How Michael Jacksoп’s childreп pυt other celebrity offspriпg to shame

As a new West End musical and a refreshingly low-drama court case proves, the trio are nowhere near as wacko as their King of Pop father

Their dad had a pet chimp named Bubbles, tried numerous cosmetic procedures, and dangled one of them out of a window as a baby.

No-one would have raised an eyebrow if Michael Jackson’s children became wholly unsensible human beings. Except, astonishingly, recent evidence suggests rather the reverse. Have they said “Beat It” to the curse of Wacko Jacko?

It seems like it. This week, Jackson’s son Michael Jackson II (aka Blanket, but now known as Bigi), 22, who was conceived via a surrogate, hit the news after being embroiled in a lawsuit – but this one doesn’t involve any allegations of criminal behaviour or showbiz scandal.

Instead, he’s trying to protect his father’s legacy by opposing the estate’s executors, John Branca and John McClain’s, proposed sale of the Billie Jean singer’s back catalogue. It does mean Bigi is also opposing his grandmother Katherine, 93 (Michael’s mother), but she was previously on his side of the issue. She had told a court that her son never wanted his catalogue to be sold.

Still, it’s hardly a thriller of a case by celebrity standards, and definitely nothing like The King of Pop’s torrid life, which included a tough childhood with his hard taskmaster dad. That mix of trauma and artistic triumph is featured in the Tony-winning Broadway musical MJ, which opened in the West End last week.

In contrast with all that drama, Bigi is rarely in the headlines – and that suits him just fine. The youngest of Jackson’s three children, and once that infant thrust out of a window, he now keeps an impressively low profile. He has no social media presence at all (practically unheard of in 2024), and gives very few interviews.

Bigi Jackson
Bigi Jackson, pictured at the annual Halloween Party hosted by his brother Prince in 2022, keeps a low profile, and gives very few interviews Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America

In a rare chat with Good Morning Britain in November 2021, Bigi looked around a room of Michael Jackson memorabilia. He said that he and his siblings wanted to follow in their father’s footsteps by making things “that people enjoy, but that also benefit their lives”. The conscientious youngster spoke passionately about the climate crisis, noting: “Our generation knows how important it is.”

That attitude is the product of a fairly normal childhood, albeit one with a tragic loss. The three siblings were raised first by their grandmother Katherine following Jackson’s death in 2009, and then by their older cousin TJ from 2012.

Rather touchingly, Bigi seems genuinely close to his older brother Prince, 27, and sister Paris, 25, who were both born to Jackson’s then-wife Debbie Rowe. Prince told Good Morning Britain that their father once said to them: “We could have nothing, but you look around in this room, your brother, your sister, and me, that’s all you’ll ever have.”

Prince added: “That always stuck with my siblings and I, and we have such a close relationship. Every moment that I get with them – any little family dinner, any family outing – is really a special moment for me.”

Certainly, they practise what they preach: in 2020, when Bigi turned 18, Paris posted three adorable throwback photos on her Instagram and added the caption: “My little brother is a legal adult today. What the f—. I used to change his diapers. This is such a trip… Proud of the handsome, intelligent, insightful, funny, and kind young man he has become. He likes privacy so that’s all I gotta say. [Happy birthday] lil bro.”

Prince also shared an Instagram story showing their low-key birthday celebration at a Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles, Yamashiro. Bigi has in turn supported his big brother: he was there for Prince’s graduation from Loyola Marymount University in 2019.

The two brothers bonded over a shared love of comic books and movies, and even recorded some reviews for their YouTube channel, Film Family. But this wasn’t about launching a brand or a business; they both sound like fans, and like normal kids.

Paris (top left), Bigi (bottom left) and Prince wave the Michael Jackson public memorial service in Los Angeles in 2009
Paris (top left), Bigi (bottom left) and Prince wave the Michael Jackson public memorial service in Los Angeles in 2009 Credit: Gabriel Bouys-Pool/Getty Images

It’s nothing like the toxic relationship their late father had with his feuding siblings, some of whom never forgave Jackson for going solo. Brother Jermaine even released a diss track – Word to the Badd!! – with nasty lyrics such as: “Once you were made, You changed your shade”.

Perhaps that’s because Jackson’s kids have purposely avoided mega-stardom – and all the pressures, demands and arguments that come with it.

Refreshingly for a nepo baby, Prince took a good hard look at the man in the mirror and realised early on that he wasn’t blessed with creative talent. (His one acting appearance in an episode of 90210, in 2013, makes that clear.)

Instead, he got a business degree and now seems content fixing and riding motorcycles. He also co-founded the charity Heal Los Angeles, which partnered with a meal delivery service during the pandemic to get food to those in need.

Prince keeps it real in his personal life too. He met girlfriend Molly Schirmang at university, and the pair have been together for seven years. “She likes the beach. I like the movies,” he said of their favourite date nights.

Prince Jackson with his girlfriend Molly Schirmang at a fundraising gala in 2023
Prince Jackson with his girlfriend Molly Schirmang at a fundraising gala in 2023 Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Paris is the only one to have inherited her dad’s musical talents, but she’s taken a rather different approach. After signing with Republic Records she quietly put out an indie album, Wilted, in 2020. She described her raw 2023 single Bandaid as being influenced by Nirvana, the Pixies and the Smashing Pumpkins.

Paris has had her struggles though. She attempted suicide several times before the age of 15, which she later put down to cripplingly low self-esteem.

But in 2019 she checked herself into a treatment facility and has since been working on her wellbeing – which, hopefully, breaks the destructive pattern that we saw play out in her dad’s life.

She has also spoken openly about her preference for dating both men and women (although she doesn’t like precise labels such as “bisexuality”), while simultaneously being sensitive around her “very religious” family.

She explained in 2021 that homosexuality was still a taboo topic, but added: “I’ve gotten to a point where I respect them and I have love for them. I respect their beliefs. I respect their religion.”

Many people would relate to that sort of intergenerational compromise, and will in turn respect Paris for how she’s handling herself when speaking about these hot-button issues.

Paris Jackson
Paris Jackson, pictured in March 2024, released a single influenced by Nirvana, the Pixies and the Smashing Pumpkins in 2023 Credit: Variety via Getty Images

It’s all a far cry from other celebrities’ kids, such as the Beckhams. Son Brooklyn has used his parents’ fame to launch several questionable careers, from the disastrous book of blurry photographs to his recent overpriced pop-up food delivery service – although he didn’t actually cook any of it himself.

Or what about the dismally mediocre Barney Walsh, who tagged along with dad Bradley to present the reboot of television show Gladiators in a sort of professional “Take your son to work day”? (Sorry, Barn – try Mum next.).

In contrast, it’s pretty much a miracle that the Jackson Three are pursuing independent lives and careers, viewing family as a support system instead of a professional leg-up.

The way they make me feel? Oddly proud.

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