Michael Jackson. Picture: Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Harrison Funk, the former photographer of Michael Jackson, has claimed that the American pop star was gender fluid.

Harrison worked with the chart-topping pop legend from the 1970s until his death in June 2009, and he's suggested that Michael's make-up routine was a sign that he didn't solely identify as one gender.

He explained: "It wasn't so much femininity on Michael's part as androgyny - he was fluid around gender. Michael had no interest in assigning a gender to anybody."

Harrison recalled that at one point in his career, Michael "didn't overtly identify as one particular gender".

However, Harrison claimed that Michael - who had kids Prince, 21, Paris, 20, and Blanket, 16 - made a conscious decision to change his image when he became a father.

Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, Harrison shared: "He became a strong man in that sense."

Harrison also revealed the 'Beat It' hitmaker was prone to dramatic outbursts during his Victory Tour of the US and Canada in 1984.

The photographer said: "Don't be fooled. Michael had very demanding moments. If he didn't like something, he let you know. Michael was never ridiculing to me ever, but if someone messed up the design of his stage, then he would yell at them. He expected perfection."

During the 1990s, Michael's music became more socially conscious, as he delivered hits such as 'Earth Song' and 'Black or White'.

However, he also attracted controversy when he struck a Jesus-like pose in one of Harrison's most famous photographs.

Looking back on the incident, Harrison said: "People say Michael had a Jesus complex, but that p***es me off, as it just wasn't true. There was a practical reason for me taking that photo. 

"Michael had huge hands and I wanted to make the most of them as they were expressive - and a good way for him to embrace the world. 

"At that stage, his whole existence was geared towards healing the world, so having big, expressive hands was a very important way to speak to the people."