The Jackson family has been plagued by drama for decades, but the extended clan's infighting has been especially rough in the years since Michael Jackson died suddenly at age 50 in 2009. Because we know how difficult it can be to keep track of which members of the Jackson family are currently at odds, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at their biggest scandals in recent years. Keep reading for their most dramatic moments…
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When Michael Jackson died in 2009, he left his three children (Paris Jackson, Prince Michael Jackson and Blanket Jackson) in the care of his mother, Katherine Jackson. When the trio moved into the Jackson family compound in Encino, California, Katherine attempted to make room for the new additions by kicking out Alejandra Jackson (pictured) and her children. (She had two biological kids and one adopted child with Randy Jackson before she married his older brother, Jermaine Jackson, and had two children with him. Alejandra and her kids stayed at the Jackson family compound after she and Jermaine split — allegedly so he wouldn't have to pay child support, which has been an issue for the singer several times over the years.) Despite Katherine's attempts to get her out, Alejandra would continue squatting in the Jackson compound for the next few years until sometime between 2011 and late 2014.
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The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services paid the Jackson family a visit in early 2010 after they were informed that Jermaine Jackson's son Jaafar (pictured), who was 13 at the time, had ordered a stun gun online and intended to use it on his cousins — perhaps as part of a series of home movies the kids were filming at the time. TMZ reported that security guards at the Jackson family compound intercepted the stun gun before Jaafar could use it on Blanket Jackson, his cousin and Michael Jackson's youngest child, but People magazine reported that the stun gun was never anywhere near Blanket or his siblings.
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In mid-2010, Joe Jackson, who'd been cut out of Michael Jackson's will, told the now-defunct News of the World that estranged wife Katherine Jackson was to blame for their son's death as part of his efforts to obtain an allowance from MJ's estate. "The world knows that Mrs. Jackson has always been a loving mother and grandmother, and that she and Michael had a very special relationship," the matriarch's lawyer told TMZ before adding, "The world also knows who Joe Jackson is and he seems bent on never letting us forget." Chimed in a lawyer for the estate, "The inference by Joe Jackson that Mrs. Jackson was in any way responsible for Michael's death is preposterous. Katherine Jackson was a supportive and loving mother throughout Michael's life. His love and respect for her is reflected in his estate plan." Battles over control of MJ's estate are still ongoing.
In September 2010, the Jackson family sued AEG Live for its alleged part in Michael Jackson's death. The family accused the concert promoters of breaching their agreement to provide physical care for the superstar and of negligence in their hiring of Dr. Conrad Murray (pictured) as his physician. (In October 2013, after a trial of more than five months, a jury determined that AEG Live was not liable for MJ's death. Dr. Murray, meanwhile, was sentenced to four years behind bars for his part in the superstar's death.)
In September 2010, Michael Jackson's former bodyguard Matt Fiddes (pictured), who donated sperm to the superstar in 2001, claimed to TMZ that he might be the biological father of Blanket Jackson, who was born in 2002. "My mum has begged me to approach the Jacksons for a DNA test on Blanket as she says he is the spitting image of me at that age," he said. "[But] I am not willing to approach this subject as I feel the Jacksons and Michael's children have been through enough already."
In late 2010, Sony released the album "Michael," which featured a trio of previously unreleased songs that were allegedly recorded by Michael Jackson in 2007, two years before his death. However, fans of the late, great superstar, as well as prominent members of his family, have questioned the authenticity of the tracks. (Paris Jackson reportedly said the vocals were recorded by an impersonator and not her dad.) In 2014, an MJ fan filed a class action lawsuit against Sony, the Jackson Estate and his former producers for violation of consumer laws, unfair competition and fraud. The case is ongoing.
In 2011, members of the Jackson clan disagreed over a Michael Jackson tribute concert that was set to take place in Wales that October. While Katherine Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson and Marlon Jackson attended a press conference to announce the show, Randy Jackson and Jermaine Jackson released a statement condemning it. "We find it impossible to support an event that is due to take place during the criminal trial surrounding Michael's death," they said. "We feel it is inappropriate to be involved with such an ill-timed event." Despite their objections, all three of MJ's kids ultimately attended the show, during which a wide range of talent — from Christina Aguilera and Beyonce to Jamie Foxx and Smokey Robinson — performed. Paris Jackson honored her dad by wearing his iconic red "Thriller" jacket.
In April 2012, a business associate of the Jackson family alleged to TMZ that members of the Jackson clan were emotionally and financially mistreating Katherine Jackson. It was the beginning of a major divide in the family — ostensibly over money. Michael Jackson did not include his siblings in his will, and while that was fine with some of them, others felt that the whole family should challenge the executors of his estate to get more than the monthly stipend allotted to their mom. In July 2012, the later faction — comprised of siblings Janet Jackson, Rebbie Jackson, Randy Jackson, Jermaine Jackson and Tito Jackson (Jermaine and Tito later rescinded their signatures) — sent a letter to the executors of the estate accusing them of failing to do their jobs and of stressing out their mom so badly that she'd suffered a "mini-stroke." Paris Jackson took to Twitter to publicly accuse the group (specifically Randy) of lying about her grandmother's health, while reps for Katherine insisted she never suffered a stroke.
In July 2012, Katherine Jackson mysteriously left Encino, California, for a spa in Tucson, Arizona, to get some R&R — allegedly on doctor's orders — without informing Michael Jackson's three kids of her whereabouts. Granddaughter Paris Jackson accused members of the family — specifically uncle Jermaine Jackson and aunt Rebbie Jackson — of kidnapping Katherine, tweeting, "[M]y grandmother is missing . i haven't spoken with her in a week i want her home now." Katherine's nephew, Trent Jackson, even involved the police, filing a missing person's report with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department after Katherine's grandchildren were unable to get ahold of her for a week. TMZ has called the Arizona trip a "brainwashing mission" during which one faction of the Jackson clan attempted to turn Katherine against the executors of the Michael Jackson Estate. Katherine at first claimed that she was not being held against her will and had simply asked an assistant to hold onto her phone during her time at the spa but later said that she'd been tricked and manipulated into going to Arizona. "At the time, I trusted the people I was with to be honest with me," she reportedly said of the incident.
In July 2012, police were called to the Jackson compound after one member of the family accused another of assault. (According to TMZ, the major altercation was between Randy Jackson and Jermaine Jackson against Trent Jackson, though Janet Jackson and Paris Jackson were also involved in a dustup during which the singer attempted to steal her niece's phone.) The trouble allegedly started when a group of family members blocked another faction from taking Paris and siblings Prince Jackson and Blanket Jackson to Arizona to join their grandmother, Katherine Jackson, so that they could sway her to challenge the executors of their late father's estate. Not long after, Katherine fired her security team and ordered Trent off her property. Around this time, a popular theory regarding the clan was that Randy had drugged and manipulated his mother to turn her against Trent and the other faction (those opposed to challenging the executors).
In July 2012, a judge appointed Tito Jackson's son TJ Jackson as the temporary guardian of Paris Jackson, Prince Jackson and Blanket Jackson and suspended Katherine Jackson's guardianship of her grandchildren. Though TJ claimed that Katherine supported the move, his grandmother later called his assertion a lie. Ultimately, though, the duo reconciled and came to an agreement under which Katherine was reinstated as permanent guardian of her grandkids and TJ was named co-guardian of his cousins.
In May 2013, one of Tito Jackson's sons, Taj Jackson, revealed on Twitter that he'd been sexually abused as a child by one of his mother's brothers. He added that his late uncle Michael Jackson "was a support system for me and my mom" during the trauma.
In June 2013, Paris Jackson attempted suicide by overdosing on Motrin and slitting her wrists. "[I attempted suicide] multiple times," she admitted to Rolling Stone in 2017. "It was just once that it became public." At the root of her issues were depression stemming from her father's death, anxiety, alcoholism, cyber bullying on social media and trauma from a sexual assault she'd endured from a stranger when she was just 14.
In late 2013, Michael Jackson's cousin Anthony Jackson II filed legal documents asking to be made the sole guardian of Paris Jackson, Prince Jackson and Blanket Jackson. In January 2016, Anthony filed a request for regularly scheduled visitation with Paris (then still a minor) and younger brother Blanket.
In July 2015, Joe Jackson suffered a stroke and three heart attacks and then underwent surgery to have a pacemaker installed while he was vacationing in Brazil, where he'd been celebrating his birthday. The Jackson family patriarch previously suffered a mini-stroke in late 2012.
In late 2015, Jermaine Jackson's third wife, Halima Rashid, was arrested on domestic violence charges following a fight at their Los Angeles home. According to TMZ, she bit Jermaine's leg after he spit on her during the row. Ultimately, though, police determined that both parties were responsible for the fight, so they dropped charges against Halima and the couple briefly reconciled. (They've since called it quits.)
In February 2017, Katherine Jackson filed legal documents accusing her nephew, Trent Jackson, of elder abuse. (She also reportedly met with social workers from Adult Protective Services and then fled to London.) In her attempt to obtain a restraining order against Trent, she accused him of manipulating her to take control of her finances, of estranging her from her children and of bugging her home with hidden cameras and microphones to spy on her. She also expressed concerns that he would physically harm her after she fired him from his job as a driver, for which he reportedly made six figures, and kicked him out of her guest house. Additionally, Katherine alleged that Trent was so overbearing, she'd taken to changing clothes in her closet and making calls from the bathroom to get privacy. On top of all that, she accused him of refusing to call 911 when she once thought she was having a stroke or seizure. Daughter Rebbie Jackson also filed documents accusing Trent of blocking her number from Katherine's phone and of removing her from her mother's medical directive. Son Jermaine Jackson alleged in his documents that Trent once threw one of the Jackson sisters against a wall and hit Jermaine as well as one of his nephews. Finally, he accused Trent of stealing more than $40,000 from Katherine. For his part, Trent has maintained, per TMZ, that Katherine was manipulated into signing the documents and likely "had no idea what she was signing — if she signed at all."
In March 2017, Katherine Jackson returned to Los Angeles from London, where she'd been living with daughter Janet Jackson, so that she could appear in court as part of the elder abuse case against nephew Trent Jackson. Paris Jackson, Prince Jackson and Blanket Jackson were reportedly not informed that their primary guardian — to whom they hadn't spoken in months — had returned to L.A. "out of fear they'll reprogram [her] and derail her legal battle with Trent." TMZ reported that Paris was particularly mad at aunt Rebbie Jackson for blocking her and her siblings from their grandmother.
In April 2017, just three months after she gave birth to their son, Janet Jackson and Wissam Al Mana separated after five years of marriage. The breakup coincided with Katherine Jackson's visit to her daughter's home in London, raising questions about why the Jackson family matriarch actually retreated to London: Was it to escape the allegedly abusive Trent or to support her daughter as the singer juggled a new baby and a breakup?
In April 2017, a judge tossed out Katherine Jackson's elder abuse lawsuit against nephew and former caregiver Trent Jackson after her lawyers said she was unprepared to move forward with the case. According to TMZ, the lawyers said the Jackson family matriarch "never realized this would turn into a full-blown trial."