Macaulay Culkin Opened Up To Marc Maron About His Retirement, Michael Jackson, And His Abusive Father

Getty Image

Macaulay Culkin appeared on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast this month and gave one of the most candid interviews he’s given since disappearing from the Hollywood limelight over 20 years ago when he gave up his career as an actor after 1994’s Richie Rich. In the two decades since, Culkin has been seen a few times on TV and in movies — he also appeared in a music video for his pizza-themed Velvet Underground tribute band, he was spotted wearing a meta-Ryan Gosling T-Shirt, and he made out with Har Mar Superstar in a dive bar in Montana — but for the most part, he has maintained a low profile since his time as one of the most recognizable actors on the planet.

What exactly has he been doing the last two decades? As he tells Marc Maron, he has essentially “retired” from acting, and he splits his time now between his homes in New York City and Paris.

On Living In Paris — Culkin has been living primarily in Paris for the better part of four years. No one bothers him in Paris, he explains. “It was one of those things where I thought no one recognized me, but what it was is that they recognized me, but they just didn’t care.” He does a fair amount of painting and he is writing a follow-up to his first book. Mostly, however, he concedes that he has a very privileged life and does what he wants to do without much regard to the expectations of others. “I’m a 30-something retired person walking around with a baguette under my arm. I’m living a good life.”

On His Relationship with Michael Jackson: Culkin met Jackson while working on The Nutcracker. Jackson actually came backstage with Donald Trump, with whom Jackson was friends at the time. After Home Alone came out, Jackson reached out again to Culkin and asked if he wanted to hang out. “We we’re friends. We were actually best friends for a stretch of time while I was growing up. It was a legitimate friendship,” Culkin recalls. “He enjoyed my youthfulness. He liked being a kid. He liked being a kid with me. He like being around kids, and it never struck me as odd.”

“It never felt weird,” Culkin continues. “It was just the way that it was. I looked at him for who he was. I was not enamored by him. We were friends.”

Culkin remained in touch with him until Jackson’s death in 2009.

Culkin also admits that he remains very close to Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris. He’s her godfather. “I’m very protective of her,” Culkin tells Maron. “She is beloved by me. ” He tells Maron that he wouldn’t talk about her, however, beyond saying that she’s doing well.

On Working on SNL: “My father was such a crazy person that I had to do the whole episode without cue cards,” Culkin tells Maron. Culkin hosted the show when he was 11 years old. “That meant that every other person in the cast couldn’t use cue cards, either.” Culkin also tells Maron that he has a friend on SNL who tells him that he’s never heard of anyone who has done with show without cue cards. “That’s insane. That’s completely insane.”

It was his father, however, who demanded that he do the show without cue cards. “Do good or I’ll hit you,” Culkin recalls.
On His Relationship with His Father: “After I did Richie Rich in ’93 or ’94, my father and mother called it quits, which is one of the best things to ever happen to me. I was able to walk away from the business. I was able to say, ‘I hope you made all your money, because there’s no more coming from me.'”

Culkin never got along with his father, Culkin claims, even as a kid. “I’m going around the country locked in a room with a man who didn’t like me.”

“He was a bad man. He was abusive. Physically and mentally.” And not just to Culkin, but to his siblings and to his mother. “He was just a bad dude. A bad abusive man. He was a piece of work.”

After Richie Rich, Culkin was able to have his parent’s names removed from his money so that he could keep his “inheritance” — the money he made from all of his film work — when he turned 18. During his high school years, he was also able to live a relatively normal life. “I just wanted to get laid and smoke pot,” he tells Maron.

He remains estranged from his father to this day. Culkin is not that interested in reconnecting with him, either. “I don’t think he’s willing to say the things he needs to say.”

Culkin maintains that his father doesn’t deserve a relationship with his son. He still, however, remains close with his mom.

Ultimately, Culkin, who now hosts a podcast, “Bunny Ears,” with his friend Matt Cohen, is content with where he is in life as he approaches the age of 40. “I live a very full, rich, and silly life.”

Should we all be so lucky.

(Via WTF with Marc Maron)