“I’m crazy about them. I would die for them. I’m crazy about them, and I tell them. I look into their eyes every day. I make sure I do that. I say, “Look at me, I love you very much.”
Michael Jackson, speaking about his children in an interview he did with Martin Bashir, aired as part of Take Two: The Footage You Were Never Meant to See, February 2003
I spent time with Michael’s children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, on several occasions over the years and had the privilege of getting to know them in Las Vegas in 2008. We would exchange gifts and letters, and chat all the time about the latest movies, what books they were reading, and their beloved pets, a dog, two cats and a parrot.
Sometimes, especially when there were other fans there, I would speak more to them than I did to him. There’s nobody else on the planet who could divert my attention away from him for even a second. But they could. That’s how amazing they are.
Prince and Paris were always very chatty and outgoing - Michael called them his little chatterboxes ;-) - while little Blanket was quiet and shy. They were all extremely polite and well-mannered, secure in themselves but NEVER arrogant, sheltered and yet very aware, articulate, knowledgeable and highly intelligent. I saw in Paris a depth that was beyond her years and I saw in them all a purity that is so very rare.
Melting his heart
Here's an extract from a conversation I had with Michael in Las Vegas, in September 2008:
"You should hear the prayers that Blanket says. He’s so sweet. You should hear what he says, Talitha. He tells me I’m such a great dad. And he thanks God that he has me for a dad. And he says that every night. And it’s such a gift. It just melts my heart."
Later we spoke about his children again and Michael told me he wants them to experience the love of his fans firsthand, to which I responded:
Me: "We are a reflection of what you’ve given to the world. We’re a reflection of everything you’ve put out there and all the people whose lives you’ve touched. That’s what we represent. We see who you really are. You’re such a wonderful father, Michael."
MJ: "Oh thank you, thank you. My father was very into discipline but he wasn’t very nurturing. He wasn’t very affectionate. So I try to give that to my children. I take them out. I take them to the movies. I take them to games arcades. I want them to have fun. I want them to have the childhood I never had."
A haven of love
Michael wanted to give his children a normal childhood – what he gave them was beyond normal. He created for them a wholesome and nurturing environment, a haven of innocence and love.
While other kids were hooked up to the Internet 24/7, Michael’s children spent much of their time reading and being creative - drawing, painting, building model ships… They told me they weren’t allowed on the Internet, except on children’s sites while supervised, and always watched family movies together, taking turns choosing the title.
Michael protected his children from the harshness of the world. He didn't allow them access to news media because he didn't want them reading about him in the tabloids. And he kept them hidden from public view because he didn't want them to be subjected to the same scrutiny that he'd had to endure all his life.
One of the greatest compliments Michael ever paid me was when he told me he wanted his children to learn who he is to the world through me. I understood that he meant not only me but all the people who see through the distortions propagated by the media to the truth of who he really is, a beautiful, brilliant, dazzling soul.
Michael’s children are a reflection of their father’s character, each one shining with the same light that he brought into this world. I will love them forever.