It was a morning of firsts on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
For the first time, Katherine Jackson admitted that her son was addicted to plastic surgery. For the first time, after much umbrage taken with the term, Joe Jackson admitted that he beat his children. And for the first time, thanks to daughter Paris, the world learned about Michael Jackson's hidden talent.
Namely, making French toast.
The wide-ranging interview took place at the Jacksons' Encino compound, and while it started out with Katherine, the duo was soon joined by Joe, then Paris, Prince Michael and the exceedingly shy (yet pretty adorable) Blanket, along with the other Jackson kids who live at the house.
But mostly, it was about Michael, and while the topic of his controversial single and upcoming Sony album was not even remotely touched upon (the sit-down took place several weeks ago), Katherine did explain why she chose to release a book about her son, Never Can Say Goodbye.
"I wanted to do it for his fans and for the people that misunderstood him…I think of my son all through the day, all the time. I don't like to talk about him because I…," she said, tearing up. "It comes to my mind every day, yes it does."
Despite the hardship clearly evident in discussing her son's life, Katherine didn't shy away from the talking points about her son, and proceeded to handle every question thrown at her.
First up: plastic surgery. Katherine said that Michael hated his appearance beginning in adolescence and one day announced he would be getting a nose job.
"He didn't want to start looking 'like a spotted cow,' he said," Katherine explained of his multiple skin surgeries to treat his vitiligo. "I don't know what in the world he did to change that, but he did."
As for Michael's claim on Oprah several years ago that he only ever underwent two surgeries in his life, both on his nose, Katherine said, "He had more than two, he was just embarrassed."
"I hear that people get addicted to plastic surgery, and I think that's what happened to him. I said, that's enough."
Though neither he nor his plastic surgeon, with whom Katherine also had a word, listened.
Next up for talking points, Michael's marriage to Lisa Marie Presley.
"It was a surprise for me, he called me after he had married her," Katherine said, saying that Michael put Lisa Marie on the phone to speak with her, though she didn't believe at first that she was actually talking to Presley.
"She had a heavy voice and I didn't know that," she said, adding in a whisper (and yielding some laughs from Winfrey), "She sounded like a black girl."
The majority of the interview, however, was spent discussing Michael's death on June 25, and the life choices that led to that tragic day.
"The worst day of my life," a teary Katherine began. "My heart dropped. And so they called me and said come to the hospital. Michael's in the hospital."
She said that she had an immediate feeling that he might be dead, but that nobody would tell her anything for some time.
"I kind of felt it, but I was wishing that it wouldn't be...They made the doctor tell me. The doctor had to tell us...Dr. Murray."
Yes, that would be Dr. Conrad Murray.
"He came out, and he was talking and it took him so long." Finally, Katherine asked, "Did he make it?"
"He said, 'No, he's gone.' That's all I remember," she said, tearing up. "I'm sorry."
As for Murray, who is facing an involuntary manslaughter charge for Jackson, Katherine said she's thought "a thousand times" what she would say to him.
"Why didn't he take care of my child? Why did he give that [propofol] to him? It's very dangerous, why did he do it?
"I can't accuse him of murder, I don't know if it was accidentally done or it was intentionally done. I don't want to get into that, but I have my thoughts...I don't think I'll ever, ever be healed...It hurts."
Also hurtful was Michael's drug addiction, which he continually denied, even as the family attempted to hold an intervention.
"I spoke to him about [drugs] once, when I had heard it and he denied it. I was telling him I didn't want to one day hear that he had overdosed because it would break my heart...He kept saying, 'My own mother don't believe me.'
"Part of me wanted to believe him, but I didn't believe him."
Katherine said that the hardships in Michael's life led to his addiction, specifically naming his trial for child molestation as a turning point.
"All his life he had to go through stuff like this and it was trying on him," she said, adding that she never once questioned his innocence. "'I'd rather slit my own wrists than hurt a child,' he'd always say that."
The duo was then joined by Joe Jackson, and both he and Katherine insisted, despite nearly universal beliefs to the contrary, that they were divorced.
Oprah wasted no time in pressing him on his relationship with Michael, particularly his child's claims that he was severely beaten as a boy, something which Joe has always denied.
And today was no different, though this time around, Katherine had had just about enough.
"I don't think he was afraid of me," Joe began. "I never beat him. That never happened."
"You might as well admit it, that's the way black people raised their children," Katherine interjected. "He used a strap."
That settles that, then.
"I don't [regret the beatings]," Joe said. "It kept them out of jail and kept them right."
Oprah then gathered all the children together to chat about their father and their current life.
Paris and Prince Michael are now enrolled in regular school (with eyes toward being an actress and music and movie producer, respectively), though Blanket, the most shy of the bunch, is still being home schooled. However, that might change next year, when he will be ready to enter the fourth grade.
The children were asked about their childhoods, in particular going out in public with masks and veils on their heads—something Katherine noted earlier was not Michael's idea, but actually the brainchild of the kids' biological mother, Debbie Rowe.
None of them seemed to have any problem with the unusual disguises.
"When we did go out without our dad, other people wouldn't recognize us," Paris explained. "He tried to raise us without [us] knowing who he was, but that didn't go so well."
"I kinda felt like no one understands what a good father he was," she said. "I'd say he was the best cook ever. He was just a normal dad, except he was the best dad.
"He made the best French toast in the world." Who knew?
"A day doesn't pass," Katherine said, bringing the conversation back to Michael's passing. "Sometimes I just hate myself for thinking about it. It's something I just can't help. I think about it with a smile sometimes. Things he used to do when he was a little boy. He always stays on my mind. His memory is with me. They can never take that away."
(Originally published on Nov. 8, 2010 at 9:09 a.m. PT)