Michael Jackson and Prince Abdullah of Bahrain are no more. Jackson is officially out of Bahrain and has been since May, I am told. He and the prince have severed their business ties, which included the famously announced but never realized 2 Seas Records.
Additionally, Jackson is no longer working with AAJ Holdings, the Bahraini company that was going to put the island nation on the map.
Are we surprised? Not really. But as usual, Jackson’s divorce from the prince is messy.
Jackson, according to his inner circle, accuses the Prince of preventing his infamous charity single, “I Have a Dream,” from being released.
According to this scenario, the prince has impounded the elements of the recording, which Jackson made in a Bahraini studio, and won’t turn them over.
“The record has Ciara, Snoop Dogg and Keyshia Cole on it,” says a source. Prince Abdullah wasn’t satisfied “and kept bugging Michael for more female voices.”
When the recording was supposed to be sent to Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and R. Kelly for work, the prince, I am told, refused to do it.
Abdullah, according to these sources, also has kept master recordings, which Jackson made there.
Of course, the prince’s people say that he spent at least $2 million to $3 million on Jackson during his year as the prince’s pet moonwalker.
Jackson did claim Bahrain as his residence from July 2005 to May 2006. At Christmas, the prince flew over a bunch of Jackson’s friends, including two of his post-teen male protégés, Omer Bhatti and Anton Schleiter, as well as members of the Cascio family.
But Jackson’s side insists all he ever received from the prince was a mere $200,000 to cover expenses.
The real trouble came when Jackson, who used the prince’s lawyers to negotiate his refinancing with Sony and Fortress Investments last spring, didn’t like the contract offered to him by Abdullah.
“The prince wanted to take control of everything in Michael’s life,” says a source who was in on the paperwork. “It wasn’t a recording contract he offered, but a personal services agreement.”
Things got so bad last spring that the prince froze Jackson’s drawing account in Bahrain. That apparently brought things to a head quickly.
Jackson, according to those on his side in this matter, say the singer was also angry that the prince didn’t come through with buying him a house in Bahrain.
“It was a rental,” sniffs the source. “Michael didn’t like that.”
So Jackson is now sequestered in Ireland, although nearly every story out of there otherwise has been untrue.
He was never going to build a leprechaun theme park, for example, and has not contacted Teddy Riley to produce his new album, says Raymone Bain, Jackson’s tireless flack.
But reality bites, and for Jackson, even relatively inexpensive Ireland is eating away at the cash he has on hand.
Justin Timberlake’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds” wound up beating Clay Aiken’s “A Thousand Different Ways” for No. 1 after all, but not by much — just about 25,000 copies.
Justin’s lucky there’s no recall vote. Nevertheless, Justin’s album was down 67 percent from its opening week, which means many buyers realized that most of the songs sound the same. Whoops!
Same thing for Beyonce, whose “B'Day” only sold 86,000 copies. And yet, none of this matters to the record companies involved, since all three CDs are under the Sony BMG umbrella. That’s what so great about having just four record companies left in the world: Sony BMG, Warner, Universal and Capitol EMI …
Just in case you were wondering, former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey was not enjoying himself last week on “The View.” Grilled like a hot dog by Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the Gay American was nervous as hell. “His hands were shaking” during the interview, a set-sider reports ...
There might have been a tense moment Tuesday night at the star-studded premiere of Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed.” That’s because the surprise guests for the night were Mick Jagger and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones. Two of their famous songs, “Gimme Shelter” and “Let It Loose,” are integral parts of the soundtrack.
I asked Mick later at the big party at Guastavino’s what it was like to suddenly hear his music pop up in a film unannounced.
“It’s OK if it’s Martin Scorsese,” he replied with a big grin.
Jagger and Wood stayed at the party for a short time — they’ve got a gig tonight at the Meadowlands — but long enough to congratulate Scorsese and the actors in this really mesmerizing film.
But the Stones seemed to stay away from members of another famous rock group most of the night — Bono and The Edge from U2. The latter pair huddled in a green room at the Ziegfeld Theater with Scorsese and eschewed the party altogether (and The Edge was spotted taking a bathroom break right before the movie’s exciting climax).
But there were plenty of A-listers who turned out for “The Departed,” including stars Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Alec Baldwin, who nearly steals the movie doing comedy shtick with Mark Wahlberg, came to the screening but skipped the festivities with a good excuse: an early call this morning. He left lovely girlfriend Nicole Seidel on her own, and she spent quality time with Damon and his newish wife, Lucy.
Elsewhere at Guastavino’s, Scorsese and his wife, Helen, held court at the main table with Nicholson, "Saturday Night Live" guru Lorne Michaels and temporarily at least, Jagger.
Lorraine Bracco came by to say hello, as did Billy Joel (with wife, Katie), Dana Delany, plus Regis and Joy Philbin and Michael and Laurie Gelman.
Nicholson made time alternately for the great Lauren Bacall, who came to congratulate him on his wildly fun performance, and co-star Vera Farmiga.
When Bacall couldn’t get Nicholson’s attention at first, she quipped: “You’re too busy looking down that girl’s dress.”
Indeed, Nicholson was enraptured by the lithe young beauty beside him, who was identified for me by those in the know as 22-year-old Paz de la Huerta.
Jack, who will turn 70 next April, still has the best taste, that’s for sure!
Meanwhile, all of the guests were knocked out by “The Departed,” which played very well to the Ziegfeld crowd. Matt Damon said, “The idea of doing a movie in Boston with an accent and Marty Scorsese, there’s nothing better.”
The last time Damon got a chance to trot out his homeboy patois was a decade ago in “Good Will Hunting.” A lot has changed since then — Damon is a movie star, he’s married, has an 8-year-old stepdaughter and a baby girl.
He was a little unprepared for Nicholson’s on-set shenanigans, but he rose to the occasion. So did Scorsese. He told me, “We had Jack for 25 days, and that was it. Nothing more. So we had to use that to our advantage.”
Nicholson chews through “The Departed” like the movie’s mascot rat might through wire. Nothing is safe in his path. After he finished one scene with DiCaprio, the latter’s character continues in conversation. Suddenly Jack appears behind him, and Leo is none the wiser at first. “All improvised,” Scorsese admitted. “You can see the shock on Leo’s face.”
Why all the commotion from Nicholson? Recently, a friend of his offered this suggestion: “Marlon Brando really treated Jack badly on the set of 'The Missouri Breaks' . Jack was the hot star coming off of 'Chinatown,' and Brando — even after 'The Godfather' — didn’t want to be upstaged. Jack went into 'The Departed' determined to do to Leo and Matt what Brando had done to him.”
Of course, the big difference is that "The Missouri Breaks" was one of the great flops of its time. "The Departed" has "hit" written all over it.
Damon and DiCaprio will be vying for Best Actor nods, while Nicholson (and perhaps Baldwin) will be getting supporting actor attention. Thelma Schoonmaker is a cinch for editing awards, and there will be many more end-of-the-year kudos for this raucous, stupendous film.