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Michael Jackson’s children make a rare public appearance together: After growing up at Neverland – and 22 years after that balcony picture – Prince, 27, Paris, 25, and Blanket, 22, step out at MJ the Musical amid court fight over their father’s estate

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 a preview of MJ: The Musical at the Prince Edward Theatre in London on Wednesday night – possibly their first public turnout as a trio in over a decade.

But while 27-year-old Prince 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.

The trio were once all smiles as they were pictured together as youngsters in 2012 – snapped at a handprint ceremony outside Los Angeles’ Chinese Theatre for their father almost 12 years ago.

But since then, years after the singer’s death from a drug-related cardiac arrest, further allegations have emerged against the King of Pop – potentially casting a shadow over his offspring’s lives.

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

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

Prince and Paris, born to Jackson’s then-wife Debbie Rowe, and Blanket, born via artificial insemination with an anonymous surrogate mother, have childhoods unlike those of most youngsters, even those born to celebrities with Jackson’s star power.

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 preview of the MJ musical, then – which controversially shies away from accusations of paedophilia the star faced in the 1990s, at the time the stage show is set – is a rare united showing for the junior Jackson trio, at a time of particular stress.

Bigi has been unwittingly thrust into the spotlight more recently amid a legal battle with his grandmother and one-time legal guardian, Katherine Jackson. 

Katherine, 93, is appealing against a plan to sell off publishing rights to Jackson’s back catalogue – and wants the singer’s estate to pay her legal fees in the dispute.

The youngest Jackson 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. 

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

Katherine is not a direct beneficiary of Jackson’s estate, instead receiving money from a sub trust created in the singer’s will.

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.

In court documents, lawyers acting for the youngest of MJ’s children said Katherine’s efforts to oppose the sale were an ‘extreme longshot’ and a ‘waste’ of resources.

Nominated for 10 Tony Awards, MJ stars Myles Frost as Michael Jackson and looks back at the pop singer’s early childhood and the peak of his musical career.

But given its 1990s setting – ahead of the the star’s Dangerous world tour – the illustrious history of his children does not make the cut.

Born in February 1997, eldest child Prince – full name Michael Joseph Jackson Jr – has famous godparents in the form of actors Macaulay Culkin and the late Elizabeth Taylor, both close friends of the King of Pop.

At the time of his birth, Michael said he felt ‘blessed beyond comprehension’ to have become a father.

Prince went on to study for a business administration degree and co-founded a charity, Heal Los Angeles, supporting young people in inner city areas of the Californian metropolis.

And these days, he keeps himself busy on YouTube, where he shares vlogs of his life, including a recent trip to Las Vegas to mark his father’s 65th birthday in Las Vegas and road trips on his prized motorbike.

‘I would like to think that he would be very proud,’ Prince, now 26, said of his father at the time in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.

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

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 MJ's mother Katherine (seen with Blanket in 2009) from using his late father's estate money to fund her legal battle with the singer's estate

Blanket is now attempting to stop MJ’s mother Katherine (seen with Blanket in 2009) from using his late father’s estate money to fund her legal battle with the singer’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

Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson was born on April 3 1998, named after the city in which she was conceived – and struggled to cope with her father’s death when she was just 11 years old.

She told a Rolling Stone journalist she had tried to take her life several times by the age of 15 and later sought help with her mental health.

She has since followed in her father’s footsteps, embarking on a music career of her own with solo ‘indie folk’ album Wilted in 2020 and harder-hitting single Hit Your Knees last year.

Paris also models and acts, appearing in Hulu teen comedy Sex Appeal and American Horror Story in recent years. 

And youngest child Blanket, who now goes by Bigi, is perhaps, unwittingly, Jackson’s most famous child.

It was little Blanket – born Prince Michael Jackson II – who was dangled over a balcony at Berlin’s Adlon Hotel in 2002 at the tender age of nine months as the singer got ‘caught up in the moment’ as he waved to fans.

Born on February 21 2002, he was given the unusual nickname at a young age by Jackson, who once said: ‘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.’

In 2015, Blanket 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.

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.

But during the saga, with so much attention on the star, 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. 

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.’

Paris Jackson pictured during Paris Fashion Week earlier this month. She was named after the city, where she was conceived by Michael and mother Debbie Rowe

Paris Jackson pictured during Paris Fashion Week earlier this month. She was named after the city, where she was conceived by Michael and mother Debbie Rowe

Jackson has carved out a career as a musician, model and actress (seen here in the video for 2023 single Hit Your Knees)

Jackson has carved out a career as a musician, model and actress (seen here in the video for 2023 single Hit Your Knees)

Blanket and Prince Jackson were spotted in Las Vegas last November as they visited to mark what would have been their father's 65th birthday

Blanket and Prince Jackson were spotted in Las Vegas last November as they visited to mark what would have been their father’s 65th birthday

Prince, like his sister Paris, has not been afraid to enjoy the limelight - seen here at a charity gala in Los Angeles in August 2023

Prince, like his sister Paris, has not been afraid to enjoy the limelight – seen here at a charity gala in Los Angeles in August 2023

Paris, Prince and Blanket Jackson alongside La Toya Jackson in 2012 - which may be one of the last times the trio were seen in public together

Paris, Prince and Blanket Jackson alongside La Toya Jackson in 2012 – which may be one of the last times the trio were seen in public together

Prince and Bigi Jackson seen leaving the premiere of MJ: The Musical in London last night

Prince and Bigi Jackson seen leaving the premiere of MJ: The Musical in London last night

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

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 the singer’s mother, Katherine Jackson, who was appointed 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.’

Allegations against Jackson reared their head once again with the release of documentary Finding Neverland in 2019.

It featured detailed allegations of child sexual abuse made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who each claimed Jackson abused them at a young age.

Backlash to the documentary, which was co-produced by both US network HBO and the UK’s Channel 4, was swift.

An episode of The Simpsons guest starring Jackson was permanently pulled from syndication shortly after Finding Neverland’s release; several radio stations across the world also temporarily pulled the singer’s music from their rotating playlists.

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

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)

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 

However, many of Jackson’s other honours and awards have not been rescinded and, as the musical’s popularity has made clear, the singer’s back catalogue remains beloved by fans.

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.

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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