Blanket ‘stops talking’ after Jacko doco


But since Michael Jackson died back in 2009, his younger son — real name Prince Michael Jackson II — has become an enigma, hidden away by the Jackson estate.

The Sun reports they have seized control of his life, cutting him off from his childhood friends, and the 17-year-old is looked after by his 88-year-old grandma Katherine and co-guardian TJ Jackson, Michael’s 40-year-old nephew.

Michael Jackson, left, and his children Prince Michael “Blanket” Jackson II, Paris Jackson and Prince Jackson. Picture: GettySource:Supplied

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This week another nephew, 45-year-old Taj, claimed Blanket — who prefers to be known as Biji — had stopped talking since the Michael Jackson sex abuse allegations resurfaced in bombshell TV documentary Leaving Neverland.

He told the Victoria Derbyshire TV show yesterday: “Biji is the most talkative kid at school and he isn’t talking any more. We’re all worried about him.”

As far back as 2017 Blanket’s elder sister Paris, now 20, was raising concerns for his welfare. She said he was often left to his own devices in Katherine’s mansion in Calabasas, California, preparing his own dinners — which could be as simple as a bowl of cereal or a Snickers bar.

And now Blanket’s British godfather Mark Lester, Jackson’s former best friend, has voiced his fears for Blanket, the longer he stays hidden away from normality by the estate.

Former child star Mark Lester. Picture: AP

Former child star Mark Lester. Picture: APSource:News Limited

Mark Lester in Oliver! Picture: Supplied

Mark Lester in Oliver! Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

In an exclusive interview with The Sun, former child actor Lester said: “They try and shield him from the outside world, which may be not such a good thing. Shield them from certain things, certainly, but to keep him isolated is not right.”

And he appeared to back up the claims by Jackson’s nephew Taj that Blanket was not speaking — but that the problem dated from long ago.

Recalling what Blanket was like as a youngster, Mark said members of Jackson’s inner circle were concerned that he barely spoke.

The late Michael Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson. Picture: AFP

The late Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

He added: “He kept himself to himself. He would just immerse himself in his own little world.”

Lester said that today Blanket’s life is tightly controlled, adding: “The Jackson estate don’t want him to make money for anyone else. He’s an heir to a billion-dollar trust.

“They have trust issues, especially with people who may think they want to take advantage of either Blanket, Paris or Prince (Blanket’s 22-year-old brother) for their own financial gain.

“When you get super-wealthy you become very guarded and very mistrustful of a lot of people. It’s just sad that this money issue would get in the way of them actually being able to have good friends.”

Michael Jackson with his children Blanket, Paris (2nd R) and Prince Michael I. Picture: Supplied

Michael Jackson with his children Blanket, Paris (2nd R) and Prince Michael I. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Dad of four Lester added: “I would just like to reach out. What would be great is one of them picking up the phone and even if they didn’t speak to me, speak to one of my kids.

“Blanket could speak to my son. Everyone needs friends — you can’t have too many. We spent an awful lot of time with them when they were growing up.

“I was with Blanket since he was born, until Michael died, so that’s seven years of his early life. I’m sure he’d love to see my son again.”

At Jackson’s funeral in 2009 Blanket was a shy seven-year-old who sat in the front row clutching a Michael Jackson doll.

In the decade since then, his siblings Paris and Prince have gone on to become public figures and move away from the family home — his sister is a model and his brother a wannabe TV producer.

Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson (L) and two sons Prince Michael Jackson II (also known as Blanket) and Prince Michael Jackson I (R) at a memorial service for their father in 2009. Picture: Supplied

Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson (L) and two sons Prince Michael Jackson II (also known as Blanket) and Prince Michael Jackson I (R) at a memorial service for their father in 2009. Picture: SuppliedSource:News Limited

Blanket, meanwhile, remains hidden away. He was given his nickname by his father, who was inspired by the character Linus in cartoon strip Peanuts, who always carried a blanket with him.

Blanket had a surrogate mother, but unlike his siblings — who were both carried by surrogate Debbie Rowe, a nurse at a dermatology clinic where Jackson had been treated — Blanket’s mother has never officially been revealed.

Her name was not included on his birth certificate, however she is now thought to be a Mexican nurse named Helena — a theory backed by Mark Lester.

Having been homeschooled before his father’s death, Blanket is now at a private school. His hobbies include martial arts, at which he is a black belt, and playing video games. His wish to be known as Biji rather than Blanket was due to being bullied at school.

L-R La Toya Jackson, Alexandra Burke and Blanket Jackson backstage at the 'Michael Forever' concert in 2011. Picture: Getty

L-R La Toya Jackson, Alexandra Burke and Blanket Jackson backstage at the ‘Michael Forever’ concert in 2011. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

A source said: “Growing up, his school mates have been slightly mean to him because of their jealousy over who he is — and going by the name Blanket made him a much easier target for ridicule.”

His profile and image is kept under tight control by the Jackson estate. He is not allowed on social media and any photo featuring him is heavily vetted before being released by family members. Paris, in contrast, is an avid social media user who has posted more than 1700 pictures on Instagram.

However in recent years she has posted just one snap featuring her younger brother, a group shot of her siblings with family friend and rapper Omer Bhatti on Christmas Day 2017, captioned “Happy Christmas from ours to yours #brahdas.”

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happy christmas from ours to yours #brahdas

A post shared by Paris-Michael K. Jackalope (@parisjackson) on

Former child actor Lester, who played the title role in the 1968 film musical Oliver!, is godfather to all three of Jackson’s children but he has not seen any of them since the singer died — which he finds particularly heartbreaking, given how close his kids were to Jackson’s.

Lester — like the Jackson children — has always pleaded the singer’s innocence in the face of sex abuse allegations of the past two decades.

In Leaving Neverland, accusers James Safechuck and Wade Robson give intricate details of how they claim Jackson manipulated them into a sexual relationship. But Lestersaid: “This is not the Michael Jackson that I knew for over 30 years. This is not the man that my children knew.”

As for getting back in touch with Blanket he said: “It would be a bit like you picking up the phone and going, ‘I want to go and see the Queen’. You have to go through various channels.”

(L-R) Prince Michael Jackson, Latoya Jackson, Blanket Jackson, Monica Gabor and Paris Jackson in 2012. Picture: Getty

(L-R) Prince Michael Jackson, Latoya Jackson, Blanket Jackson, Monica Gabor and Paris Jackson in 2012. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

He continued: “Unfortunately I think some members of the Jackson family are very mistrusting and I guess they had a lot of people that may have been taking advantage.

“I’ve witnessed at first hand people taking advantage of Michael. It’s a bit sad but maybe they think I’m the same. I want nothing from them other than just to reconnect and be friends.”

Out of all the Jackson siblings, Blanket seems to have inherited his father’s showman skills as well as his iconic looks.

In October 2011, backstage at the Michael Forever tribute concert at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, he was seen with his long, flowing black hair, dancing and spinning as if he were performing an exact Michael Jackson dance.

Blanket Jackson, Paris Jackson, and Prince Michael Jackson at the opening night of the Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour in 2012. Picture: AP

Blanket Jackson, Paris Jackson, and Prince Michael Jackson at the opening night of the Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour in 2012. Picture: APSource:AP

In a 2013 documentary the late Joe Jackson — who launched his son Michael’s career in the 1960s with his siblings in the Jackson 5 — voiced his view that Blanket had the potential to be a huge star.

“They said that there would never be another Michael Jackson and I say that we already have one. But I said he just has to be trained.”

However Lester believes Blanket will never follow in Jackson’s footsteps by becoming a singer, as he thinks he would be put off by the fame.

He said: “He is highly intelligent, that boy. He would rather have his father’s legacy in front of him and not try to explore that avenue.

“I think he will be creative in art, in design, but I can pretty much assure you that he will not become a performer.

“I don’t think he hates fame but he’s aware of it, and that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

“He’s the kind of person who will do something incredible, like animation, something graphic, or be an architect. He’ll do something that he can apply, that he can work by himself or in a small team and then he’ll be incredibly artistic in that way, or a painter.

“He’s not the sort of personality which will see him dragged into the Hollywood party circuit.

“He’s much more quiet. He doesn’t want to go down the Kardashian-type route.”

This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission





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