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

  • Article by: ANTHONY MCCARTNEY , AP Entertainment Writer
  • Last update: June 22, 2013 - 5:34 PM

Having a stable home for his children was a major motivation for Jackson returning to the concert stage, AEG executives say.

After his acquittal of child molestation charges in 2005, Jackson had become a nomad, spending time in various cities, including Las Vegas, often staying with friends.

"He wanted his kids to have a permanent place to live and a sense of community," AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips recalled Jackson telling him during one meeting held while the family was living in the guesthouse of a rich benefactor.

It was Halloween and the children darted in and out of the rooms, wearing masks. Later that night, they'd go with their father to a party at Elizabeth Taylor's home.

"I felt incredibly bad that this incredible star was at this point where he couldn't buy a house," Phillips said.

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Jackson was always a magnet for photographers and fans, but he managed to sneak his children into a movie just weeks before his death.

The family and a few others went to see the animated film "Up" at the El Capitan Theatre on a touristy stretch of Hollywood Boulevard.

They came in a back door and remained in a private room while moviegoers filed into the theater. When everyone else was seated, the entourage, including his longtime makeup artist Karen Faye, director Kenny Ortega and others, hit up the concession stand.

The group watched the movie without distraction. "No one knew Michael was there," Faye recalled.

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Jackson and choreographer Travis Payne were scheduled to rehearse one-on-one several days a week in the dance studio that was in the basement of Jackson's mansion.

It's unclear how often the pair worked out, but when they did they often had a companion, 7-year-old Blanket. He liked to watch his father dance, Payne later recalled, and tried to always stay close to his dad. During their workouts, Payne said Jackson talked to his son, mentoring him.

Preparations for the shows meant that Jackson was frequently out of the house at meetings, film shoots or rehearsals. When he returned home, Prince, Paris and Blanket would rush their father.

"They would take off like lightning," Chase recalls, "... and grab him around the ankles and around the waist."

They'd be hanging off of him, not unlike a picture shown to jurors during opening statements.

In the photo, Jackson was handing Blanket, then a newborn, to President Bill Clinton. Clinging to Jackson's right leg was Paris.

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