The desire for truth is certainly one of the themes in HBO's Leaving Neverland, the two-part documentary about the allegations against Michael Jackson. Of course, now that the King of Pop has long since gone, it's virtually impossible to know exactly what happened back in the day. But it has the Internet on a hunt to find out every little bit of information about this complicated, talented, and mysterious man.
It doesn't matter if people are certain about the truth or not; they want to know more. One angle that they're uncertain about is Jackson's relationships with his three kids, Paris, Prince, and Blanket. All we can truly know about his relationship to them is what has been shared by Jackson, his kids, and their close friends and family. This is precisely what we've gathered in this article.
Here we will delve into the downright odd and engaging relationship that Michael had with his kids, the rules he had around his world-famous house, their history, and how he felt being a father. Regardless of whether one is a fan of the King of Pop or not, this is bound to be absolutely fascinating to them. Without further ado, here are 20 things most people don't know about Michael Jackson and his kids.
20 Paris Witnessed How Distressed Her Dad Was
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Paris Jackson explained that her father didn't keep the unhappiness he was experiencing from her. She saw firsthand how the world's beliefs about him affected him. Of course, one wouldn't have much sympathy for him if he is as bad as people claim. But we can all appreciate how hard it would have been for Paris to see her father like that. She even explained that she began to loathe the world because of the way it was treating her beloved father. She even witnessed to a 2003 raid of Neverland Ranch. All of this took a toll on Michael, even though he was eventually found innocent shortly after.
19 His Kids Had Nothing To Do With Their Moms
Casual Michael Jackson fans often forget that Prince and Paris were born to dermatology nurse named Debbie Rowe, who Jackson’s wife of three years. However, the pair don't have any contact with their mother after Rowe surrendered her parental rights in 2001. This allowed Jackson to have full control over his kids. It's otherwise unknown why Rowe would back out of her duties as a mother. In fact, she hardly even existed in family photos. Jackson's youngest child, Blanket, was born to a nurse from Mexico named Helena. She gave birth to him in 2002 and signed over all legal rights to Jackson. Although Blanket doesn't have anything to do with his mother, Paris did attempt to reconnect with her mother after her father passed away.
18 He Rushed Paris Home After Her Birth
When Debbie Rowe gave birth to Paris Jackson in the hospital in 1998, Michael raised many people's concerns when he immediately rushed her home. Usually, a baby needs to be under the care of the hospital after their birth, but Jackson didn't care. He just wanted to get her home as soon as possible. In fact, Debbie also wasn't even allowed to leave the hospital yet. But none of this mattered to Jackson. When he took Paris home, she wasn't even cleaned up by the medical staff at the hospital. So, what was the excuse for Jackson's erratic and completely odd behavior? Well, he once said that he simply wanted to get her home.
17 Some Of Neverland's Rides Were Only For Special Days
One of the most well-known, and very strange, aspects of Michael Jackson's kid's childhood was the fact they were brought up in an amusement park. They lived on the 2,700-acre Neverland Ranch in Santa Barabara County. Although the three kids were seldom allowed to leave the boundaries of the property, apart from trips to Jackson's Bel-Air house, they also weren't allowed to ride on the attractions. The plentiful rides, including the bumper cars, Ferris wheel, roller coaster, and train, were only for special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, or days where the kids were to be rewarded for their achievements. Jackson was very clear about the fact that he didn't want to spoil his kids by letting them ride all the rides outside. Apparently, they were mostly just for him and his other guests.
16 He Rationed Their Toys
In addition to not being able to ride the rides every day, Michael Jackson's kids weren't allowed to play with all of their toys at once. In fact, Jackson rationed all of his children's toys. He didn't want them to have too many at once as he believed that they wouldn't have an appreciation for them. He was particularly strict about this and limited Prince, Paris, and Blanket to just four specific toys at a time. Anything they were gifted was sent to various orphanages around the world. Although this may appear to be odd, at least Jackson didn't want his children to feel like they were entitled to tons of toys since they were far wealthier than most children.
15 His Kids Were Homeschooled Until He Left
Michael was ultimately very paranoid about letting his children leave Neverland Ranch. This is why he decided to have all of his kids homeschooled. He made it clear that traditional schooling would not be appropriate for his precious children. This was because he didn't want his kids to be chased by paparazzi nor be around all of the negative press that he was receiving. However, after Jackson passed away, all of his kids went to public school, which was a far cry from what they had experienced beforehand. After he passed, the three kids went into the care of their grandmother and guardian, Katherine Jackson, who wanted to give the kids a more conventional upbringing.
14 They Shared Their Home With Wild Animals
Rides weren't the only rather odd thing at Neverland Ranch, it was also home to various wild animals that Michael Jackson had adopted over the years. Many of the pets that MJ started to collect came from when he lived in Hayvenhurst, but the quantity of them doubled when he moved to Neverland. He let his kids grow up around deer, llamas, giraffes, bunnies, parrots, and even tigers. As strange as this may seem, most of these animals were rescues. MJ wanted to make sure that all of these animals had another shot at life. However, his most famous pet, Bubbles the chimp, was another case entirely. At one stage, the chimp traveled with him to many destinations and even starred in a number of his music videos.
13 His Bodyguards Met The Babies First
When MJ's second child, Prince, was born, he invited his bodyguards in to meet him. In fact, the bodyguards, including Yannick Allain, were among the very first people to come into contact with Prince. Allain had this to say, "My first time in a maternity ward was not for my child but for Michael's. Michael invited us into to the room to introduce Prince to me and Wayne. We both gave him a hug to congratulate him and all I could remember noticing was the look on Michael's face. The look of absolute pride. I had never seen him looking calm and yet so confident and happy without saying a word. At that moment I think I felt that kinship of manhood, that only comes from becoming a father. A wonderful moment."
12 Only Certain Foods Were Allowed
MJ made sure that his kids had pretty extravagant birthdays where they could jump on any of Neverland's rides and even eat candy and giant cakes. But this wasn't the case for the rest of the year. In fact, MJ was really particular about what his kids ate, especially when they were staying at hotels. MJ was vehemently against candy and sugar of all kinds. Instead, he made sure that his chefs prepared fresh seafood, fruit juices, vegetables, Chicken, spinach salads, and hummus. What is somewhat funny about this is the fact that MJ was a picky eater who really didn't like eating vegetables at all. Instead, he gravitated toward vegetarian dishes such as tofu.
11 The Kids Were Protected By An Advanced Security System
Michael Jackson was particularly paranoid about the safety of his children. It's one of the reasons why he didn't like them leaving Neverland Ranch. But he was also aware that some questionable people may want to enter the grounds. This is why he installed a state-of-the-art security system that included cameras, alarms, and panic buttons so that all of his kids could be safe. On time, one of the panic buttons was pressed, causing Jackson and the family to enter into hysterics. As it turns out, Blanket was the one to have accidentally pressed the button. This was proven by all of the surveillance cameras and video technology that monitored the entire compound.
10 Michael Was Basically His Kids' Only Friend
Because Michael Jackson was so paranoid about the world hurting his kids, they were seldom allowed to leave the compound. This meant that they couldn't go to school and make friends their own age. Occasionally, they would have family friends bring their kids over to play with them, but the majority of the time they were pretty isolated. This means that their father was really their only consistent friend. Paris confirmed this when speaking to Rolling Stone Magazine. She added that the Disney Channel also became her friend because she'd spend so much time watching it. Although MJ's kids were given so many opportunities that others weren't, they were clearly also deprived of some very important social connections.
9 They Kept Snails Around The House
We've already spoken about all the major wild animals that Michael Jackson kept around the grounds of Neverland Ranch, but we haven't spoken about all the jars of snails he had. To be fair, this wasn't something that he instigated. The family's chef, Kai Chase, was helping Paris collecting them as she had a bit of a fascination with the shelled, slimy insects. However, Chase thought he may lose his job when Jackson found out. However, this ended up not being the case as Jackson thought it was a wonderful idea and ended up getting tons of moss-filled jars and filled them with their garden snails. These jars were placed around the house and were garnished with cocktail umbrellas.
8 Michael Had No Clue What Parenthood Would Be Like
Michael Jackson himself claimed that he had no idea what fatherhood would be like until he had kids. He said, “I thought I was prepared to be a father, but I wasn’t. All my life I’ve read about how wonderful children are. People would go, “What is up with you and babies?” I am always reading child psychology books. But it’s so much more joyous than even that. Prince and Paris changed me in so many ways. I learn as much from them as they learn from me. You learn about having a good heart and being a good-spirited person. And the way I am, I try to imitate them. People always say, “Act your age.” But I try and act more like children because they are the innocent, they are God-like, they are pure. I try to be as humble and sweet as they are.”
7 Christmas Was Celebrated All Year Long
Neverland Ranch was everything that Jackson wanted it to be. It was his own little world that he had complete control of. It was a place where he could keep his children safe from a world of scrutiny, just or unjust. It was also a place where he could celebrate Christmas all-year-long. Apparently, he kept Christmas decorations up in certain parts of the house 24/7 for 365 days. They didn't celebrate Christmas every day, but they did get to bask in the warmth of wreaths and lights. Essentially, Jackson was that neighbor who doesn't ever take their Christmas decorations down despite protest.
The King of Pop wasn't always a Christmas celebrator. Originally, he was a Jehovah's Witness. But eventually Elizabeth Taylor helped Jackson get into the holiday spirit and it really stuck.
6 Paris Believes She Was Her Father's Favorite
Every kid wants to be their parent's favorite. This includes Paris Jackson who claims that she was number 1 on her father's list. She said that Jackson preferred being around her over her young brothers. This was not only because she was his first-born, but also because she was the only daughter. Apparently, Jackson treated Paris like a queen who could do no wrong. He kept Paris closer to him than anyone else, even sharing things with her that he didn't share with her younger brothers. However, one could never truly know who was Jackson's favorite if he even had any. After all, almost every parent claims that they love all of their children equally.
5 His Kids Were Incredibly Well-Mannered
Even though Jackson's relationship with his kids, as well as their upbringing in general, was absolutely odd, the children were always exceptionally well-behaved. Every family friend and person that came into contact with them pretty much says that they were completely well-mannered, well-groomed, and friendly. They would usually be dressed to the nines and come across pretty elegant for their age, even with their father who acted far younger than he actually was.
Even though there are few photos of Jackson's kids when they were younger, we can see that these claims are accurate. The photos that do exist show off these kids looking sophisticated, clean, and without entitlement or brattiness.
4 Blanket Had To Change His Name
Everyone knows Michael Jackson's youngest son as "Blanket", but his legal name was Prince Michael the 2nd, the same as his older brother's. However, "Blanket" became his used name since MJ constantly "Blanketed" him away from the world. This was a term of affection that he gave to him and it just sort of stuck. However, this name became a bit of a problem for Blanket as he was constantly associated with that famous balcony incident as well as teased for the name. Years after his father's passing, Blanket changed his name to "Bigi" in order to avoid all of the negative associations his name had. This was especially important when he moved to a private school where his name probably would have been skewered.
3 Prince Inherited His Dad's Love Of Music
In 2016, Prince Jackson started to follow in his father's musical footsteps when he launched the aptly named King’s Son Productions, a company that produces and directs music and music videos. Prince claims he got all of his father's love for music but few of his dad's specific talents. He even said, “Oh, my dad is the King of Pop, but I can’t sing or dance.” This caused him to grow a fascination with the behind-the-scenes of music and that's where his supposed talents lay. It must be hard for him to grow up feeling like he had to compete with his father's immense talents. However, it's great that he's been able to find a unique space within the industry where he could flourish.
2 Paris Still Has A Unique Relationship With Her Dad
Paris Jackson still has a very close and emotional connect with her father. Not only does she claims that her dad visits her in her dreams, but she also has nine tattoos completely devoted to him and his musical legacy. They go among her roughly 40 other tattoos. Paris still claims that the loss of her father still makes her feel down in the dumps. She claims that she has to keep moving forward even though she said, "I lost the only thing that has ever been important to me." However, she feels at peace since she feels his presence with her all of the time. Clearly, her dad left a positive mark on her life even with all of the conflict surrounding him and his life.
1 Michael's Friends Thought He Was A Great Dad
Regardless of whether or not you believe the conflict surrounding Michael Jackson or not, one can't deny that he was a talented man who forever changed pop music. Additionally, it seems like he did truly adore his children. This is something that almost all of his friends back up. Even Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who was once MJ's friend turned enemy, claimed that Michael was an incredible father to his three kids. He even said, "Listen, I’m not here to whitewash the sins of Michael Jackson — he was accused of some [very bad] things. But when it came to being a father, there was much to admire.” And his parenting skills were not unnoticed by his kids who all still have wonderful things to say about him.
Sources: rollingstone.com, therichest, intouchweekly, mtv.com, theguardian, truemichaeljackson, dailymail.co.uk, people.com, rollingstone, psychologytoday.com, thesun.co.uk, telegraph, usmagazine, harpersbazaar.com, huffintonpost.com, today