By NICK CHILES
As a parent, as a Michael Jackson fan, as a grownup, it’s extremely painful to watch the continuing struggles of Paris Jackson, Michael’s daughter.
There was the news earlier this month that she tried to kill herself by slashing her wrist with a meat cleaver and swallowing a bunch of Motrin. This comes after the painful saga last year involving the feud with her aunt and uncles over who would take care of Paris and her two brothers.
Now TMZ is reporting that Paris has been admitted into a longterm treatment center in Los Angeles to treat her extreme depression and dangerous behavior, including cutting herself—a subject that she apparently darkly explores on her Tumblr page, with gory pictures of girls cutting themselves.
One posting has a piece of paper with the words, “Why did you try to kill yourself?” The answer: “You told me to be happy.”
Apparently this Paris implosion has been building for awhile, as the family was forced to withdraw the 15-year-old from her high school, where she has been a cheerleader, because she was victimized by a clique of mean girls.
“Paris had been absolutely miserable at the school for a long time, and there is a clique of mean girls that had been bullying her,” another source told TMZ. “There is no way she could return there after the suicide attempt, Paris would be tormented all over again.”
Paris told Oprah Winfrey that the reason she liked acting so much was because it gave her a chance to escape. Paris recently signed to star in the upcoming film, “Lundon’s Bridge and the Three Keys,” based on children’s fantasy novels.
“You can be like a totally different person on camera and it’s fun,” Paris told Winfrey. “You can take on another character and it’s awesome.”
I got a window into the world of her father Michael while working on a book with Rev. Al Sharpton, one of Michael’s closest and oldest friends going all the way back to the early 1980’s. While the world painted Michael as one of the strangest, off-the-wall characters in entertainment history, Al knew him for the intelligent and caring person that he was. Michael was also fiercely protective of his children and would be heartbroken to see the pain that his only daughter is enduring.
Watching this girl live out her life on the pages of TMZ, I am convinced for about the ten thousandth time that the last thing I would want of my children is for them to be rich and famous. It’s ironic that in this age of reality TV-driven celebrity obsession, all young people seem to want in life is to either become celebrities or to touch them. But most of what we see of them on the TV screen is how painful and unpleasant their lives are.
When Sharpton eulogized Michael at his massive funeral at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, he looked down at Paris and her siblings and he said, “I want his three children to know, wasn’t nothing strange about your Daddy—it was strange what your Daddy had to deal with.”
I fear that the strangeness Michael dealt with for all those years has just been transferred to his daughter.
1. Katherine Jackson & the Jackson Family Values: A Billion Dollars Worth Of Mess
2. Sadness For Michael: A Mom Cries For An Icon and Lost Black Boys Everywhere
3. Michael Jackson: Icon, Legend, Missed Forever
Nick Chiles is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a New York Times bestselling author of 12 books, including the upcoming "The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path To American Leadership," which he co-authored with Al Sharpton.