As an album of Michael Jackson’s previously-unheard music nears its release, his family is ready for a release of its own.
In a candid interview with Oprah Winfrey airing on “Oprah” today, Jackson’s children, Prince, Paris, and Blanket, opened up about their pop icon father for the first time since his death.
Surrounded by their cousins at the Jackson family’s California compound, Havenhurst, Prince, 13, and Paris, 12, talked about growing up with Michael.
“I kind of felt like no one understood what a good father he was. He was the best cook ever,” Paris told Winfrey. “He was just a normal dad.”
“He made the best French toast in the world,” she added. “He just made the best breakfasts in the world.”
Prince and Paris described Michael as “strict” but said he often treated them to sweets like Snickers candy bars and Coca-Cola.
“He tried to raise us without us knowing who he was, but that didn’t really go so well,” Paris said, smiling.
The two shared their favorite memories of Michael.
“We were in Bahrain, and we used to wake up early and walk on the beach,” Prince said.
“One time we were on the roof of the Luxor in Las Vegas, just saw all the city lights,” Paris said. “We were eating Snickers, we had some soda.”
“Sometimes he would take me to a museum, because we both loved art,” Paris added. “We’d play tag outside. He got us Kenya [their dog] four years ago.”
Blanket, 8, barely spoke during the interview, answering “yes” when Winfrey asked if he was still home-schooled. Blanket added that while Prince “could get away with anything,” when it came to being disciplined by Michael, he could not.
They also talked about their hobbies and ambitions.
“I’d like to be an actress when I’m older,” Paris told Winfrey. “I sometimes do improv. I used to do it with my dad.”
Prince said his favorite pastimes were “video games and sports.” He said he wants to “produce movies and direct” when he grows up.
Winfrey wrapped up her interview with a poignant question – “What do you miss the most?”
“Everything,” Paris replied.
Katherine and Joe Jackson Open Up About Michael Jackson on ‘Oprah’
Jackson’s mother and father, Katherine and Joe Jackson, also talked to Winfrey about their son’s life, death, and how they’re raising his three children.
“You know what broke my heart more than anything else in this world? When people at the hospital told us, ‘You can leave now,’ and Paris and Prince said, ‘Where are we going?'” Katherine said.
She said that while the children are adjusting to their new life “very well,” they often reminisce about their father.
“What they talk about is, ‘Daddy would do this and daddy would do that.’ Or, ‘That’s how Daddy did it,'” Katherine said. “Paris is very emotional. She talks about him all the time. She’s the strong one. All the pictures on her wall in her bedroom are of Michael.”
Katherine called the day Jackson died, June 25, 2009, “the worst day of my life.” She’s dedicated a new book in his memory, “Never Can Say Goodbye.”
“They didn’t tell me he was dead. They wanted me to come to the hospital,” she said. “They made the doctor tell me,” she added, referring to Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson’s personal physician.
“I said, ‘How is he? How is he, did he make it?’ And he said ‘No, he’s gone,'” Katherine told Winfrey before breaking into tears.
Murray has plead not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter for allegedly administering a fatal dose of the drug Propofol to Jackson and is due back in court in January. In addition, Joe Jackson has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Murray.
Katherine refused to say whether or not she thinks Murray murdered her son.
“I can’t accuse him of murder,” she told Winfrey. “I don’t know if it was accidentally done or if it was intentionally done.”
She admitted that she tried to keep him away from drugs like Propofol, just as she tried to get him to stop undergoing plastic surgery.
“I thought it was too small,” she said of Jackson’s post-surgery nose, adding that it looked “like a toothpick at one time.” “I had told him, ‘That’s enough, why do you keep going?'”
Meanwhile, Joe Jackson used his time with Winfrey to emphasize that while he “never beat” Michael or any of this other children, he did hit them with a strap.
“He used a strap. Yes he did, he used a strap,” Katherine said, sitting next to Joe.
Joe defended his actions.
“It kept them out of jail. It raised them right,” he said. “My kids have never been in jail. Nine kids, never been in jail.”