How did TJ Jackson and his young cousins, the late Michael Jackson’s children Prince, Paris, and Blanket, become so close?
TJ, the 34-year-old son of Michael’s brother Tito, explained his connection with the three, whom he shares custody of with his grandmother Katherine, as he gave an emotional testimony in L.A. on Thursday.
Michael’s nephew is a witness in the wrongful death lawsuit that Michael’s mother, Katherine, and the Jackson kids have brought against concert promoter AEG Live, claiming that it was responsible for employing Dr. Conrad Murray, the man who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering a lethal dose of the anesthetic Propofol to Michael in 2009.
TJ said the “Beat It” singer offered support after the 1994 murder of his mother, Delores Jackson, and he wanted to repay the favor, according to the L.A. Times.
“My world crumbled and my Uncle Michael saved it,” TJ said. “He was there. He kept me inspired. Kept me ambitious and he was just there for me.”
He continued, “I don’t think I could live properly the rest of my life if I didn’t give 100 percent to my cousins if they didn’t turn out the way he wanted them to be.”
TJ also offered some insight as to how the children were affected by their father’s death.
He described 16-year-old Prince, who took the stand on Wednesday, as “my uncle’s little assistant,” he said. “He was always very mature for his age and very smart.”
When he talked about Paris, TJ confirmed what Prince said one day before, that she was the one struggling the most with the loss of her dad.
Paris “was daddy’s girl,” TJ said. “My uncle was her world. My uncle gave them more love. For it to be taken away has been very challenging for her.”
Michael’s youngest, Blanket, now 11, was always wrapped around his father, he added.
Although TJ’s made it his mission to take care of the Jackson kids, he said the trail of photographers who follow them everywhere are making it difficult.
They’re “a complete annoyance,” he said. “It’s awful and I think there should be laws against it.”
He added that, “In my opinion, I know it’s making everything harder for the kids to grieve and recover and progress.”
The king of pop’s nephew recalled that the last time that he saw his uncle was one month and 11 days before Michael’s death, at an anniversary party for his grandparents. Michael was in a happy mood.
“I wanted more kids, and he wanted more kids, so we talked about that,” TJ said. “He asked me if I was going to London and I said ‘100 percent’ and he gave me a hug.”
The Jackson trial is expected to last until August.