Thursday, June 11, 2015 12:03pm ET by  
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Lionel Richie says Michael Jackson 'never experienced normality'

Singer Lionel Richie has opened up about his late friend Michael Jackson, as the anniversary of the superstar's death (June 25) draws closer. 

During a new interview with Britain's Hello! magazine, the icon explained that nothing about Jackson's upbringing was normal:

"He never got to hang out as a normal kid, playing soccer, going to school, having a first kiss. He didn't have a 'real'. His 'real' was, 'Hey, Lionel. I bought a monkey.'"

Richie went onto add that his own birthday falls just five days before the anniversary of the King of Pop's death, which makes it that much harder to deal with: 

"It's my birthday on 20 June and I'll never forget that year - I decided to delay my party because Michael was rehearsing for his big tour. He only lived a block and a half away and I wanted our kids to get together so I told him I would put it off until the weekend. But that was the week that Michael died."

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Watch footage from Richie's appearance on 'The Voice USA' here: