TODAY   |  June 25, 2010

Godfather of Jackson’s children speaks out

TODAY’s Matt Lauer talks with Mark Lester, the godfather of Michael Jackson’s children, about the investigation into Jackson’s death and how his children are coping.

Share This:

This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

LAUER: ...this morning for us. Jeff , thank you very much . Mark Lester is the godfather of Michael Jackson 's children and made headlines last year when he claimed he could possibly be the biological father of Paris Jackson . Mr. Lester , good morning to you.

Mr. MARK LESTER (Longtime Friend of Michael Jackson): Hi, Matt. How are you?

LAUER: I'm well, thank you. You know, in the -- in the days and weeks following Michael Jackson 's untimely death last year, a lot of friends and pseudo friends came out of the woodwork . As it turned out, a lot of those people really didn't have a relationship with Michael Jackson . But by all accounts, you and Michael did stay close over the years. Your children and his children were friends. How would you describe your relationship?

Mr. LESTER: We were -- yeah, I mean, we were just like two families, and I imagine almost like my kids and Michael 's children were like would be anything like -- although they weren't related, like cousins I guess. I mean, we always -- when Michael ever came to the UK we would always get together. We've -- I've been to Neverland many, many times and -- with my children and, you know, we spent some rare moments with Michael . We've had Christmas with Michael , it's -- and Michael 's kids. We've -- just two families that have become very close over the years.

LAUER: And yet it's my understanding that since his death you really have had very little contact with his children , and your children have had basically no contact with his children . Have you reached out to try to establish that?

Mr. LESTER: Well, I have tried. We're always here, so you know if Paris , Blanket , Prince are hearing or listening, you know, my -- I'm here, my children are here and, you know, we're here 24/7 so there's not a problem.

LAUER: These headlines you made last year after his death when you said that you had made a sperm donation to Michael and that it was possible -- you didn't claim anything further than that -- but possible that you might be Paris ' biological father, do you think that had a chilling effect on your relationship with the rest of the Jackson family ?

Mr. LESTER: Well, it possibly wouldn't have made me number one in the popular list, but unfortunately these things came out and, you know, it doesn't detract from the fact that Paris -- Michael was Paris ' dad and always will be and she will always will be Michael 's daughter. You know, she's a wonderful kid. All the kids are wonderful. But, yes, maybe in the popularity stakes I wouldn't have been that high up on the list.

LAUER: Even though you've had no direct contact with the children , do you have any means of getting information as to how they're doing?

Mr. LESTER: Yeah, I do. I get -- I have people who are within the family, external members, and I get snippets of information. So, you know, I understand they're doing very well and they're looking fine and they're healthy. Just be nice if, you know, we could pick up a phone and just say hi.

LAUER: Yeah. In Jeff Rossen 's piece, we saw that they are out and about a little more than they were, being seen in the public more than they were when Michael was alive. Is that a good thing to you?

Mr. LESTER: Definitely. You know, Michael absolutely cherished those children and obviously for their own safety he had to keep them very contained, I guess. Now that they're getting out and about, it's the best thing for them. They need to get out and mix with kids their own age. And they -- the healthiest thing possible just to allow them their freedom.

LAUER: In the year since their death, all kinds of so-called experts have tried to put his career and his life into perspective, Mark . Is there anything you feel is missing or has been missing from those discussions?

Mr. LESTER: Well, most of these people have never ever met Michael and they're just working on assumption. It -- just anybody I know that has spent five minutes with Michael Jackson just comes away saying, you know, there was -- there was an aura about Michael , a peaceful, a loving, a giving, just this feeling of tranquility that Michael gave out, and you could not get that unless you actually met the man. And everybody I know that's met Michael has come away just completely blown away by this what was a beautiful person.

LAUER: Mark Lester . Mark , good to see you. Thanks for your time this morning.

Mr. LESTER: Thanks, Matt.

LAUER: For more on Michael Jackson 's death one year later and the entire interview with Katherine Jackson , catch a special "Dateline." " Michael Jackson , a Mother's Story." That's tonight at 9, 8 Central Time right here on NBC .