Paris Jackson, the daughter of the late Michael, King of Pop, spent the first seven years of her life living and being home-schooled on Neverland Ranch; traveled the world with her dad for four years after he was acquitted in his 2005 molestation trial; was only 11 when he died; and suffered a much-publicized suicide attempt at the age of 15 after drowning in depression and a drug addiction.
Now 18 and sober, following treatment in Utah, she lives in the private studio where her dad demoed "Beat It" (while the main house in the now-empty Jackson family compound in Encino, Calif. is under renovation); has acquired more than 50 tattoos (nine of which are devoted to her dad); still wears the rope-and-jade bracelet found on him when he died; and is a model/actress who dabbles in singing, writing songs, and playing a few instruments. According to Rolling Stone, she is an heir to her father's fortune, but wants to make her own money. She recently spoke to the magazine about her unique childhood, the at-home persona of her father the world never got to see, and his controversial reputation and death.
On Neverland Ranch:
"We couldn't just go on the rides whenever we wanted to. We actually had a pretty normal life. Like, we had school every single day, and we had to be good. And if we were good, every other weekend or so, we could choose whether we were gonna go to the movie theater or see the animals or whatever. But if you were on bad behavior, then you wouldn't get to go do all those things."
On choosing to be home-schooled:
"When you're at home, your dad, who you love more than anything, will occasionally come in, in the middle of class, and it's like, 'Cool, no more class for the day. We're gonna go hang out with Dad.' We were like, 'We don't need friends. We've got you and Disney Channel!'"
On her dad's skills in the kitchen:
"He was a kick-ass cook. His fried chicken is the best in the world. He taught me how to make sweet potato pie."
On her dad's tolerance:
"My dad raised me in a very open-minded house. I was eight years old, in love with this female on the cover of a magazine. Instead of yelling at me, like most homophobic parents, he was making fun of me, like, 'Oh, you got yourself a girlfriend.'"
On her dad making education a priority:
"His number-one focus for us, besides loving us, was education. And he wasn't like, 'Oh, yeah, mighty Columbus came to this land!' He was like, 'No. He f--king slaughtered the natives.' He did have kind of a potty mouth. He cussed like a sailor."
On her appearance and the doubts that Michael Jackson is her biological father:
"He is my father. He will always be my father. He never wasn't, and he never will not be. People that knew him really well say they see him in me, that it's almost scary. I consider myself black. [He] would look me in the eyes and he'd point his finger at me and he'd be like, 'You're black. Be proud of your roots.' And I'd be like, 'OK, he's my dad, why would he lie to me?' So I just believe what he told me. 'Cause, to my knowledge, he's never lied to me. Most people that don't know me call me white. I've got light skin and, especially since I've had my hair blond, I look like I was born in Finland or something."
On her reaction to her father's child molestation charges:
"My dad would cry to me at night. Picture your parent crying to you about the world hating him for something he didn't do. And for me, he was the only thing that mattered. To see my entire world in pain, I started to hate the world because of what they were doing to him. I'm like, 'How can people be so mean?' Sorry, I'm getting emotional. Nobody but my brothers and I experienced him reading A Light in the Attic to us at night before we went to bed. Nobody experienced him being a father to them. And if they did, the entire perception of him would be completely and forever changed."
On believing her dad was murdered:
"Absolutely, because it's obvious. All arrows point to that. It sounds like a total conspiracy theory and it sounds like bullshit, but all real fans and everybody in the family knows it. It was a setup. It was bullshit."