Chef describes kids' grief over Jackson's death
FILE - This Jan. 27, 2012 file photo shows, from left, Blanket Jackson, Paris Jackson, and Prince Michael Jackson at the opening night of the Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour in Los Angeles. Michael Jackson's personal chef, Kai Chase, testified on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, about the home lives of the singer's children including an 11th birthday party that she says was Paris Jackson's last birthday celebration. Chase is testifying in a negligent hiring lawsuit filed by Jackson's mother against AEG Live LLC, claiming the company failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted of causing her son's 2009 death. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg, file)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson's personal chef described for jurors the home lives of the children during the final months of the singer's life and their ongoing grief over their father's death nearly four years ago.
Gone are the freewheeling days when the children, Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson played with their father and traded jokes at the dinner table, chef Kai Chase told jurors Tuesday.
It has been replaced, Chase said, by a weight on eldest son Prince Michael Jackson's shoulders. Daughter Paris Jackson cries and no longer wants parties for her birthday since her father hosted a private circus for her 11th birthday. Youngest son Blanket, who remains home-schooled, wears a T-shirt with his father's image every Friday, she said.
Chase recounted for jurors her interactions with Jackson, his children and her ongoing work with the singer's mother and children for jurors hearing Katherine Jackson's negligent hiring case against concert promoter AEG Live LLC. The company denies all wrongdoing.
After weeks of testimony about Jackson's business dealings with AEG, Chase's testimony returned the trial's focus to the King of Pop and his offspring.
"At 16, the weight of the world is on his shoulders," Chase said of Prince Jackson, who is trying to figure out girls and all the challenges adulthood brings.
His younger brother, 11-year-old Blanket, has his older siblings to shield him from pain but had the least time to spend with his father. "He never really had a time when it was father-son because he was so tiny," Chase said.
The singer's only daughter seems to be having the hardest time, Chase said.
"Being daddy's little girl, Paris is devastated," Chase said. "She's devastated and lost."
Chase's testimony provided a look into the lives of Jackson's three children before and after their father's death in June 2009. Michael Jackson was fiercely protected of their privacy, often using masks to hide their faces when they were in public.
She now has daily interactions with Jackson's children since being hired to serve as their chef in July 2012. Of Paris, she said, "She's trying to find herself and find who she is," Chase said. "It's taking a lot of love and understanding to keep her together. She breaks down, she cries, she talks about him."