Michael Jackson is known the world over for his music and entertainment legacy — he isn’t named the “King of Pop” for nothing. His long career full of hit songs, show-stopping performances, and celebrity collaborations has made him a household name. And although his life wasn’t without controversy, there’s no denying that Michael left an indelible mark on music history
The artist’s personal life sparked interest with the public, including his marriage to Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie Presley, but for the most part, he was an intensely private person who kept his work and personal life separate. That extended to his other relationships and the children that he had. Perhaps something that many people weren’t aware of is that Michael fathered three children, including a son named Michael Joseph “Prince” Jackson Jr., a daughter named Paris Jackson, and another son named Prince Michael “Blanket” Jackson II. For most of their lives, the Jackson children were kept out of the spotlight, except for the rare occasion where they joined their father publicly. They were thrust in the spotlight for a brief moment upon their father’s death before retreating away again.
But in recent years Paris has begun a career in the entertainment industry, which has, in turn, shed some light on the Jackson children. And now Prince Michael, who went by the nickname “Blanket” for much of his youth, has grown up, having just turned 19 in February. The young man is truly moving into adulthood, as he just bought his own multimillion-dollar home and has even eschewed his former nickname for a name he now prefers to go by, Bigi.
Michael Jackson’s Rise To Fame
Michael Jackson needs no introduction. Born on Aug. 29, 1958, into a family of ten children, Michael was the eighth child, and his position as one of the youngest would affect how he was treated by his father, Joe Jackson. The patriarch of the family would taunt Michael, physically and emotionally abusing him as he was one of the youngest.
By 1964 when Michael was just 6 years old, he and some of his brothers formed a band named the Jackson Brothers, later changing their name to the Jackson 5. They were led by their father and began performing around the Midwest, before moving to Los Angeles in 1968, when Michael was just 10.
Their success only continued to grow, with Michael, the youngest of the group, becoming a standout. Years later “Rolling Stone” named him “a prodigy,” explaining that he “quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer” of the Jackson 5.
Michael stayed performing with the Jackson 5 but at the same time was emerging as a solo artist, releasing his own albums with Motown, the label the group was signed to. By the late ’70s, Michael, who was becoming a young man in his late teens and early 20s at this point, began to be even more independent after moving to New York to appear in the musical film “The Wiz.” While there he became influenced by other music genres such as hip hop which helped to refine his sound into a more complex one. His fifth solo album “Off the Wall,” which came out in 1979, pushed him into a new direction and really established him as a solo performer.
King of Pop
The 1980s cemented Michael’s reign over pop music when his 1982 album “Thriller” became the best-selling album of 1983, the best-selling album of all time in the United States, and the best-selling album worldwide. That was the year he also debuted his moonwalk dance, which would become his signature.
The next few years saw his star rise even higher, as he collaborated and befriended well-known artists, continued his charity work, including “We Are the World,” which was co-written with Lionel Richie, and the release of his follow-up album “Bad” in 1987.
It was also in this decade that his appearance began to change quite drastically. He underwent his first rhinoplasty after breaking his nose during a dance routine, but after breathing problems arose from the operation, he would go on to have further surgeries. He was also suffering from a skin condition known as vitiligo, which is a condition that causes the skin to lose its pigment cells. Michael sought professional help from a dermatologist and it’s believed that in combination with using skin bleaching creams and his vitiligo worsening, his skin lost pigment quite considerably, giving him a much lighter appearance compared to his youth. From the start of the decade to the end, the way Michael looked had changed drastically.
It was at his dermatology clinic that he first met Debbie Rowe, an assistant there who would become his second wife and with whom he’d have his first two children, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. and Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson. If the ’80s pushed Michael to the top, the ’90s propelled him into outer space.
Michael kicked off the ’90s by releasing “Dangerous” in 1991, which featured hits such as “Black or White,” “Heal the World,” and “Remember the Time.” Musically, he was at the top of his game, but his personal life was garnering more controversy. He began to build his ranch, named Neverland, around this time, which featured a Ferris wheel, carousel, a zoo, and movie theater.
Then in 1993, he married Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie Presley. Their union would only last a year and a half, with some suggesting it was simply a publicity stunt. But just a few years later Michael would get married a second time with Rowe, the dermatology assistant he had known for some years. Rowe was six months pregnant with Michael Joseph, who is commonly referred to as “Prince,” at the time of their wedding. He was born on Feb. 13, 1997. Just over one year later, the couple had their second child Paris, who was born on April 3, 1998. Sadly, their relationship wasn’t meant to last either, as they divorced in 1999, with Michael retaining custody of the kids after an $8 million settlement.
The next years saw Michael’s legendary status continue on, but he was also plagued with increasing criticisms about his odd behavior. From his childhood-themed Neverland Ranch to his friendships with young children and lawsuits he became embroiled in, Michael’s image wasn’t as clean as it once was in his youth and it all took a toll on him mentally. He continued to record and release music, but it was clear that the artist was under an extreme amount of pressure.
Prince Michael “Blanket” Jackson II
In 2002, Michael had his third child, this time via an anonymous surrogate. Prince Michael Jackson II would be nicknamed “Blanket” by his father — the unconventional name was yet another example of Michael’s increasingly eccentric behavior.
Then on Nov. 20, 2002, Michael landed himself in more controversy when he dangled his infant son over a balcony in Berlin, Germany. After arriving at the Hotel Adlon, the musician was swamped by fans and paparazzi. Soon after he went out on his balcony, which was on the fourth story of the hotel, and dangled his son, who had a sheet over his head, over the balcony edge. The incident was captured on video and Michael received widespread criticism from the media.
In a statement that he released soon after, as reported by MTV, Michael stated that the incident was a “terrible mistake.” He continued:
“I offer no excuses for what happened. I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children.”
The furor surrounding the incident was further heightened by the fact that Blanket was a total mystery to the world — nobody knew who his mother was, while Rowe had to deny that it was her, and he hadn’t appeared in public until he was about 6 months old.
Following the incident, Michael kept his children out of the public eye, which only garnered more interest in them. For most of the 2000s, there wasn’t much known about Prince, Paris, and Blanket, but with their father’s untimely death in 2009 at the age of 50, the Jackson children were thrust into the spotlight.
Life After Michael
The three children appeared in public at their father’s funeral in 2009, with Prince aged 12, Paris, 11, and Blanket just 7 years old at the time of Michael’s death. The following year in 2010, the two elder Jackson children accepted a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award for their dad at the Grammy Awards. But for the most part, all three spent the next years staying out of the public eye.
But as Michael’s children have begun to grow up into young adults, it seems they’re choosing to follow in their father’s footsteps in some ways. Paris was the first to begin her career in the spotlight, working as a model and actress. She’s been very vocal in the last years about how she struggled as a teenager in the wake of her father’s death but is in a much better place now. Prince has also appeared in a public capacity on numerous occasions, telling the “Los Angeles Times” that “music is a big part of [his] life.” He added:
“It shaped who I am because of my family, but I’ve always wanted to go into production. My dad would ask me what I wanted to do and my answer was always producing and directing.”
With Prince aged 24 and Paris 23, the elder of the Jackson siblings are well and truly adults who are making the first big steps in their career. But what about Blanket, the youngest child? Even today he is still quite a mystery to the world, but as he’s grown older — he’s now 19 — we are finding out more about the young man he’s becoming. Here’s what we know about Michael Jackson’s youngest child now.
Call Him “Bigi”
Following Michael’s death, Blanket was raised by his grandmother, Michael’s own mother Katherine Jackson, who had become his legal guardian, as well as Prince and Paris’ too. The youngster made headlines when “Radar Online” announced in 2015 that Blanket had changed his name to Bigi, following years of bullying he had undergone due to his original nickname. A source had told the publication:
“He always thought that the name Blanket sounded so stupid and resented his father for calling him that.”
The insider added:
“Growing up, his school mates have always been slightly mean to him because of their jealousy over who he is and going by Blanket made him a much easier target for ridicule.”
The name change came as Bigi was starting at The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California. Although it might seem like a minor detail, the move was no doubt a big deal for Bigi, who was beginning to make decisions for himself.
In 2017, “People” reported on how the Jackson children were doing, with a family friend telling the publication:
“The kids live like Michael is constantly looking down upon them,” while Bigi “has had the most problems adjusting after Michael died. He acted very lost and extremely upset.”
It surely wouldn’t have been easy for him as a child of just 7. Thankfully, however, he seems to be doing better now. In the same article, the family friend said that Bigi was “shy around people he doesn’t know” but that he’s confident at his high school and mostly focused on his grades, sports, movies, and socializing with his friends and many cousins.
Buying His Own Home
In 2020, “Today” reported that Bigi had bought his first home. The $2.62 million dollar abode is situated in an exclusive gated community in Calabasas, California, where his grandmother Katherine also lives. The 6,382-square-foot property boasts six bedrooms and seven-and-a-half bathrooms after the estate was extensively remodeled from its original construction.
Although he’s just become a legal adult, Bigi has shown a lot of growth in the last years, despite the fact that he still prefers to lead a private life. While honoring his birthday in 2020, Paris wrote that she was so “proud of the handsome, intelligent, insightful, funny, and kind young man” that Bigi had become, before adding, “he likes privacy so that’s all I gotta say.”
Bigi remains the most elusive of Michael’s kids, but an early interview with him from the 2012 documentary “Jacksonology: Our Story,” as reported by “Mirror,” gives us a hint of what the young man might pursue in life. He said:
“Sometimes I would go in his [my dad’s] room while he was getting ready for something and watch. He was a good dancer, he was a very good dancer. I can’t dance or sing … I’m not that kind of person who sings and dances … When I grow up I want to be a director because it’s fun, and I make little movies when I’m at my house with cousins and friends and different things. He [dad] said it would be a good thing so follow whatever you want to do.”
Bigi has his whole life ahead of him. His reinvention from being a child to a young adult has been remarkable to see and we wish him all the best as he chases his dreams. We’re sure this isn’t the last we’ll hear of him.