Michael’s sister La Toya admitted her late brother became more and more dependent on the ape as his fame reached unmanageable levels in the 80s, because he was so wary of the people around him.
The 54-year-old star – who visited Bubbles at the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida, in June as part of a TV documentary - said: “He began to think, ‘Who is my friend? Are you here because I’m this big? Are you here because you like my personality?’ You turn more to animals as they don’t know that. They love you for who you are.”
La Toya – who has previously revealed Michael consulted doctors about performing an operation on the chimp to give him vocal chords – also claims the ‘Thriller’ singer was constantly trying to humanise Bubbles, who is now 26.
Michael was also regularly seen dressed in the same outfits as Bubbles when he owned him and often took him to awards shows.
She said: “Bubbles became a human – he became one of us. He ate at the family table just like we do with a knife and fork.
“Michael would dress him in designer clothes. He had his own nanny and he was the sweetest politest thing you could possibly imagine.”
Despite their close bond, Bubbles was not affected by Michael’s death from acute Propofol intoxication in June 2009.
Center for Great Apes founder Patti Ragan said: “Bubbles hadn’t seen Michael for seven or eight years. If he had been around him he would have felt the loss.”
‘Michael Jackson and Bubbles: The Untold Story’ is to be shown on UK TV station Channel 4 on Wednesday (15.09.10).