By Raisa Bruner
September 5, 2018

As it turns out, Jennifer Love Hewitt has memories of Michael Jackson that go way back to the beginning of her acting career — and carried through for years of parties at Neverland Ranch.

During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday night, the actress recalled meeting Jackson — very unexpectedly, as it turned out — on the set of an L.A. commercial. She had been told she was filming with “Michael,” but as she explained, she didn’t realize it was that Michael until she showed up on the set.

“At 10, I was just like, he’s so cool, this is going to be really fun,” she laughed, adding that he taught her at the time how to do one of his signature dance moves of going up on his toes.

Jackson also bestowed some wisdom on Hewitt. “He stopped at the end of the day and he was like, ‘You don’t know how important it is that you’re doing something that’s special and important to other people. Never lose that, always be that person,'” she recalled, adding that he then gave a “very big donation” to the charity function she was scheduled to attend the same day she met him. ” [He] sent a check in my name and on my behalf, which was something I wouldn’t have been able to do at the time,” she said.

Apparently, Hewitt made an impression on Jackson: she and her mom were subsequently invited to the famous Neverland Ranch for parties, even including Thanksgiving one year. “There was a giant candy store on the property… there was a ferris wheel…” she remembered.

Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com.

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