Oh yes, the King of Pop himself. Only a few people worldwide are unaware of who and what Michael Jackson was. He was an iconic music legend, and every part of his life was news to the media. One such life event was the acquisition of a not-so-regular pet – a chimpanzee which he named Bubbles.
That’s right, in this article; we’re not looking at the King of Pop. Instead, we’re discussing his long-time pet; well, more like a companion. So, who’s Michael Jackson’s pet chimpanzee? What was their life together like? And where is this pet chimpanzee now? Read on as we answer all these questions.
Who Is Bubbles?
If we’re going to start somewhere, it has to be with an introduction. So, before the introduction of Marcel to Ross Gelller’s life in the popular series Friends, another chimp added joy to the life of an American citizen.
However, this time, it was a chimp named Bubbles, and the owner wasn’t your regular American citizen. So, what do we know about Bubbles?
Bubbles was born into this world in the year 1983. This birth wasn’t in the amazon or jungle but in a Texas research facility that bred primates for animal testing.
Moreover, there are disputes over how Bubbles came into Michael Jackson’s life. On the one hand, there are reports of Michael Jackson adopting Bubbles directly from the facility just eight months after his birth. On the other hand, there’s also the claim that Michael Jackson adopted Bubbles from a Hollywood animal trainer.
Regardless of how it happened, Bubbles indeed became Michael Jackson’s pet. So, what was the relationship between the King of Pop and the King of Pop’s pet chimp?
A Brief Look at Life with Bubbles
In this section, we discuss how Bubbles lived his life. We will also look at how bubbles and Michael Jackson got along.
Firstly, when Bubbles was adopted, he immediately moved into Michael’s family home in Los Angeles. However, he wasn’t a stay-home monkey as he moved again to Neverland with Jackson.
In Neverland, Michael and Bubbles shared everything, including a bedroom, sweets, cinema experiences, and many dance parties. Yup, our favorite celebrity chimp could do the moonwalk. Well, that’s no surprise; we all know how good his tutor was.
Moving on, it was obvious that Michael and Bubbles would be inseparable. They would go on tours together, and once the two of them even drank tea with the mayor of Osaka.
Frequently Michael even insisted that Bubbles be in the studio with him when he recorded music. Although most people found Bubbles adorable and his human-like behavior fascinating, not everyone appreciated his constant presence at Michael’s side.
Freddie Mercury hated that Bubbles was present when they recorded the song “There Must Be More to Life Than This” together. He became so fed up with it that the project was eventually canceled, and Freddie released the song on his own instead.
Bubbles also joined Michael on his worldwide tours. At least to the extent that it was possible. The human-like chimp could only join in a few parts of the tour and occasional parties where he was the main event.
For instance, he couldn’t join Michael in Sweden and UK for his tour due to their strict quarantine laws. It was not a problem in Japan, though; the duo shared a two-bedroom suite in Tokyo during their stay.
With time Bubbles’ behavior became more and more aggressive and unpredictable. After all, he is a wild animal, although this was easy to forget since he was often seen wearing dungarees and eating candy. The late MJ himself once said, “Bubbles became more pugnacious,” and hence, carrying him everywhere became difficult logistically speaking. There were rumors of a mishandling of the little chimp, but that’s all they were – rumors.
Eventually got moved to a different location. You could say college students aren’t the only ones who move out once they get too big. Thus, Bubbles was moved to a ranch in California.
In the Californian ranch, Bubbles got entrusted into the care of an animal trainer, Bob Dunn. This happened in 2003 when the 20-yr old Bubbles was already weighing 26 pounds (12 kilos.) This move wasn’t just for the sake of new scenery but as a precaution. That’s because the late King of Pop worried about his newborn son’s safety, little Prince Michael II.
Where Bubbles Is Now and How He’s Doing
The separation from Michael was not without negative impacts. The previously so cheerful monkey took the drastic change pretty hard. Allegedly, shortly after having arrived at the ranch, Bubbles attempted suicide but was luckily brought to a vet hospital just in time for his life to be saved. So, it was clear that bubbles missed Michael, and life without him would be hard.
Michael also struggled with separation anxiety after the two parted ways. According to the people who knew him, he thought of Bubbles as his first child.
Before it was decided that Bubbles had to leave his side, the king of pop had planned a party for his companion, to which various other celebrity animals would’ve been invited, including the dog that played Lassie and “Cheetha”, the chimpanzee that acted in the Tarzan movies. Sadly this party never happened.
Shortly after Bubbles moved to California, Bob Dunn’s ranch closed down, and Bubbles was, again, on the move. This time, Bubbles relocated to Florida. More specifically, he was moved to the Centre for Great Apes in Wauchula.
Life without the King of Pop
Although life without Michael Jackson has been hard for Bubbles, he’s alive and active. And now, he spends his days painting and relaxing to the tunes of the flute.
In the end, Bubbles misses Michael Jackson a lot. Chimpanzees are highly intelligent animals and are able to appreciate and understand relationships. Whenever Michael visited Bubbles in his new home, he recognized his face and inevitably became really excited to see his old pal.
Bubbles’ appearance, on the other hand, changed a lot. He became a fully-fledged chimpanzee weighing 185 pounds (84 kilos), but nonetheless kept his sweet nature. However, the now matured chimp has no idea of his former owner’s demise.
The Michael Jackson estate continues to cater to the needs of the 39-year-old furry King of Pop companion and pays for his needs at the Centre for Great Apes. In 2009 the bill for his annual care was $17,000 and has surely increased a lot since then.
Thank you for reading this article! Are you curious to know more about celebrity pets and how they’re doing? Take a look at our post about the iconic Chihuahua from Legally Blonde.
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