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Dame Elizabeth Taylor and pop star Michael Jackson at a concert celebrating her achievements

Two of the biggest showbusiness names on the planet, shared a 30-year friendship.

But Michael Jackson’s bond with Elizabeth Taylor has now been exposed as an ‘obsession’ in which he lavished the actress with diamonds to win her over following Richard Burton’s death.

In turn, Miss Taylor showered Jackson with bizarre gifts such as an elephant shipped in from Asia.

The story of one of Hollywood’s oddest relationships is told in US author Donald Bogle’s new book Elizabeth And Michael: The Queen Of Hollywood And The King Of Pop – A Love Story.

In the book, Bogle writes that when they were together ‘Elizabeth and Michael were clearly in their own world, one that few could understand or enter’.

Jackson once called her a ‘warm cuddly blanket that I love to snuggle up to and cover myself with’. According to Bogle, he became obsessed with Miss Taylor in the early 1980s and was ‘like a young lover in pursuit’. He claims Miss Taylor became ‘part of his dreams’ and the ‘embodiment of Hollywood history’.

‘Jackson wanted to really meet her, to make a connection, then to see her again and again and to get to know her and for her to get to know him,’ Bogle writes.

‘Something deep inside Michael Jackson needed Elizabeth Taylor… though he probably couldn’t articulate what he wanted from her. She was both a star goddess and a mother goddess.’

They met six months after the death of Richard Burton, the love of her life, and he provided a replacement of sorts.

Burton died in August 1984 and later that year Jackson invited Miss Taylor to see one of the final dates on his Victory Tour in Los Angeles. But Miss Taylor left because the box he had arranged for her had a poor view. Jackson then called her to beg her forgiveness. Bogle claims they talked on the phone every day then ‘something magical happened during those phone conversations… Michael and Elizabeth became hooked on each other’.

During the early years of their friendship, Jackson ‘loved playing the part of gentleman escort, at her beck and call, making sure she was comfortable, making sure any request to a waiter or whomever was taken care of’, writes the author.

Jackson gave her lots of gifts including a 17-carat diamond ring, a diamond bracelet, diamond necklaces and ruby encrusted watches. For him it was money well spent so he could be ‘part of a classic old Hollywood with its greatest star’.

She was high maintenance – but so was he. Miss Taylor would buy Jackson lavish gifts, including an elephant called Gypsy kept at his Neverland ranch.

Such was Miss Taylor’s hold on Jackson that it angered his family. Jackson’s mother once supposedly said that Miss Taylor ‘stole my son’.

It was also under Miss Taylor’s influence that he moved out of his family home in 1987 and bought the $17million, 26-acre ranch in Los Olivos, California, which became Neverland. The sprawling property had a number of guest rooms including the ‘Elizabeth Taylor suite’ which had an enormous bed.

Jackson’s busy touring schedule meant they met for ‘intense reunions’ every few months.

Jackson’s death in 2009 deeply upset Miss Taylor.

She wrote on Twitter: ‘My heart, my mind, are broken. Of course I’m still grieving for Michael… I always will.’

When Miss Taylor died in 2011, she was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, where Jackson was also buried.

– Daily Mail