One suspect in the continuing mystery of who is the biological father of Michael Jackson’s children eliminated himself from consideration Wednesday. Al Malnik, a former Jackson friend, said he is not, as sometimes reported, the biological parent of his godson and Jackson’s third child, Prince Michael II, better known as Blanket.
In an interview with TODAY’s Meredith Vieira, Malnik also revealed intimate photos and exclusive videos of Jackson and his children in happy moments at Malnik’s palatial home in Ocean Ridge, Fla., and said that the late entertainer’s prescription drug problems have been “exaggerated many, manyfold.”
Who are Blanket’s parents?
Blanket — the child Jackson famously dangled as an infant from a hotel-room balcony in Berlin — was born in Germany seven years ago. He was reportedly born of a surrogate German mother and conceived in vitro with donated egg and sperm. Blanket’s biological parents remain a mystery, as does the identity of his surrogate mother.
Malnik — a lawyer and restaurateur who made a fortune in a chain of short-term loan stores — hosted Jackson and his children in his 35,000-square-foot oceanfront mansion for several months at a time in 2003 and 2004. Although Malnik told Vieira he didn’t meet Blanket until the child was 2, he showed pictures from Blanket’s first birthday party celebrated in Malnik’s home. [Editor’s note: In an e-mail to TODAYshow.com, Malnik said that he erred on the broadcast and meant to say, “I didn't meet him until he was 1 year old.”]
Malnik has reportedly said in the past that he is Blanket’s biological father and also the executor of Jackson’s estate. He now categorically denies both statements.
“Of course I’m not the biological father,” he told Vieira, who also asked him if he would get involved in the disposal of the estate.
“Only if I’m asked to, and if it were court-authorized or Jackson-family authorized,” Malnik replied.
The home movies and pictures Malnik shared with TODAY show a relaxed and happy Jackson and his children unmasked and untroubled by herds of paparazzi or pressing crowds of worshipful fans. They show Michael Jackson and his three kids doing the things any affectionate dad and children do: a child’s birthday; putting on a play; scampering about Malnik’s backyard, and even going on a late-night shopping expedition at a local supermarket opened solely for the King of Pop.
Wearing a baseball cap and a black sports coat, Jackson pushes a shopping cart up and down the grocery store’s aisles, wide-eyed to be able to do what normal people do every day.
“Oh, this is great. I never get to do this,” Jackson tells the camera as he puts items in his cart. Malnik and his wife, Nancy, who have triplets around the age of Jackson’s children, blindfolded Jackson on the way to the grocery store, a place he said he always wished he could visit. His surprise and delight when he realizes where he is seem genuine.
To make the experience more realistic, the Malniks even enlisted friends to dress up as regular shoppers and cruise the aisles, completely ignoring Jackson. Malnik told TODAY that before Jackson arrived, all tabloids were removed from the racks to keep anything from spoiling the moment.
Good clean fun
“The relationship our family had with Michael, and the one that I had, was really extraordinary,” Malnik told Vieira. “We were very close, always talking with each other, and having a lot of fun with our mutual families.”