"I think they've always operated as a family," he said, adding that strife within the Jackson clan has always been exaggerated. "At the lowest point in Michael's life when he was on trial, it was his mother and father that walked with him out of that courtroom every day."
But things seemed to be looking up for Jackson, professionally, in the months before his death. Though many speculated he would not be physically capable, Jackson, friends and colleagues have said, was looking forward to his 50-concert "This Is It" show in London.
There was something almost magical about Jackson's last rehearsal, according to lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe, who said in a BBC radio interview that "it was almost like he couldn't stop himself."
Even though "he was frail you might say," Woodroffe said, he remembered something "extraordinary" happening when Jackson took the stage around 9 p.m. Tuesday.
"Suddenly he was performing as one had remembered him in the past," he said.
While Woodroffe said he didn't know if Jackson would have been able to do all 50 concerts, "there was a sense he would have done it."
"He was an odd person, he was a different person," Woodroffe said, "but my view is you always judge people as you find them."
Debbie Rowe, Jackson's ex-wife and mother of the two oldest children, Tuesday had her attorney issue a statement that indicates she may eventually file her own request for custody.
"Debbie remains grief stricken. Her thoughts are with the children and all the Jackson family," the statement read. "To the extent she must respond to court proceedings that were started by others, she will of course do so at the appropriate time."
In a press conference in Los Angeles Monday, Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, said custody of his grandchildren should not go Rowe or Grace Rwaramba, Jackson's former longtime nanny.
"This is where they belong ... we love those kids ... we're going to take care of them," Joe Jackson said.
Katherine Jackson's custody petition cited the reason she should become the guardian: "Minor children are currently residing with paternal grandmother. They have a long established relationship with paternal grandmother and are comfortable in her care."
The petition also stated that the children have "no relationship with their biological mother." And that it is "not known" whether the mother agrees that Katherine Jackson should be guardian. As for the mother of Prince Michael II, known as Blanket, a box is checked for "none."
Asked about Rowe, Joe Jackson said, "Debbie Rowe has nothing to do with what we're doing."
Joe Jackson said Rwaramba, who Michael Jackson fired in December, was still "a good friend of the family and the kids." He said the family is looking into what role she can have in the kids' lives.
Grace Rwaramba, 42, worked for Jackson for nearly two decades, starting as an office assistant who handled insurance for his employees.
Over time, observers said Rwaramba had taken an increasingly central role in the lives of Jackson and his children. Jackson and Rwaramba were even rumored to be considering marriage in 2006. In 2008, she testified in Jackson's defense during a breach-of-contract suit brought against the singer by a Middle Eastern sheik.