Paris Jackson opens up about reuniting with her mom at 15: 'We look a lot alike'

The daughter of Michael Jackson has opened up about reconnecting with her mother as a teen, having PTSD from media attention and what pushed her to attempt suicide.


This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or go to for additional resources.

The mother that Paris Jackson didn't know until she was 15 has now become an important part of her life.

The 23-year-old singer and daughter of the late Michael Jackson opened up to Willow Smith about her relationship with mom Debbie Rowe, her PTSD from paparazzi, attempting suicide and the origins of her name in a wide-ranging interview on Facebook's "Red Table Talk" released on Wednesday.

"It's just cool having her as a friend," she said about Rowe.

Rowe married the pop legend in 1996, and they were divorced three years later. Rowe then gave up custody of their two children, Paris and her brother Prince, 24, following the divorce.

Jackson had minimal contact with her mother until she was 15 in 2013 and has since stayed close with her.

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"It's cool, getting to know her, seeing how similar we are, getting into what kind of music she really likes," said Jackson, who released her debut album last year. "She really likes country and folk, so I sent her some of the stuff I'm working on."

Jackson also shared an old photo of her mother from the 1970s.

"We look a lot alike," she said.

Paris Jackson has reconnected with her mother, Debbie Rowe, who was married to Michael Jackson from 1996 to 1999. Jim Smeal / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Jackson also reflected on the lingering trauma from her childhood spent in the intense glare of the paparazzi due to her father. She said she has post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I experience audio hallucinations, sometimes, with camera clicks and severe paranoia and have been going to therapy for a lot of things, but that included.

"I'll hear like a trash bag rustling, and I like flinch and panic. It's just standard PTSD."

Jackson added that she has nightmares and doesn't go out much during the day. She has been undergoing eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which is used to treat conditions like PTSD, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

"I do catch it affecting my personal relationships, especially romantic relationships," she said. "PTSD can affect pretty much every aspect of your life. I've just started the healing process.

"I love EMDR. It's very intense, and it puts you in a very fragile and vulnerable state, but it is a very effective kind of therapy."

The intense focus on her life has also made her paranoid to the point that she said everyone that walks into her home has to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

"It does a lot to your nervous system because you're constantly in fight or flight," she said. "Fight, flight, freeze, collapse. You're constantly walking on eggshells, constantly looking over your shoulder. Like, you have to sit up straight and act right because if you don't, it not only reflects on your reputation, (but also) your family's reputation."

The stress and pressure led her to attempt suicide.

"A lot of people do feel regret when they try and attempt suicide," she said. "Like, a last-minute regret. There have been times where I did and times when I didn't, where I was upset that it didn't work.

"But I can say several years later, that I'm really grateful that it didn't. Things have gotten better."

A range of factors drove her to want to take her life.

"I think it was everything," she said. "I think a lot of it was just not knowing who I was, being a young girl and going through puberty, and probably a lot of just my situation and a lot of pressure. It was really hard, and people would tell me to kill myself every day, and I was depressed."

Jackson had a breakthrough experience last fall in feeling more comfortable with herself.

"I experienced self-love for the first time in my entire life," she said. "That night, I was having a really rough night because some old memories came up. I was like, ‘OK, I'm gonna sit and be with myself and do a little prayer.’ And then I just felt the need to get up and go to the mirror and start doing these affirmations and once I finished, I saw myself — which was wild — and recognized myself for the first time in like 10 years.

"I don't have words to describe it. It is so intense. It's just a lot of gratitude. It took a really long time to get to that point."

Another emotional time in Jackson's life involved coming out as a lesbian, and her worries about being shunned by her family. She leaned on the support of her two brothers.

"I mean, I'm still kind of figuring it out," she said. "My family is very religious, and a lot of homosexuality is just very taboo, so they don't like to talk about it. It's not really accepted.

"But I've gotten to a point where I respect them and I have love for them. I respect their beliefs. I respect their religion. But there were moments where it was really hard, and you feel alone. You feel kind of excluded."

Paris Jackson on Jan. 21, 2017 in Paris, France. Victor Boyko / Getty Images

Smith and Jackson also discussed lighter topics, like how Jackson got her first name and how it may be connected to another famous Paris.

"So, I've been told that Kathy Hilton and my dad were really close growing up," she said. "They were like best friends, and I think they made some kind of a pact that they were gonna name their first daughter Paris. I think that's how me and — we call her P1, I'm P2 — Paris Hilton got her name as well.

"Then there's also another story of just, my dad really, really loved that city so much. When I got to truly explore Paris, I felt really connected to him, and I was like, ‘OK get it.’”