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Joe Jackson. Picture: Reuters

Joe Jackson has defended hitting his son Michael.

The music manager was notoriously tough on his children growing up and was accused by Michael of beating him and his brothers, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon, with a belt or with his hands if they messed up during Jackson 5 rehearsals.

The late King of Pop talked candidly about the effect his dad's physical abuse had on him and he accused Joe of destroying his childhood, but the Jackson family patriarch believes his strict rules were responsible for making Michael and his siblings stars.

In a frank interview on Piers Morgan Tonight, Joe revealed: "I'm glad I was tough, because look what I came out with.

"I came out with some kids that everybody loved all over the world. And they treated everybody right.

"There's no such thing as beating a kid. You whip them or punish them over something they did and they will remember that.

"I had to be that way because during those times it was hard, and you have a lot of gangs there, you know, in the area where we were living (Gary, Indiana)."

Michael - who died in 2009, aged 50 - famously spoke of his tormented childhood in a 2003 interview with Martin Bashir, revealing his disciplinarian father would "tear you up if you missed a dance step".

"So not only were we practising, we were nervous rehearsing because he sat in the chair and he had this belt in his hand, and if you didn't do it the right way he would tear you up, really get you," Michael said.

The 84-year-old manager - who is still married to Michael's mother Katherine - insists his choice of discipline for his son was what made him a success and what taught him respect.

"You know, Michael, he was a nice guy. The world (doesn't) know anything too much about Michael as far as how he was brought up," Joe said.

"But he was brought up. I made sure that he respected the older people."