Paris Jackson Reflects on Past Suicide Attempts in Personal Conversation With Willow Smith

Paris Jackson opened up about her past struggles in an interview on Red Table Talk on June 16. Michael Jackson's daughter attempted suicide multiple times when she was younger.

By Corinne Heller Jun 16, 2021 5:00 PMTags
Watch: Paris Jackson - 2017 Grammys E! Glambot

Paris Jackson is feeling gratitude about life these days following some very difficult years.

In an interview with Willow Smith on her mom Jada Pinkett-Smith's Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk, the 23-year-old daughter of the late Michael Jackson opened up about healing after suffering from years of trauma and after surviving past multiple suicide attempts.

"A lot of people do feel regret when they try to attempt suicide. Like a last-minute regret. There have been times when I did, there have been times when I didn't. Where I was upset it didn't work," Paris said on the episode, released on Wednesday, June 16. "But I can say several years later that I'm like really grateful that I didn't. Things have gotten better."

Paris also talked about her personal struggles as an adolescent, when she was a victim of cyberbullying. "And I think a lot of it was not knowing who I was, being a young girl going through puberty and probably a lot of my situation and a lot of pressure," she said. "It was really hard. And people told me to kill myself everyday. And I was depressed."

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When asked how she started to bring herself back to a better mental space, Paris said, "Initially I think it was—it's kind of morbid, the radical acceptance that it just wasn't meant to be."

She continued, "So it's just a radical acceptance of, 'When it's my time, it will be my time,' and I'll wait it out till then. And during that waiting time, I've just found more and more joys in life and more ways to cope and more ways to like, really live instead of just exist."

Facebook Watch / Red Table Talk

Paris' personal struggles were heavily reported in the press. In June 2013, at age 15, Paris was hospitalized after a suicide attempt, which she would reveal years later was the latest of several.

Two months later, in August 2013, Paris' mother, Debbie Rowe, spoke about her daughter's ordeal while testifying in a wrongful death trial pitting the King of Pop's estate and mother Katherine Jackson against concert promoter AEG Live. Debbie said on the witness stand that Paris remained "devastated" by her father's 2009 death and "tried to kill herself," adding, "She is devastated. She has no life. She doesn't feel she has a life anymore."

The Jackson family later sent Paris to a "behavior modification" boarding school in Utah for more than a year—an experience that, as she would later reveal in October 2020, without naming the facility, caused her PTSD, nightmares and "trust issues."

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Paris took a social media break and returned to Twitter in 2015. In 2017, she revealed to Rolling Stone that her suicide attempt in 2013 was not her first and that she had previously tried to take her own life "multiple times." She echoed similar comments in July 2020 on her Facebook Watch docu-series Unfiltered: Paris Jackson & Gabriel Glenn, saying she struggled with food addiction and self-harm when she was younger and "tried to kill myself many times."

In January 2019, E! News learned that Paris, then 20, had checked into a treatment facility to "take some time off to reboot, realign and prioritize her physical and emotional health." British tabloids then published unconfirmed reports that claimed Paris had suffered a "complete meltdown" over the upcoming release of Leaving Neverland, the HBO documentary about alleged child sexual abuse allegations against her late father. Paris later tweeted, "There's no meltdown," and "I'm the happiest and healthiest I've been in a long time."

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After Leaving Neverland, denounced by her family, aired in March 2019, E! News learned Paris had an incident that required medical treatment and was resting at home and doing fine. TMZ reported that she had attempted suicide and was briefly placed under a 5150 hold at a local hospital. A police spokesperson told E! News that officers responded to a 911 call about a suicide attempt and transported the victim to a hospital. They did not name the person. 

Paris was later spotted outside her home, wearing a blue jacket bearing the words "I'm Fine." She also took to social media to deny being hospitalized, calling the reports about her health "lies."

Paris has been a paparazzi target since she was a child, thanks to her father's fame. Bring in the media spotlight has worsened her mental health over the years. Paris told Willow that she experiences "audio hallucinations sometimes of camera clicks. And severe paranoia," adding, "I'll hear a trash bag rustling and I like flinch and panic."

"PTSD can affect pretty much every aspect of your life," she continued. "I've just started the healing process...I love EMDR, it's very intense and it puts you in a very fragile and vulnerable state but it is a very effective kind of therapy."

Paris also finds it hard to trust strangers. "Everyone that walks into my house signs a NDA," she told Willow. "It's gnarly." 

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