Jackson Family Regrets Fame

Dec. 19, 2003 -- If Jackson family members knew their fame would bring media scrutiny like that now facing brother Michael over child molestation charges, they would never have gone on the road as kids, Jermaine Jackson told ABCNEWS' Barbara Walters during an exclusive interview.

Watch the full interview Friday night on 20/20

"Never," said Jermaine. "We would have stayed in Gary, Indiana, in a two-bedroom house, a two-car garage, whatever it was, and been happier."

He added his family has paid a terrible price for their career in the entertainment industry. "We pay our dues every day," Jermaine told Walters. "And I said this before, had we known that the price that we would have to pay for this success, we never would have wanted it."

The family is now rallying around Michael Jackson, who faces allegations the pop star sexually abused a then-12-year old boy.

The eldest Jackson brother, Jackie, joined Jermaine Jackson, who has been outspoken in his defense of Michael, in speaking with Walters on Michael's legal problems. Jermaine and Jackie Jackson also discussed their childhood in the spotlight and what made the 45-year-old Michael the way he is today.

Walters also spoke with Jackie's two children, Brandy, 21, and 27-year-old Sigmund, who rapped a song he wrote about his uncle Michael's legal plight.

As Jermaine has already done repeatedly in the press, Jackie maintains the allegations that Michael sexually abused a pre-teen boy are unfounded.

"I've raised Michael," said Jackie, 52, in an exclusive interview airing Friday night at 10 p.m. E.T. on 20/20.. "I changed his diapers when he was little. … I know my brother. Michael, he's not that kind of person. He doesn't do that. That's all a lie on him."

Jermaine said his family is going to help Michael fight the charges, calling the brothers "soldiers" in his "troops." They say Michael is doing well in spite of the intense media scrutiny.

"He's holding up very, very well. He's holding up well, he knows he has the support of his family. And he's very strong," Jermaine told Walters, adding, "Strong in the sense of mentalness, but not physically. I mean he's 120 pounds. I mean you can blow at him and break him. But at the same time, he's very strong mentally."

The brothers are critical of the treatment Michael was given during his arrest, saying police mocked and bruised a "very fragile" Michael Jackson when the pop star was booked last month on child molestation allegations.

"For someone to turn himself in willingly, you should not have put handcuffs on him. And to handcuff him from the back, it was really bad," Jermaine Jackson, 49, said.

"He's very fragile, so they bruised certain body parts," Jermaine said. "He had to use the restroom. And then they had mentioned they had locked him in there, and said, 'How does it smell in there?' And it wasn't too clean at all. They were making fun." Authorities in Santa Barbara, Calif., have denied mistreating the pop star.

Neverland Ranch Inspired by Disney

Jermaine and Jackie told Walters that Michael had an extraordinary admiration for Walt Disney as a child.

They said the creation of his Neverland theme park is an outgrowth of his love for Disney and his interest in making children happy.

"He knew what he wanted," Jackie Jackson recalled. "He always studied Walt Disney. He loved Walt Disney. He read books on him every day on the road. He was 9 years old, he said to me, 'One day I'm going to have a house like this.' … You see Neverland is like that."

Jermaine Jackson: "Michael has a connection with children, just like Mickey Mouse does, and he brings happiness to them, and joy.

"I don't know what it is, he just has that gift that the kids love."

"Being able to do so many things financially," Jermaine added, Michael "built this Peter Pan place, this Disneyland, and he's reliving his childhood."

Jackie told Walters: "It makes sense because he loves making people happy. It makes him happy to come back in his own yard and open see the smile on a kid's face."

Mother Sensed Media Would Target Son

The Jackson brothers said they saw no problem with Michael's decision to continue hosting children at his Neverland Ranch, even after he was accused of sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy in 1993. Michael Jackson was never charged in that case. He settled a civil suit with the boy's family for a reported $15 million.

But Jackie Jackson told Walters that their mother, Katherine, felt the media would someday use Michael's love for children against him.

"To tell him that he can't have any children, shouldn't be around kids, that's the worst thing, to say that to him.

My mom told him this a long time ago … said, 'One day they're going to pin something on Michael.

Something that he loved the most is children. They're going to use that against him.' "

Jermaine said Michael should not stop spending time with children simply to avoid bad publicity.

"This world is sick," he said.

"They're going to make something out of it whether he stops, or whether he continues to be a person that brings joy to children."

Both Jermaine and Jackie Jackson say the scandal surrounding their younger brother makes the entire family feel rejected and hurt. "It's like we worked so hard all these years to make beautiful music in America and around the world, and it seems like in our own country," said Jackie. "You're not accepted."