Michael Jackson‘s mother Katherine has spoken for the first time of her granddaughter Paris’s recovery following the teenager’s attempted suicide bid in June.
The 15-year-old schoolgirl was rushed to hospital from the family home in Los Angeles after cutting her wrists and swallowing a large number of over-the-counter painkiller Motrin.
She is now being treated in a secluded residential facility that specialises in depression and grief management for troubled youngsters.
“She is in a good place, getting the help she needs,” says the 83-year-old Jackson family matriarch, who shares legal guardianship of Paris and her brothers, Prince, 16, and Blanket, 11, with her grandson TJ.
“She is doing much better,” Katherine told ! from the legendary Encino estate, where she and her husband Joe raised their famous showbiz brood, including daughters Janet and LaToya.
“The treatment is going good, really good. She’s my baby. It’s hard for me, really hard. All I wanted these kids to be is happy. The night Michael died Paris was crying and said, ‘I want to go and see daddy; I don’t want to be without him.'”
The solo superstar, whose 1982 hit Thriller is still the best-selling album of all time, died suddenly in his bed on June 25 2009 from an overdose of the surgical anaesthetic propofol. He would have turned 55 this Thursday (29 August).
Katherine and Michael’s children are suing the entertainment group AEG Live in a wrongful death civil case for a reported $40 billion. Mrs Jackson has been attending Los Angeles Superior Court daily since April, and of the ongoing trial, she said: “I take it one day at a time”.
She tells ! she still grieves for her son: “There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about him; when I don’t shed a tear. He was a very good father, the best. He was a good son, too.”
But she admits her style of parenting is different to Michael’s. She got rid of the masks the children used to wear when they were in public with their father and stopped the oldest two from being home-schooled.
“They were sheltered a lot when Michael raised them,” she admitted. “I had thought about it and I said, ‘I am not going to raise them like that (wearing masks). But Michael had a good reason. He was trying to protect them.”
Describing the children’s personalities, Mrs Jackson said: “The kids are great. They are incredibly polite and that’s down to the way Michael brought them up. He instilled good manners but it’s a different generation, of course, and I don’t understand the whole social media thing. They are always on their phones.”
Mrs Jackson returns this week to her hometown of Gary, Indiana, where Michael was born, for a charity tribute charity concert on 29 August.
Read the full interview and more pictures in ! Magazine on sale now