The star cries while speaking about his childhood...

MICHAEL JACKSON broke down during his address at the OXFORD UNIVERSITY UNION this evening (March 6), NME.COM can reveal.

The star cried, called for a tissue and was comforted on stage by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and close friend Uri Geller, with whom he shared a platform, halfway through his speech.

Jackson was in the middle of a very revealing story about the nature of the relationship with his father when the emotion became too much.

As part of his speech to approximately 300 guests, Jackson said: “I did not have an idyllic childhood… he [Jackson’s father] had great difficulty showing affection. He never really told me that he loved me and he never really complimented me either. If I did a great show, he would tell me it was a good show. And if I did an OK show he would say nothing.” It was at this point he broke down and cried.

However, Jackson regained his composure and continued to the end of his address.

As revealed earlier, the speech, which ran for just under 40 minutes, saw a confessional, witty and at times self-deprecating Jackson. He mixed references to Gandhi and Albert Einstein with wry nods to Kermit The Frog and the UK soap opera ‘EastEnders’.

He also addressed emotional neglect in children, the emotional neglect of his childhood and spoke of his own children.

He also covered topics including the epidemic of violence in the US, literacy problems in the US and the UK, the Columbine High School massacre and the tragic story of James Bulger, the toddler abducted and killed by two older children in Liverpool.

He cheerfully accepted a five-minute standing ovation at the end of his speech, after being presented with the traditional academic cape and mortarboard.

Jackson, however, kept his audience and fans and the huge contingent of press waiting for almost three hours. Having been due to arrive at 6pm, he did not appear until after 8.45pm.

On his arrival he stopped to greet fans who were kept behind barriers outside. He posed briefly for photographs, wearing a feminine black suit with white trims. He walked with the aid of crutches, as he is still suffering from a broken foot.

Jackson will remain in the UK for a number of days. He is due to attend the wedding of close friend Uri Geller tomorrow, and is also to make an appearance at a fan convention in his honour later in the evening in London.

Click back tomorrow (March 7) for our special video report from Oxford.