Tragic Details About Michael Jackson's Son, Prince

The following article includes allegations of sexual assault and mention of suicide.

Prince Jackson grew up with impossible shoes to fill as the King of Pop's eldest son. Living life under a microscope comes with its challenges, and no one knows it better than him. Michael Jackson's shocking death in 2009 left a gaping hole in the hearts of his millions of fans globally, but it also left Prince and his two siblings, Paris and Bigi (formerly Blanket), without their doting father. Not only did they have to cope with grief at such a young age, but they also had to navigate growing up in the harsh spotlight of the public eye.

Michael's untimely death also meant Prince was forced to confront criticism and backlash for his father's past decisions. The "Thriller" singer lived a controversial life, one with many demons that continued to haunt him throughout his life. Michael's tumultuous relationship with the press, his changing skin color, as well as sexual abuse allegations have been heavily debated for decades. His giant star power made him a target, and his kids have continued to deal with the fallout following his death.

Despite the controversies surrounding his late father, Prince has made it his life's mission to spread Michael's legacy and light to the world. While he has gone on to pursue many dreams of his own, living in his father's shadow hasn't always been a moonwalk. He has faced several hurdles from childhood to adulthood, handling each one with grace. We're breaking down the tragic details about Michael Jackson's son, Prince.

Prince Jackson couldn't have a normal childhood despite Michael's efforts

Prince Jackson grew up as one of the most famous celebrity children of his time, but his father, Michael Jackson, did his best to shelter him and his siblings as much as he could. The late singer was notorious for covering his children in masks and face coverings when they were little to maintain their privacy. Following Michael's death, Prince testified (via the Los Angeles Times) that he did it "so no one would know what we looked like so if we went out without him we could have a normal childhood."

That didn't last long, however, as Prince began to be recognized as a public figure, making his childhood a media circus of dodging the paparazzi and trying to understand his father's incredible legacy. As he grew up, Prince noted that he came to understand why his father tried to maintain whatever slice of normalcy he could.

Navigating his celebrity status meant filtering out opportunistic people, something Prince says his father taught him at a young age. "Trust no one," he told the Los Angeles Times in 2016, recalling Michael's words to him and his siblings. "It sounds bad, but ... a lot of people are motivated by themselves. He said don't trust someone just because it sounds like a good idea — do your research. There are a lot of people who want to interact with [me and my siblings] just because of who we are."

Prince's father died when he was only 12 years old

The world seemed to stop all at once following the news of Michael Jackson's death in 2009. Just three weeks before his final "This Is It" concert series was set to kick off, news broke that the "Smooth Criminal" singer reportedly died of a heart attack that June after being found unresponsive in his Los Angeles home. The death was later revealed to be a homicide, and his doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after giving the singer an overdose of the sedative drug propofol.

At the time of Jacksons' unexpected death, Prince was just 12 years old, while his sister, Paris, was 11 and his brother, Bigi, was only 7 years old at the time. The siblings were raised by their maternal grandmother, Katherine, who shared guardianship of her grandchildren with Michael's nephew, TJ. Katherine later relinquished the guardianship to TJ due to her old age, who took over as sole guardian until the children's 18th birthdays.

Shouldering grief at such a young age couldn't have been easy for Prince, but it went on to inspire him in the future. "The way I cope is incorporating him into my life in every way — from my company logo having little bits of him [to] using his metaphors and trying to follow everything he taught us," he explained to the Los Angeles Times. "My brother and my sister, we've all coped differently. I've gotten better the older I get."

Prince recounted his father's final days in the family's wrongful death lawsuit

Prince Jackson was forced to relive the haunting final moments of his father's life all over again in court. In the wake of Michael's tragic and much contested death, Katherine, Prince, Paris, and Bigi joined forces to sue AEG Live, the concert promoter managing the singer's "This Is It" residency. They argued the company was partially responsible for his death, as they hired Dr. Conrad Murray, who the family claimed acted in the best interests of AEG and not Michael.

Prince took the stand to recount the harrowing last days of his father's life. He lamented about how Michael lived in fear and was at odds with AEG leading up to his tour and untimely death. "He would say, 'They're going to kill me. They're going to kill me,'" he remembered during the trial (via BBC). Prince also testified that he and his siblings heard his father screaming in pain on the night of his death. "I ran upstairs and I saw Dr. Conrad doing CPR on my dad on the bed," he revealed. "My dad was hanging halfway off the bed, and his eyes were rolled back in his head."

Michael's eldest son recalled hearing the news of his father's death from the man who was later convicted of causing it. "Sorry kids, your dad's dead," were Murray's words to the singer's children. "I was 12," Prince testified. "To my understanding, he was supposed to make sure my dad stayed healthy."

Fans have speculated whether Michael is his biological father

There have long been conspiracy theories about whether Michael Jackson is the biological father of Prince Jackson and his siblings. Prince and Paris Jackson's mother, Debbie Rowe, made headlines shortly after her ex-husband's death when she said as much to the U.K. newspaper, News of the World (via HuffPost). "I was just the vessel. It wasn't Michael's sperm," she said at the time, adding, "I was never cut out to be a mother — I was no good. I don't want these children in my life. My children are my animals now."

Reports have speculated that British actor Mark Lester could potentially be the kids' biological father after he claimed to the Daily Mail that Michael had approached him about donating his sperm in the '90s. "Michael set it up for me to turn up to a clinic in Harley Street to do it. It was weird. I went in a couple of times to donate but we never talked about it ever again," he revealed in 2013.

Michael's former doctor, Arnold Klein, has also been speculated to be a potential donor after he posted an old driver's license of himself alongside a photo of Prince to X, formerly known as Twitter, with the caption "Hmmmmm." Prince responded to the rumors in 2015, replying to a user touting the Klein theory. "The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb," he wrote on X. "I was raised by my dad with my brother and sister."

Prince and his siblings were left to deal with abuse allegations levied at Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson has been the center of several controversies, and following his death, his children were left to deal with the aftermath. The singer was famously acquitted in 2005 after accusations were lodged against him for the alleged sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy. A jury found there was sufficient doubt to let him walk free after the teenager alleged he was molested by the singer and held captive at the infamous Neverland Ranch.

The damning accusations have tainted the singer's legacy even after his death, leaving doubt in some people's minds as to what went on in the singer's former estate. "After he died, we got bombarded with [everything]," Prince recalled to the Los Angeles Times in 2016 about his father's sexual abuse allegations and rumors about his changing skin color. "It was a shock. It all came at once. But [we] learned how to deal with it by just kind of ignoring it."

Prince told the publication he believes his father's innocence and chalked up the accusations as attempts at extortion. He and his siblings have stood by their father's innocence, even in the face of doubt. "They will defend their dad until the end," an insider claimed to OK! Magazine. "They believe Michael when he said he was innocent."

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Prince publicly accused his family members of lying to him

In July 2012, Prince Jackson's grandmother and guardian, Katherine, was reported missing after he and his siblings hadn't been able to contact her for 10 days. Katherine's guardianship was temporarily removed, and TJ took over in the interim. Prince later found out that Michael's siblings Janet, Jermaine, Randy, and Rebbie, took Katherine to an Arizona spa on doctor's orders. When Katherine returned home, she was unaware that her grandchildren had no idea where she had been.

"I'm really angry and hurt," Prince tweeted at the time (via CNN). "Although I am happy my grandma was returned, after speaking with her I realized how misguided and how badly she was lied to." The eldest son shared a screenshot of his group text conversation with his relatives in which he wrote to them, "This is enough so I am texting you for the simple fact that WE DEMAND TO SPEAK TO MY GRANDMA NOW!!!" A reply that seemingly came from Janet read: "Don't let them pls."

Jermaine took to X following the confusion, sharing that he and his siblings had only obeyed what was advised by a doctor for Katherine's wellbeing. "It dismays me that such an alarmist 'missing person' report has caused unnecessary anxiety among Michael's children who will understandably react to what they misunderstand, hear or are told," he wrote (via CBS News).

Reports suggested that he and Paris had a tumultuous relationship

Prince and Paris Jackson are incredibly close, but the two siblings haven't always been on the best terms. Reports of the pair being at odds started surfacing around 2013, when rumors emerged that Paris had grown close with their mother, Debbie Rowe, causing tension between them. This came years after Rowe alluded to the press that Michael was not his kids' biological father and that she doesn't want to have a relationship with them.

A source told Us Weekly at the time, "Prince feels Paris is betraying their father by getting close to Debbie ... Paris and Prince fight all the time." The insider also claimed that Prince doesn't refer to Rowe as his mother, and instead calls her "that woman." The fights surfaced around the same time that Paris attempted suicide, which she later discussed with Rolling Stone was a result of dealing with depression, anxiety, and constant public scrutiny. Despite media speculation, there's no confirmation that points to their fights having anything to do with Paris's suicide attempt.

While reports suggested that their relationship may have been rocky at times, the two siblings seem to have come to a much better place. Prince has constantly posted on social media supporting his younger sister, including an Instagram photo in which he was sporting her former band's merchandise. "So proud of my sis @parisjackson for chasing her dreams," he wrote in the 2019 caption. "Her and the @thesoundflowers are going on tour this week starting in Santa Barbara."

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He was involved in a motorcycle crash

Prince Jackson's love of motorcycles has taken him on incredible journeys across California, but it has also landed him in the hospital. In 2017, he posted an Instagram photo of himself strapped to a gurney inside an ambulance after a crash had him seeking medical attention. "Earlier this morning, Prince Jackson was involved in a traffic accident with another vehicle while en route to his college in Los Angeles," a spokesperson for Prince told Today at the time. "He sustained a knee injury and multiple lacerations." He was later released from the hospital after being treated and made a full recovery.

Prince's accident hasn't stopped his love for bikes, and Michael Jackson's eldest son continues to post Instagram photos of his many rides on his Harley Davidson. He has even taken road trips across Arizona and Mexico, posting videos of the views along the way. Prince has opened up that cruising on his motorcycle has been a therapeutic experience, one that allows him to release any unnecessary stress in his life and focus solely on his surroundings and his vehicle.

"Consciously it moves most troubles of everyday life to the back of your mind as it's required to focus on the controls and surroundings of the bike," he wrote in an Instagram post. "Simply to evaluate your surrounds and commit to the best plan. Anyways that's why I love riding and I encourage everyone to find something that takes you to that place."

Prince grappled with the news of his dog's death

Prince Jackson had some heartbreaking news in 2020 when he revealed he was mourning the loss of his beloved dog, Kenya. He took to Instagram to tell the world that his dog had passed away after 14 years by his side. "I couldn't imagine my life without Kenya as he was so important for my growth. I'll miss his loud breathing, stinky breath, random farts, his soft ears and multiple chins," Jackson wrote, adding, "This dog meant so much to me it really hurts to see him go." 

He explained that his dog died at home and that he was able to share a special final moment with him before he passed. "There will never be a dog like you buddy you're a one of kind. R.I.P. to my baby, my puppy, my bear, I won't forget you," he wrote. Kenya was a huge part of Jackson's life, and he often posted photos of the dog enjoying a swim in the pool or snoring happily on the couch. He has two other dogs to keep him company, however, Harley and OG, who have been featured numerous times on his Instagram.