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Michael Jackson, 2004 | Michael Jackson and Paris Jackson, 2002 | Source: Getty Images
Michael Jackson, 2004 | Michael Jackson and Paris Jackson, 2002 | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson Covered His Kids’ Faces Growing Up & Took the Heat for Dangling Baby over Balcony

Junie Sihlangu
Sep 09, 2023
10:30 P.M.
  • Michael Jackson started singing alongside his brothers at a very young age
  • He welcomed three children, one of whom he dangled over the balcony of his third-floor room, and he received backlash for it.
  • The singer also kept his children masked in public, and they later explained why.
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On August 29, 1958, Joe and Katherine Jackson welcomed their son Michael Jackson. The future star was born in Gary, Indiana, and his parents encouraged the family's interest in music.

In the early 1960s, Michael's older brothers, Tito, Jackie, and Jermaine, started performing around the city. The musician, later known as the King of Pop, joined them in 1964 with his other brother, Marlon.

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After decades of fame and fortune, Michael died suddenly on June 25, 2009, due to acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication and involuntary manslaughter. Before he passed on, the singer welcomed three children, Prince, Paris, and Bigi (previously known as Blanket).

Jackie, Jermaine, Michael, Tito, and Marlon Jackson pose for a portrait in the backyard of their Los Angeles home in 1972 | Source: Getty Images

Jackie, Jermaine, Michael, Tito, and Marlon Jackson pose for a portrait in the backyard of their Los Angeles home in 1972 | Source: Getty Images

Prince was born on February 13, 1997, while Michael was still married to Debbie Rowe. At the time of the birth of his first child, the musician said words couldn't describe how he felt as he'd been blessed "beyond comprehension."

Paris Michael Katherine, Prince Michael II (also known as Blanket), and Prince Michael Jackson I at the memorial service for their father, Michael Jackson, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 7, 2009 | Source: Getty Images

Paris Michael Katherine, Prince Michael II (also known as Blanket), and Prince Michael Jackson I at the memorial service for their father, Michael Jackson, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 7, 2009 | Source: Getty Images

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Michael vowed to work "tirelessly" to be the best father he could be. The "Heal The World" vocalist noted how he'd grown in a "fish bowl," and said he wouldn't allow that to happen to his son and asked for privacy.

Michael Jackson prepares to enter the Santa Barbara County Superior Court to hear the verdict in his child molestation case on June 13, 2005, in Santa Maria, California | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson prepares to enter the Santa Barbara County Superior Court to hear the verdict in his child molestation case on June 13, 2005, in Santa Maria, California | Source: Getty Images

On April 3, 1998, the couple welcomed their second child, a baby girl named Paris, after the city she was conceived in. In 1999, Michael and Rowe divorced, and he received full custody of their children, who grew up at their father's Neverland ranch.

Paris, Latoya, and Prince Jackson at the Children's Hospital's Michael Jackson Artwork Donation ceremony on August 8, 2011, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Paris, Latoya, and Prince Jackson at the Children's Hospital's Michael Jackson Artwork Donation ceremony on August 8, 2011, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

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One of the star's most private children is Bigi, born via surrogate in 2002. He was known as Blanket but he changed his name in 2015. In 2019, a family friend revealed how he and Prince are "best friends."

Michael Jackson leaves Capitol Hill after a meeting with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) on March 31, 2004, in Washington, DC. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson leaves Capitol Hill after a meeting with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) on March 31, 2004, in Washington, DC. | Source: Getty Images

The source said the pair love science and sci-fi, and all three children seem pretty close as they were all together in 2020 to celebrate Bigi's 18th birthday at a sushi restaurant. However, Michael's children's upbringing didn't happen without any hiccups.

How Michael Came under Fire for Dangling His Baby over a Hotel Balcony

In November 2002, Michael was staying at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin, Germany, with a months-old Bigi, when a crowd of fans gathered. The musician was in the city to attend the Bambi Entertainment Award ceremony, where he would receive a lifetime achievement award.

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Michael Jackson arrives at the Santa Barbara County courthouse for his child molestation trial on April 19, 2005, in Santa Maria, California | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson arrives at the Santa Barbara County courthouse for his child molestation trial on April 19, 2005, in Santa Maria, California | Source: Getty Images

At the time, there were only rumors that the artist had welcomed a third child, but it wasn't clear if they were biological or adopted. In response to the crowd gathering outside his third-floor room, Michael suddenly appeared on the balcony clutching the infant.

Michael Jackson holds his months-old son, Prince Michael II, on the balcony of the Adlon Hotel on November 19, 2002, in Berlin, Germany | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson holds his months-old son, Prince Michael II, on the balcony of the Adlon Hotel on November 19, 2002, in Berlin, Germany | Source: Getty Images

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The singer shocked the world when he dangled the baby boy out of the window of his room with one arm under the child's shoulders. Witnesses were alarmed, fearing he would drop him, but he returned safely to the room with the child.

Michael Jackson holding Paris Jackson on the balcony of the Adlon Hotel in Berlin, Germany, on November 19, 2002 | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson holding Paris Jackson on the balcony of the Adlon Hotel in Berlin, Germany, on November 19, 2002 | Source: Getty Images

Unconcerned fans cheered for Michael to make another appearance, and he indulged them by coming out onto the balcony with a covered face and throwing a towel to the crowd.

A public outrage ensued after, condemning the "Thriller" singer for endangering his child by dangling him over a balcony. He soon atoned for his actions, saying:

"I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children."

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Michael Jackson and unidentified friends at the clinic Le Belvedere in Paris in 1997 | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson and unidentified friends at the clinic Le Belvedere in Paris in 1997 | Source: Getty Images

Bigi's father also admitted to making a "terrible mistake." The musician seemed to learn from his mistake, as he never did anything like that again; instead, he spent much of his energy trying to keep his children out of the limelight.

Michael Jackson walks with his daughter, Paris, while visiting Harrods on October 12, 2005, in London, England | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson walks with his daughter, Paris, while visiting Harrods on October 12, 2005, in London, England | Source: Getty Images

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Although Michael's been gone for many years, his children still keep his legacy alive. In past interviews, they've opened up about their upbringing, addressing one of the strangest things the artist used to do to them.

Why Did Michael Cover His Children's Faces?

In 2016, Prince shared why Michael covered him and his other siblings with flamboyant masks or scarfs whenever they were out in public. He explained that it was his father's way of keeping them anonymous, considering the media frenzy that surrounded them every time they showed their faces.

Michael Jackson walks with his children, Prince and Paris, while visiting Harrods on October 12, 2005, in London, England | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson walks with his children, Prince and Paris, while visiting Harrods on October 12, 2005, in London, England | Source: Getty Images

The pop singer's son said he knew his life was "unconventional," including that his mother terminated her parental rights in 2001. He said he and Rowe didn't have a relationship, and she is more like a friend, and that works for them.

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Paris Michael Katherine Jackson becomes emotional as she speaks during the Michael Jackson public memorial service at Staples Center on July 7, 2009, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Paris Michael Katherine Jackson becomes emotional as she speaks during the Michael Jackson public memorial service at Staples Center on July 7, 2009, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Despite living an uncommon life, Prince said he loved it as it's all he's ever known. Speaking about his late father, he shares how he understands the choices Michael made as a parent, including why he felt the need to make them wear masks. He revealed the star talked to him like an adult, adding:

"He told us the reason for the masks was he wanted us to have our own life without him."

Blanket, Paris, and Prince Jackson at the Michael Jackson Hand and Footprint ceremony on January 26, 2012, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Blanket, Paris, and Prince Jackson at the Michael Jackson Hand and Footprint ceremony on January 26, 2012, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

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Prince noted how he and his siblings often went out without the celebrity and were unbothered because they were unrecognizable. He also said that when he was younger, he never thought about how other children lived.

Paris also opened up about her father's reason behind the masks.

Prince, Blanket, and Paris Jackson on stage during the "Michael Forever" concert in memory of the late Michael Jackson in Cardiff, Wales, on October 8, 2011 | Source: Getty Images

Prince, Blanket, and Paris Jackson on stage during the "Michael Forever" concert in memory of the late Michael Jackson in Cardiff, Wales, on October 8, 2011 | Source: Getty Images

However, as soon as he knew who his father was, he realized their lives weren't normal. Rowe's son recalled a time they were in Disneyland, and he wandered to a window where throngs of fans stood taking photos of him and waving.

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Prince had thought it was a regular interaction and waved back, but when he saw a video of his father performing and how people fainted, that's when it clicked how much Michael's work meant to people.

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During an interview on Oprah's Next Chapter, Paris also opened up about her father's reason behind the masks. She told Oprah Winfrey that she initially didn't understand the need for the masks but had grown to get used to them as she got older.

Reiterating her older brother's statement, Michael's only daughter confirmed that it was done so that they were unrecognizable when they went out on their own. The masks were used to allow the trio to have normal childhoods.

Paris said the pop star told her and her siblings that when he was younger, he never got to have a childhood and was always in the studio singing while other children went out to play. Hiding his children from the public meant they could go to ordinary places like Chuck E. Cheese.

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