It’s hard to believe today marks the third anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. La Toya Jackson tells ESSENCE.com that June 25 is meaningful, but it’s really no different from other days for his family members. “Every day we miss him; it’s not just one day,” she says. “This particular day brings up stronger memories, but it’s no different than the other days for us.”
Jackson, whose memoir Starting Over was recently released on paperback, says she will most likely spend the day with her family in Los Angeles. “The ones that are here will get together,” she adds.
As to her brother’s legacy, the former Celebrity Apprentice contestant says she is proud of how MJ’s fans keep his memory alive. “I do like the fact that Michael is respected,” she says. “In all fairness, we will never have an entertainer as great as Michael was. They just don’t make them that way anymore.”
“Every song that [Michael] made was just so meaningful. The message in his songs is one of love.”
The King of Pop passed away as Jackson was putting the finishing touches on Starting Over, a New York Times bestseller that details how she broke free of an abusive marriage with former manager Jack Gordon. “I was so naïve when he took me away from my family,” Jackson says, describing her tumultuous marriage. “He took advantage of that, because I didn’t know the outside world. I only knew Jehovah’s Witnesses and my family.”
Jackson hopes the book will help women get through their own struggles with domestic abuse. “If I can walk away, so can they,” she says.