Inside the Private World Michael Jackson Created for His Kids

Masks and homeschooling were just the beginning

By Francesca Bacardi Mar 15, 2017 8:26 PMTags

Some considered the lengths Michael Jackson went to protect his kids extreme, but his family understood his reasoning.

The King of Pop famously made his children wear masks in public, much to the confusion of his fans. After his passing, his kids and his mother, Katherine Jackson, revealed the purpose of the covers: to give them privacy. His daughter, Paris Jackson, was also homeschooled for the first 12 years of her life, "which means that the only interactions I'd ever had were with family members or other adults," she explained to Harper's Bazaar.

The isolation meant she "didn't have social skills. I had to force myself to learn so fast." Even now Paris lives a fairly isolated life, but that hasn't stopped her from "learning how to communicate."

"I think I've gotten pretty good at it," she said.

Michael Jackson Forever Tribute Concert
Eric Richard/Getty Images

Paris harbors no ill will toward her father's methods. In fact, she consistently calls her father her idol—she has nine tattoos dedicated to him—and understands exactly why he chose to conceal their faces in public.

"He didn't want anyone to see what we looked like," she told The Mirror. "That way we could have what he didn't, which was a normal childhood."

The "Thriller" crooner's son, Prince Jackson, also has opened up about his father's choice. While he can understand why it would seem odd, at the time he didn't think anything of it. He was a child, after all.

"My dad spoke to me like an adult. He told us the reason for the masks was he wanted us to have our own life without him," Prince told the Los Angeles Times.

Prince Jackson on Being Michael Jackson's Son: I Need to Create My Own Identity
Hussein Samir/SIPA; Dave J. Hogan/Getty Images

"I don't think I ever thought about if other kids lived like that when I was younger. But once I knew who he was, I realized it wasn't normal."

After the "Billie Jean" singer died in 2009, matriarch Katherine received guardianship over his children. One of the first steps she took was to nix the masks.

"They were sheltered a lot when Michael raised them," she told Hello!. "I had thought about it and I said, 'I am not going to raise them like that.' But Michael had a good reason. He was trying to protect them."

Now that Michael's three kids, Paris, Prince and Blanket Jackson, live life out in the open, they're doing everything they can to use their fame for good. Paris has a "plan" to use her fame for "important things." Prince, on the other hand, wants to keep his live as private as possible but understands it's out of his hands.

"I'm not a fan of having my private or personal life being out there," the 20-year-old said on Good Morning America earlier this month, "but I understand the importance of showing what I do and hopefully trying to inspire others to continue spreading the good and helping the community."

Despite the "Heal the World" crooner's efforts to protect his kids, it's clear their new mission is to protect everyone else.