LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The once sheltered children of the late Michael Jackson have become Internet sensations after home-made videos of two of his three children playing up for web cameras were leaked and appeared on YouTube.
Jackson, who died aged 50 last June of an overdose of powerful medications, went to great lengths to keep Prince Michael, 13, Paris, 12, and Prince Michael II, 8, out of the public eye, even making them cover their faces when out.
But less than a year after his death, two of the youngsters -- last seen in public at the Grammy awards in January -- have hit the spotlight with up to nine video clips of Paris and Prince Michael II appearing on the Internet.
Their grandfather Joe Jackson told celebrity website Popeater that the family was upset by the leak, having adhered to Michael Jackson’s wish to keep them out of the spotlight and did not want these videos out in public.
He confirmed that it was not the children who posted the clips. The account owner of French-language fansite KingofPop-Kids.com, which posted many of the clips, said Jackson fans were responsible for hacking into family web accounts.
“We don’t know who (the hacker) was but we’re trying to find out,” Joe Jackson told Popeater.
CNN said the videos were on the Internet for two weeks in April before older members of the Jackson family realized and had them removed but by then other YouTube users had made copies and have republished them, drawing hundreds of thousands of views.
Calls to representatives of the Jackson family went unanswered.
The video clips show the two youngsters messing around like another other children.
In one clip on YouTube, Paris raps for the camera while in another short clip she comes up close to the camera and just says: “Monkey, please help.”
Prince Michael II, who is also known as Blanket, is shown with his cousin Donte in several videos, reenacting scenes from “Star Wars” with a pretend lightsabre, and singing.
The videos were welcomed by some fans.
“I just think it’s nice to see (Prince Michael II) happy. He’s playing normal games that normal kids play,” said one Internet comment posted by “Judyr.”
Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Jill Serjeant