Inside Paris Jackson's Life From Childhood Until Today

When the King of Pop, Michael Jackson first crossed paths with dermatology assistant Debbie Rowe, it was friendship at first sight. Jackson was receiving treatment for vitiligo, and his numerous trips to Dr. Arnold Klein in Beverly Hills made for a growing bond with Rowe, who was married then. According to Rowe's interview with ABC, the relationship with Jackson was merely platonic in its formative years. It wasn't until Jackson's divorce from a 19-month marriage to Lisa Marie Presley (Rowe had since been divorced) that it really took off.

"What's the thing that makes you the saddest?" Rowe asked, as she later recalled in court, per the Los Angeles Times. "I never had any children," the "Bad" hitmaker replied. Rowe made an offer to be the mother of Jackson's children, a proposal which took him weeks to agree to. "I believe there are people who should be parents, and he's one of them," she later declared to ABC.

In November 1996, the couple tied the knot (via Biography). They welcomed their first child, Prince Michael Jackson Junior three months later. In 1998, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson was born. As the most vocal of the 13-time Grammy award winner's children (and the only one with a career in the spotlight), here's how Paris Jackson has evolved over the years.

She was kept away from the spotlight as a child

Following Debbie Rowe's 1999 divorce from Michael Jackson, the "Miss Cast Away and the Island Girls" actor was granted custody of the children. While it was reported that Rowe received a multi-million-dollar settlement for giving up parenthood, she would later sue Jackson, per Today, for failing to keep his end of the deal.

According to Paris' interview on "No Filter with Naomi," theirs was a globetrotting lifestyle. "We spent a few years up North in, like, Solvang, Santa Barbara, area, but ... I lived everywhere. The East Coast, the South, UK, Europe, the Middle East, like, we grew up everywhere," she revealed.

According to a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Paris was home-schooled. Though the paparazzi often clamored for clear shots of the Jackson children as they made trips around the globe, the singer shielded his kids and kept them away from the glaring eyes of the media. Michael Jackson's lyrics to the song "Privacy" read, in part: "I need my privacy, So paparazzi, Get away from me." The decision to give his children a no-public life was conscious, and the world never heard much from them until his passing.

Paris Jackson was 11 when Michael Jackson died

In June 2009, the world awoke to the sad news that pop culture icon Michael Jackson had died. Jackson, who had a series of performances planned in the UK, died of a reported cardiac arrest, which was later ruled as homicide (via The Guardian). An autopsy revealed that Jackson's death was the result of an anesthetic overdose. He was only two months shy of turning 51.

A memorial for Jackson was held at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, featuring tributes and performances from many familiar faces including Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, John Mayer, Queen Latifah, Stevie Wonder and Mariah Carey, to name but a few.

11-year-old Paris Jackson delivered a short heartfelt speech amidst sobs. "Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine. And I just wanted to say I love him... So much," she said. Though Jackson struggled to find her words, her equally famous aunt, Janet Jackson (with whom she doesn't mind collaborating in the near future) was front and center, leading her on.

She was left under the care of her grandmother

After Michael Jackson's death, his mother, the then 79-year-old Katherine Jackson was granted custody of the three Jackson children. The youngest, Prince "Blanket" Michael Jackson II, was born via surrogacy in 2002 (via Mirror), and was only aged seven at the time of his father's death.

Two years after Jackson's passing, "Good Morning America" caught up with Katherine and the children at a Los Angeles housing facility. The Jacksons were carrying on Michael's legacy through Heal the World foundation. As they slowly came to their own, parts of their lives had changed. Paris Jackson had enrolled in private school, where she struggled with acceptance. Only choosing to hang out with children who liked her, she got caught up in their way of life. "I was doing a lot of things that 13-, 14-, 15-year-olds shouldn't do. I tried to grow up too fast, and I wasn't really that nice of a person," she said in an interview with Rolling Stone.

In 2012, it was reported that Katherine Jackson would share the role of the children's' guardian with her grandson, TJ Jackson (via CNN).

She began playing the guitar at 13

As far as musical prowess is concerned, the apple doesn't fall so far from the tree. When she was 13, Paris Jackson picked up a guitar. This she revealed in an interview with Numéro. Jackson eventually decided to give music the seriousness it deserves, and was reported to have bagged a recording contract with Republic Records (via U Music).

"I can't reach the notes of a Mary J Blige or a Whitney Houston. I see myself more as a songwriter and musician," explained Jackson. "Of all my passions it's really songwriting that came to seem essential to me. For me, music is cathartic. If I write a good song, I immediately feel better afterwards. Even if it doesn't work so well when the song is bad."

In June 2020, Jackson, alongside her then-partner Gabriel Glenn, musically known as The Soundflowers, announced the arrival of their self-titled EP, per Nylon. In November 2020, Jackson's debut album, "Wilted" hit the airwaves, featuring songs such as "Collide," "Undone," "Repair," and the lead single, "Let Down." It's clear that she hasn't missed a beat in following in the footsteps of her father.

A modeling career came knocking

In 2017, international modeling powerhouse IMG announced Paris Jackson as their newest signee through a post on Instagram. A 19-year-old Jackson was later named as the face of fashion giant Calvin Klein, per Page Six, marking her grand entrance in the scene. According to an unnamed source, Jackson would feature in numerous activations for the brand, including red carpet appearances. True to the claims, Jackson participated in Calvin Klein's "Our Family" campaign in 2018, alongside "Stranger Things" sensation Millie Bobby Brown and Lulu Tenney (via Harper's Bazaar).

Two years later, renowned designer Jean Paul Gaultier would make his final runway showcase in Paris, France, parading an all-star lineup including the Hadids, Irina Shayk, Boy George, and Paris Jackson, per In Style. On being part of the historic moment, Jackson told the original supermodel Naomi Campbell (via "No Filter with Naomi"), "I'm pretty sure I cried when I got the casting."

July 2022 showed up with yet another mega campaign for Jackson, this time representing the Kim Kardashian-owned clothing line, SKIMS, per People. "I've known Kim for a while and have always admired her style, so to be in the latest swim campaign for SKIMS is a full circle moment," Jackson told the publication.

Paris Jackson took on acting

When "Good Morning America" caught up with the Jackson family in February 2011, Paris Jackson revealed her intentions of landing a career as an actress. "I'm thinking about auditioning for a play next week," a 13-year-old Jackson shared. Prior to taking on the big and small screens, Jackson had only made appearances on television specials focused on the story of her famed father.

It wasn't until 2017 that Jackson made a television debut on the Lee Daniels Fox drama "Star." Playing the role of Rachel Wells, Jackson revealed through a conversation with Billboard that her character, though fierce and exciting, was very much unlike her. Similarly, Jackson's 2021 character on television, Maya from "American Horror Stories," was one she described as hard to identify with, per USA Today.

Jackson's film debut in the 2018 flick "Gringo" was alongside veteran actress Charlize Theron and David Oyelowo (via People). She's since added more spice to her acting resumé, appearing in "The Space Between," "Habit," and "Sex Appeal."

She starred in a series with her ex-boyfriend

In 2018, Paris Jackson began dating musician Gabriel Glenn. The pair would go on to star in a Facebook Watch series dubbed "Unfiltered: Paris Jackson & Gabriel Glenn," featuring topics such as Jackson's quest for clarity, her choice of a different music genre, the not-so-cordial relationship she shares with the press, trauma, and family.

Glenn was the yin to her yang, and the couple went as far as living in a van together and performing as The Soundflowers (via The Sun). Yet, no sooner had the final episode of "Unfiltered: Paris Jackson & Gabriel Glenn" aired, TMZ broke the news of their separation. According to the publication, the breakup was initiated by Jackson.

Speaking on "Red Table Talk," Jackson said of her relationship with Glenn, "It's the deepest heartbreak I'd ever experienced, but also one of the most powerful rebirths that I've ever had, and finding my voice and finding my sound and embracing being a musician. I was scared to do that for a long time."

She became friends with other celebrities

Of celebrity friendships, Paris Jackson is not running short. After meeting during Fashion Week, E! reported that Jackson and fellow model from the Jenner-Kardashian clan, Kendall Jenner were privately nurturing a friendship. The pair was spotted at the flea market together and seemed to be loving each other's company while purchasing antiques.

On Jackson's 19th birthday, the most remarkable moment, shared on Instagram, was when "Glamorous" hitmaker Fergie sweetly serenaded her amidst cheers from those in attendance. Similarly, Jackson hosted a party to honor Caroline D'Amore back in 2019 (via Daily Mail).

Jackson also shares a close relationship with Willow Smith, whom she met when the latter was only 10 years old. The two of them have gone as far as camping together. During Jackson's appearance on "Red Table Talk," the pair bonded over their extremely public lives, with Jackson disclosing the paranoia that came with making new friends. [4:40] "It does a lot to your nervous system because you are constantly in fight or flight," she said. Non-disclosure agreements are essential in her household, so what happens at the Jacksons, stays at the Jacksons. As a result, she keeps a tight-knit inner circle.

She almost took her life multiple times

Paris Jackson's run-ins with the paparazzi have been extreme in the past — from covering her face to block camera flashes to full-on sprinting at airports. She eventually found herself in a therapist's chair because of experiencing auditory hallucinations (a false perception of sound) as a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This was revealed during a sit-down with Willow Smith on "Red Table Talk."

In 2019, TMZ reported that Jackson had been released from a Los Angeles hospital after she tried to die by suicide. Jackson's "Red Table Talk" appearance came with the following revelation: "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 and times when I didn't," she revealed.

These days, the star seems to be in a good space. Jackson has given her life the ultimate facelift by turning it around. Therapy helped her deal with trauma, and gradually, she's morphing into her own. "When I look in the mirror, I don't hate what I see anymore, and I've grown into self-love ... I try to treat myself kindly," she voiced in an interview with Spin. Though the bad days are not exempt from showing up, Jackson chooses to take it one day at a time.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Her sexual orientation became public in 2018

Although Paris Jackson's sexuality became a public topic of discussion in 2018, she let it be known, through a tweet, that she's always been part of the LGBTQ community. "I even mentioned having crushes on girls when I was 8 in a magazine before. I've been caught kissing girls in public. This is not news." the tweet read in part, in response to a post welcoming her to the rainbow family.

Rumors of a Jackson-Cara Delevingne relationship spread the same year, and hit a summit in 2021 when the pair was spotted in each other's company after an Oscars afterparty (via Page Six).

During Jackson's appearance on "Red Table Talk," it wasn't difficult to open up to Willow Smith, who's in the past admitted to being polyamorous. "I mean I'm still kinda figuring it out. My family is very religious and a lot of, like, homosexuality is just very taboo, so they don't like to talk about it. It's not really accepted," she disclosed. "But I've gotten to a point where I respect them and I have love for them. I respect their beliefs, I respect their religion."

Paris Jackson reconnected with Debbie Rowe

For the better part of Debbie Rowe's time away from her biological children, she kept a low profile and only spoke when the time called for it. In a 2016 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Rowe revealed that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Chemotherapy, Rowe revealed, was a ruthless, and nearly inhuman experience. "Chemo does its best to make you lose your femininity.You lose your hair. You lose your eyelashes. You lose your eyebrows,"she said. Though it was such a dark time in Rowe's life, an unexpected blessing came her way — reconnecting with Paris Jackson.

Jackson and Rowe went on a mother-daughter trip of a lifetime, catching up on lost time. She was 15 years old. On how the pair were doing, Jackson said on "Red Table Talk," "It's cool getting like getting to know her, seeing how similar we are. Getting into what kind of music she likes, and she really likes country and folk. I sent her some of the stuff that I'm working on."

Is she pressured to continue her father's legacy?

It's no secret that Michael Jackson was a master of his craft, an eccentric performer with millions of records sold worldwide. According to Billboard, Jackson's best-selling album, "Thriller," was certified 30 times platinum in the United States. Filling the shoes of Jackson, therefore, is as herculean a task as possible. The thought that her stats would eventually be pinned against Michael's held Paris Jackson back from the music industry for a while.

"Well, besides the obvious — fearing being compared to my dad — I don't know," Paris said during an interview with NPR. "Most of my musician friends still love making music, but a handful of musician friends kind of started to see it as a job. I always felt that if I ever saw it as a job, I would start to resent it. And if I don't have music, I don't really feel like I have much. So that was a big fear to accept music as my fate."

Is she a nepotism baby? Jackson thinks not. According to an interview with Spin, she is putting in the work and becoming an artist in her own right. She's carving her niche while ignoring pressure from naysayers, which is everything the King of Pop would have wanted. Michael and Paris shared a bond that remains tight, even in death.