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How long until The Jackson 3 are starring in their own reality show? The first in-depth account of the bizarre lives of Jacko's oddly conceived childr

By Edward Klein

Confident: Prince and Paris on stage at last month's tribute concert to their father in Cardiff

When Dr Conrad Murray was led away in handcuffs last week after being found guilty of causing Michael Jackson’s death, his sister, LaToya, credited the verdict to the spiritual intervention of her dead brother.

‘Michael,’ she said, ‘was looking over us.’

If so, he wasn’t the only member of the Jackson clan who followed the trial from an otherworldly place. His three children – Prince Michael, 14, Paris, 13, and Blanket (aka Prince Michael II), nine – watched the televised verdict from their very own celebrity Shangri-La, an exclusive gated community in Calabasas, California. Their neighbours include Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga and Michael’s ex-wife, Lisa Marie Presley.

Until now, only sketchy details have been available about the Jackson children, but today, after interviewing several sources close to the Jackson family, The Mail on Sunday can reveal the first detailed picture of their lives.

Within the family, Prince and Paris are now seen as the great hope of carrying on the Jackson entertainment dynasty. There is even talk in Hollywood that they are considering an offer to appear in their own TV reality show.

Given the bizarre nature of their upbringing – they often stumbled upon their father passed out on the bathroom floor or in his bedroom due to his intake of drugs – Prince and Paris appear to be surprisingly normal. But Blanket is a seriously withdrawn child. ‘He is shy, speaks very little and seems to be more shell-shocked than his siblings,’ said a family acquaintance.

When Michael was alive, the children were educated at home. But now the two older ones attend Buckley School – one of the oldest co-educational day schools in Los Angeles, with fees of $33,500 (£21,000) a year. The Jackson children travel to and from the private school in a phalanx of four-wheel-drive vehicles with their bodyguards. Paris plays on the Buckley flag football team – its only female member – and Prince sings in school performances.

‘They’re down-to-earth kids, not full of themselves, not pretentious,’ says Diane Dimond, author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside The Michael Jackson Case.

‘They don’t wear $500 sneakers and, except for their father’s trial, they don’t watch TV.

‘Of course, a staff of three maids, a full-time chef and a round-the-clock security detail looks after them.’

The children live with their grandmother Katherine in a sprawling, six-bedroom mansion set in 14 acres. It was once owned by Jose and Kitty Menendez, who were famously shot dead in 1989 by their sons at their other residence in Beverly Hills.

Katherine, 81, managed to wrest guardianship of the children when Michael died in June 2009 after a bitter battle that pitted one branch of the Jackson family against the other. At stake was the children’s $300 million (£190 million) trust fund, plus their enormous potential future earnings on the stage as the rightful heirs to the Jackson dynasty.

Carer: Katherine Jackson, pictured here with her husband Joe, has looked after the children since Michael's death

One faction, made up of siblings Randy, Tito and Janet, argued that the children should be kept away from Katherine and her physically abusive husband Joe and, instead, be placed in the more stable care of Michael’s eldest sister Rebbie.

But a second faction, including siblings Jackie, Jermaine and LaToya, was set against giving the children to Rebbie, in part because her husband, Nathaniel, had publicly accused Michael of being a child molester.

When Michael was alive, the children were kept secluded from the world. When they went out in public, they wore face masks.

Even their births were shrouded in mystery. According to several sources, Prince and Paris were conceived using IVF. It has been claimed that the sperm came not from Michael but from his dermatologist, Dr Arnold Klein. Both bear a remarkable resemblance to Dr Klein.

As for their ‘mother’, Debbie Rowe, a nurse at Dr Klein’s Beverly Hills clinic, it is said that she did not donate her eggs (the donor is unknown) and that she was merely the surrogate.

Who's your daddy? Michael Jackson always insisted that eh was the biological father of his three children, but some speculate that Dr Arnold Klein (right) is the real father of Prince and Paris

After giving birth to Paris, Debbie, now 52, could no longer carry a child, and in 2002 Blanket was adopted under equally secretive circumstances.

At the time, Michael claimed the child was the product of his own sperm and a surrogate mother, who was never publicly named. Few believed that story. There was speculation that the sperm donor was Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin, but he has denied this.

Rowe, who married Michael in 1996 and divorced three years later, has paid little part in the children’s lives. Jackson was granted full custody of Prince Michael and Paris following the divorce and in 2004 she lost a court battle to secure visitation rights.

‘The only mother these children ever knew was Grace Rwaramba, the Rwandan nanny introduced to Michael by his friend Deepak Chopra,’ Stacy Brown, a close Jackson family friend, told me.

‘Michael fired Grace for unknown reasons in 2008, but after he died she turned up again at the Calabasas mansion and resumed child-caring.

‘However, the children had taken a strong dislike to Grace.

‘The older boy, Prince, went to his grandmother and told her that he and Paris didn’t want Grace around any more. In their view, Grace belonged to the inner circle who weren’t able to halt Michael’s drug habit which led to his demise.’

Three months after Michael’s death, Katherine fired Grace and became the sole adult authority over the children. However, she is sometimes forced to share her parental role with her husband, Joe, who spends part of the year in Las Vegas but has the run of the Calabasas mansion when he is in California.

Normal childhood: The three children attend a private school - but travel there with bodyguards in a fleet of 4X4s

‘Katherine filed twice for divorce from Joe but never went through with it,’ said a knowledgeable source. ‘He has some kind of hold over her even though he has been a child abuser and philanderer. Joe used to receive money from Katherine, who got it directly from Michael.

‘Now she gets $60,000 [£38,000] a month from the executors of Michael’s estate and gives some of that money to Joe. Joe’s relationship with the kids is better than you might expect. Prince and Paris are aware that their grandfather often beat their father before sending him on stage. But they don’t seem to mind having him around.’

Paris recently found herself the victim of a cyber-bully when a Twitter follower began taunting her that Michael was not her biological father. She went to the police, but did not stop tweeting. In one tweet, she boasted about her ‘100% Jackson blood’, in another she referred to herself as a ‘natural Jackson’ who has the love and support of her ‘beloved gramma and cousins’.

Yet despite the damage they suffered from their father’s behaviour in their formative years, it seems the children have never undergone psychotherapy.

Legend: Sources say the three children are now considering how to continue their father's legacy

‘Over the almost 40 years I knew Michael he grew stranger and scarier,’ said Theresa Gonsalves, 53, who met Jackson when they were teenagers and watched the way he raised his children.

‘I was probably the only person in the world who wasn’t shocked when I saw photos of Michael dangling his son Blanket from the balcony of that Berlin hotel [in 2002]. I had seen Michael flirting with his own death, including the time he showed me how he could hang by one arm from the narrow railing of the balcony of his penthouse apartment in New York.

‘When I last saw him backstage at the American Music Awards show in 2003, I was shocked by his appearance. He looked like death. His eyes were sunken in his head like a corpse and it was obvious he had been crying.

‘Prince and Paris were with him and they seemed to be perfectly normal children, running around and playing, laughing and squealing. They didn’t have veils over their faces and they seemed to have a normal relationship with their father.

‘But to me it was obvious that all the weirdness they grew up with must have had a negative influence on them. Michael had no childhood. He was regimented and made to work incredibly hard to make money. His father Joe was a very scary man and was absolutely abusive. Nobody taught Michael right from wrong – he was just beaten when he didn’t do exactly what Joe wanted.

‘When he had children of his own, he wanted just the opposite of his childhood. So he let them run wild and made their lives like a long visit to Disneyland.

‘He wanted more than anything for them to have the joy and freedom he was denied – they could do more or less anything. But now that they are living with their grandmother, their lives are far more structured and their freedom curtailed.

‘Michael’s death has brought a new-found popularity to the Jacksons and the family is capitalising on every bit of it.

‘But if the media starts to lose interest, the family will come down hard on the children to help the Jacksons recapture the old magic.’



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