Michael Jackson had three children before he died in 2009. He brought them up at his ranch, Neverland, which he bought in 1988 and had everything from fairground rides to a gorgeous mansion. The Neverland Estate, then known as the Sycamore Valley Ranch, is estimated to be worth between $19.5million (£15.7million) and $30million (£24million).
The ranch was bought in trust, but it was reported this arrangement was rescinded and Jackson became the ultimate owner, deciding to turn it into more than just his home.
Jackson lived in the ranch but also developed a private amusement park on the property, opening a petting zoo and adding numerous garden statues.
Following this, he also opened three railroads, a steam locomotive named after his mother Katherine, a Ferris wheel, roller coaster and amusement arcade.
As well as these, there were also a number of cars, a wave swinger, a pirate ship ride, and a carousel, as well as a reported safe room for security.
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Oprah Winfrey interviewed Jackson live at the ranch in 1993 and can still recall her excitement of arriving for the first time.
She said: “We are coming in the gates of Neverland, and it’s like a moment in The Wizard of Oz.
“It was literally like going to see the wizard. We couldn’t believe it. I felt like a kid.”
However, in Jackson’s trial in 2003, where he was charged on multiple counts of molesting a minor, the Neverland ranch was extensively searched by police.
Jackson was acquitted of all charges and soon after he left the ranch, saying he would never live at the property again and considered it to no longer be his home.
This was detailed in his sister La Toya’s memoir from 2012, Starting Over.
In 2007, foreclosure of the Neverland Ranch was published, and a spokesperson for Jackson said the loan was being refinanced, and he still retained the majority stake in the ranch.
However, as time went on, Jackson gave up more and more of the ranch, with it eventually going up for sale.
In a press release around a foreclosure auction of the ranch, Jackson said: “I am pleased with recent developments involving Neverland Ranch and I am in discussions with Colony [Capital, an investment company] and Tom Barrack with regard to the Ranch and other matters that would allow me to focus on the future.”
However, tragedy struck when Jackson died in May 2009, and his family spoke out on their intention to bury Jackson at the ranch.
From this point, all the rides and animals were removed from the property, and some were believed to have been replaced by a section decorated with Peter Pan, along with a meditation garden.
The ranch was put up for sale in 2015 by Colony NorthStar, but Jackson’s brother, Jermaine, wrote an open letter disagreeing with the decision.
The ranch was, at this stage, jointly owned by the company and the Jackson estate, with Jackson bequeathing his share of the estate to a family trust on his death.
Eventually, the ranch was being put up for sale again in 2016 via Sotheby’s, but the property began to fall in value and, as of February 2019, the value of the property has fallen by an approximate $70million (£56.3million).
Eventually, the property was taken off the market after failing to be sold for five years.
As a result of all of this, his children do not live there, as they moved in with his mother, Katherine Jackson, when he died.
It is believed all of his children live in Los Angeles, California.
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