In this Oct. 8, 2011 file photo Paris Jackson smiles on stage at the Michael Forever the Tribute Concert, at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)
by Phil Gast
(CNN) — Like her father had done countless times before, Paris Jackson stepped to the microphone.
What followed at the star-studded public memorial for Michael Jackson was a heartbreaking tribute from a young girl millions of fans barely knew.
“Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine,” the 11-year-old said through tears, as relatives patted and comforted her. “And I just want to say, that I love him so much.”
The brief appearance on July 7, 2009, at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, was a surprise, given Paris, like her two brothers, had been shielded by their superstar father for most of their lives.
Only two weeks before, according to testimony in the 2011 trial of Michael Jackson’s physician, Paris saw her dying father lying on a bed with his eyes and mouth open.
She screamed out “Daddy!”
That trauma of losing a father was recalled Wednesday after Paris Jackson was rushed to a hospital after cutting one of her wrists, sources close to the family told CNN.
Paris called a suicide counseling hot line, which led to a counselor calling 911 to the Jackson home in Calabasas, California, the sources said. Other Jackson sources stopped short of calling the incident a suicide attempt, although one suggested it might be “a cry for help.”
“Being a sensitive 15-year-old is difficult no matter who you are,” attorney Perry Sanders said. “It is especially difficult when you lose the person closest to you.”
While either behind a mask as a small child or in the public eye as a teen, the aspiring actress has endured many ups and downs in her relatively few years.
Since their father’s death, Prince, Paris and Blanket’s lives have become more public.
In TV interviews, Paris has spoken about a devoted father who sometimes let his kids go to Chuck E. Cheese. A father who mildly disciplined them if they did something bad.
Michael Jackson wanted his children to grow up without fanfare and overwhelming scrutiny. He talked to his children about his youth while starring in the Jackson 5.
“He would always be stuck in the studio singing while other kids were out playing,” Paris told Oprah Winfrey in June 2012.
The daughter talked about why the siblings wore masks in public.
“I didn’t get why I was wearing a mask. But I understand it now — why my dad would want our face to be covered,” she said. “(So) when we went out without him we would not be recognized. We would have a normal childhood.”
Paris said she has dealt with issues familiar to some adolescents. People tried to bully her, Paris told Oprah. “A lot of people don’t like me,” she said.