NEW YORK – Michael Jackson's daughter has hit back at long-standing questions about whether the late King of Pop was her biological father, saying in rare public remarks that she has no doubts.
Speaking to Rolling Stone in what was billed as her first and final comment on an issue that has fascinated tabloids, 18-year-old model Paris Jackson said she has often been told she has uncannily similar mannerisms to her father.
Paris Jackson by David LaChapelle pic.twitter.com/uzZS9aAHFl— Chris (@byalienmeans) January 25, 2017
"He will always be my father. He never wasn't, and he never will not be," she told the magazine during an interview published on Tuesday, in which she also said she considers herself black.
Jackson, who has pale skin and greenish-blue eyes, acknowledged that strangers usually believe she is white.
But she said her appearance makes sense because she is mixed-race, adding that Jackson immersed her in African-American culture, including teaching her to cook soul food.
"I consider myself black," she said.
He "would look me in the eyes and he'd point his finger at me and he'd be like, 'You're black. Be proud of your roots.' And I'd be like, 'OK, he's my dad, why would he lie to me?'"
The pop superstar had Paris and her elder brother Prince with Debbie Rowe, who worked at his dermatologist's office and was married to Jackson for several years. Paris said she has limited contact with Rowe.
Jackson later had a second son, Blanket, through an undisclosed surrogate.
Jackson shielded his children so much from the media glare that they wore masks in public. At a memorial after Jackson's death in 2009, the 11-year-old Paris startled the global audience by taking the microphone and saying the pop star was "the best father you could ever imagine".
She maintained that view in the Rolling Stone interview, in which she also alleged that Jackson's death was a murder, offering no evidence beyond saying the "Thriller" singer often told her that unnamed forces were out to get him.
An autopsy of Jackson's body by the Los Angeles authorities found a powerful dose of drugs used to treat anxiety. His doctor, Conrad Murray, later went to prison for involuntary manslaughter.
Paris Jackson told the magazine she has suffered severe self-esteem issues because of the constant attention to her appearance and had attempted suicide repeatedly -- with some scars covered by her body's more than 50 tattoos.
But she said she finds modeling therapeutic.