A Pop King and His Primate: The Tale of Michael Jackson and His Pet Chimp, Bubbles

When you think of Michael Jackson, a lot of images might come to mind – moonwalking on stage, his iconic Thriller jacket, or even that single, shining glove. But how many of you remember his unusual choice of pet, a chimpanzee named Bubbles? This story of an eccentric pop superstar and his primate companion is as endearing as it is extraordinary.

An Unlikely Friendship Begins

In the early 1980s, Michael Jackson was on top of the world. He had just released his groundbreaking album “Thriller,” which was well on its way to becoming the best-selling album of all time. It was during this period, in 1985, that Jackson decided to welcome a new addition into his life – a baby chimpanzee named Bubbles.

Bubbles was born in a Texas research facility and, at just 8 months old, he was adopted by Jackson. The singer had a soft spot for animals, and it wasn’t long before Bubbles became more than just a pet. He became a part of Jackson’s family, and Jackson treated him like a son.

Life with the King of Pop

Bubbles was no ordinary chimp, and life with Michael Jackson was no ordinary existence. Bubbles slept in a crib in Jackson’s bedroom, used the same toilet as Jackson, and even had a wardrobe of specially tailored clothes so he could dress like his famous owner.

The chimp had a taste of the superstar life, accompanying Jackson to the recording studio, movie sets, and on his global tours. He’d sit in for soundchecks, and even had his own seat at the dinner table! Photos of Jackson holding Bubbles’ hand, or the two sharing a joke, quickly became a part of pop culture history.

The Public’s Fascination

Bubbles’ appearances alongside Jackson, whether on the red carpet or in music videos, fueled public fascination. This unlikely duo caught the media’s attention, with some praising Jackson’s unique choice of companion, while others questioned whether a wild animal should be kept as a pet.

Regardless of the public’s mixed opinions, one thing was clear: Bubbles was more than just a pet to Jackson. He was a companion, a source of comfort, and an integral part of his unconventional lifestyle.

Where is Bubbles Now?

As Bubbles grew older, and larger, it became more difficult for Jackson to care for him. In the early 2000s, Jackson made the difficult decision to move Bubbles to an animal sanctuary. Today, Bubbles resides at the Center for Great Apes in Florida, where he lives with other retired showbiz chimps, away from the media glare.

Avatar of Heather Brown

Written by Heather Brown

Heather Brown is a writer and historian with a passion for all things vintage. She shares her knowledge of the past through her blog, with a particular focus on historical photos and the stories they tell.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *