The world had never quite had someone like Michael Jackson and will probably never produce another Michael Jackson. The musician was a force of nature, a larger than life figure. He demanded adulation and worship wherever he went. His singing and dance steps sent legions of fans into overdrive, whether it was at concerts, award shows, or even on TV. The ‘King of Pop’ thrilled the whole world with unforgettable songs, innovative dance moves, broke multiple records, and left the world a definite legend.
That is why even though he is dead, he continues to hold influence over several living artists. His posthumous achievements and album sales continue to defy logic. His fans continue to keep up with events surrounding him. Having come from a large family with multiple talented individuals, it is perhaps not surprising how well he did for himself.
Michael Jackson was born into a Large, Artistic Family
Michael Joseph Jackson entered the world on August 29, 1958. He was born to Joseph Jackson and Katherine Scruse in Gary, Indiana. Michael was born into a large family and was the eighth child of his parents. He had seven older siblings at the time of his birth and went on to have two younger siblings. In total, his parents had ten children. The large family lived in a two-bedroom house. Despite growing up surrounded by family, he remarked that his childhood was isolated and lonely.
Michael Jackson was born into a family with artistic inclinations. His father, Joe Jackson, played the guitar with a local R&B band as a way to supplement his primary income as a crane operator with U.S Steel. Katherine Scruse, meanwhile, played the clarinet and piano and nursed ambitions to perform as a country and western singer. She also worked part-time at Sears. These artistic inclinations laid a foundation for Michael and his brothers to form a music group and go on to achieve success.
He Accused His Father of Child Abuse and Had an Unusual Upbringing
To say Michael Jackson had an unusual upbringing would be putting things nicely. Along with his brothers, he suffered from some weird and unconventional ideologies from his mother. Mrs. Jackson was a Jehovah’s Witness and dedicated her time to ensuring her children toed that path.
She had her kids study the movement’s publication of Armageddon along with illustrations for several hours. She also excessively swabbed them with rubbing alcohol due to her obsession with cleanliness. In winter, she sent them to school with hot potatoes in the pocket of their coats as she believed it would do away with the cold.
Their father, however, took things to a violent level. He would repeatedly whip his children when they incurred his wrath. After compelling his children to rehearse for five hours daily after school, he would sit in a chair nearby with a belt. He banned them from playing outside with other kids and devised cruel ways to punish them should they err. Michael Jackson, being the youngest of the boys, felt his wrath the most.
He grew up being self-conscious of his nose, and when his father found out about this, he began calling him ‘big nose’ to spite him. Michael learned to avoid his family, especially his father and declared in his 40s that the thought of his father made him nauseous. It was a fractured relationship. Joe Jackson denied this accusation and labeled his treatment of Michael as ‘proper.’ Michael Jackson left his father out of a will he had made in 2002.
His Brothers Denied Michael’s Claims That Their Father was Abusive
Michael Jackson belonged to a musical band called The Jackson 5 from 1965 to 1989. The band consisted of his older brothers, Tito, Jermaine, Jackie, Marlon, and Michael himself, and their father was the manager. They initially performed at talent events organized around the Chicago area. They also won talent shows at Chicago’s Regal Theatre and Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Overall, the band released sixteen studio albums and forty singles. They also had four number ones on the billboard hot 100.
The success of the band did nothing to ease the strained relationship between Michael and his brothers. Michael Jackson was not comfortable with their father being the manager of the group. In 1979, he decided to leave the group, finally having initially combined duties as a solo artist with being a member of the group. He went on to enjoy a bigger success as a solo artist, sparking rumors that his brothers were jealous of his success and fame.
Bridges were further burnt when his brothers denied Michael’s claims that their father had abused them as a child. They argued that the whippings and punishments kept them out of trouble and in line. Their claims supported the statement made by their father in response to Michael’s comments. It further alienated Michael from his brothers, and their relationship never recovered until his death.
He Grew Up with Three Sisters, including Janet Jackson
Asides his five brothers (one brother, Brandon, died shortly after birth), Michael also had three sisters. Rebbie Jackson-Brown is the eldest Jackson child and was born in 1950. She had a career as a musician and released four studio albums with the last one coming in 1998. She initially took a ten-year hiatus from music in 1988. Her most successful single to date came with the release of Centipede in 1984. It featured her younger brother, Michael Jackson.
LaToya Jackson arrived two years before Michael did and is the middle child of the Jackson family. Asides being a musician, she is also an actress and businesswoman. She has released nine studio albums in her career and enjoyed moderate success in her career.
She was exiled from her family for years after getting married to Jack Gordon. The latter beat her on numerous occasions and had her followed or watched. She reunited with her family after eventually divorcing Gordon. She also accused her father, Joe Jackson, of sexually abusing her as a child.
Janet Jackson is the youngest child of the Jackson family, having been born in 1966. She is also the second most successful Jackson after Michael. She is a successful singer, dancer, and actress. Janet has sold over 100 million records worldwide and is one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time. She holds the record for the most consecutive amount of top ten hot 100 entries on the singles charts. Her film appearances include Poetic Justice, Why Did I Get Married, and Why Did I Get Married Too?
Michael Jackson Married Twice And Had Three Children
In the heat of the first sexual abuse allegations he received in 1993, it seemed like Michael Jackson had time for romance and love. He proposed to Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of the king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, over the phone in late 1993.
In May 1994, the couple got married in the living room of civil judge, Hugo Francisco Alvarez. The marriage took place in the Dominican city of La Vega. Things did not last between them, though, and Lisa Marie filed for divorce just a year and a half later, claiming irreconcilable difference. The marriage did not produce any children.
His Second Marriage to Debbie Rowe Produced Two Children
After becoming friends with Debbie Rowe, a dermatology nurse, Michael married her during his tour of Sydney, Australia. At the time of their marriage, she was already six months pregnant with Michael’s child. His first son, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., was born on February 13, 1997. His younger sister, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, a model, actress, and musician, duly arrived a year later on April 3, 1998.
In 1999, his marriage to Debbie Rowe was over, and she settled for an $8 million settlement in exchange for custody of the kids. In 2002, Michael Jackson had a third child via artificial insemination delivered by an unnamed surrogate mother. The baby was named Prince Michael Jackson II.
He Has Maintained a Steady Net Worth Since He Died to Date
At the time of his death, Michael Jackson had an estimated net worth of $500 million. At his peak between 1985-1995, he was earning $50-$100 million per year from album sales, tours, and endorsements. After his death, it emerged that he was also in debt, amounting to $400 million due to an extravagant lifestyle and unpaid bills. His death has done nothing to affect his earnings, as his yearly royalties still come in at an eye-watering $150 million.
As of 2020, Michael Jackson is still worth $500 million. According to a 2020 report, his estate had made $973 million in revenues since his death. After his death, his executioners ensured they secured his finances. They sold his future music rights to Sony, released a movie called This Is It, and signed endorsements with Pepsi and Cirque du Soleil. The film has gone on to make over $500 million, ensuring that his net worth has remained steady after his death.
Michael Continues to Break Records Posthumously
Despite his death happening over a decade ago, Michael Jackson still holds massive influence in the entertainment industry. He has since gone on to create or break records posthumously. He has also received a few posthumous awards. At the 2009 American Music Awards, he received four posthumous awards. A year after his death, he sold 35 million albums worldwide, which was more than any other artist in the world.
He also became the first artist to sell one million downloads in a week after selling 2.5 million. In 2014, he became the only artist to have top-ten singles on the Billboard chart in five different decades. In 2015, the RIAA certified his album, Thriller, has sold 30 million copies.
See these special 2015 and 2017 birthday performances from the cast of Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil – up on YouTube today only! pic.twitter.com/LbN1ro2Ah8
— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) August 29, 2020
Also, in 2017, he became the fifth richest dead celebrity. He achieved this feat after Cirque du Solei’s Michael Jackson: The Immortal Tour raked in $370 million, and Michael Jackson: One Show in Las Vegas brought in $90 million in one year.