The Truth About Paris Jackson's Relationship With Michael

Michael Jackson will forever be remembered as one of the greatest musicians and entertainers of our time. He has maintained his reign as the "King of Pop" well beyond his living years and is considered a legend by millions of fans across the globe, but to Paris Jackson, he was simply "dad."

Paris was born into a life that most could not associate with on any level. As the daughter of one of the most iconic stars in the world, Paris experienced growing up from a different perspective. She was one of very few people who truly knew the real man behind the costumes, the music, and the stage lights. In spite of the surreal life that Michael Jackson lived, Paris maintained an authentic, open relationship with her father, and the two shared many cherished moments, some of which she has revealed to curious fans. Reflecting on her childhood, Paris shared on "No Filter with Naomi," "[It was] a blessing and a privilege to be able to experience so much at a young age."

Paris and Michael Jackson shared a very special bond that was cultivated behind the scenes and away from the cameras, as he carefully shielded her from the public at every opportunity. Paris Jackson has opened up to give fans a rare glimpse into the very private relationship they shared.

She honors his memory by wearing a special accessory

On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson, the legendary artist who was adored by fans across the globe, passed away. He took his last breath in his own Los Angeles home, after falling victim to "cardiac arrest caused by a fatal combination of drugs given to him by his personal doctor," according to History.

Paris Jackson was just 11 years old at the time. In 2017, she revealed to Rolling Stone that at the time of his death, Michael was wearing a rope and jade bracelet from Africa. She said she would wear this bracelet all the time, and refused to take it off. "It still smells like him," Paris shared. This personal, intimate way she honors Michael Jackson's memory is very meaningful to Paris, who has even seen him in her dreams. "I feel him with me all the time," she told the outlet.

Michael has stayed with Paris artistically, too. When speaking with the Evening Standard about her first album, "Wilted," she said: "I think he'll always influence everything I do in some way, whether it's subconscious or intentional. ... I was around that creativity all the time, so I'm sure I learnt a lot of what I have from that."

Paris Jackson says Michael kept things real

In spite of the enormous fortune at his disposal, Michael Jackson made sure his children were grounded. According to Paris, he made it a point to see that she grew up knowing her position of privilege didn't make her any different than anyone else. Michael taught Paris to be both humble and appreciative by understanding that not everyone was wealthy. Paris was exposed to all aspects of the real world during her time with her father and didn't always view life from a position of luxury.

During an interview with Naomi Campbell on "No Filter," Paris candidly recalled her childhood memories, and referenced how her father anchored her expectations about the world. She revealed, "My dad was really good about making sure we were cultured, making sure we were educated, and not just showing us, like, the glitz and glam, like hotel hopping, five-star places." She emphasized, "We saw third world countries. We saw every part of the spectrum."

Even when it came to simple teachings, Paris recalls Michael Jackson being truthful in his approach. Rather than sugar-coating things, her father would give her the real information and hard facts. During an interview with Rolling Stone, Paris said, "He wasn't like, 'Oh yeah, mighty Columbus came to this land!' He was like, 'No. He f***ing slaughtered the natives.'"

Education was a normal priority for the Jackson kids

Michael Jackson put great emphasis on Paris' education. She recalls how much he supported higher learning and desired to keep her engaged in her studies. He was strict about this sometimes. Paris shared during an interview with the Evening Standard that her dad would say, "Oh, you want to go to Toys 'R' Us and get five toys? Great. You need to read five books — and I will test you on those books." Before their father's death, the Jackson children balanced their schoolwork with travel, both domestic and abroad.

"The first 12 years of my life I was homeschooled," Paris told Harpers Bazaar. "Which means that the only interactions I'd ever had were with family members or other adults." Writer Candace Bushnell noted in the profile that before Michael's death, Paris and her siblings would wear veils or other face coverings when out in public. "He didn't want anyone to see what we looked like. That way we could have what he didn't, which was a normal childhood," she told Event magazine in 2013 (via the Daily Mail).

Paris credits Michael Jackson for instilling strong morals in her

Paris Jackson credits her moral and ethical values to her father's emphasis on doing what was right.

When Paris sat down with Willow Smith to film an episode of "Red Table Talk," she opened up about how impactful her father's influence still is on her today. A viewer asked Paris about continuing her father's memory. "I take the positive things that I learned from him, the good morals that I learned and try and use them everyday," Paris said. "Humility, compassion, tolerance, just being kind to other people, even if it's someone that did you wrong, to pray for them and be kind to them, be kind to yourself."

Paris grew up learning the value of integrity, and she has carried this life lesson with her well into her adult years. As an aspiring musician with a knack for the world of arts and entertainment, Paris started to carve out a name for herself. "I'm also a full believer that I should earn everything," she said on "No Filter with Naomi." Refusing to ride her father's coattails, Paris revealed, "I go to auditions. I work hard. I study scripts. I do my thing."

Her father taught her to be proud of her Black heritage

Michael Jackson and Paris Jackson may not have shared the same natural skin color, but they shared the same heritage, and Michael made sure Paris never overlooked that fact. During a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Paris said, "I consider myself black." Speaking about how Michael reinforced her ethnicity, she remembered that he "would look me in the eyes and he'd point his finger at me and he'd be like, 'You're black. Be proud of your roots.' And I'd be like, 'Okay, he's my dad, why would he lie to me?' So I just believe what he told me. 'Cause, to my knowledge, he's never lied to me," Paris told the outlet. 

Of course at first glance, Paris didn't share the same physical appearance that her dad had growing up. As an adult, Michael Jackson visibly suffered a skin depigmentation issue called vitiligo, as confirmed by his autopsy (via The Guardian). He told Oprah in 1993, "I'm proud to be a Black American." Michael added, "I have a skin disorder... It is something that I cannot help."

"Most people that don't know me call me white," Paris told Rolling Stone. "I've got light skin and, especially since I've had my hair blond, I look like I was born in Finland or something." Following the in-depth profile, Wendy Williams criticized Paris' comments due to Paris' light-skinned appearance. The star responded in a now-deleted tweet, "She seems to think about the family a lot considering she makes all these claims about us. Why are we on her mind so often?" (via Us Weekly).

Paris Jackson inked her father's love onto her skin

In Paris Jackson's 2017 Rolling Stone interview, the outlet revealed that she had over 50 tattoos on her body, and nine of them were a symbolic dedication to Michael Jackson. She indicated that no matter how much time passes, she continues to grieve the loss of her father, and takes comfort in holding his memory near. Speaking of the closeness that they shared, and the reason her dad inspired several of her tattoos, Paris said, "He's brought me nothing but joy. So why not have constant reminders of joy?" 

Among the numerous tattoos that she has inked in memory of Michael Jackson, Paris has some art on her clavicle that spells out the words "FAITH, TRUST AND PIXIE DUST." This tattoo is an ode to the way Michael used to refer to himself as "Peter Pan," nicknaming Paris "Tinker Bell." The interview also revealed that she had lifted Michael Jackson's handwriting from a letter he wrote her, and duplicated it into a tattoo that says "QUEEN OF MY HEART."

An interview with LVR Magazine also highlighted Paris Jackson's piercings, and the symbolism they represent — seven of them in total, a number significant to both Paris and her dad. "It's more about the number of piercings than what is on them, but there is a sunburst, feather and dragon," she said. 

She gets her work ethic from her father

Michael Jackson was known to throw himself wholeheartedly into his music, and this powerful personality trait has been passed along to Paris Jackson. When Michael was preparing for a major event or was creating new sounds, he would work tirelessly to master his craft. Ahead of the 2012 "Bad 25" documentary, E! News noted the incredible efforts the star put forth to meticulously execute his choreography; he was known to stay up all night if that's what it took to make everything perfect.

Now in her adult years, Paris tends to her music the very same way she watched her famous father dedicate himself to his craft. When faced with challenges in life, Paris often uses music as her outlet and gives it all of her focus. This was especially true during the spring of 2019 when it was revealed that Paris had an experience which necessitated medical attention. 

The press were relentless in their requests for more information, which added even more stress in her life. E! News reported that much like her father, Paris turned to music to soothe her soul. A source claimed she was "throwing herself into" her craft, adding: "She is very musically motivated and it's been therapeutic for her."

Growing up as Michael Jackson's daughter led to issues with anxiety

In her adult years, Paris is now able to understand and appreciate why her father went to great lengths to conceal her identity from fans, and why he took measures to shield her from the cameras. Living life in the spotlight as the daughter of one of the most famous musicians in the world, eventually took its toll on Paris. She has addressed the unwanted attention from cameras that have surrounded her for her entire life.

The constant barrage of paparazzi became overwhelming for Paris. During an appearance on "Red Table Talk" with her friend Willow Smith, Paris opened up about her personal struggles with fame. "I experience auditory hallucinations sometimes with camera clicks and severe paranoia and have been going to therapy for a lot of things, but that included," Paris said.

Michael Jackson attempted to spare his children from the media frenzy by covering their faces with masks and attempting to hide them, and Paris must understand the scope of his actions. "I'll hear a trash bag rustling and I, like, flinch and panic. ... I think it's just standard PTSD," she told Willow Smith.

Michael Jackson created normal memories with his kids

Paris Jackson recalled her father opening up and discussing how difficult it was for him to be thrown into the spotlight at a very young age. Making music and performing took away from Michael Jackson's ability to experience his youth, and he wanted more for his children. Her interview with Rolling Stone revealed that as a result of his heightened awareness, Michael Jackson worked hard to ensure Paris' life was as "normal" as possible.

Oprah asked Paris in 2012 if she felt that her father had hoped she'd live a "normal life," and if such an existence was even a possibility. Paris answered, "Yeah, he did. ... He had his doubts. I remember, he told us that when he was younger, he didn't really have a childhood. Like, he would always be stuck in the studio singing while all the other kids were out playing. And he wanted us to have that." This normalcy included punishment when necessary.

Paris described the more fun everyday activities she pursued alongside her father. "So a lot of times, we would go to Chuck E. Cheese. Chuck E. Cheese and Toys 'R' Us were our favorite places to go," she said. Young Paris also told Oprah that she and her dad loved to watch movies and would set up a home theater whenever they would travel. Eating junk food with her dad was another favorite memory.

Paris Jackson didn't know her dad was famous

While the world admired the legendary Michael Jackson from a distance, Paris Jackson spent a good chunk of her childhood not knowing that her father was famous at all. She fondly remembers being very close with Michael and knowing that their relationship was a special one, but admits that for the first several years of her life, she didn't even know his name. "I just thought his name was Dad, Daddy. We didn't really know who he was. But he was our world. And we were his world," Paris said during an interview with Rolling Stone.

She lived in the family's private 2700-acre theme park, "Neverland," as a child. Life as Michael Jackson's daughter wasn't a free-for-all for Paris. In fact, she claims that Michael had many rules that his children had to abide by when they were at home. Paris told Rolling Stone, "We couldn't just go on the rides whenever we wanted to. ... Like, we had school every single day, and we had to be good. And if we were good, every other weekend or so, we could choose whether we were gonna go to the movie theater or see the animals or whatever." However, those luxuries were taken away if the kids were disobedient.

Several years after her father's death, Paris returned to Neverland. She told Event magazine after the visit, "I cried and cried. It's beautiful there. It still has good energy" (via the Daily Mail). The controversial property was purchased by businessman Ron Burkle and was being renovated as of 2022.

Paris enjoyed learning how to cook from her famous father

Images of Michael Jackson dressed in bright costume against the backdrop of the stage may be the version of Michael that fans can relate to most, but Paris had an entirely different perspective of her father. She experienced the rare opportunity of seeing what Michael was like in his other element — at home. Behind closed doors, in the very private world that was inaccessible to the cameras and unaffected by the chaos of endless hordes of screaming fans, the great Michael Jackson shone as a chef.

Michael Jackson had a personal chef named Niall, as reported by People, and his chef ensured all his culinary preferences were available. However, Michael was also pretty skilled in the kitchen on his own. According to Rolling Stone, some of the fondest memories Paris has of her father were in the kitchen of their home. Many bonding conversations took place as Michael created meals for his children.

"He was a kick-a** cook. His fried chicken is the best in the world. He taught me how to make sweet-potato pie," Paris said. As the two bonded in the kitchen, Michael shared his culinary talents with his daughter by teaching Paris how to cook. She indicated that cooking lessons from her famous father put the focus on creating hearty soul food. "He made the best French toast in the world," Paris told Oprah in 2010 (via TVGuide).

She continues to honor her father's legacy

Coming to terms with Michael Jackson's death has been a very difficult process for Paris Jackson, but she is clearly dedicated to honoring his memory. In 2018, at a celebration on his 60th birthday, Paris and her brother, Prince, accepted a humanitarian service award from the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation on their father's behalf (via "Today").

Over the course of her journey into adulthood, Paris became increasingly aware of the impact Michael had on the world, and has continued to honor her father's legacy in a variety of different ways. People reported that in February 2022, Paris united with Prince for a very rare mutual appearance in support of the Broadway show "MJ: The Musical." The siblings walked the red carpet in honor of their dad, and engaged in several media opportunities designed to recognize the impact of Michael Jackson's musical contributions in the world of entertainment.

The Broadway show centered around Michael Jackson's career achievements and opened at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York City. In a sweet Instagram roundup, Prince posed with his sister and uncles and wrote in the caption, "It's truly an honor to be able to celebrate my father and family's legacy and it couldn't be done without the hard work, dedication and overall passion that the team at @mjthemusical have... Thank you for honoring my fathers music and legacy and continuing to spread his message throughout history."

Her father supported her dreams

Paris Jackson opened up on "No Filter with Naomi," sharing that her dad always encouraged her to follow her dreams, even when that meant entering into the world of entertainment that he had worked so hard to shield her from. "I feel like every part of my childhood will always influence how I am today, whether it was experiences or all of the music we listened to," Paris said. Speaking of Michael she said, "He loved classical music...jazz, and hip-hop and R&B, and obviously the Motown stuff, but also radio's Top 40. He loved rock music, soft rock, the Beatles," Paris said.

Paris has forged her own path and has released her own music to the world, most of which she shares with her followers on Instagram. Following her time in the group The Soundflowers, Paris released her first solo studio album "Wilted" in 2020, and spoke to "Good Morning America" about how the support she received from her father during her childhood was a source of strength and inspiration.

Paris felt the pressure of entering the music scene as the famous daughter of a music icon, and relied on memories of her father's support to push on. "No matter what it was we were interested in, at one point, I wanted to be an astronaut, he was like, 'Do it. Do it.' ... With every aspect in life," Paris said. She felt fortunate to have had her dad telling her, "Just do what makes you happy and do it well."