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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 May 2005, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Jackson case spotlight on Culkin
Macaulay Culkin
Macaulay Culkin, 24, is an established actor
Macaulay Culkin's friendship with Michael Jackson is under the spotlight as he appears as a defence witness in the star's child abuse case.

The Home Alone star has spent more than half of his 24 years as a world star, having enjoyed a major box office hit at the age of just 10.

His friendship with the globally famous singer has spanned a similar period.

The two former child stars say their similar upbringings has been their bond.

In his address to the Oxford Union in 2001, Jackson said he and the My Girl actor were able to "share a pain" as they both lost their childhoods to careers in showbusiness.

Culkin became the biggest child star since Shirley Temple with his role as a boy accidentally deserted by his parents in 1990's Home Alone.

Close understanding

The comedy was one of the top grossing films of the 1990s. A string of roles followed, including a sequel, earning the young actor millions.

Soon after the film's success, the young star and Jackson became friends, and Culkin became a regular visitor to the singer's Neverland ranch.
Culkin in Home Alone
The actor shot to international stardom in 1990's Home Alone
The pair were regularly photographed out together and Mr Culkin even appeared in the video to pop star's single Black or White in 1991.

Culkin has said: "Michael Jackson and I understand each other in a way that most people can't understand either of us."

The young actor has repeatedly denied he was ever molested by the singer. "Nothing happened," he said recently.

Culkin originally said he would not testify at the trial but later reversed the decision.

After his early fame, in 1994 he dropped out of acting after 15 films. He had to "divorce" himself from his parents to gain control of his money.

Acting return

In 1997 a bitter custody fight between his unmarried parents was settled when Christopher Culkin agreed to give Patricia Bretnup sole custody of Macaulay and four of his siblings.

The young star married actress Rachel Miner in 1998, when the couple were both 17. The marriage lasted until 2000, when they divorced.

In the same year, having returned to acting, Culkin made an acclaimed debut on the London stage as a schoolboy seduced by his teacher in Madame Melville by Richard Nelson.
Macaulay Culkin
The young star had a lucrative early career

During the play's run, Jackson was due to see a performance but had to cancel after breaking his foot in his London hotel. The pair were later seen out shopping together.

Culkin has appeared in three films since 2003, most notably as a crack-smoking gay killer in Party Monster.

Before the Jackson trial, he was most recently in the news last October for criminal proceedings.

He denied charges of possessing marijuana and controlled substance Xanax without a prescription after being arrested in Oklahoma City. The case is due to be heard in June.

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