Paris Jackson talks to Oprah about 'normal' dad Michael Jackson, wearing mask
Michael Jackson's 14-year-old daughter Paris says the late King of Pop "was a really normal father" when he was with his children and has opened up again about how he had her and her brothers cover their faces in public.
She made her latest comments to Oprah Winfrey for an episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter" that is set to air on the talk show host's OWN cable channel on Sunday, June 10.
"I see other kids and their parents and I compare them to my dad," Paris told Winfrey. "Our dad was a really normal father when he was with us. We would get grounded if we did something bad. He didn't call it 'grounding' - he would just say, 'You're on punishment.' Sometimes we'd be 'on punishment' a lot. Mostly me and Blanket because me and Blanket would always fight."
The iconic and eccentric performer, the most successful in the world, was notoriously private about his three children, Prince Michael, 14, Paris and Blanket, 10. He covered their faces with masquerade masks or scarves when they went out in public, especially in the presence of celebrity photographers, and often wore them himself. The children were usually unmasked when they went out without him, accompanied by bodyguards.
Paris told Winfrey that Jackson made her and her brothers cover their faces only when they traveled with him.
"I was really confused. I didn't get why I was wearing a mask," she said. "But I understand it now why my dad would want our face to be covered. When we went out without him, we wouldn't be recognized and we could have a normal childhood."
She said Jackson "had his doubts" that that was possible, adding: "He told us that when he was younger, he didn't really have a childhood. He would always be stuck in the studio singing while other kids were out playing and he wanted us to have that. So a lot of times we would go to Chuck E. Cheese and everything. Chuck E. Cheese is one of our favorite places to go."
The popular eateries incorporate arcade games and animatronic animals. Jackson maintained an arcade, amusement park rides and a zoo in his Neverland Ranch home in central California. He was known for his love of children's toys and Disney movies and other cartoons and said on the ABC and ITV special "Living With Michael Jackson": "I'm Peter Pan in my heart."
Jackson has said in the past that he "didn't have a childhood." The singer began his music career as a child, performing with his siblings in the pop group the Jackson Five, under the management of their father in the late 1960s.
Jackson died at age 50 in June 2009 from an accidental overdose of the anesthetic propofol and other medications in his rented Los Angeles mansion. Scores of people flocked to the area to mourn him after his death. Paris was 10 at the time.
At a public and televised memorial at Staples Center sports arena, the little girl spurred fresh tears - and became a star in her own right - when she appeared with her family, took the microphone and said: "I just want to say ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine."
She has since become one of the most popular Jackson children, with more than 360,000 Twitter followers, and one of the most sought-after members of the famous family to interview. Winfrey had featured the girl, her brothers and grandmother, who is raising them, in 2010 for her syndicated talk show.
Paris also appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in December 2011 and talked about covering up her face in public as a child. She said she thought it was "stupid" that she had to wear a mask but that she later realized her father "only tried to protect" his children.
Jackson sometimes took it a step further in a bid to maintain a low profile in public. His 60-year-old brother Jackie told OnTheRedCarpet.com in January that the singer was a great fan of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and "used to come by here all the time in disguise and walk around," adding: "People would never know it was him."