Portrait of Michael Jackson as doting father, kids' devotion emerges during trial

  • Article by: ANTHONY MCCARTNEY , AP Entertainment Writer
  • Updated: June 22, 2013 - 5:34 PM
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FILE - This Aug. 29, 2012 file photo shows Paris Jackson, left, daughter of the late pop icon Michael Jackson, poses with a fan outside Jackson's boyhood home during a celebration on what would have been Jackson's 54th birthday in Gary, Ind. Jackson is physically fine after being taken to a hospital early Wednesday, June 5, 2013, an attorney for Jackson's mother said. Perry Sanders Jr. writes in a statement that Paris Jackson is getting appropriate medical attention and the family is seeking privacy. Fire and sheriff's officials confirmed they transported someone from a home in Paris' suburban Calabasas neighborhood for a possible overdose but did not release any identifying information or additional details. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, file)

Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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LOS ANGELES — Courtrooms have supplied the epilogue to Michael Jackson's life. They've provided the forum where his debts have been settled, his final days dissected and his life depicted as a cautionary tale.

In nearly four years of court proceedings, two juries have watched Jackson come to life on video screens. They've watched him spin, dance, and then disappear. They've heard his voice, seen his handwriting and viewed photos of his lifeless body.

His role as a father has been described in little more than platitudes. Until now.

The jury hearing a civil case filed by the superstar's mother — against AEG Live LLC, the promoter of Jackson's ill-fated concerts — are experiencing details of a world previously held under lock and key. They've heard of extravagant birthday parties, secret family outings and the leg-clinging devotion of his children.

Jackson shielded the youngsters from the public eye, home-schooling them and often hiding their faces in public.

Away from the cameras, Jackson tried to create an environment of love, attention and special moments for his children, Michael Joseph "Prince" Jackson Jr., Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael "Blanket" Jackson.

The following are some of some of the stories they've told. They present a portrait of Jackson as a father that outsiders never saw.

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The final month of Jackson's life was a busy time. There were rehearsals for "This Is It," planning meetings and film shoots for a series of mini-movies that would precede some of his greatest hits at the London shows.

Jackson brought his children to the shoot for a "Smooth Criminal" video that culminated with Jackson leaping through a window while being shot at by Humphrey Bogart.

Alif Sankey, a backup dancer on the original video who was working on the comeback concerts, sat next to Paris during the shoot. The 11-year-old wanted to share a secret and opened up her purse.

It was filled with candy, Sankey recalled.

Jackson didn't want his children to eat sweets, and Paris asked Sankey to keep it quiet.

The dancer noticed something else inside the purse — tiny picture frames with images of her father.

"Her purse was full of candy and pictures of Daddy."

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Despite being home-schooled, there was no shortage of companions for Jackson's children.

Chef Kai Chase recalled numerous pets in the mansion that Jackson was renting while he prepared for his "This Is It" shows.

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