Michael Jackson’s children show the strain at London premiere of controversial MJ the Musical as daughter Paris, 25, and Blanket, 22, struggle to raise a smile on the red carpet


Michael Jackson’s children appeared to be feeling the burden of their father’s legacy as they attended the premiere of a controversial musical based on his life in London.

Sons Prince and Blanket, together with daughter Paris, turned out for a rare united appearance at the press preview of MJ: The Musical at the Prince Edward Theatre in London’s Soho on Wednesday night.

But while 27-year-old Prince – full name Michael Joseph Jackson Jr – smiled for photographs on the red carpet, Paris, 25, and Blanket, 22, were somewhat more muted as they stared down the flashbulbs of the waiting photographers.

Prince and Paris were born to Jackson’s then-wife Debbie Rowe while Blanket – born Prince Michael Jackson II and better known as Bigi – was conceived via artificial insemination with an anonymous surrogate mother.

The appearance in London for the controversial musical, which recounts Jackson’s childhood and pop career, is thought to be the trio’s first joint public showing in over a decade – with Blanket usually preferring to stay out of the spotlight.

Michael Jackson's children (L-R) Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson lead the stars attending the press night of MJ: The Musical at the Prince Edward Theatre in London on Wednesday

Michael Jackson’s children (L-R) Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson lead the stars attending the press night of MJ: The Musical at the Prince Edward Theatre in London on Wednesday

The theatre will play host to the musical - which was nominated for 10 Tony Awards - based on the legendary entertainer's life

The theatre will play host to the musical – which was nominated for 10 Tony Awards – based on the legendary entertainer’s life

Paris, 25, cut a glamorous figure for the event as she donned a dark brown midi dress with a strap detail - but she and sibling Blanket struggled to raise a smile

Paris, 25, cut a glamorous figure for the event as she donned a dark brown midi dress with a strap detail – but she and sibling Blanket struggled to raise a smile

Prince (left), Jackson's first-born, smiled for photographs throughout the red-carpet event on Wednesday night

Prince (left), Jackson’s first-born, smiled for photographs throughout the red-carpet event on Wednesday night 

However, Paris and Blanket - who now goes by Bigi - appeared to be showing the strain of bearing their father's legacy

However, Paris and Blanket – who now goes by Bigi – appeared to be showing the strain of bearing their father’s legacy 

Michael Jackson's children with the singer in a picture shared by Prince on Instagram

Michael Jackson’s children with the singer in a picture shared by Prince on Instagram

Blanket, Prince and Paris are rarely seen together in public and their showing for the Soho premiere may be the first joint appearance in over a decade (seen here in 2012)

Blanket, Prince and Paris are rarely seen together in public and their showing for the Soho premiere may be the first joint appearance in over a decade (seen here in 2012)

While Paris and Prince have become celebrities in their own right, Blanket (left) is rarely seen in public. The three are pictured here in Indiana in 2012

While Paris and Prince have become celebrities in their own right, Blanket (left) is rarely seen in public. The three are pictured here in Indiana in 2012

Blanket was embroiled in scandal almost immediately after his birth. At only nine months old, he became the center of controversy after his dad held him over the edge of a balcony (above)

Blanket was embroiled in scandal almost immediately after his birth. At only nine months old, he became the center of controversy after his dad held him over the edge of a balcony (above)

Since his father's death, the singer's youngest son, previously known as Blanket but now goes by Bigi, has lived a relatively quiet life (seen as a child with Jackson and his siblings)

Since his father’s death, the singer’s youngest son, previously known as Blanket but now goes by Bigi, has lived a relatively quiet life (seen as a child with Jackson and his siblings)

The Jackson children's faces were often covered with fabric and other bizarre masks as the singer faced accusations of child molestation

The Jackson children’s faces were often covered with fabric and other bizarre masks as the singer faced accusations of child molestation

However, he has been thrust into the public gaze amid a legal battle with his grandmother and one-time legal guardian, Katherine Jackson, over her attempts to use Michael’s estate to pay her legal fees in a dispute over his back catalogue.

Bigi, Prince and Paris approved of a plan last year by the executors of Jackson’s estate to sell publishing rights and recorded masters to Sony for $600million.

Katherine, who is not a direct beneficiary of Jackson’s estate, instead receiving money from a sub trust created in the singer’s will, has appealed against the move but wants the estate to cover her fees.

Bigi had maintained that Katherine should pay her own legal costs, said to be around half a million US dollars, if she wished to contest the decision.

But the King of Pop’s mother sought to have her legal fees in the appeal covered by Jackson’s estate, of which the three children are direct beneficiaries.

In a filing obtained by People, Katherine maintains that the estate, valued at $1.5 billion, can afford to pay her legal fees and should do so.

Paris, 25, cut a glamorous figure for the event as she donned a dark brown midi dress with a strap detail. 

The garment also featured long sleeves while Paris added height to her frame with a pair of matching open-toed heels.

Styling her blonde locks into loose waves, the singer carried a grey clutch bag and completed her look with a pair of earrings.

Prince, 27, looked dapper in a black suit with a red shirt while Blanket opted for a black suit with an open white shirt.

Paris and Prince regularly turn out for events – but Blanket is rarely seen with them. He may have last joined his brother and sister on a red carpet as long ago as 2012, reports Hola!.

The West End musical – which was nominated for 10 Tony Awards – stars Myles Frost as Michael Jackson and looks back at the pop singer’s early childhood and the peak of his musical career.

However, the stories of his children do not make the cut – including the infamous episode of Jackson dangling Blanket, then less than a year old, over a balcony to show legions of adoring fans below.

He was given the nickname Blanket at a young age by Jackson, who once said of the unusual moniker: ‘It’s an expression I use with my family and my employees.

‘I say, “You should blanket me, you should blanket her with something,” meaning, like, a blanket is a blessing. It’s a way of showing love and caring.’

But just over a year after Blanket was born, Jackson was charged with seven counts of child sex abuse and stood trial. He was later acquitted of all charges.

During the saga he sought to shield Prince, Paris and Jackson from the public eye, making them cover their faces with masks or fabric if they set foot outside.

Paris later said in 2010 of wearing the disguises: ‘It wasn’t always comfortable, but I appreciated it.’

‘My dad spoke to me like an adult. He told us the reason for the masks was he wanted us to have our own life without him,’ Prince has also said. 

Michael passed away on June 25, 2009 - when Blanket was seven - and for the first time in his life, the world got a clear look at his face when he attended the memorial service

Michael passed away on June 25, 2009 – when Blanket was seven – and for the first time in his life, the world got a clear look at his face when he attended the memorial service 

Blanket is now attempting to stop Katherine (seen together in 2009 at the memorial) from using his late father's estate money to fund her ongoing legal battle with her son's estate

Blanket is now attempting to stop Katherine (seen together in 2009 at the memorial) from using his late father’s estate money to fund her ongoing legal battle with her son’s estate

Michael's legacy has fallen under renewed scrutiny because of the long-running accusations that he sexually abused children; he and Katherine are pictured outside the trial in 2005

Michael’s legacy has fallen under renewed scrutiny because of the long-running accusations that he sexually abused children; he and Katherine are pictured outside the trial in 2005

In the years that followed, the three Jackson children made rare appearances at various events and red carpets, but they mostly lived normal lives out of the spotlight (seen together in 2012)

In the years that followed, the three Jackson children made rare appearances at various events and red carpets, but they mostly lived normal lives out of the spotlight (seen together in 2012)

Prince, Blanket and Paris Jackson attending their father's handprint ceremony at the Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles in 2012

Prince, Blanket and Paris Jackson attending their father’s handprint ceremony at the Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles in 2012

Blanket has mostly stayed out of the public eye - occasionally appearing in snaps shared by his siblings on social media (such as here in 2017)

Blanket has mostly stayed out of the public eye – occasionally appearing in snaps shared by his siblings on social media (such as here in 2017)

Prince and Bibi pictured at an event together in Los Angeles. The London outing may be the first time they have been pictured as a trio with Paris in public in over a decade

Prince and Bibi pictured at an event together in Los Angeles. The London outing may be the first time they have been pictured as a trio with Paris in public in over a decade

The three children spent much of their formative years at Jackson’s Neverland ranch as he sought to shield them from the public eye, and were home-schooled.

As a result, they have always had a close bond, with Prince telling Good Morning Britain in 2002: ‘When we were growing up, my father would say, you know, “We could have nothing, but you look around in this room, your brother, your sister, and me, that’s all you’ll ever have.”‘

The Neverland estate was a dream for children – filled with rides, toys, and even a zoo – but Paris has insisted that she and her siblings didn’t get to have as much fun as some may have thought.

‘We were very privileged growing up, but when it came to things like getting toys and going on the rides, we had to earn that,’ she said.

‘It was very clear to us that those rides and the zoo were for underprivileged children – children who were sick and couldn’t go to Disneyland.

‘If we were good, and we did our homework and we worked hard throughout the week, maybe we could go at the weekends, but we had to earn it.’

But the estate was overshadowed by the allegations against Jackson, as it was alleged that he had molested children at his home on the ranch. 

And after Jackson’s death in 2009 from a cardiac arrest linked to the use of sedatives and the anaesthetic drug propofol, the trio were sent to live with Katherine as their legal guardian.

Their cousin TJ Jackson was later given emergency temporary custody of the trio after Katherine was reported missing in 2012 – only to later claim she had taken a trip to a spa. TJ was later appointed sole guardian.

Jackson’s children leaned heavily on one another for support after the singer died. 

Prince once said: ‘After his passing, and us being thrown into the real world, my siblings, honestly, they picked up the slack that I unfortunately left behind.

‘I think with any siblings, you know, you grow up in a situation and factors that are very similar. 

‘Just like in that situation, you have a bond with them because nobody else really understands how you grew up or how you were raised.

‘But they 100 per cent understand you and it’s a very raw, unfiltered relationship. Especially when there’s a lot of people who may not have the best intentions for you.’

But he does appear on their accounts once in a while, and is sometimes seen on rare outings around Los Angeles. 

In 2015, he shed the nickname that he’d had for his whole life and started going by Bigi instead.

And in 2017, he was seen for the first time in years when his sister, Paris, shared a snap with him and Prince on Christmas. 

When he turned 18 in 2019, she gave another rare glimpse of the then-teenager while sharing a touching tribute in honor of his birthday.

Actor Myles Frost portrays Michael Jackson in the stage musical

Actor Myles Frost portrays Michael Jackson in the stage musical

The actor did the splits during the curtain call for the press night performance

The actor did the splits during the curtain call for the press night performance

MJ: The Musical has been received well by theatre fans and had grossed $170.9 million at the box office by January 2024

MJ: The Musical has been received well by theatre fans and had grossed $170.9 million at the box office by January 2024

Myles Frost sported a bright red jacket with a matching belt and black trousers

Myles Frost sported a bright red jacket with a matching belt and black trousers

On stage, he sported a yellow shirt tucked into black slim-fitting trousers (pictured with co-star Mitchell Zhangazha)

On stage, he sported a yellow shirt tucked into black slim-fitting trousers (pictured with co-star Mitchell Zhangazha)

Cast members Mitchell Zhangazha, Phebe Edwards, Myles Frost, Philippa Stefani and Ashley Zhangazha posed for a snap together

Cast members Mitchell Zhangazha, Phebe Edwards, Myles Frost, Philippa Stefani and Ashley Zhangazha posed for a snap together

Myles ensured all eyes were on him during the performance

Myles ensured all eyes were on him during the performance

Philippa Stefani, Mitchell Zhangazha, Myles, Ashley Zhangazha, Phebe Edwards and Rohan Pinnock-Hamilton take a bow during the curtain call

Philippa Stefani, Mitchell Zhangazha, Myles, Ashley Zhangazha, Phebe Edwards and Rohan Pinnock-Hamilton take a bow during the curtain call

Michael Jackson seen performing at Wembley Stadium in London in 1987 during the Bad Tour

Michael Jackson seen performing at Wembley Stadium in London in 1987 during the Bad Tour 

MJ: The Musical, which stars Myles Frost as the singer, has been received well by theatre fans and had grossed $170.9 million at the box office by January 2024.

The show however, has attracted criticism for its ‘sanitised’ tale of Jackson’s early ’90s Dangerous years, during which he was dogged by allegations of child abuse – a subject the new musical avoids.

Despite vowing to give up touring, Jackson confirmed he would follow the release of his fourth solo album with a globe-trotting series of shows to raise funds for his Heal the World Foundation in 1992.

The charity was set up by the singer to provide medicine to children and fight world hunger, homelessness, child exploitation and physical and sexual abuse, with Jackson donating all profits from the tour to its coffers.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and lifelong Jackson fan Lynn Nottage, who wrote the book for the musical, said she wanted to focus on the singer’s music rather than delve into the scandal.

MJ: The Musical portrays Jackson’s life up until 1992, a year before the first sexual abuse allegations against the singer surfaced.

‘Do I believe he was a paedophile? I don’t know that I can say one way or the other… It does hurt my heart to think about the possibility that it could be true, and I pray that it isn’t true, and that’s all I can do,’ Nottage has said.

US critics have hit out at the failure to address the shocking allegations. Some have described the play as ‘sanitised’, a ‘monument to misconduct’ and ‘very smooth, somewhat criminal’.

A New York Times review was headlined: ‘In MJ, no one’s looking at the Man in the Mirror’. Meanwhile, the New York Stage Review wrote: ‘Michael Jackson is today a credibly accused child molester, and MJ succeeds only if you can ignore that fact.’



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