Wade Robson was close with his mother who became a default momager when his dance career started taking off at a young age. He didn’t have the same relationship with his dad — especially after Robson moved to Los Angeles. The more time he spent with Michael Jackson, the further his father was pushed into the background.
“Early on, I remember Michael telling me that I could call him Dad,” Robson wrote in a gutting blog post. “My heart jumped at the chance, I began to, and in return, he would call me, ‘Son.’ This made me feel incredibly special.”
Not long after Robson won the dance contest that put him on Jackson’s radar, his father was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As his health declined, the pair only occasionally talked on the phone and saw each other about every two years. This wasn’t always a positive experience for Robson, who struggled with his dad’s emotions.
“His mental and emotional state just really continued to degrade,” Robson said during Leaving Neverland (via Oxygen). “He was doing things like disappearing in the night and going on walks through the city, through LA, and catching buses, and we’d have to find him.”
In July 2002, Robson noticed he had several missed calls from his mother as he was leaving a Hollywood recording studio. He soon discovered his father had taken his own life.