Liz Taylor nixes Michael Jackson memorial

Jul 6, 2009 at 9:55 p.m. ET

Elizabeth Taylor is not attending the public memorial service for Michael Jackson.

Elizabeth Taylor and her good friend, Michael JacksonTaylor, long one of Jackson's closest friends, Twittered the news to fans. In four sequential messages, she wrote:

"I've been asked to speak at the Staples Center. I cannot be part of the public whoopla."

"And I cannot guarantee that I would be coherent to say a word."

"I just don't believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others. How I feel is between us. Not a public event."

"I said I wouldn't go to the Staples Center and I certainly don't want to become a part of it. I love him too much."

Liz and Michael began their enduring friendship in 1985. Her eighth wedding, to construction worker Larry Fortensky, was held at Jackson's Neverland Ranch in 1991.

Taylor fully supported the singer through his 2001 molestation trial, even introducing him to Kabbalah and gifting him the religion's ubiquitous red string bracelet to ward off the evil eye. She was the first to dub him the "King of Pop" and frequently counseled him on his addiction to painkillers based on her own experiences.

While attendees of the Michael Jackson memorial will miss out on Liz, they will enjoy appearances by Mariah Carey, who is rumored to reprise her cover of the Jackson 5's I'll Be There and John Mayer, who says he will not perform but will contribute otherwise.

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