Michael Jackson's Children: How Are They Doing?

12/12/2011 at 09:30 AM EST

Michael Jackson's Children: How Are They Doing?
Prince, Blanket and Paris Jackson
Justin Stephens
As the two-and-a-half year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death approaches, the pop star's children are keeping busy carrying on his legacy.

Prince, Paris, and Blanket recently attended a taping of The X Factor, checked out the Las Vegas opening of Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil and the Michael Jackson Fan Fest memorabilia exhibit. And now Paris, 13, has landed her first acting role in the film Lundon's Bridge and the Three Keys.

"They're doing well," their uncle Marlon tells PEOPLE.





Much of the credit for their happiness goes to their grandmother, Katherine, who has been raising the kids since their father's death. "My grandmother is 81, but she’s very hands-on," says their first cousin Genevieve, Randy's daughter.

While they may be mini-celebs with multimillion-dollar trust funds reportedly waiting for them when they turn 30 – their father's estate earned $445 million in the past two years alone, according to Forbes – the kids are leading relatively normal lives.

After years of home-schooling, Prince, 14, and Paris now attend a private school. "They love the social aspect of it," says a family insider, noting Prince is "a great student" and "really popular with the girls." Paris, meanwhile, plays on the boys' flag-football team but isn't dating. Explains the insider: "She's got too many uncles keeping an eye on her."

As for little brother Blanket (real name: Prince Michael II), 9, the shy boy is schooled at their seven-bedroom Calabasas, Calif., home, where he's also been getting an education in the kitchen. "He likes cooking," says the insider. "He'll make cakes and cupcakes. The staff chef helps him."

But the real passion for all three kids is entertainment. While Paris is focused on acting, her brothers are into filmmaking. "Prince and Blanket want to be directors," says Genevieve, a music artist. "They make home movies together and recruit their cousins to act in them.” She adds, "The cousins are all very close.”

Having that bond is how the Jackson 3 remain grounded, says their uncle Jackie. "They stay with the family. That's what it's about. We keep a close watch on them."

Reporting by CHAMP CLARK and JULIE K.L. DAM

For more on the Jackson kids, check out the current issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now

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