Family Matters

Paris Jackson’s Identity Crisis Stems From Michael Jackson’s Miscalculations

Allison Samuels on how Paris Jackson’s anxiety stems from decisions her late pop star father made in life.

Michael Hickey/WireImage, via Getty

As decisions are being made on the best way to treat the 15-year-old daughter of pop icon Michael Jackson after her recent suicide attempt, friends of the late superstar wonder if Jackson ever truly understood the lingering impact his non-traditional decisions would have on Prince Michael, Paris, and Blanket.

There is no denying that Jackson loved his children dearly, according to friends and family of the late star. Or that he felt confident as a single parent that he could raise and protect them from all the pain and suffering he’d faced as a child growing up in the public spotlight.

Unfortunately, Jackson couldn’t predict his own untimely death at the age of 50 or the trauma that his passing would cause the three people he loved most in the world. He didn’t understand the long-term damage that would be done by isolating his children from much of the world and their mother, or the utter confusion his fractured relationship with his own family would cause them once he was gone.

Friends close to the Jackson family said that Michael’s grave miscalculations where his children were concerned were the real culprit behind the recent suicide attempt of his only daughter, Paris. They added that while Jackson was genuine in only wanting the best for his children, he failed to factor in the realities of the real world they’d have to face one way or another. Paris Jackson reportedly took 20 Motrin pills and used a meat cleaver to cut her arms.

“Paris is really just this lonely young girl who literally has no idea where she belongs,” said a close Jackson family friend. “As a young child, her world only really included her father, two brothers, and household staff. She’d been home schooled so she had no idea how even make friends when her father died. Think of how difficult that is to learn as a teenager girl in today’s world.”

Transition was swift for the Jackson children after the death of their father from an overdose in 2009. In a matter of just two months, they would go from being home schooled to being enrolled into one of California’s most elite private schools. In an era where “mean girls” rule the hallways, Paris found fitting in particularly difficult.

“Let’s be honest, she is a member of one of the most famous black families in the world and she doesn’t look black at all,” said a family friend. “Can you understand the level of confusion that causes a young girl? Who could she talk to about that? Her 83-year old grandmother, La Toya, or Tito? They don’t’ have answers for that. I’m not sure Michael did.”

Questions about her racial identity were only one factor in Paris’ mental breakdown, said those close to the situation. Friends said the Jackson family’s constant inner turmoil, which goes back years before Jackson died, also played a defining role in the teenager’s fragile mindset.

For a good deal of his adult life, Jackson cut ties with his siblings, opting to deal with his mother Katherine only. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Janet Jackson said that the singer pulled away from the family after the massive success of Thriller.

“That’s when we began to lose him,” said Jackson’s younger sister.

Friends outside of the Jackson family said Michael’s reasons for disconnecting from his famous siblings revolved around money, and their lack of it.

“Michael took care of his parents and siblings for years and then it got to be too much,” said a friend of the pop star. “He was taking care of his brother’s families and on and on. At a certain point he cut everyone off except his mother, who rarely asked Michael for anything. He felt taken advantage of by all the rest.”

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Jackson relayed those negative feelings to his children, said friends, and his attitude was further supported by the lack of contact the children had with his family, with the exception of Tito and three of his sons.

“So after Michael dies, these people become a major part of the kid’s life,” said the friend. “There was no way for that to go smoothly and it hasn’t.”

After an uproar last summer that saw Katherine Jackson go missing for a few days, the family became more splintered than ever. A few of her children removed her from a situation they say they deemed too stressful for the 83-year-old. As a result of the incident, several Jackson children cannot visit their mother at the home she shares with her grandchildren. Paris’ tweets about her grandmother’s absence brought international attention to the incident.

“That was a drama and mess that hurt a lot of people and pitted Mrs. Jackson against her own children,” said a friend. “And it was all related to Michael’s kids and to Paris’ tweets in a small way. A lot of resentment from Michael’s siblings came down then and Paris is still feeling it.”

Those events—coupled with the feeling of being the odd girl out at both school and home—led Paris to reach out to her birth mother, Debbie Rowe, an act her father never wanted or encouraged.

“Katherine agreed to it because she knows Paris is hurting and has no idea how to help her really,” said the family friend. “She thought if her mother can help her in anyway, why not let her bond with her? But, be clear, most of the Jackson family feel Debbie Rowe sold her kids away for a lump sum of money from Michael.”

That fact isn’t lost on Paris or her older brother, Prince Michael, who has made it clear he has no interest in joining his sister in bonding with their birth mother.

“Prince Michael is a boy and much more aligned with the Jackson family which is filled with a lot of men,” said the friend. “He’s had an easier time finding his bearings in school and in the family overall. That’s made Paris feel even more lonely.”

Friends of the teen said that her tweets, Facebook page, and personal website are just another way for her to connect with people outside her home, particularly girls her own age.

“She really yearns for girlfriends which is why she posted those makeup videos,” said the family friend. “Anything that makes her seem like a normal high school girl makes her day.”

But Paris Jackson isn’t a normal high school girl and she and everyone else knows it. She is a young girl destined to inherit—along with her brothers—her father’s $1 billion dollar estate at some point. She is a young girl who lost the only parent she knew at the age of 12 and then had every aspect of her life put on public dismay.

“I’m not sure what they can do for her at this point because she is so stressed out, by school and the ongoing lawsuit that keeps the horrible way her father died fresh in her mind,” said a close family friend. “It’s coming up on another year where Michael is gone and as she gets older, I thinks she misses him more and regrets never having the chance to ask him questions that he only he could answer.”