LOS ANGELES -- Until he died in 2009, Michael Jackson was fiercely protective of his children (save for that one balcony-dangling incident). He covered their faces when they went out with him so they might enjoy the kind of normal childhood he missed out on as a member of the Jackson 5.
But Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson stepped onto a world stage without masks when they appeared at the King of Pop's public memorial. Paris, then just 11, delivered the most poignant words of the star-studded service when she tentatively took the microphone and said, "Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine."
Since Jackson's death, Paris has become the most visible of his children, granting interviews to Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres, appearing in magazine articles and amassing more than a million followers on Twitter. She has also expressed interest in starting a singing career and has plans to star in a movie. But on Wednesday, Paris became a trending tabloid topic all too familiar for the Jackson family after she was rushed to a hospital for unspecified reasons.
All fire and sheriff's officials would say is that they transported someone from a home on Paris' suburban Calabasas street in the middle of the night for a possible overdose. They did not release any identifying information or additional details.
The Jackson family would say even less about what happened.
"Being a sensitive 15-year-old is difficult no matter who you are," Jackson's mother's attorney, Perry Sanders Jr., said in a statement Wednesday. "It is especially difficult when you lose the person closest to you. Paris is physically fine and is getting appropriate medical attention. Please respect her privacy and the family's privacy."
Sanders declined further comment on the teenager's condition or the circumstances that led to her hospitalization.
Yet on Tuesday, Paris hinted at her state of mind on Twitter, posting, "I wonder why tears are salty?" followed by lyrics from the Beatles' song "Yesterday": "yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away now it looks as though they're here to stay."
A 20-minute video of the teen applying makeup was posted to YouTube last week. It shows Jackson in what she describes as her bedroom playfully demonstrating how she does her eye makeup. She receives and replies to several texts on her phone while offering cosmetics instruction. She also reveals that she watches the film "Tangled" three times a week and, as a child, fantasized about marrying a cowboy.
She also makes goofy faces and says, "I need serious help. I'm crazy!"
Paris wrote on Twitter that she doesn't know how the video, in which she repeatedly asserts, "I am so weird," ended up on YouTube.
"I hope you guys liked it tho and didn't think i'm too crazy," she wrote. "i get weird when i'm not around people lol."
Katherine Jackson shares guardianship of her son's three children with the singer's nephew, TJ Jackson.
Messages left for TJ Jackson's attorney were not returned.
"We appreciate everyone's thoughts for Paris at this time and their respect for the family's privacy," said a statement from Eric George, an attorney for Debbie Rowe, Paris' biological mother.
In recent months, she has reconnected with Rowe, with whom she has had little contact for most of her life.
Paris' uncles Tito, Marlon and Jackie echoed that sentiment in their statement Wednesday: "Thank you for the outpouring of concern and support for Paris -- she is safe and doing fine. We truly appreciate you respecting our family's privacy at this time."
The children are listed as plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by their grandmother against concert giant AEG Live LLC, who she claims is responsible for her son's death. Katherine Jackson's lawsuit claims AEG failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted of causing the singer's death, and pushed the superstar to rehearse and perform a planned series of 50 comeback shows titled "This Is It."
Paris and Prince are listed as potential witnesses in the case, which is in its sixth week of trial.
Marvin S. Putnam, a defense attorney for AEG Live, said Paris and Prince Jackson were deposed in the case because they are named plaintiffs and may be called to testify. He said Paris Jackson's testimony was not a "grilling" but urged privacy for her and her family.
"There's a real person involved here," Putnam said. "There's a 15-year-old girl and something incredibly tragic has happened that none of us know why and I think it would really be in everyone's best interest and particularly in her best interest if rather than blowing this up into something else, that they were given a little bit of privacy to deal with something that has to be a tragic, tragic moment for all of them."
"She's 15," he said. "Someone should give her a break."