Jackson shocked the world with not one but two high-profile marriages in the mid 1990s. The King of Pop’s 1994 union with the daughter of The King barely lasted 18 months, amid continuous speculation about the reality of what was going on behind closed doors at Neverland. MJ and Lisa Marie separated in December 1995 and their divorce was finalised the following August. That November, Jackson married Rowe – who was already pregnant with his first child.
Rowe later described how she had comforted a separated Jackson and then offered to have his children – but Lisa Marie remembered it very differently.
Lisa Marie, who was already mother to four-year-old Danielle Riley and baby Ben with former husband Danny Keough, described the upsetting scenes when she tried to explain to her new husband that she wasn’t ready to have children with him straight away. And how MJ began to issue horrifying ultimatums.
She said: “I had children and I Knew bringing children into certain circumstances you have to make sure that everything is safe and secure and ok. And I wanted to make sure he and I were really, really united because we were going to be up against so much.”
The King of Pop had known Debbie for about fifteen years by then, although she stated later she made the offer to bear his children after his divorce.
Rowe said: “Michael was divorced, lonely and wanted children. I was the one who said to him, ‘I will have your babies’. I offered him my womb. It was a gift. It was something I did to keep him happy.”
They married on November 13, 1996 at an impromptu ceremeony at the Sheraton Hotel in Sydney. MJ was in the middle of the HIStory World Tour. There were few guests, MJ had an eight-year-old ‘Best Man’ and Rowe wore a black dress.
Although Jackson and Lisa Marie famously confirmed they were having sex in a televised interview, Rowe later stated that she never slept with Jackson. She described how she was “impregnated like a horse.”
The result was two children. Prince Michael was born on February 13, 1997, followed by his sister Paris on April 3, 1998. A third sibling, Prince Michael II followed in 2002, conceived with an anonymous surrogate.
Rowe’s “gift” was sealed when she divorced Jackson in 1999, signing away all rights to her children in an $8million settlement ($14million today).
Lisa Marie, still reeling from the collapse of her marriage to Jackson, watched the wedding to Rowe and subsequent rapid arrival of two children unfold in great distress.
She herself had married MJ just 20 days after her own first divorce went through. She said: “I knew it was a bit of a retaliatory act on his part because I didn’t have a baby (with him).”