Michael Jackson's death has brought to light a portrait of a protective father who desperately wanted to give his three kids the fairy-tale childhood he never had.
The ecentric pop icon tried to shield his young children from the outside world, rarely allowing them to interact with outsiders and keeping them hidden behind masks and a cabal of body guards everywhere the went.
Prince Michael Joseph, 12, Paris Michael, 11, and Prince Michael, 7, never played with kids from their neighborhood or spent a day at school. They all slept in the same room together and rarely saw people outside their immediate, close-knit clan, the New York Post reported.
"I'm going to build a computer school on the grounds [of Neverland]," Jackson once said in an interview. "How can they go into society? He's Prince Michael Jackson. She's Paris Katherine Michael Jackson. It would be too difficult."
The three siblings appeared unmasked in public for the first time at their father's memorial in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Brave Paris stepped up to the microphone and gave a heartfelt goodbye to her father.
"Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine," Paris said. "And I just wanted to say I love him so much."
Jackson whisked the kids off to California, Las Vegas, Ireland and Switzerland -- shutting down toy and book stores so he could take them on private midnight shopping sprees.
He even closed part of the New York, New York Hotel in Las Vegas in 2007 so his children could play video games and ride the roller coaster. He then took them to his favorite restaurant, KFC, the Post reported.
"Prince I, Paris and Prince II were his life," friend Dieter Wiesner told Life & Style. "He made breakfast for them -- a lot of people don't know this side of Michael."
Jackson showered his with gifts and take them to exotic locals but the tried to teach them life lessons in gaining self confidence, friends told the paper.
"He wasn't a disciplinarian but he didn't let the kids run the roost or be spoiled rotten," Stuart Backerman, former adviser and publicst told The Post.
Last Christmas, Jackson invited Carrie Fisher over to his rented mansion in Holmby Hills, Calif., to have her reenact her role as Princess Leia in "Star Wars" for the kids, according to Usmagazine.com.
"Michael brought the kids down in their pajamas and said, 'This is Princess Leia," family friend Stephanie Price told Usmagazine.com. "They were so excited. She did her famous speech for them -- the 'Help me, Obi-Wan' speech."
"He wanted them to have a chance at a childhood he never had," Price said. "He wanted to make sure they played, because they are kids first and foremost. He made sure they were taken care of but he understood the difference between a need and a want."
But Jackson also tried to instill a sense of responsibility in his kids. When Paris spit out her food in Neverland's kitchen at age 6, Jackson spoke to her sternly about her behavior.
"Micahel looked up and told her, 'We don't spit our food and we don't talk badly about other people in this house, and we have good manners,'" friend and former adviser Stuart Backerman told The Post.
"It didn't mean anything to me at the time, but now as I look back, it reminds me what kind of parent he was."
The paternity of two of Jackson's children were called into question when media reports outed Dr. Arnold Klein -- Jackson's dermatologist -- as the biological father of Prince Michael and Paris.
The doctor offered a tepid denial yesterday that he was their kids' father.
"To the best of my knowledge, I'm not the father," Klein said.
He said last night he had once donated sperm -- but not specifically to Jackson -- so he "can't answer" questions of paternity "one way or another."
"I once donated sperm," Klein told CNN's "Larry King Live."
The fate of the three children remains unclear though Jackson outlined in a 2002 will that he wanted his mother, Katherine, to care for them. The kids' mother, Debbie Rowe, has indicated she may seek custody.