On being Paris Jackson, Michael’s daughter: a dream or nightmare?

Not too many people spend time worrying about Paris Jackson. After all, she’s young, pretty, has lots of money and time to dabble in an acting career, and develop a presence, as they say, on social media, with every tweet dissected for deeper meaning.

But besides having all the growing pains and insecurities of a 15-year-old, she’s also Michael Jackson’s daughter, which comes with its own set of unique problems. She’s in the headlines this week for what’s being called a cry for help. Fire and sheriff’s officials say they transported someone from Paris Jackson’s California street in the middle of the night for a possible overdose, according to an Associated Press report. That hasn’t stopped everyone else from filling in the blanks.


Paris Jackson, in 2011. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Of course, TMZ is touting its insider information, that she called the suicide hotline that sent help. I would call that development a blessing.

In a reality-show culture, the real-life trials of a human being pass by like so much entertainment. Paris, since her father’s death, has at times embraced the publicity, giving interviews to Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres, appearing in magazine articles and posting her smoky-eyed makeup secrets on YouTube.

But whatever kind of parent Michael Jackson may have been, he was pretty much the only one she had when he died and the then 11-year-old girl said softly, “Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine,” at a public memorial. June 25 will be the fourth anniversary of his death, though the lawsuits continue, with Paris listed as a potential witness in a case against her father’s last concert promoter – a mix of mourning and litigation.

Amid the talented and long-running Jackson circus was a family. It’s no surprise that despite her unusual domestic arrangement – a biological mother she had little contact with — Paris has reportedly been trying to forge a relationship with that mom, Debbie Rowe, who this week confirmed details of Paris’s recent troubles to Entertainment Tonight.

It’s a family where everyone is a headline name that comes with its own drama, and everyone has a lawyer. One of them, the attorney for Paris’s grandmother Katherine Jackson, who shares guardianship of Michael Jackson’s three children with the singer’s nephew, TJ Jackson, released a statement on Wednesday.

“Being a sensitive 15 year old is difficult no matter who you are,” said Perry Sanders Jr. “It is especially difficult when you lose the person closest to you. Paris is physically fine and is getting appropriate medical attention. Please respect her privacy and the family’s privacy.”

As this reality show takes a sad turn, the rest of us can change the channel.

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Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning multimedia journalist in Charlotte, N.C., has worked at The New York Times, Charlotte Observer and as national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter: @mcurtisnc3

Mary C. Curtis is an award-winning multimedia journalist in Charlotte, N.C. She has worked at The New York Times, Charlotte Observer and as national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter @mcurtisnc3.
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