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Michael Jackson: The epilogue

A portrait of Jackson that outsiders never saw


 

Michael Jackson in a subway car during the filming of the 'Bad' music video (Hulton Archive/Getty)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Courtrooms have supplied the epilogue to Michael Jackson’s life. They’ve provided the forum where his debts have been settled, his final days dissected and his life depicted as a cautionary tale.

In nearly four years of court proceedings, two juries have watched Jackson come to life on video screens. They’ve watched him spin, dance, and then disappear. They’ve heard his voice, seen his handwriting and viewed photos of his lifeless body.

His role as a father has been described in little more than platitudes. Until now.

The jury hearing a civil case filed by the superstar’s mother — against AEG Live LLC, the promoter of Jackson’s ill-fated concerts — are experiencing details of a world previously held under lock and key. They’ve heard of extravagant birthday parties, secret family outings and the leg-clinging devotion of his children.

Jackson shielded the youngsters from the public eye, home-schooling them and often hiding their faces in public.

Away from the cameras, Jackson tried to create an environment of love, attention and special moments for his children, Michael Joseph “Prince” Jackson Jr., Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael “Blanket” Jackson.

The following are some of some of the stories they’ve told. They present a portrait of Jackson as a father that outsiders never saw.

___

The final month of Jackson’s life was a busy time. There were rehearsals for “This Is It,” planning meetings and film shoots for a series of mini-movies that would precede some of his greatest hits at the London shows.

Jackson brought his children to the shoot for a “Smooth Criminal” video that culminated with Jackson leaping through a window while being shot at by Humphrey Bogart.

Alif Sankey, a backup dancer on the original video who was working on the comeback concerts, sat next to Paris during the shoot. The 11-year-old wanted to share a secret and opened up her purse.

It was filled with candy, Sankey recalled.

Jackson didn’t want his children to eat sweets, and Paris asked Sankey to keep it quiet.

The dancer noticed something else inside the purse — tiny picture frames with images of her father.

“Her purse was full of candy and pictures of Daddy.”

___

Despite being home-schooled, there was no shortage of companions for Jackson’s children.

Chef Kai Chase recalled numerous pets in the mansion that Jackson was renting while he prepared for his “This Is It” shows.

There was the talking bird, Siberia, who whistled at pretty women.

The children also had a chocolate Labrador named Kenya, whom Chase bought a cookbook for so she could bake him treats and a birthday cake. Two cats, named Katie and Thriller, also roamed the house.

During opening statements of the civil trial, some of the jury’s first exposure to life in the Jackson home came from footage shot on a Christmas morning several years ago. Jackson’s ode to his children, “You Are My Life” played as jurors watched a video of a Christmas morning from years ago of Prince, Paris and Blanket gleefully receiving their gifts, which included the puppy, Kenya.

___

Chase had been working at Jackson’s home for only a few days when it came time to prepare for Paris’ 11th birthday.

She wanted a Michael Jackson-themed party.

All around the dining room, posters of the King of Pop were hung alongside album covers and other pictures. Jackson’s hit songs played as the family ate cheese pizza, hot wings and banana splits, Chase recalled.

Paris’ birthday cake was decorated with Lilo & Stitch, her favourite Disney characters. But the festivities weren’t over.

Jackson escorted the children into the backyard, where they watched a private Cirque du Soleil-style circus, complete with men on stilts and a woman performing in a giant balloon.

Chase watched from the kitchen window and later described the scene as “the most beautiful expression of love I’ve ever seen.”

___

Jackson spent the final months of his life in a rented mansion in the upscale Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles.

The mansion had all the amenities fit for a pop superstar — a palatial entryway, staircase and parlour and in the basement, a home theatre and dance studio.

The house was a hub of activity, with security guards posted outside, a pair of housekeepers, a nanny for the children and on many days, a personal chef stationed in the kitchen.

Dinners at the home occasionally featured special guests, including Jackson’s personal physician Conrad Murray and choreographer Travis Payne.

But staffers and guests other than Murray weren’t allowed upstairs, where the bedrooms were. When Chase wanted to prepare a soul food menu for Jackson and his children, she wrote him a note in Magic Marker and left it at the foot of the stairs.

AEG Live’s lead defence attorney has pointed to the secrecy of Jackson’s upstairs lifestyle — where the superstar was receiving nightly doses of the anesthetic propofol in his locked bedroom — to support the company’s contention it couldn’t have known about Jackson’s drug treatments.

___

Having a stable home for his children was a major motivation for Jackson returning to the concert stage, AEG executives say.

After his acquittal of child molestation charges in 2005, Jackson had become a nomad, spending time in various cities, including Las Vegas, often staying with friends.

“He wanted his kids to have a permanent place to live and a sense of community,” AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips recalled Jackson telling him during one meeting held while the family was living in the guesthouse of a rich benefactor.

It was Halloween and the children darted in and out of the rooms, wearing masks. Later that night, they’d go with their father to a party at Elizabeth Taylor’s home.

“I felt incredibly bad that this incredible star was at this point where he couldn’t buy a house,” Phillips said.

___

Jackson was always a magnet for photographers and fans, but he managed to sneak his children into a movie just weeks before his death.

The family and a few others went to see the animated film “Up” at the El Capitan Theatre on a touristy stretch of Hollywood Boulevard.

They came in a back door and remained in a private room while moviegoers filed into the theatre. When everyone else was seated, the entourage, including his longtime makeup artist Karen Faye, director Kenny Ortega and others, hit up the concession stand.

The group watched the movie without distraction. “No one knew Michael was there,” Faye recalled.

___

Jackson and choreographer Travis Payne were scheduled to rehearse one-on-one several days a week in the dance studio that was in the basement of Jackson’s mansion.

It’s unclear how often the pair worked out, but when they did they often had a companion, 7-year-old Blanket. He liked to watch his father dance, Payne later recalled, and tried to always stay close to his dad. During their workouts, Payne said Jackson talked to his son, mentoring him.

Preparations for the shows meant that Jackson was frequently out of the house at meetings, film shoots or rehearsals. When he returned home, Prince, Paris and Blanket would rush their father.

“They would take off like lightning,” Chase recalls, “… and grab him around the ankles and around the waist.”

They’d be hanging off of him, not unlike a picture shown to jurors during opening statements.

In the photo, Jackson was handing Blanket, then a newborn, to President Bill Clinton. Clinging to Jackson’s right leg was Paris.

___

When it came time for a science project, Paris settled on studying snails.

She enlisted Chase to help her find snails in the mansion’s backyard. The pair carried large flashlights and found several of the slimy creatures and prepared to bring them inside.

Jackson was waiting for them.

“At this point, I knew I was going to get fired,” Chase recalled.

The singer looked at the snails and had a different reaction — he helped make them a home.

The snails ended up in jars made cozier by moss in the bottom and tiny cocktail umbrellas. They lived on the kitchen counter, not far from other reminders of the children.

Blanket’s colorings hung on the refrigerator.

On a chalkboard where Chase would write out menus, Paris scrawled a message that remained on the board the day her father died.

“I love daddy,” the 11-year-old wrote. “Smile, it’s free.”


 
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Michael Jackson: The epilogue

  1. Finally! Something different from all the negative stuff always being reported. Never did we get a chance to see the true side of MJ. He was a great dad. I read all those moments and I had tears in my eyes by the end of it. The way he is being portrayed by the Media, and now reading this article which somehow doesn’t have much response from people shows how misunderstood MJ is.

    • Michael was a unique and extremely talented man whwhose gifts to the world I personally will treasure forever. Rest in peace, sweet beloved Michael.
      The world misses you.

  2. This attempt at blatant hagiography won’t work among those that think for themselves. Jackson was a freak, a pedophile, and general social deviant. His kids are likely scarred for life and will probably grow into caricatures, as was their sperm donor daddy. Jackson was “misunderstood?” Really? No, not really. Those of us immune to the celebutard culture understand exactly what Jackson was about. The rest of you are simply too dim-witted to recognize the evil.

    • Wow!! You are so intelligent and smart…you know everything. Because you believe in one side of the story…that makes you a practical and sophisticated human. People who believe in the other side…are simply dim-witted idiots. Why???….cuz you say so.
      Jackson was a freak….I agree. I call him unique, talented, genius…you can call him freak, no problem.
      Jackson was pedo….proved innocent in the court of law, proved innocent on 20 counts, former main accuser has publicly admitted that his screwed up parents made false accusations and he doesn’t want anything to do with the accusations….you got any proof or documented fact otherwise. Don’t give me your psychological knowledge and observations bull shit…got proof??? no u don’t
      Jackson social deviant…yeah, again I agree. People like you made him so.
      Kids scarred…they are the most humble, polite, respectful and down to earth celebrity kids I’ve ever seen on TV…MJ did a fantastic job.

      • LOL…you celebutard simpletons are hilarious. You vociferously defend a creepy pedophile, all while justifying his despicable behavior. It is weirdos and leftist trash like you who enable people like Jackson and his deplorable ilk. Go stroke your fragile ego some more, “Truth&Facts.” You wouldn’t know truth or fact if either one smacked you upside of your empty noggin’. What a drooling, sycophantic ‘tard you are.

        • Didn’t you hear? Michael was proved innocent. His accused recanted himself and said his parents made him say false accusations. Freak? Michael had a skin sickness. As for the rest of his dress up etc, he was a shrewd businessman and knew exactly how to get reactions from the public…and bad reactions have always raised popularity higher than the good ones. Good image is boring…being a bad boy, or a freak as you say, will get everyone’s attention. Smart indeed! Elton John did it, Elvis, Alice Cooper, Steven Tyler. It works!

        • I gave you a point by point rebuttal stating facts and challenged you to give me facts or proof…as expected you are just an idiot who thinks by being arrogant and derogatory you are proving something…..you got nothing!! I rest my case, you won’t be getting any more responses from me. Readers can draw there own judgements. Have a good life.

          • Bwahaha! Your “Tooth&FactsOnly” amount to exactly nothing. You are akin to filthy Madonna fanboi filth that always defends her evilness. Mikey Jackson and that she-hag gin up some powerful emotions among closet gays and various ephtards. Which are you, retard?

            “Readers can draw there own”

            I’m certain that you meant “their,” although with celebutard assclowns like you, poor grammar and spelling are the rule and not the exception. Retard.

          • If he was proven guilty the system works, if he was proven innocent the system doesnt work! lol

            These haters have such loose morals it makes no point in even having a conversation with them!

            Rip MJ.

    • You fool. You speak as if you are the fountain of all knowledge and wisdom. You say “Think for themselves” meaning those ,including you, who listen to everything if not most things in the media today. Listening to everything in the media suggests that you ,in fact, do not think for yourself which makes you very much a desiccant human.

      You also say “was” as if you know the truth, or at least what you perceive to be the truth.

      Throughout your rant you have displayed the characteristics of a person who is very egotistical.

      Clearly you only look at one side of the argument, which tells me that you are not a very intelligent person. Looking at one side of the argument means you are blind to what is true and that you choose to ignore it. Whether you know what the truth is will depend on the level of you intelligence, which I’m guessing is quite low.

      To summarise, if you are having difficulty with what I’m saying, you are an egotistical fool of the lowest order who thinks that they have the right to pass judgement on a topic that they clearly have little knowledge of.

      You are probably thinking that I can not talk as I’m passing judgement on you. Well I can, because all of what I have said is evident in your comment. One more thing “celebutard” not even a recognized word, I would have used “idolization”.

      P.S

      I’ve put my comment in paragraphs to make it easy for you to read.

      • Look here, you illiterate intellectual poseur: your punctuation and grammar reveal you to be a sub-median-IQ half-wit. Nothing that you say has any relevance to an intelligent discussion, so hush up while your superiors are hashing out the degree of retardation among Mikey Jackson ass-kissers.

        Also, you mistakenly inserted the nonsensical pair of words “desiccant human” into your pabulum. While “desiccant” is an English word, it isn’t used in the fashion that you farted out. But hey, don’t be blue…just listen to some muzak from your favorite pedophile and turn that retard frown into a smile!

        • Lesson one. illiterate and intellectual are two different meanings. You basically called me a uneducated person who has a highly developed intellect. Dose that make sense? Also you say I am someone who pretends to be something their are not. I can assure you I never pretend to be something I’m not, unlike you. Also I must point out that you use “sub-median-IQ” ( just use below average and stop trying to sound educated) and intellectual in the same paragraph, you basically cancelled your own point out.

          However, you did point out that I mistakenly typed “desiccant” instead of deficient. which shows that you are not a complete idiot. You are however a deficient human.

          Before you try and scrutinize my choice of words look at you own choice of words and think before you put them into the same sentence as they may mean different things.

          “Favourite paedophile” makes you sound like a bit of a cunt to be honest.

        • A yes, the mark of a true intellectual: debating minor points in the comment section of a magazine article on Michael Jackson

  3. Prince is not a nickname, it’s the name of Katherine Jackson’s father (Prince Albert Scruse).

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