I've always wondered what it's like to be one of Michael Jackson's kids. Your dad is a massive pop star who own an amusement park and all the Beatles songs. You wear masks in public. Your dad wears only one glove, and it's covered in sequins. And there were all those allegations of child molestation. How could this life possibly be normal? These kids are totally effed-up, right?
Maybe -- but there's a lot about the Jackson kids we don't know about. MJ fiercely guarded their privacy. But now, Michael's oldest child, Prince Jackson, is detailing his life with dad. In a testimony for his family's wrongful death lawsuit against concert promoter AEG Live, Prince paints a portrait of his childhood that's surprisingly... healthy! If not exactly normal.
1. Michael Jackson taught his kids to give back. "Dad wanted us to remain humble," Prince says. He goes beyond the service hours his school requires him, volunteering at a children's hospital program and reading to kids fighting cancer. Michael encouraged his kids to volunteer as much as possible.
2. Jackson taught his kids to be curious. "My dad taught me everything was a learning experience," Prince says. Michael nurtured his interest in film by watching films with him with the sound off to study the visuals. They even wrote screenplays together. When they kids moved or traveled, they learned about the cultures they were visiting.
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3. School was a priority. Since the Jackson kids moved around a lot, Michael hired tutors so they could keep up with their studies. Now Prince is a National Honors Society member, is studying robotics, and maintains a 3.68 GPA.
4. Michael let his kids have a dog. This is a bigger deal than you'd thing -- Jackson was afraid of dogs. But it meant a lot to his kids, so he let them have a chocolate lab, Kenya.
Okay, there's still some weird stuff in Prince's testimony, like how he felt like his dad didn't eat enough. (Actually, there are plenty of kids who could probably say the same of their moms.) And he told his kids he thought AEG was "going to kill" him after rehearsals. But it sounds like Michael really did try to provide his kids with as nurturing a childhood as he possibly could, even if it wasn't exactly typical.
Do you believe Prince Jackson had a healthy childhood, or do you think there's a lot he's not telling?
Image via ABC News
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside