'They were taking photos of me.' The unconventional childhood of Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson.

It’s been 12 years since Michael Jackson passed away aged 50 following a medication overdose.

On the day he died, Michael Jackson left behind three young children.

Then aged 12, 11 and seven years old, Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson bravely faced the world, taking the stage to honour their late father at the public memorial service.

From their unconventional birth to their time in the spotlight in the aftermath of the release of controversial documentary Leaving Neverland, life has been anything but normal for Michael Jackson’s three children.

Jackson’s two eldest children, Prince and Paris, were born to Jackson’s second wife, Debbie Rowe in the late 90s.

After meeting Rowe, who was a nurse at the office of his dermatologist, the pair soon agreed to have children together.

"I was trying to help him," Rowe told the court following Jackson’s death, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. "I said, 'What’s the thing that makes you the saddest?' He said, 'I never had any children.'"

She told him: "Let me have a baby with you. You can have the joy of being a parent."

Watch the trailer for documentary Leaving Neverland below. Post continues after video.


After thinking about the offer for a couple of weeks, Jackson agreed and before long Rowe was pregnant.

Although Jackson said that both Prince and Paris were conceived with Rowe "naturally", Rowe later contradicted Jackson’s words.

"I went to the 'office', which is what we called the medical clinic. They impregnated me," she told a British newspaper following Jackson’s death.

In November 1996, when Rowe was six-months along, the pair got married. The private ceremony took place in Sydney while Jackson was on his HIS-tory tour.

On February 13, 1996, Debbie Rowe gave birth to the couple’s first child, Prince Michael Jackson Junior.

After Prince’s birth, however, Rowe did not see her son for six weeks. While she recovered from the birth at a friend’s house, Jackson whisked his son home to his amusement park-like Neverland ranch.

Just 14 months later, a baby girl followed in April 1998 as Jackson’s only daughter Paris was born.

Once again, Jackson "snatched" his child away from Rowe within hours of her birth.


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#DebbieRowe, #MichaelJackson, #PrinceJackson, #ParisJackson! #Family

A post shared by  Debbie Rowe (@debbierowe_official) on


"I snatched her and just went home with all the placenta and everything all over," he told interviewer Martin Bashir.

Within just three years of Prince’s birth, Jackson and Rowe had divorced. According to court documents, Rowe gladly relinquished custody of the children.

"I did it for him to become a father, not for me to become a mother. You earn the title parent. I have done absolutely nothing to earn that title," she said.


Four years later, in 2002, Jackson’s third child was born via an unnamed surrogate.

Jackson named his son Prince Michael Jackson II, but commonly referred to him as 'Blanket'.

Just months after Blanket was born, the world was left shocked when footage emerged of Jackson dangling his infant son over the balcony of a hotel.

michael jackson son
The photo soon became infamous worldwide. Image: Getty.

With the photograph seen on the front page of hundreds of newspapers worldwide, the outrage grew so intense that Jackson was soon forced to apologise for holding Blanket over the balcony.


"I offer no excuses for what happened," he said in a statement.

"I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children."

But despite Blanket's very public introduction to the world, for most of the Jackson children's young lives, they had a very sheltered upbringing.

When stepping out in public, Jackson concealed his children's faces with brightly coloured face masks, sheets and head scarfs.

It's believed Jackson concealed the children's faces in a bid to protect them from kidnappers.

"My dad spoke to me like an adult. He told us the reason for the masks was he wanted us to have our own life without him. I don't think I ever thought about if other kids lived like that when I was younger. But once I knew who he was, I realised it wasn’t normal," Prince said.

"I remember being in Disneyland and I went to the window and there were all these fans waving and taking pictures of me. I thought it was normal, so I just waved back... You could say my whole life has been unconventional. I really love that though, and it's all I've ever known."

  • michael jackson children
    The children were rarely seen in public without masks. Image: Getty.

The children also spent the majority of their time at the Neverland ranch, where they were homeschooled.

But although the ranch featuring theme park rides and a petting zoo is a child's paradise, the attractions at the ranch were saved for birthdays and special occasions.

"We couldn’t just go on the rides whenever we wanted to. Like, we had school every single day, and we had to be good. And if we were good, every other weekend or so, we could choose whether we were gonna go to the movie theatre or see the animals or whatever. But if you were on bad behaviour, then you wouldn’t get to go do all those things," Paris told Rolling Stone in 2017.


Although the children were given a choice to attend regular school, they chose to remain home instead.

"When you’re at home," Paris added, "your dad, who you love more than anything, will occasionally come in, in the middle of class, and it’s like, 'Cool, no more class for the day. We’re gonna go hang out with Dad.' We were like, 'We don’t need friends. We’ve got you and Disney Channel!'"

Following Michael Jackson's sudden death, Prince, Paris and Blanket were raised by Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson as well as their co-guardian, Jackson's 43-year-old nephew TJ Jackson.

But the years following his death certainly weren't easy.

Paris, who was just 11 years old when her father died, struggled with depression and addiction.

"It was just self-hatred, thinking that I couldn't do anything right," she told Rolling Stone.

In 2019, in the wake of the release of the documentary Leaving Neverland, times were tough for the Jackson children once again.

According to reports, the Jackson children struggled to cope as the child sex allegations against their father engulfed the media.

Blanket, who now goes by the name Biji, reportedly stopped talking altogether.


"Biji is the most talkative kid at school and he isn’t talking anymore. We’re all worried about him," Taj Jackson said in an interview in 2019.

Blanket Jackson, Paris Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson attend the Los Angeles opening of 'Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour' at Staples Center on January 27, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
Michael Jackson's three children: Blanket Jackson, Paris Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson in 2012. Image: Getty

Paris also angrily denied reports that she attempted suicide following the documentary's release.

"Lies lies lies omg and more lies," she tweeted, before sharing a cryptic clue about 'childhood healing' in a meme she shared on Instagram:



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A post shared by  PK (@parisjackson) on

The picture shows two children below the text: "May this generation be so aware of how their childhoods affected them that they will put in all the effort to heal, and give their children a childhood that they will not need healing from."

Paris simply captioned the post: "Amen."


On the other hand, Prince stayed quiet.

Now two years on, Prince, now 24, has opened up about just how close he and his siblings are.

"When we were growing up, my father would say, 'We could have nothing, but you look around in this room, your brother, your sister, and me, that's all you'll ever have,'" he said during a rare interview with Good Morning Britain.

"And that always stuck with my siblings and I, and we have such a close relationship. Because I'm the oldest, my father would always tell me [that] I have to make sure that the group is taken care of and that I have to be the leader and lead by example. 

"But, after his passing, and us being thrown into the 'real world,' my siblings honestly — they picked up the slack that I, unfortunately, left behind."

He also shared just how much he adores the time the three of them get to spend together.

"Any moment I get to spend with my siblings now, especially as we're getting older and our own lives are starting to kind of blossom and grow," he added. 

"Every moment that I get with them — any little family dinner, any little family outing — is really a special moment for me."

This post was originally published in 2019, and has been updated with new information.

Feature Image: Getty.

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