Photo: Sam Emerson
He was the biggest pop superstar in the world, selling millions of albums to millions of fans. Michael Jackson couldn't go anywhere without being hunted by the paparazzi...and yet he had a secret hideaway at the home of a New Jersey family. Michael recorded songs in their basement and had been regularly visiting their home for 25 years. Almost nobody knew about it.
Dominic Cascio met Michael more than 25 years ago when he was working at a hotel in New York City. Dominic managed the suites where Michael used to stay when visiting, and the two soon struck up a friendship.
Dominic invited Michael to his home in New Jersey to meet his wife, Connie, and their children. It wasn't long before Michael became a regular visitor and started referring to the Cascios as his second family. They say Michael was humble and never acted like the superstar that he was, often joining them for turkey dinners and long talks around the kitchen counter.
"It was funny because he would just come up and enjoy family dinners and just be part of the family," says Eddie, 28, who was just 3 years old when he first met Michael. "He would always make sure that before every meal we always say our prayers, say grace, and even afterward we'd have sit-downs and we'd all go through and just talk about what we're thankful for. Those types of memories that we all have are just really priceless, because that was Michael."
The Cascio family has never spoken about their relationship with Michael until now. Although they were reluctant to come forward, they decided to speak out because they wanted to show the world who Michael really was.