Paris Jackson did not really want to die.
Such is the opinion of Randall Sullivan, who delved into Michael Jackson's personal life for the 2012 exposé Untouchable: The Strange Life and Death of Michael Jackson and now says that the 15-year-old's hospitalization following an overdose was "a suicidal gesture, not a suicide attempt."
"The intent may have been to get attention, or to express dismay, or to protest her circumstances. It may have been all three," Sullivan tells E! News. "The intent wasn't to kill herself. I hope the media and the public will let Paris and those who care about her sort it out on their own, without subjecting her to either fawning sympathy or sneering mockery."
Sources close to Paris and her family have told E! News since her hospitalization Wednesday morning that the teen had been increasingly depressed recently for various reasons, including a rift with her older brother, Prince, over her rekindled relationship with their biological mother, Debbie Rowe, and problems with bullying at her high school.
We've also been told that Paris is, understandably, still dealing with emotions stemming from her famous father's death nearly four years ago.
"Whatever might have been said about the man, Michael was a devoted father to those kids," Sullivan says. "And when they lost him, they lost the only parent they had ever known. At the same time, they were abruptly exposed to ideas and information about their father and about their origins that they had no notion of previously.
"They also suddenly became the most closely examined children their age on the planet—not to mention the heirs to a billion dollar-plus fortune that has been the subject of considerable infighting among the members of the Jackson family."
A judge made Paris, Prince and Blanket's first cousin T.J. Jackson their legal coguardian back in August after some members of the family expressed concern that their grandmother, Katherine Jackson, shouldn't be their sole caretaker.
Court documents have shown that T.J. gets $9,000 a month from Michael's estate to help look after his cousins. A source told E! News today, meanwhile, that while he does not live with them, he visits with them at their grandmother's Calabasas home two to three times a week.
L.A. County's Department of Children and Family Services, which checks in on the family regularly (a routine matter when there are court-appointed guardians), is reportedly investigating the circumstances of their current homelife in the wake of Paris' hospitalization.
Sullivan says that it's impossible to "imagine the wringer of invasive scrutiny and wheedling manipulation" that Paris "has been put through during the past four years simply by virtue of her existence."
"To cite just a single recent example," he continues, "Paris was forced a few months ago to endure a deposition by the attorneys for AEG Live, in connection to the wrongful death lawsuit case now being tried in Los Angeles, and advised that she might be called as a witness by the defense.
"The pressures created by a situation like hers are unfathomable to most people, myself included. What we do know, though, is how difficult it is to be 15. I hope that Paris is allowed to recover in private, to move on with her life and to put this event behind her."
—Reporting by Holly Passalaqua