Randy Jr., Jaafar, Donte, Genevieve, and Jermajesty didn’t have a normal childhood.
“Growing up we were very sheltered,” said 24-year-old Genevieve, during the TCA summer press tour panel Saturday for Reelz’ Living With the Jacksons. “…Coming from this family there’s a lot of politics involved in it and there was a lot of outside people coming in and out of our house. So we had to watch what we said, how we acted because the media, the world was looking at us.”
Living With the Jacksons, a six episode event series, follows the siblings - and their mother Alejandra - as they adjust to life outside the “Jackson bubble.” They lived in Hayvenhurst, the Jackson family estate, until their uncle Michael’s 2009 death.
“This is just a chance for us to openly and honestly express ourselves,” said Donte, who has been raised by Alejandra since he was two.
Despite their restrictive upbringing, the siblings - Jaafar and Jermajesty were Alejandra's children with Jermaine Jackson, while Genevieve and Randy Jr. were with Jermaine's brother Randy - were quick to defend their grandparents, Katherine and Joe Jackson, explaining that Katherine and Joe helped raise them.
“We weren’t reprimanded by them, more by the lifestyle,” said Donte.
The lifestyle included paparazzi camping outside the house, security guards, and waves of people coming and going.
Other highlights from the panel included:
—The siblings said they didn’t know growing up who liked them for them and who liked them for their last name. Randy explained that he would introduce himself as Randy Johnson to try to get to know the person first.
—Alejandra doesn’t mind that her older children are still living with her. “The longer they stay, I feel like is better for them.”
—On wether the name helps or hurts: “We just know that we have to work twice as hard,” said Randy, citing the pressure to live up to the name.
—The five of them fondly recalled their Uncle Michael, saying that he would play hide and seek with them and let them ride the Neverland rides. “He was such a tender, childlike, and the whole house would come to life,” said Alejandra. “He was just such a wonderful person.”
Living With the Jacksons bows on Reelz Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.