-- As Michael Jackson's three children stood onstage at the end of their father's memorial in July 2009, many wondered how Prince, Paris and Blanket would adapt to the world their father had always shielded them from.
The late pop icon's oldest son turned 16 this month, and his birthday wish shed light on what his future may hold.
Prince Michael Jackson has a driver's license, a girlfriend and ambition to start a career in the entertainment industry.
"I'm looking to become well-rounded as a producer, director, screenwriter and actor," Prince told Entertainment Tonight reporter Brooke Anderson last week.
His interview was part of his first big job, as a special guest correspondent for the show. Prince's assignment was interviewing James Franco, Zach Braff and Sam Raimi about their movie "Oz the Great and Powerful."
He begins his second job this week, a guest star role on the CW Television Network's teen drama "90210."
While many parents encourage their 16-year-olds to get a job to supply their own pocket money, Prince gets an allowance from his father's estate, large by any teenager's standards. It will progressively grow as he gets older, eventually at least 20% of the fortune being managed by the executors his father's estate.
But Prince has told family and friends that he wants to stand on his own, and not in the shadow of his superstar dad. Being a rising star in perhaps the world's most famous show biz family, he has plenty of relatives to call on for help and advice.
Aunt La Toya Jackson agreed to help her nephew. Her company Ja-Tail Enterprises, based in a sprawling office in Beverly Hills, California, is representing him, booking his interviews and jobs, according to a source in the company who's close to him.
It's what Prince Jackson asked for as a birthday present, the source said.
Some journalists and fans reacted negatively to word that he was entering the work world, suggesting that his father would never have approved. Several sources close to the Jackson family agree that it would not be happening if Michael Jackson were still alive.
Remaining sheltered behind the gates of his father's mansions and the masks he wore in public as a child was no longer an option after Jackson's death from a surgical anesthetic overdose nearly four years ago.
The children are living with their grandmother, assisted by cousin T.J. Jackson, in a hilltop mansion in in the same gated Calabasas, California, development that is home to Justin Bieber. Prince and sister Paris, who turns 15 in April, attend a private school. They are both active on Twitter, sharing personal thoughts and photos with the world. People who know them describe them as normal, smart and strong.
An acting role may be more likely for the son of a superstar than a job at a fast-food restaurant, a typical first job for many American teens.