Controversial Father Joe Jackson Speaks Out on the Making of Superstar Son

Controversial father Joe Jackson speaks out about his superstar son.

ByABC News
July 14, 2009, 7:07 AM

July 14, 2009— -- The events of June 25 changed the reality of the extended Jackson family forever. But before the family bowed in mourning, ABC News learned that Joe Jackson, the 79-year-old family patriarch, was in the process of executing his latest vision: a reality show, which would take viewers inside the lives of the extended Jackson clan.

In footage shot over a six-month period last year and obtained exclusively by ABC News, Joe and Katherine Jackson recall a time before celebrity struck.

"I just had a feeling that he would be my husband," Katherine said. "The first time I saw him, I fell in love with him. ... He doesn't know this."

Katherine said that Joe -- a former boxer and crane operator, who has become known for his harsh exterior -- was "the sweetest thing."

"Really, he was so nice. He tries to be tough now," she joked.

"People don't care if you be nice as pie. You could be as good as Jesus Christ, they always gonna talk about you," Joe Jackson said. "Just spell my name right."

For more on Chris Connelly's exclusive interview with Joe Jackson and exclusive footage of the Jackson family, watch a special edition of "Primetime: Family Secrets -- The Jackson Family: Life After Michael," Tuesday, July 14, 10 p.m. ET

But love at first sight didn't seem to stop Jackson from moving to Las Vegas 15 years ago after the Northridge earthquake rocked Southern California.

"We are not together all the time," Katherine said in the footage. "We stayed together many years.  But we see each other all the time. I go to Vegas and he'll come here. Well, they always say absence makes the heart grow fonder."

With the show, Jackson was reportedly hoping to generate buzz and ultimately reunite the Jackson 5 -- the group that catapulted the Gary, Ind., boys to the ranks of international singing sensation and brought the family into the international spotlight.

"My whole thing is to get boys together again as the J5," he said in the exclusive footage. It was a task Jackson thought that he alone could accomplish, but it was Katherine who got the children interested in music.

"After we married I used to sing all the time with the children when they came along. And that is how they got interested," she said of the group's rise to stardom.

Though the show never aired, in the footage Jackson proudly takes viewers behind the gates of the family's Encino, Calif., compound, displaying family pride and his boisterous personality: "Me, I am me! The one and only Joe Jackson."

Jackson goes inside rooms in the family home that are filled with memories of Michael -- from photos to the star's fifth-grade report card.

With the sudden death of the family superstar June 25, the house has been filled with grief, as those closest to the family have flooded the property, coming to pay their respects.

In the interview with ABC News' Chris Connelly, Joe Jackson said the family is grieving for the loss of an "idol," not just a son and a brother.

"They're taking it very hard because really Michael was our idol. You know, he's -- he was a guy that -- we helped develop to be a superstar. So they are taking it pretty hard," Jackson said.