Michael Jackson´s Children´s Body Language During Oprah Interview

by Dr. Lillian Grass

November 10, 2010

Michael Jackson’s Children’s Body Language During Oprah Interview Show They Are Guarded, Protective, and Ambivalent as They Continue to Respect Dad’s Privacy

The above photo of Michael Jackson’s eldest children, Prince and Paris says it all. They were clearly not comfortable being asked questions about their father by Oprah. They knew how their late father valued not only his privacy but theirs as well. That is why he made them wear veils when they went out of the house. In fact Michael’s daughter Paris addressed the fact that while the veils were uncomfortable, she knew they were for her protection.


In the above photo, observe Prince standing up with crossed arms as he looks on facing Oprah as his sister is interviewed. His eye is clearly on Oprah as he leans back in a defensive mode. He has a protective stance with both of his arms his arms tightly interlocked crossing over his torso.

His protective stance is further indicated as he stands in the background looking directly at Oprah with one foot out, pointed in Oprah’s direction. It is though this protective older brother is ready to step in if the questioning gets to be too uncomfortable or too much for his younger sister. His other foot protectively points in Paris’ direction as if to step in in case she needs him.


Joe Jackson, Michael’s father and Prince’s grandpa knows Prince means business in this photo. Joe looks uncharacteristically submissive around Prince. His head is down with his hands in his pocket as he looks in Prince’s direction. We have rarely seen such a photo of Joe in terms of his body language. In the past, Joe’s posture and demeanor has usually had a super confident cocky non-humbled undertone. But this photo was very different.

The distinct physical distance between Joe and Prince show that they are not close at all. Joe’s submissive stance reflects this as well.


When it was Prince’s turn to be interviewed by Oprah, his eye contact with her was less than optimal as he consistently looked away. When describing his favorite experience walking with his dad on the beach in Bahrain eating snickers, he looked up and away. While he wanted to be polite and answer Oprah’s question, there was clearly a part of him that did not want to share this special moment between he and his late dad with the world.

As the person who spent the most time in his life with father Michael, Prince knew deep down that Michael, who valued his privacy with his children would not be pleased at this revelation. His body language clearly reflected his ambivalence.

In the photo, it is clear that Prince is not happy and something must have happened for him to get up from his chair after the interview and leave the table and stand in the background. Perhaps he had enough of what he considered Oprah’s invasive questioning about his father. Perhaps it got to him. He definitely knew Michael would not like this line of questioning about his private life with his children. So it seems in my view that Prince finally had enough.

Look at Prince’s crossed arms over his torso. It means that he is closing off. If you look down at his sister sitting in the photo as Prince looks on, she too has her arms crossed over her torso in a protective mode.


She too knows that this discussion about Michael is inappropriate based on how she was raised. She knows to the core of her soul that discussing her father is a violation of what he was all about- extreme privacy. Yet she wants to be cooperative and compliant during the interview.

Paris’ BODY language reflects her ambivalence as well. as well. Not only are her arms interlocked and crossed in a protective mode like her brother, she also leans back in her chair. It is in marked contrast to Oprah’s body language, who leans forward in her attempt to engage Paris.

Paris does not engage Oprah in leaning forward , She is polite verbal, articulate, pleasant and poised. But the spokeschild of the family is clearly in control as she speaks measuredly but lovingly of her father.

She opens her eyes widely and raises her eyebrows as we see in the photo above This look of surprise reflects what she is verbally revealed – a surprise to the world that her daddy could make the best French toast n the world.

Oprah was surprised by this revelation as she and most of us would think that Michael who was surrounded my maids and cooks would not be the one to hole up in a kitchen making breakfast. From what we have heard about Michael’s eating habits in the past, no one would have associated Michael with food, much less being involved in the preparation of it.

While it was personal information, it was information that was benign enough that Michael would not have mind if it was revealed. Paris clearly thought about this and played the interview game of sharing just enough information to respect her father;s wishes and his memory.


Even little 8 year old Blanket is protective during the interview as you can see in the above photo. His knees are bent and in front of him as they shield and protect him as he sits in his chair. His one leg dropping down from the chair says that he really does not want to be there. It says that he wants to leave.

His hands cover his mouth, indicating that he doesn’t want to speak. Paris and Prince clearly have his back so to speak. They are protective of him as well and pay a lot of attention to him. Paris reaches out to him as we see in the photo with her hand extended towards him. No doubt big sister Paris has a hands on role with Blanket in helping to care for him. Her extended hand is there to comfort him.

Paris’ extended cupped hand reflects tension and ambivalence at the same time. It’s a closed hand that perhaps reflects a subconscious anger that her little brother has to be there and be subjected to this uncomfortable situation.

The gesture reflects that she knows Blanket clearly does not want to be there, subjected to Oprah’s questioning . Interally, she is angry and upset about it. It even reflects in Paris’ smile as she looks in Blanket’s direction. While her lips are smiling, her eyes are reflecting the opposite. She is not happy about being forced to be in this situation.

She knows deep down that her father would not be happy about having his children, whom he went to all lengths to protect in terms of their identity to now be so publicly exposed. While she wants to comply, she is being very protective over Blanket, her gestures and body language reflect her inner conflict.


Besides his beautiful music the best legacy that Michael left behind was his beautiful children who continue to respect their dad’s privacy. Their actions and body language showed it.

There is no doubt that Michael would be proud of them and how they handled this very uncomfortable and conflicting situation where they were forced to reveal personal information about their lives with their famous and now deceased dad. They complied, but continued to be guarded as Michael’s message which he ingrained in them since birth was evident- “ watch what you say and don’t say too much!

There is no doubt that if Michael is up there is heaven, he was looking down at his children and smiling proudly from year to ear, He was proud that they were polite and cooperative, yet set boundaries as they honored and tried to protect their dad’s wishes for privacy as best as they could.

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