For the first time ever, Prince Jackson, the oldest child of the late Michael Jackson, took the stand today to testify in his family's wrongful death suit against AEG Live. During his testimony, the 16-year-old revealed personal details of his life, told stories about what it was like to grow up with the King of Pop, and gave chilling details about the day Jackson died four years ago.
Prince's life today seems fairly standard
He may have grown up as the son of a superstar, but today Prince is a typical high school student in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Having just finished his sophomore year (with a 3.68 GPA!), the National Honor Society member is taking U.S. history in summer school. He's also involved in several extracurricular activities, including baseball, basketball and the robotics club. Outside school, he practices martial arts and makes jewelry.
Prince is an aspiring filmmaker
"My dad taught me everything was a learning experience," he told the jury, adding that he and his father wrote screenplays together and watched movies without sound to study the visual components of filmmaking. And it made an impact: Now he hopes to go to the University of Southern California and major either in film, mechanical science or business. (He added that, unlike his father, he doesn't have the ability to sing or play instruments.)
Jackson always taught his kids to give back
Prince said that his father always taught him to give back to the community as much as possible, and the message stuck. While his school requires him to do community service, Prince puts in more hours than required with a children's hospital program in L.A. called Literally Healing. He also reads to children in the cancer ward. "Dad wanted us to remain humble," he said.
Prince understands why he wore masks as a kid
Critics slammed Michael Jackson for having his children wear masks in public, but Prince explained that it was to help protect their privacy. (At the time, did he know how famous his dad really was? No, he said, but he figured it out when fans screamed and had to be carried out on stretchers.) Still, he admitted, it was annoying to have feathers in his face!
Michael Jackson stressed the importance of school
Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson moved around a lot (Prince said they visited Bahrain, Aspen, New York and Las Vegas because their dad couldn't be away from them), but their dad always made sure they had tutors and were learning about different cultures. Their nanny, Grace Rwaramba, was often with them. When asked about recently released quotes from Paris's March deposition, in which she slammed Rwaramba as "creepy," Prince simply responded, that people deal with things in different ways. He added that Paris was with Grace recently.
Jackson made sacrifices for his kids, large and small
Like every parent, Jackson did things to make his children happy, but one big sacrifice came in the form of the family's chocolate lab, Kenya. Prince said that he let the kids have a pet, despite the fact that he was afraid of dogs.
Jackson accused AEG execs of trying to kill him
Prince said his dad was excited about his upcoming tour, produced by AEG Live, as was he, as he'd only seen him perform once. However, he said his dad would come home from rehearsals upset with AEG's CEO, Randy Phillips, and his former manager, Dr. Tohme Tohme. "He would cry," Prince said. "He would say, 'They're going to kill me. They're going to kill me.'" Once, the singer became so enraged that he cursed out Tohme, Prince added. "[And] he never fought. He was too kind to fight," he said. Prince also added that he was frightened of Phillips, who often spoke to Dr. Conrad Murray to in "hushed whispers."
Murray treated the Jackson children
Two years ago, Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson, but in today's testimony, Prince said he treated Jackson's three children too. "He would come over and treat us for colds," Jackson said. He also added that he saw Murray give his dad injections, and that his dad felt compassion for Murray, whom Jackson didn't believe was being paid enough by AEG. In fact, he'd sometimes give Prince hundreds of dollars to give to the doctor.
Prince thought his dad was healthy, but didn't think he ate enough
Despite the fact that his father had a team of doctors, Prince thought his dad was healthy. However, he didn't think he ate enough, and described him as very skinny and malnourished. He also explained that his dad would feel cold in the summer and hot other times. His body temperature seemed to fluctuate, the teen said.
Dr. Conrad Murray told Prince that Michael died of a heart attack
Though Dr. Murray was convicted of giving Jackson a lethal dose of medicine, Prince said that the physician told him at first that his father died of a heart attack.