In 1997, Michael Jackson's first son, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., was born. A year later, his daughter, Paris, joined the family, and in 2002, Michael's youngest son, Prince Michael Jackson II, was born.
Once Michael had children of his own, he more or less devoted his life to their safety and happiness, and suddenly music wasn't the most important thing in his world anymore. Today we wanted to look at the man before the children came along; today we will take a trip down memory lane and look at Michael Jackson's life before 1997, when he became a father. From his childhood years to becoming a teenage star to partying with Hollywood's finest — these images give us a glimpse into Michael's extraordinary life.
So here they are, 20 photos of the King of Pop before he had children!
21 Let's Start Off With Michael In The Early '60s — When He Was Just A Little Boy
Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, near Chicago, on August 29, 1958, and he was the eight of ten siblings. According to Biography, he grew up in a big working-class family that lived in a two-bedroom house on Jackson Street. Judging from his childhood pics, Michael was an adorable boy who always carried a smile on his face.
20 But Soon Enough The Little Boy Became Quite The Star
In 1964, when Michael was only six years old, he joined his brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon in Jackson Brothers — the band formed by their father Joe. It came to show quite quickly that Michael's vocals deserve more of the spotlight, and in 1965 he began sharing lead vocals with Jermaine, as the band changed their name from Jackson Brothers to the Jackson 5.
19 Michael Was Dating Brooke Shields Back In The '80s
Anyone who watched Michael Jackson's memorial service back in 2009 will remember Brooke Shields' emotional eulogy. The two knew each other since the '80s, and while details on the nature of their relationship remain secret, both have always been very open about how close they are — and they did indeed have a lifelong friendship.
18 And He Was Close Friends With Liza Minnelli
Iconic actress and singer Liza Minnelli was another one amongst Michael's famous friends. Throughout his life, Liza was always very supportive, and he knew he could always count on her. Again, similar to his friendship with Brooke Shields, Michael also met Liza at an early age — and he had her by his side through some of his biggest successes.
17 And The Name Jackson Became Known Worldwide
In 1966 the Jackson 5 won their first talent show and the rest is history. The next few years the band went on tour, touring the midwest from 1966 to 1968, at which time Michael was barely 10 years old. Still, even at that age, so many people knew the young star's name.
16 Here's A Pic Of The Jackson 5 Dancing On A California Beach In 1969
As we mentioned, Michael had a lot of siblings, in particular, three sisters (Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet) and five brothers (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Randy). Michael's sixth brother, Marlon's twin Brandon, unfortunately, passed away soon after birth. Even with so many siblings, Michael often stated how lonely and isolating his childhood was.
15 And Here's A Teen Michael Growing His Love For Animals
Michael always loved having animals around, and once he was rich and famous enough, he treated himself to a private zoo at home. His Neverland Ranch had a private zoo that, according to Wide Open Pets had orangutans, tigers, giraffes, parrots, reptiles, flamingos, and even elephants. Judging from the photo, Michael's fascination with animals started in his childhood.
14 Look AT Him In 1972 Signing Autographs Left And Right
By the '70s everyone has already heard of the name Jackson, and Michael was surely the most well-known brother. By now he was already a teenager, and it was pretty evident that soon enough he's going to begin his solo career. According to Biography, the Jackson family moved into a large house on a two-acre estate in Encino, California in 1971.
13 This Photo Of Michael Dancing With His Sister Was Taken Shortly After He Left The Jackson 5
It was when they lived in California that Michael started performing solo, while still maintaining ties to his original band. Teenage Michael found himself at a crossroad where he'd either stay within the Jackson 5 or explore music on his own, and by now we all know he definitely made the right choice. In the photo above you can see him with his 21-year-old sister LaToya.
12 The Iconic Studio 54 in New York City Was One Of Michael's Favorite Spots
Of course, with fame, Michael soon became a welcome face to celebrity parties, especially those held at the iconic Studio 54 in New York City. In the photos above you can see him in the company of director/actor Woody Allen, club owner Steve Rubell, and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.
11 Here's Michael At The Set Of The Wiz in 1978
The photos above are some behind the scenes images from the shooting of the musical adventure fantasy film The Wiz. In it, Michael played the Scarecrow, and as you can tell the costume made the singer pretty much unrecognizable. While he never reached much success as an actor, this role he played is definitely memorable!
10 And Here He Is With Rod Stewart At The First Annual Rock N Roll Sports Classic
Back in 1978, ABC's prime-time special The Rock 'N Roll Sports Classic premiered, and of course, Michael Jackson was on it. In the photo above you can see him alongside another icon, singer Rod Stewart. Both singers were clearly into playing soccer and were keen on showing off their skills.
9 Here He Is At The 1984 Grammy Awards With Quincy Jones
Throughout his life, Michael has pretty much won too many awards to count, and it was evident early on that this singer would be one of the most influential artists of our time. According to Live About, Michael is the most awarded artist in history, with 13 Grammy Awards, 86 Billboard Awards, 26 American Music Awards and plenty of others.
8 This List Wouldn't Be Complete Without His Pet Bubbles
The photo above is of Michael enjoying a cup of tea with his pet chimpanzee Bubbles at the Osaka City Mayoral Hall in Japan in 1987. Currently, Bubbles — who is 36 years old — lives in the Center for Great Apes, a sanctuary in Wauchula, Florida where he has been since 2005.
7 His Performances During His BAD Tour Were Iconic
Michael surely redefined the importance of a stage performance, and with that, he paved the way for contemporary artists like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga to perfect the art of stage performance. Michael not only had iconic dance moves but also made sure the costumes he made match the vision he had for his music.
6 And Speaking Of Iconic, Here He Is With Some More Celebs
In the photo above you can see the king of pop with artist and peace activist Yoko Ono, actresses Elizabeth Taylor and Liza Minnelli, and singer and diva Whitney Houston. Michael was very popular amongst other celebs, and he would often be seen with some of the biggest stars of the time.
5 In The Early '90s, He And The Queen Of Pop Were Pretty Close
Once rumors started going around that the queen of pop Madonna and the King of Pop might be an item, fans everywhere were thrilled. And while the two were seen quite often going to restaurants and parties together, their relationship — if there was one to begin with — didn't last long.
4 Michael Always Loved Amusement Parks
It was always clear that Michael loves amusement parks as he'd try to visit them wherever he went. In the photo above you can see him at the famous Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1992. His love for rollercoasters and carousels was so big that he eventually made his own amusement park at the Neverland ranch.
3 Here He Is With Child Star Macaulay Culkin
Macaulay Culkin and Michael became friends around the time the movie Home Alone was released, and in 1991 Macaulay appeared in Michael's "Black or White" music video. Since then, the two have been pretty close friends, and in 2005 Macaulay even agreed to testify as a defense witness in Michael's trial.
2 And Here He Is With Girlfriend Lisa Marie Presley At The VMA's In 1995
Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, got married in 1994. Lisa met Michael all the way back in 1975 when she attended several of his concerts in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, their love didn't last for too long, and in 1996 Lisa Marie filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences.
1 And To Wrap Things Up, Here's Michael In Masks During His 1996 The History World Tour
In the second half of the '90s, it was common to see Michael more often with a mask than without one. Apparently he wore them for health reasons, but at this point who really knows. One thing is for sure, Michael was and will always remain one of the greatest musical geniuses of our time — and one of the most mysterious celebrities we had.
Sources: biography.com, liveabout.com, wideopenpets.com.