The last time we saw Michael Jackson's children in public, they were paying tribute to their dad at this year's Grammys, collecting an award on behalf of the late King of Pop in one of their rare appearances since his death last accesskey="
"But in a new interview with England's Daily Mirror newspaper, Jackson's mother, Katherine, breaks her yearlong silence about her son's death and describes how the three children are doing one year on. And while the story paints their existence as one full of longing for their father, it offers hope with the news that they may soon start attending a regular school and interacting more with other children their age after years of living a closely guarded existence during which their faces were often shrouded in disguises.
Katherine Jackson reportedly told the paper that daughter Paris, 12, has turned her bedroom into a "shrine" to her dad, surrounding herself with photos of the pop legend, while boys Prince, 13, and Blanket, 8, alternate between talking about wanting to make their pops proud and silent moments when they are clearly missing him. Like so many of Jackson's fans, the three young children also spend hours listening to some of Jackson's music to remember his pop brilliance.
"They don't have any friends," Katherine Jackson reportedly told the newspaper. "They don't go to school, they have private lessons at home — but that will change in September, when they are due to enroll at private college. But they have their cousins and aunts and uncles around them constantly, and that's helped them immensely. ... To them, it's normal, it's the life they have known. They have a certain time to go to bed, then they get up and get dressed for lessons. They practice karate and swim, which they love."
Jackson, 80, said each child is like Michael in certain ways and that it has been a daily struggle to deal with the huge loss his death has created in their lives. All three live with the Jackson family matriarch, who was appointed their legal guardian following Michael's death.
Paris, who gave a memorably moving speech at Jackson's public memorial, appears to be in line to possibly take up her father's musical mantle, according to Katherine.
"I wanted to hang pictures of flowers or ballerinas in Paris' room, the sort of things I expected a girl would like," Katherine said. "But she went into a closet and she brought out seven or eight pictures of Michael, and she told me, 'No, I want daddy hanging in my room.' So she goes to bed looking at him and wakes up looking at him. She said, 'I always want to be able to see him.' ... Paris has that lovely way, just like him, and I see his talent in her. Whatever she does, she is very good at it. She's a good artist, she plays the piano and she wants to be an actress."
Eldest son Prince, on the other hand, is interested in being a cameraman or a movie producer, and youngest Blanket has his father's playful, mischievous ways.
Attorney Adam Streisand, the lawyer who represents Katherine Jackson, told The Associated Press that all three have seen Jackson's final concert movie, "This Is It,"
though Katherine Jackson has not yet been able to view it. Streisand said Prince has been helping to film movies using his siblings and cousins as his actors.
"They have props and sets, and one of them acts as director. They all have roles," Streisand said. A snippet of a movie starring Blanket and Paris in what appeared to be one of their home movies recently leaked onto YouTube.
Despite being the children of one of the planet's biggest pop stars, Michael tried his best to shield his kids from the show business machine, Katherine said, never even telling them what he did for a living until he took them to a show in 2001 celebrating his 30 years in the entertainment world. "He said, 'I never told them what I do,' "
Katherine said. "He didn't want them to know ... He didn't want them walking around with egos! So when they went to the 30th show, the two little ones were in the audience. Michael got backstage and they said, 'You're a big star! When I grow up, I want to be like you!' Michael said that gave him the biggest chuckle."
Jackson, who has compiled a tribute book to her son entitled "Never Can Say Goodbye: The Katherine Jackson Archives," said she still finds it hard to believe that her 50-year-old son died of natural causes. "He was too young for that. I heard from people that he was taking prescription drugs, but I never saw my son in any way drugged. ... He was always himself," she said of Michael, who died as a result of cardiac arrest caused by what the Los Angeles County Coroner has said was a lethal dose of the surgical anesthetic propofol and several other sedatives. "If I could see him again, I would want to know one thing, 'Who did this to you?' "