Jackson's children recall father
CHICAGO - Michael Jackson's children and mother said on Monday's episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that they're still learning to cope with his death a year and a half after the pop star overdosed on a powerful anesthetic.
Jackson's oldest children, 13-year-old Prince and 12-year-old Paris, said they are adjusting well to private school, although their younger brother, Blanket, 8, is still home-schooled. The children have been living with grandmother Katherine Jackson, who is their guardian, since their father's death in June 2009.
In the pre-taped interview, Katherine Jackson said Blanket, whose given name is Prince Michael Jackson II, is shy but now wants to attend school next year, when he'll be in fourth grade.
The children were taped in the Jackson's back yard with several cousins and spoke about their memories of their father.
Prince, whose birth name is Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., said when the family lived in Bahrain, he and his father often walked the beach early in the morning drinking Coca Cola and eating Skittles or Snickers. Paris said he took her to art museums and was "the best cook ever."
Katherine Jackson said she wants to give the children as normal a childhood as possible, and is more lenient than her son was - including when he made the children wear veils in public.
Paris said the veils weren't always comfortable but that they wore them "because then when we did go out without our dad nobody would really recognize us," and she appreciated that he was trying to protect them.
"I kind of felt like no one understands what a good father he was," Paris said.
Katherine Jackson also told Winfrey that she believes her son was addicted to plastic surgery, and once even asked his surgeon to pretend that he'd operated on Jackson's nose if he ever asked for another surgery. She said she was concerned that his nose kept getting smaller and that it looked "like a toothpick at one time."
She said her son was insecure about his looks, and "one day he just made up his mind, and he just left, and when I inquired about where he was, he had gone down to get his nose done."
Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, also appeared in a brief interview with his wife and denied to Winfrey that he had beaten his children, as Michael Jackson had told Winfrey in a 1993 interview. But when prodded by his wife, who said "you might as well admit it," Joe Jackson acknowledged whipping them with a strap to keep them out of trouble.
Joe and Katherine Jackson also denied they had ever filed for divorce, though Joe Jackson - who in an interview last year blamed his wife for their son's death - said he thinks his wife "is too easy with people ... just like Michael."
Michael Jackson physician Conrad Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly improperly administering a mixture of sedatives, including the anesthetic propofol, in an attempt to get the chronic insomniac to sleep. Murray has pleaded not guilty.
Last month, Jackson's brother Randy complained about the interview in a series of posts on Twitter, saying he disagreed with his parents allowing the interview.