Debbie Rowe

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Debbie Rowe
Born Deborah Jeanne Rowe
(1958-12-06) December 6, 1958 (age 59)
Spokane, Washington, U.S.
Residence Palmdale, California, U.S.
Education Hollywood High School
Occupation Dermatology nurse, horse breeder
Known for Marriage to Michael Jackson
Spouse(s) Richard Edelman
(m. 1982; div. 1988)

Michael Jackson
(m. 1996; div. 1999)
Partner(s) Marc Schaffel
Children 2; including Paris Jackson[1]

Deborah Jeanne Rowe (born December 6, 1958) is an American nurse known for her marriage to Michael Jackson, with whom she had two children. She lives in Palmdale, California.[2]

Early life[edit]

Rowe was born in Spokane, Washington, the daughter of Barbara Chilcutt and Gordon Rowe. Her father divorced her mother a few weeks before her second birthday. She was raised by her mother, a few aunts, and maternal grandmother. She has one half-sister named Loretta Scarlett Rowe who was born in 1961.

First marriage[edit]

Rowe first married Richard Edelman in 1982. The couple divorced six years later in 1988.

Relationship with Michael Jackson[edit]

Rowe met Michael Jackson while working as a nurse in Dr. Arnold Klein's dermatology office, where Jackson was being treated for vitiligo.[3][4] She recalled that after Jackson's divorce from Lisa Marie Presley in 1996, he was upset at the possibility that he might never become a father. Rowe, a longtime Jackson fan, proposed to bear his children.[5] In an interview with Playboy, Lisa Marie stated that she knew at the time that she and Jackson were married that Rowe wanted to have his children and that Rowe had "a crush on him".[6]

Children and marriage[edit]

Michael Jackson with his three children (the two oldest were born by Rowe), in Disneyland Resort Paris in 2006.

It was announced she was pregnant in 1996, and the two were later married on November 14, 1996, in Sydney, Australia. It was her second marriage, her first being to Richard Edelman in 1982.[4]

Three months after Rowe and Jackson's marriage she gave birth to a son, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr.[1] (born February 13, 1997 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles),[7] who was subsequently nicknamed Prince.[8] The next year she gave birth to a daughter, Paris Jackson[1] (born April 3, 1998 at Spaulding Pain Medical Clinic in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles).[9] Jackson took full responsibility for raising the children.[5][10]


Rowe, who described herself as a private person and almost never gave interviews, was overwhelmed by the publicity that came with being married to Jackson.[5] The couple divorced on October 8, 1999, with Rowe giving full custody rights of the children to Jackson. Rowe received an $8 million settlement, and a house in Beverly Hills, California.[11] Court documents indicated she had signed a prenuptial agreement and therefore could not obtain an equal division of community property under California law.[12]

In 2001, Rowe went to a private judge to have her parental rights for the two children terminated.[11] In 2004, after Jackson was charged with 10 counts of child abuse, she went to court to have the decision reversed.[13] According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Rowe, who is Jewish, sought the reversal in part because she feared the nanny and some of Jackson's siblings were exposing the children to teachings of the Nation of Islam.[14] Court documents from 2005 noted that "Because she is Jewish, Deborah feared the children might be mistreated if Michael continued the association."[15] On the stand, in the 2005 People v. Jackson case, she explained that she had been allowed limited visits to her children, for eight hours every 45 days.[16]

In 2005, Rowe sold her Beverly Hills house for $1.3 million, and bought a ranch in Palmdale.[17] In 2006, she sued Jackson for one immediate payment of $195,000 and one payment of $50,000 to pursue a child custody case.[13] Jackson was ordered to pay her $60,000 in legal fees.[18]

After Jackson's death[edit]

Following Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, Rowe made statements through her attorney to deny a series of gossip reports, including reports that she was not the children's biological mother[19][20] and that she was attempting to bargain her parental rights for money.[21] Several gossip outlets reported that Debbie Rowe was the surrogate mother for the children and not their biological mother.[22]

In July 2009, she filed a lawsuit for defamation and invasion of privacy against a source who handed over alleged private e-mails to the television entertainment news program Extra,[23] and on March 3, 2010, she was successful in the defamation lawsuit. She was awarded $27,000 in damages, although she had originally sought $500,000.[24]

In August 2009, Rowe reached a settlement with Katherine Jackson, the children's guardian, under which she has rights to supervised visitations. Mrs. Jackson's attorney stated that the negotiations were "never about money" and the settlement was in the best interests of the children.[25]

In April 2014, Rowe announced on Entertainment Tonight that she was engaged to music producer and former Neverland Ranch videographer Marc Schaffel, who worked with Jackson on his 9/11 charity single "What More Can I Give". Schaffel was the sole Jackson employee who was permitted access to visit Rowe following their divorce in 1999 and he assisted Rowe with her health issues.[26]

Health problems[edit]

In the summer of 2016 Rowe was diagnosed with breast cancer.[27]

In popular culture[edit]

Rowe was portrayed by April Telek in the 2004 film Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story.[28]

Rowe was parodied in actress/comedian Tracey Ullman's series Tracey Ullman's State of the Union.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c "Birth certificates" (PDF). County of Los Angeles. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 10, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2009. 
  2. ^ Debbie Rowe: I won't see Jackson's children again,, June 29, 2009
  3. ^ Entertainment: Jackson to divorce again, BBC, October 8, 1999
  4. ^ a b Schneider, Karen S. (December 2, 1996). "What Friends Are for". People. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c The Michael Jackson Interview: The Footage You Were Never Meant to See
  6. ^ "Complete Lisa Marie Presley Playboy Interview". Playboy. July 30, 2003. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ People – Manchild Has Boy Child, Time, February 24, 1997
  8. ^ "Last Will Of Michael Joseph Jackson". The Smoking Gun. Retrieved September 20, 2009. 
  9. ^ Debbie Rowe reaches out to Jackson family, MSNBC, June 30, 2009
  10. ^ Living with Michael Jackson
  11. ^ a b Case Reopens Debate on Private Judges; Michael Jackson's clash with ex-wife heads for county court as officials seek to reform system., Los Angeles Times (archive), September 6, 2006
  12. ^ Bruce Simon, Michael Jackson Divorce Details Revealed, Yahoo Music news, October 8, 1999.
  13. ^ a b Michael Jackson sued by ex-wife, BBC News, July 13, 2006
  14. ^ Jackson kids' Jewish mother could regain custody, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, June 28, 2009.
  15. ^ Rowe seeks parental rights over Nation of Islam, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 3, 2009.
  16. ^ Jacko's Ex Rowe: Interview Wasn't Scripted, FoxNews, April 27, 2005
  17. ^ Daly: Debbie Rowe continues to waffle on custody decision for Michael Jackson's kids, New York Daily News, July 2, 2009
  18. ^ Jackson child custody fight ends, BBC News, September 30, 2006
  19. ^ Lawyer: Debbie Rowe Is Biological Mom, US Weekly, June 30, 2009
  20. ^ Debbie Rowe, Dermatologist Respond To Reports Over Michael Jackson's Children, but NBC New York, June 30, 2009
  21. ^ Debbie Rowe Sics Her Lawyers on the New York Post over Report She Sold Her Kids Archived July 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.. (July 14, 2009). Retrieved on April 9, 2012.
  22. ^ Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe 'are not biological parents of any of his children', Daily Mail (London), July 1, 2009
  23. ^ Goldman, Russell; Murphy, Eileen; Pearle, Lauren (July 17, 2009). "Debbie Rowe Files Suit Over Custody Rumors". ABC News. Retrieved December 1, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Debbie Rowe wins judgment in defamation case". USA Today. Associated Press. March 3, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2014. 
  25. ^ Jackson's lawyer praises Rowe in custody case. Daily Express (London), (August 4, 2009). Retrieved on April 9, 2012.
  26. ^ "Debbie Rowe Engaged to Michael Jackson's Executive Producer Marc Schaffel—Check Out Her Ring!". E! Online. March 28, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Michael Jackson's daughter Paris 'called Debbie Rowe'". Daily Mail. 
  28. ^ Fuchs, Cynthia (February 7, 2005). "Man in Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story". Retrieved January 4, 2010. 

External links[edit]