No other performer in history has won more awards than Michael Jackson. His artistry and talent are unequaled and his numerous awards prove that. Most people only know Michael Jackson as the legend. Al Malnik and his family knew Michael Jackson as the friend, Michael Jackson as the father, and Michael Jackson as the man behind the legend.
Al and wife, Nancy Malnik, were first introduced to Michael Jackson in 2001 when Michael was seeking financial and legal advice from Al regarding his refinancing of a debt with Sony and a loan from Bank of America. Michael and Al Malnik quickly became fast friends and Jackson would regularly seek refuge in Al's family home in Ocean Ridge, FL. Michael would stay for months at a time with his children Paris, Prince and Prince Michael II (Blanket). ''He was an extraordinarily nice guy and just a wonderful father,'' Al Malnik said of Michael. "He and the kids stayed here for several months with us, and we all just thought the world of him. He just could not have been a nicer, sweeter soul.''
Al and Nancy's triplets played happily with Prince and Paris at the family's Oceanside home, a far cry from the rumored isolation the Jackson children were falsely reported to live in. “The relationship our family had with Michael, and the one that I had with him, was really extraordinary,” said Al Malnik. “We were very close, always talking with each other, and having a lot of fun with our mutual families.” While at the Malnik's home, Michael Jackson and his three children were able to feel free and secure enough to do the things any father and his children would normally do without the pressures of public life. They celebrated birthdays, put on plays, and just simply got to be kids, free from herds of paparazzi or crowds of Michael's fans. "The Jackson’s were ideal houseguests," Al recalls of Michael and his children. "When they came, I asked my staff if they would need to work harder with three more kids in the house. They said there isn’t any extra effort. Michael’s kids clean their own rooms, make up their beds, polish the mirrors and take care of everything. Each and every morning, their first chore after breakfast was to clean their room. When I mentioned it to Michael, he simply replied, 'that’s the way I bring up my kids.'” Al Malnik and his family will forever treasure the times when Michael Jackson and his children would come to visit them at their "home away from home”. “Every day, our backyard was their playground,” says Al of Jackson and his children. “Michael just enjoyed himself so much with our children. It was the kind of imaginary fun people used to dream about going to Neverland and experiencing."
Al and Nancy once arranged for a late-night shopping expedition at a local supermarket, a routine task made impossible for Michael and his children due to his popularity. To make the experience as realistic as possible, the Malnik’s asked some of their friends to act as fellow shoppers, completely ignoring Michael as he happily shopped. During their friendship, Jackson even chartered a private plane to travel to South Florida to surprise Al at his 70th birthday party, where Michael sat with Al at the head table and welcomed Al's guests, including B.B. King, Smokey Robinson, F. Lee Bailey and celebrity lawyer Roy Black.
Michael gave special thanks to Al in the liner notes on his Greatest Hits CD, and the two signed a document in 2003 in which Al swears to raise Blanket (Prince Michael II) as his own. ''I guess in 2003 or 2004, he (Michael) asked me if anything ever happened to him, if I would become godfather and parent to Prince Michael,'' he told reporter Lisa Petrillo. "So I signed a document at that time agreeing to bring up Blanket in the event anything happened to him.'' Michael, in turn, became the godfather of Al and Nancy's daughter, Spencer. The Malnik family will always remember the wonderful times they shared with Michael, Paris, Prince and Blanket at their home. “It was a magical time for all of us. Thank God we have it on video. We’ll never forget him. We’ll love Michael always.”