Ever since the release of the controversial HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, the media has gone crazy with discussing Michael Jackson's life, work, and certain relationships. Today, we wanted to shift the focus to his three children Prince, Paris, and Blanket, and take a look at some photos of them growing up.
Prince was twelve, Paris was eleven, and Blanket was only seven years old when the King of Pop passed away, and we decided to take a glimpse into their life while their father was still alive. From images of them living their daily life at the Neverland Ranch to paparazzi pics of the children covering their faces with masks — one thing is sure: Jackson's kids had everything but a normal childhood.
In recent interviews, all of his kids have still stated how much they love and miss him, and how good of a father he was to them, which seems to highly contradict the accusations that took the singer to trial back in the '90s and early '00s and are the central topic of the Leaving Neverland series.
But let's move the focus back on his kids with these 20 pictures of them growing up before Michael Jackson's passing.
20 Let's Kick The List Off With Prince's First Birthday Party
Michael's first son with Debbie Rowe, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., mainly known as Prince, was born in 1997. In the photo above, you can see him as an adorable baby celebrating his first birthday. Regardless of what kind of person Michael really was, to his son Prince — who, as we mentioned, was twelve at the time Michael passed away — he was a great father, and Prince has stated on numerous occasions how much he misses him. In an interview for Vanity Fair, Prince said how he copes with the loss of his father by incorporating him into his life in every way he can.
19 Now Here's A Pic Of Paris And Prince With Their Parents
Prince's younger sister, Paris Jackson, was born only a year after him, in 1998, and she is the only daughter Michael had. Yes, judging from the photo above, you'd think they were a happy little family, but only a year after Paris was born, Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe got divorced. Rowe gave full custody rights of the children to Jackson, meaning the kids got to grow up at the Neverland Ranch with their dad. According to ABC News, Rowe had almost no contact with her children for over 10 years, and only tried to establish it again once Jackson passed away.
18 Michael Has A Slight Obsession With Family Portraits
There are plenty of family portraits of Michael with his kids, especially when they were very young. InStyle writes how the kids used to love wrestling, playing with water guns, and spending hours beating each other in video games. It definitely seemed as if Michael gave them everything a child could dream of, and even though their upbringing may seem a bit controversial at times, they have repeatedly stated that they love their father and that he meant the world to them. While Paris and Prince may not have had the healthiest childhood, they do always seem happy in all these pics.
17 And He Absolutely Loved Dressing Paris And Prince Up
One thing that we realized while assembling these photos is that Michael loved doing photoshoots with his children, dressing them up in adorable fancy clothing, or even just having someone with a professional camera take snapshots of the kids throughout the day. It's almost as if he wanted to capture their childhood and have it saved forever, which — considering the name of his home was Neverland — we are not too surprised about. Prince and Paris do look absolutely adorable in their little outfits, sitting on the window bench and talking to their father. They did indeed seem to have a happy childhood.
16 Every Day Was Pretty Much A Party At Neverland Ranch
Michael's third and last child, Prince Michael Jackson II, better known as Blanket, was born in 2002. In the photo above, you can see the family having a party, which was quite common at the Neverland Ranch. It seems as if Micheal, who was known for not having a regular childhood — he had his singing debut with The Jackson 5 at the young age of six — always wanted to make sure his own children get to be kids for as long as possible. And judging from the photo above, Michael loved to play and have parties with them, as well.
15 And Here's Little Paris And Prince Being A Bit Cheeky
Yes, they are playing with grown up toys, but something tells us this was just them posing for a photo. We doubt Michael would have actually let them drive at such a young age, as it always seemed like he was very concerned for his children's safety (hence the masks in public). According to Harper's Bazaar, Micheal loved dressing little Paris up in cute dresses, blouses and Mary Janes. We do also know by now that none of that was actually Paris' style, but rather her dad's choice, as we now tend to see the 20-year-old in rather edgy and tomboyish clothing.
14 There Were Always Lots Of People Around For Dinner
Occasionally we'd get to see a glimpse into what life at the Neverland Ranch was like, and judging from a majority of the photos, there was always guests around — especially for dinner. While Michael tried to keep his kids' lives private and as away from the public eye as possible, that didn't mean the kids didn't get to interact with other children and grownups. However, Paris did state in a Harper's Bazaar interview that once she got introduced into the real world, she was genuinely shocked and it blew her away. Michael definitely managed to protect his kids from the dark things in this world, but they eventually became aware of them.
13 Now Look At Adorable Little Prince With His Blonde Locks
Since we mentioned Paris and her adorable girly dresses, let's also point out how the boys would occasionally dress up, as well. Here's Prince rocking a very cute bow-tie look, and our hearts are honestly melting. The now-22-year-old always talks about how much The King of Pop inspired him, and how supportive Michael always was when it came to his children following their dreams. Both Paris, in her interview with Harper's Bazaar, as well as Prince in his Vanity Fair interview have mentioned how their dad believed that they could achieve and become anything they put their minds to. All controversies aside, that does sound like A+ parenting.
12 And Here's Another Family Portrait Of Micheal With Paris And Prince
This is the last family portrait we decided to include in this list, and one thing is sure: Ever since the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland aired, we can't help but get an odd feeling whenever looking at pics of Michael and children. And we kind of feel especially uneasy when looking at these professional portraits; maybe because to an extent they seem forced. Michael may have been a complete musical genius, but the accusations about him are something that will make us uncomfortable forever, whether we believe in them or not. His kids, however, have stated on multiple occasions that they try to ignore the rumors and accusations because they know who their father really was.
11 Growing Up At The Neverland Ranch Must Have Been So Much Fun
Honestly, even looking at pics of the Neverland Ranch as grownups makes us jealous — now imagine what it would have been like to grow up with a personal amusement park and zoo right at your door! That literally sounds like every kid's dream, so how lucky were Prince, Paris, and Blanket for growing up with all of that? Jackson bought the ranch back in 1988 and turned it into his personal dream estate with his very own amusement park and zoo. Judging from photos of it while Michael lived there, it truly did look like the ultimate fairy tale land.
10 But Who Could Forget This Alarming Moment In Berlin
The baby dangling incident was one of the most worrisome Michael Jackson moments we got to witness. It all happened back in 2002, when Michael traveled to Berlin to accept an award and decided it would be a good idea to show his fans his youngest son Blanket — by putting a blanket on him and dangling him over the balcony. Needless to say, this resulted in a public outcry and critique of the singer's behavior. According to MTV, Michael soon afterwards released a statement saying the whole thing was a huge mistake and that he would never intentionally endanger the lives of his children.
9 Michael Made His Kids Cover Their Faces In Public
One thing we all remember from the paparazzi pics of Michael and his kids is that he would often make them cover their faces in hopes of protecting them. Sometimes the masks were elaborate enough so that you really couldn't recognize the children, but often they were mostly see-through like the ones in the photo above, and thereby defeating the whole purpose of wearing one. We do believe that protecting your child's privacy as a celebrity is important, but we also think Michael went a bit overboard with all the coverups — especially since most of the time they didn't really work.
8 Here's The Fam With Real Estate Developer Mohamed Hadid And His Kids
Michael Jackson and his kids hung out with plenty of other celebrities and rich people, and in this photo you can see them with the Hadids. Michael's kids, who have been homeschooled up until his passing, were unable to meet other kids of their age the conventional way at school, which meant these visits by other rich people and their kids were probably very important for them. We do know from their social media posts that the model sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid are still good friends with Paris Jackson, and the three often party and go to events together.
7 According To Paris, Michael Loved Baking With The Kids
According to an interview Paris did with the Rolling Stone Magazine, she claims her daddy was a great cook. She called him a genius in the kitchen, stating how his fried chicken was the best in the world and he taught her how to make sweet potato pie. This might be a fact most of us didn't know about Jackson, and it seems from the pic that the whole family had fun cooking together. It also seems as if Paris was the one mainly in charge, and you can tell Michael transferred his love for cooking and baking onto her at an early age.
6 Here They Are Dressed Up As Peter Pan Characters
Peter Pan was such an important story in Michael Jackson's life, even to the extent that he named his home after the imaginary land where one does not have to grow up and can stay a child forever. So we're not at all surprised to see this photo of his kids dressed up like characters from Peter Pan. If there's one thing that Micheal missed out on, and as an adult seemed to desperately want, it was his childhood, and we believe that in a way, he got to experience it through his children. Also, a little side note — how cute does Blanket look?
5 Christmases Always Looked Like Lots Of Fun For Everyone
Here's a photo from the holidays, and we can't even imagine how amazing the Neverland Ranch must have looked like at this time of the year. The kids definitely look happy and excited, and we bet that's probably because of all the presents that are involved. Yup, we can even see some of them peeking from behind Michael, and we bet they were all excited to open them up on Christmas Day. You can tell by the kids that this photo was taken during their last Christmas together, and according to MJ Beats, guests like Arnold Klein and actress Carrie Fisher were present!
4 And Of Course There Were Plenty Of Presents Involved
Yup, it's no secret that Michael made sure his kids have everything they wished for, and we bet their presents for Christmas were very expensive. Judging from little Paris's face, she doesn't seem too excited about that huge box she's about to unwrap, which leads us to believe that she was a slightly more used to gifts than the rest of us. Or maybe she was just too tired from unwrapping all the other gifts already. Either way, Paris was one adorable kid who grew up into a strong and beautiful lady and we can't wait to see what the future holds for her.
3 Sometimes They'd Get Really Creative With Their Face Coverups
Here's another paparazzi pic of the family out and about, and as you can tell, this time the kids went slightly more fancy with their coverups. Now compared to the blankets and scarfs they would usually cover their faces with, using a proper mask seems way more fun. However we can't help but be a bit confused by Michael's coverup in the back, couldn't he have stuck to a beautiful mask, as well? In his interview for Vanity Fair, Prince stated that his dad explained to him that the masks were there so the children could have a normal life without Michael. And indeed, Prince claims the kids would often go out without their father and nobody would recognize them.
2 And Occasionally We'd Get To See Them Out Without A Mask
However, while the masks were often required, occasionally we'd get a paparazzi pic of Michael with the kids without any masks. We bet Jackson hoped that on these few occasions they wouldn't encounter any paparazzi, but he was clearly wrong. It is in a way calming to see the family behaving normal, and just going out like regular people, without all the masks. We also can't help but feel sad knowing that this must have been one of the last few times the kids got to go out with their father before he passed away at the age of 50.
1 Lastly, Here They Are At Michael's Memorial Service
We will wrap this list up with a very well known image from Michael Jackson's memorial service back in 2009. It has now been almost 10 years since the King of Pop passed away, and because of Leaving Neverland, he is front page news on all media outlets again. Whether one believes the stories shared in the documentary or not, his children have repeatedly stated that they love their father and that he was an amazing person to them. And anyone who watched the memorial service will remember the tears in their eyes once they realized their father was gone forever.