’s pretty obvious distaste for The Pizza Underground is both obvious and hilarious. “So it’s a joke for a very small audience,” he said with a voice dryer than sandpaper. Culkin’s portion of the episode begins around 36 minutes in.