Jackson's Kids Not First Famous Family to Mourn in Public

Paris Jackson's emotional moment not the first public goodbye from famous kids.

July 8, 2009, 7:54 AM

July 8, 2009 — -- Of all the memorable moments of Michael Jackson's memorial Tuesday, perhaps none was bigger than when Jackson's daughter Paris-Michael, 11, took the stage and spontaneously shared her grief with the world.

"I just wanted to say, ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine," she said as tears welled in her eyes and brothers Michael Joseph Jr., 12, and Prince Michael II, 7, looked on quietly. "And I just wanted to say, I love him so much."

To family therapist Terry Real, it was a genuine moment that, for kids with famous kin, can be so elusive.

"Paris was speaking for the normalcy and saying that what she remembers is a simple, healthy daddy," Real told "Good Morning America" today. "I think, in many ways, she was informing the world, and she was allowing us to connect with that very private and very healthy part of Michael Jackson."

It's not the first time the children of famous parents have had to say goodbye publicly.

In what became an iconic photo, 3-year-old John F. Kennedy Jr. saluted his father's casket during the president's funeral in 1963 while flanked by the rest of the first family.

At Princess Diana's funeral in 1997, young Prince William and Prince Harry walked solemnly in the funeral procession behind their mother's coffin.

Producers of the Jackson memorial reportedly said Paris' speech was not planned, and that the girl took the microphone on her own.

"She had the right to speak at her own father's funeral," Real said. "As she reminded us, whatever he was to us, he was a father to her. Clearly, he had to be a good father or he wouldn't have produced such a neat kid."

Jackson's manager, Frank Dileo, said the emotional moment was especially hard for him.

"It was very said," Dileo told "Good Morning America" today. "It was very emotional for me, too, because I knew his kids. They're quite [the] characters, each one of them. And that was difficult to see her get up there and say that."

'Nothing Strange About Your Dad'

In life, Jackson did his best to shield his children from the public eye. They appeared in public wearing feathered masks or veils. But, out of the limelight, home videos show fairly normal lives, including breakfast with Jackson, board games, museum visits and sleepovers with friends.

Jackson put an emphasis on education, home-schooling the kids at Neverland Ranch, friend Frank Cascio said.

"As much as they had, they were the most disciplined, most intelligent children you will ever meet," he said. "And it's all because of him."

The Rev. Al Sharpton spoke to the children directly at the memorial.

"I want his three children to know, there was nothing strange about your dad," he said. "It was strange what your daddy had to deal with, but he dealt with it."

Now Paris, Prince Michael and Blanket will have to deal with the loss of their beloved father, but they won't be alone.

After her heartbreaking words, Paris was embraced by nearly the entire Jackson family.

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