Paris Jackson Opens Up About Coming Out to Religious Family, ‘Intense Betrayal’ by Exon June 16, 2021 at 4:12 pm


Jackson also talks about attempting suicide, connecting with birth mom Debbie Rowe and how she keeps her late father’s memory alive.

Willow Smith took the reins on this week’s episode of “Red Table Talk,” sitting with longtime friend Paris Jackson for a special one-on-one conversation.

Heading into the sitdown, Smith was a little nervous, but explained that she and Jackson have known each other ever since Willow was 10. Since then, the two have “built a strong bond” and share many similarities — including coming from a famous family, careers including modeling and music, as well as “struggles with body image, mental health and sexuality.”

Because of their common experiences, the conversation between them was a very open one, touching on almost all the issues above and then some.

The two first talked about experiencing social anxiety, with Paris admitting hers has “always been pretty gnarly.” She explained that she also experiences “audio hallucinations” sometimes due to the paparazzi attention around her growing up — and when she hears something like a trash bag rustling, she’ll panic. “It’s just standard PTSD,” said Jackson, adding that the issue has affected her romantic relationships in the past. She credited EMDR with helping her work through it.

When Willow noted that she is “very paranoid’ about sharing information with people, including friends, Paris said that “everyone that walks into my house signs an NDA.” Jackson added that she constantly feels like she’s walking on egg shells, because any wrong move “reflects on your reputation, your family’s reputation.”

The two then started to talk about suicide and suicidal thoughts, with Willow stating “we both have been there.” Paris has been open about attempting suicide multiple times in the past, telling Smith that there have been times she’s done it where she felt a “last minute regret” and other times she hasn’t and was actually “upset that it didn’t work.” Now, however, she’s “really grateful” to be where she is at, saying “things have gotten better.”

When Smith asked how she started to get to a better space mentally, Jackson admitted the initial steps were “kind of morbid.” She credited the “radical acceptance that it’s just not meant to be,” saying that since she had so many failed attempts she felt, “maybe it’s not my time.” She added, “I’ve heard these gnarly stories of people that have tried to [hang] themselves and they end up paralyzed and still live. Knowing my luck, as many times as I tried, I’d probably end up in that kind of situation.”

The two shifted gears again as they started to talk about Paris’ relationship with her family on her late father Michael Jackson’s side. She noted that she was “very close” with her brothers and saw her extended family at reunions. She most recently saw her cousins at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but pointed out that they don’t celebrate those events because the Jacksons are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Pointing out how both she and Paris like both men and women, Willow then wondered what Jackson’s coming out journey was like, with Paris revealing how her family’s religious beliefs have played into the equation.

“I’m still kind of figuring it out. My family is very religious and a lot of homosexuality is very taboo, so they don’t like to talk about it, it’s not really accepted,” said Paris. “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.”

“To expect them to put aside their culture and their religions … expectations to me lead to resentments and what people think about me isn’t my business,” she continued. Jackson then said her brothers were really there for her when she came out, with Prince Jackson joining a gay-straight alliance at his high school to show his support.

The subject continued toward the end of the episode, as the two took a few questions from viewers. One of them was in a similar situation as Paris, asking how she could be confident with her sexuality around a conservative or close-minded family.

“Some of my family I talk to about it openly, some of my family I don’t. I’ve reached a point right now where I have love and respect for my family, their beliefs, their culture, their religion and if I’m to expect them to set that aside just so I can feel accepted, expectations lead to resentments for me,” she reiterated. “So I try and take the approach that what other people think of me is none of my business and as long as I’m living a life of love and being of service and honesty and I’m not hurting other people, I think I’ll be alright.”

Jackson’s most recent relationship was with Gabriel Glenn, her former bandmate. The two split in August 2020, before Paris released a solo album in November of that year. Though she didn’t refer to Glenn by name during the episode, she said that “heartbreak” was a motivating factor behind her solo release.

“It was the deepest heartbreak I ever experienced. But also it was one of the most powerful rebirths I’ve ever had in finding my voice and finding my sound and embracing being a musician,” she told Willow. “I was scared to do that for a long time. Finally, I’m just like, this is who I am, I’m a musician.”

“It was the deepest I ever loved someone, it was the most intense I’ve felt so far and the most intense betrayal I felt so far and experienced,” she continued. “It’s definitely closed me off to that, I’m very careful with who I spend time with now and very guarded and trying to protect myself.”

That being said, she added that “music has always been there” to help her through the dark times. She added that, when it comes to her music, she believes her “dad would be proud.”

When another viewer asked how she keeps her father’s memory alive, she said she just puts “the positive things I learned from him” to use as much as possible. She spoke of him again when Willow wondered how she “found the strength” to keep going after his death — telling Smith, “It kind of just happened. I was so young, it wasn’t a conscious, ‘I’m going to keep going.’ I was just going through the motions.”

Paris also briefly spoke about her relationship with birth mother Debbie Rowe, who didn’t have that strong of a presence in her life until she was a teenager.

“It’s cool, getting to know her, seeing how similar we are, getting into what kind of music she likes,” said Jackson, before sharing a photo of Rowe from her youth in the ’70s. “We look a lot alike. We look exactly alike, it’s cool having her as a friend.”

Watch the full episode above.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here