At the height of his fame, Michael Jackson was often seen in public with a beautiful woman just as famous as him on his arm.
He took Madonna as his date to the 1991 Oscars, sang on stage with Cher and attended parties with Diana Ross.
But according to one of his alleged child sex abuse victims, Jackson's rumoured romances with famous women was all an act, designed to hide something more sinister, reports news.com.au.
The singer, who died in 2009, is facing renewed claims he sexually molested boys, with James Safechuck and Wade Robson detailing their alleged experiences in Leaving Neverland.
"I remember Michael saying to me that he's going to have to have these public relationships with women so that people don't think anything," Mr Safechuck said of Jackson's marriage to Lisa Marie Presley in May 1994.
"He would always say that he is going to get married, he said he would have to get married at some point but it wouldn't mean anything."
In addition to allegations he was a paedophile, Jackson's claims he had relationships with some of Hollywood's most beautiful women was never believed by his close family and friends.
"No one believed he'd had romances with girls such as Tatum O'Neal or Brooke Shields, no matter how much he insisted he had," Jackson's biographer and longtime friend J Randy Taraborrelli said in 2009 following the singer's death.
For a man that was the world's most famous performer, mystery shrouded Jackson's sexuality and romantic relationships, with the singer becoming embarrassed or evasive when quizzed about his dating life.
Following allegations he had sexually molested 13-year-old boy Jordy Chandler in 1993, Jackson sat down for a now infamous interview with Oprah Winfrey in which she quizzed him about his dating life and if he had ever had sex.
Jackson would reach an out-of-court settlement for a rumoured $20 million over Jordy's allegations.
"I'm going to ask you this and it's embarrassing for me to ask you this, but I'm going to ask anyway, are you a virgin?" Winfrey asked.
"How could you ask me that question!" Jackson exclaimed, covering his face. "I'm a gentleman … that's something that's private, I mean it shouldn't be something that's spoken about openly.
"You can call me old fashioned if you want, you know. To me that's very personal."
'MY FIRST GIRLFRIEND WHO I REALLY LOVED A LOT'
In a 2003 interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir, Jackson claimed child actor Tatum O'Neal was "my first girlfriend who I really loved a lot".
In 1975 the singer met the Paper Moon star at a Los Angeles club when she was 12 and he was 17.
Recounting their relationship to Bashir, Jackson claimed the pre-teen girl had tried to seduce him, leaving the singer "scared to death".
"I don't think I was ready for some of the things she was talking about, I was pretty naive — I'm not joking," Jackson said.
"I remember her telling me to come over to the house … what she's going to do to me when I come (over) … all the sexual stuff."
Jackson claimed O'Neal had instructed him to lie on her bed and tried to unbutton his shirt, prompting him to cover his face with fear.
"I wouldn't let them (my hands) down and she just walked away. She knew I was too shy for it … I was frightened, I was afraid," the singer said.
But O'Neal came out swinging and furiously denied Jackson's lurid claims, telling Access Hollywood he had a "vivid imagination" about their friendship.
"Michael did come over to my house when my father was home, but at 12 years old, there was no way I was capable of being as mature or as sophisticated as he claimed I was," she said.
She told The Daily Beast in 2011 that while her and Jackson had gone on a date he was never her first "public boyfriend" as the media has claimed.
"(Michael) was somebody I knew and I did go on a date with, but I don't know about my first 'public boyfriend,'" O'Neal said. "Let's call that the media's take on my first 'public boyfriend."'
MARRIAGE PROPOSALS AND AN 'ASEXUAL' LOVE
Like O'Neal, Jackson's claims he dated Brooke Shields would also be disputed, with the model maintaining they had a close friendship for many years instead.
The pair first met in 1978 when Shields was 13 and he was 20 and quickly bonded over their lives in the spotlight.
Jackson told Winfrey in 1993 he was "in love" with and dating Shields, explaining the two weren't seen out together because they were keeping their relationship private.
"We try not to just be everywhere and go everywhere," he said. "It's mostly at home. She'll come over, I'll go to her house because I don't like going out in the public."
But according to Shields, while Jackson did ask her to marry him their relationship was never romantic.
"I would say, 'You have me for the rest of your life, you don't need to marry me, I'm going to go on and do my own life and have my own marriage and my own kids, and you'll always have me,'" Shields told Rolling Stone following Jackson's death in 2009.
"I think it made him relax. He didn't want to lose things that meant something to him."
The model regarded Jackson as "more asexual" to her as they got older, with the singer always interested in details about her boyfriends.
"As I grew up and started having boyfriends, I would share with him, and he was like a little kid who talked about the bases — what first base was, what second base was, and it sounded very odd to the outside, I can imagine, but to the inside, to someone who's never really left his bubble, you can understand how he would be curious," Shields said.
In her 2018 memoir, There Was a Little Girl, Shields would describe her relationship with Jackson as a "safe" escape.
"Of course we loved each other, but nothing happened romantically … He was terrified and sort of juvenile. I think there was an arrested development," Shields wrote, according to People.
A SECRET GIRLFRIEND?
But six years after his death Jackson's former bodyguard Matt Fiddes came forward with claims the singer had relationships that he kept under wraps for years.
"I'm not going to name who she is but I think the family were aware that there was someone special in his life who he loved and adored and had his ups and downs with," he told Sky News, according to SBS.
"For some time I think she's been present in his life. If she ever wants to speak out it's up to her."
Mr Fiddes also told The Express Jackson had two girlfriends, both who lived overseas and he referred to as "Friend" and "Flower".
Shana Mangatal, who claims she had a secret relationship with Jackson in the 1990s before his marriage to Presley, told The Sun this month the singer was an "experienced" and "amazing" lover.
"He made sure it was what I wanted before we did anything — and it was amazing, everything I thought it would be," Ms Mangatal said.
"He was definitely experienced — you could tell he had done this before — even though I had not at that point. And you could tell he loved women."