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Jacksons rally around Michael

Sister LaToya, father Joseph offer support on 'Larry King Live'

LaToya Jackson
LaToya Jackson

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Full name: Michael Joseph Jackson

Born: August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana

The Jackson 5: Signed with Motown in 1968; first single released in 1969. First four singles went to No. 1

First No. 1 solo song: "Ben," 1972

"The Wiz": Jackson co-starred with Diana Ross in the 1978 retelling of "The Wizard of Oz"

Thrilling achievements: 1982 album "Thriller" became the best selling album of all time, selling more than 25 million copies. The album produced seven Top Ten singles and won Jackson eight Grammy Awards

Bad is good: 1987 album, "Bad," became the first album to produce five No. 1 hits. The supporting world concert tour was the highest-grossing tour ever to that time

Trouble in Neverland: In 1993, Jackson was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy on his Neverland Ranch. Jackson denied the allegation, and no charges were ever filed. Jackson and the boy?s family settled out of court in 1995

Wedding stories:
Married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of rock legend Elvis Presley, in 1994; marriage lasted 19 months later. Married nurse Debbie Rowe, who is the mother of two of his children, 1996; couple divorced in 1999

Hall of Fame: Jackson was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001


(CNN) -- Michael Jackson's sister LaToya and his father, Joseph, both defended the singer during LaToya's appearance Tuesday night on "Larry King Live."

"I think it's overly exaggerated," LaToya Jackson said of the controversy surrounding her brother. "I think it's too much emphasis on it. I think that they should let him live his life and do as he chooses."

Joseph Jackson attributed the criticism of his son to the media's tendency to tear down successful people.

"When you're No. 1 up there and you've sold more records than anybody in show business history, then it has a tendency to try to pull you down," he said on a call into the show. "That's what's happening with Michael and, you know, all of these lies they're telling on it. But he'll come through with it."

"You have total faith in your son?" asked King.

"Yes, sir, I have total faith in him. I've always had total faith in him," Joseph Jackson replied.

Despite Michael Jackson's lack of recent chart success, he has become the center of a gossip cottage industry of late. A British documentary, which aired in February on ABC in the United States, followed the singer around for several months and questioned his past and his abilities as a parent. An NBC program later in the month discussed the singer's plastic surgery in detail.

A Vanity Fair article, scheduled to appear next week, reveals that the singer participated in a voodoo ritual to curse his enemies and alleges he's in serious financial trouble.

On the British documentary, Michael Jackson talked about the abuse he experienced as a child, details that LaToya and Joseph Jackson played down.

"Well, I had to be kind of strict a little bit because the things that we were surrounded with, you know?" Joseph Jackson said. "So you notice that my kids [aren't] into any kind of trouble. We tried to raise them -- with always [to] respect other people as well."

LaToya Jackson noted that her brother changed when puberty hit, going from an outgoing child to a shy, reserved adolescent.

"He became very withdrawn, very quiet, extremely shy," she said.

Michael Jackson also has faced accusations of sexual abuse and admitted in the recent documentary that he has shared his bedroom with young boys. LaToya Jackson said that she took her brother at his word that the sleepovers are harmless.

"Michael addressed that to the public on television, and I think that no one can consider that question but Michael and he addressed it to the public, and I think that's the way it should be," she said.

LaToya Jackson also gained a modicum of fame for appearing nude in Playboy several years ago. She told King she regretted the experience and that it was the product of poor management by her ex-husband, Jack Gordon. But she said that she has a much better handle on her life since divorcing him.

"You know what? I'm in a good space in my life at the moment, and I want to keep it there," she said. "I'm very positive now, and I like that and I want to stay that way."

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