The truth behind Paris Jackson's relationship with her mother

Paris Jackson spent most of her childhood apart from her biological mother, a former nurse of her late father named Debbie Rowe. After famously marrying Michael Jackson in 1996, Rowe had two children with the King of Pop — Michael "Prince" Joseph Jackson Jr. and Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson — before they divorced in 1999. Two years after that, Rowe surrendered her parental rights, which spurred a lifetime of drama between Rowe and her kids, particularly her daughter.

While not much is known about the specifics of their mother-daughter dynamic, Paris and Debbie both publicly supported each other through troubling times, like Paris' mental health struggles, and Debbie's cancer battle. Although neither of them is very public about their relationship, as of this writing, the pair seems to still be connected — but this familial bond hasn't always been easy. Let's take a peek at the truth behind Paris Jackson's relationship with her mother.

Separated from the start

There are so many wild stories about how Michael Jackson raised his children, it's almost impossible to parse out what's true and what's as fake as the late pop star's nose. Even claims made by both of the children's parents seem almost too crazy to believe. For example, according to ABC News, Debbie Rowe confessed that she only conceived the children with Michael "as a gift." She even stated during the court hearing in which she gave up her parental rights, "I did it for him to become a father, not for me to become a mother. You earn the title parent. I have done absolutely nothing to earn that title." Yeesh.

Michael was apparently well aware of this arrangement, at least, if his alarming  behavior immediately following Paris' birth is any indication. In his own shocking admission, Michael told interviewer Martin Bashir (via The Sun), "I was so anxious to get [Paris] home that at the cutting [of] the cord — I hate to say this — I snatched her and just went home with all the placenta all over her. ... I'm not kidding. Got her in a towel and ran." 

With that kind of traumatic interruption to their mother-daughter bond, is it any wonder Paris and Debbie had trouble maintaining a relationship over the years?

Family fun on the farm

After years of estrangement, Debbie Rowe and Paris Jackson reconnected around Paris' 15th birthday in 2013, according to Entertainment Tonight. The pair celebrated the day by shopping, dining at a Los Angeles sushi restaurant, and spending quality time together. In an apparent an effort to keep the ball rolling, Paris later started helping her mom tend to horses on her Palmdale, CA, ranch, and Debbie made inroads into her daughter's life by "watching her perform in her school play" and "taking her out to lunch, an insider told People.

The insider also claimed that, at the time, Paris was "going through a lot of teenage angst" and feeling "unloved," but the reunion with Debbie was helping to turn that around, meaning their time together showed signs of a bright future. The reconciliation was even reportedly fostered by Paris' grandmother and then-legal guardian, Katherine Jackson, who famously went back and forth with Debbie for years over custody of Michael's kids.

Debbie was there during a dark time

That precious bond Paris Jackson and Debbie Rowe began building was tested after Paris' attempted suicide in the summer of 2013. The media couldn't get enough of the drama and did anything to get information on her condition, and it was Debbie who shockingly provided an update — not Katherine Jackson. "My daughter has asked that I extend a huge thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers and support," Debbie tweeted, according to E! News. "She is strong like her father."

Later that summer Debbie expressed deep sadness about her daughter's life since Michael died in 2009. During a trial between the Jackson estate and AEG Live, Debbie said Paris had been "devastated" since her father's sudden passing. "She tried to kill herself," Debbie added, also per E! News. "She has no life. She doesn't feel she has a life anymore."

Following her suicide attempt, which she later told Rolling Stone was the last of "multiple" attempts, Paris attended "a therapeutic school" in Utah. Afterwards, she reconnected with Debbie once more, because she was yearning for a "mother figure," according to her brother, Prince. However, Paris viewed the relationship differently. "By the time my mom came into my life, it wasn't a 'mommy thing," she told Rolling Stone. "It's more of an adult relationship."

Debbie allegedly wanted her kids back

After giving up her custodial rights to Prince and Paris Jackson many years prior, Debbie Rowe allegedly attempted to get her kids back in 2014 — including young Blanket, who isn't her biological child. TMZ reported that Rowe was concerned over the kids' well-being under the care of their grandmother Katherine, and allegedly told a friend "Katherine's not connected with the kids or involved in their lives." Debbie also expressed concern that her eldest son, Prince, had developed bad habits since living with the Jackson family.

It wasn't the first time Debbie allegedly made a play for custody. According to ABC News, in 2009, Debbie and Katherine Jackson reportedly hammered out a "secret custody deal" in the wake of Michael Jackson's death, in order to keep the kids away from Michael's abusive father, Joe Jackson.

That custody play from 2014, which as far as we can tell may not have ever been an official court filing, also got squashed the following year, according to Radar Online. Insiders told the tab that since Paris appeared to be back on track following her suicide attempt, Debbie no longer felt worried.

On the fritz again?

On Mother's Day 2016, Paris Jackson unfollowed Debbie Rowe on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, according to the Daily Mail. Debbie was reportedly so upset by the social-media diss, she posted a short message to Facebook, writing, "One of the saddest things in this world is to see a child grow up hating one of their parents because they only got one side of the story."

While It's actually unclear why Paris scrubbed her social media feeds, or if Debbie's own post was even a specific reaction to it, certain gossip sites had no problem characterizing the two events as a "feud" that was "playing out on a public stage." This dubious rift aside, Paris and Debbie would actually make some very public overtures towards one another not too long after #UnfollowGate.

How Paris became Debbie's 'rock'

After what TMZ reported was more than a year of being estranged, Paris Jackson and Debbie Rowe reconnected once again in July 2016 — this time, however, under sad circumstances. Paris learned Debbie was battling breast cancer and took it upon herself to reach out, allegedly texting her mother "I love you."

The digital olive branch worked, and the two made plans to "meet up after [Debbie's] surgery." From there, Paris became a pillar of Debbie's support system. Speaking with ET in October 2016, Debbie, who was "undergoing chemotherapy" at the time, said that Paris was her "rock." She continued, "She's been with me the whole time. She was there. First phone call, [it] took her 30 seconds [to reach out] when she found out."

Paris even dropped rare photo (above) of the two on Instagram, with the caption, "i'm a fighter because she's a fighter. love you mom." In January 2017, Paris updated her social media followers on the status of her mom's health with another photo of Debbie holding a sign that read, "Chemo Done!" While Paris didn't specifically addressed her relationship with her mom, she did caption that photo, "my badass mom, kickin butt n takin names. ain't she f**kin fabulous????," which pretty much says it all.

Tattoo Twins

If there's one way to know where you stand with Paris Jackson, it's to check to see if the two of you are sporting matching ink. Getting tandem tattoos seems to be the preferred method of bonding for the model and actress, who repeated the ritual with both her brother, Prince, and longtime family friend Macaulay Culkin within a few months in 2017, according to UPI and People, respectively.  

So, it should come as no surprise that after their 2016 reconciliation, Paris and Debbie Rowe decided some binding body art was in order. Speaking with interview with CR Fashion Book in February 2017, Paris revealed the plan, saying they would wait until after Debbie's radiation therapy (post-chemo treatment), and for her "immune system [to] be strong enough" before getting each other's Zodiac signs permanently emblazoned on their bodies. For Debbie, that meant "Aries, on the back of her neck," and for Paris: "Sagittarius, on the inside of [her] ear." So cool, right? After all, nothing quite represents the parent-child relationship like intermittent pangs of searing pain that leads to a permanent reminder that, no matter what, you'll always be connected.