Everyone knows Michael Jackson had a close bond with his three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket. But what about his supposed "secret son" Omer Bhatti?
Some say that Bhatti, 25, is Jackson's son, the product of a one-night stand in Norway a quarter-century ago. Others say he was just one of many young musical talents Jackson mentored over the years, and was very close to the singer.
Either way, Omer Bhatti sat front and center at the King of Pop's memorial service earlier this month, and is currently staying at the Jackson family home.
Sources say Bhatti was a fixture at Jackson's Neverland ranch in Santa Ynez, Calif., after the two met in Europe in the 1990s, when Bhatti was around 11.
"Everyone knew him as 'Little Michael,' and Michael referred to him as 'Little Monkey,'" remembers Ricky Harlow, a rocker in the band Harlow, which was signed to Jackson's MJJ Records in 1996 – and enjoyed an open invitation to Neverland.
Omer Bhatti's relationship to Michael Jackson has fueled great speculation.
Harlow, then 15, spent many weeks at Jackson's ranch and remembers Omer Bhatti and Jackson as being very close. Nevertheless, he says that media reports hinting that Bhatti is the pop star's mysterious son make little sense.
"They did have a father-and-son type of connection," Harlow says.
"But I never thought he was his biological father. They met when Little Michael did a contest impersonating Michael Jackson in Europe in the mid-1990s."
"Michael saw it and was blown away and got in contact with the family."
Whatever their relationship might be, Michael Jackson's family recognized the bond and has taken in Omer Bhatti as one of their own.
"They definitely embrace him," says the source. "He lived with Michael like a son. After Michael died, he came to the Jackson family home in Encino."
"He came along with Michael's kids."