Debbie Rowe

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Debbie Rowe
Deborah Jeanne Rowe

(1958-12-06) December 6, 1958 (age 64)
EducationHollywood High School
OccupationDermatology assistant
Richard Edelman
(m. 1982; div. 1988)

(m. 1996; div. 2000)
Children2; including Paris Jackson[1]

Deborah Jeanne Rowe (born December 6, 1958)[2][3] is an American dermatology assistant who was married to pop musician Michael Jackson, with whom she had two children. She lives in Palmdale, California.[4]

Early life[edit]

Debbie Rowe was born on December 6th, 1958 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 her maternal grandmother.[5]

Rowe married Richard Edelman in 1982 and converted to Judaism. The couple divorced six years later in 1988.[6]

Relationship with Michael Jackson[edit]

Rowe met Michael Jackson while working as an assistant in Arnold Klein's dermatology office, where Jackson was being treated for vitiligo.[7][6] She recalled that after Jackson's divorce from Lisa Marie Presley in 1996, he was upset that he might not become a father. Rowe, a longtime Jackson fan, proposed to bear his children.[8] 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".[9]

Children and marriage[edit]

Michael Jackson with his three children Paris, Prince, and Blanket (the first two of which are the oldest and were born by Rowe), in Disneyland Resort Paris in 2006.

Rowe had suffered a miscarriage in 1996 which devasted her. Jackson consoled her the whole way through and it was announced Rowe was pregnant again in 1996; the two were married on November 14, 1996, in Sydney, Australia.

Rowe had a son, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr.[1] (born February 13, 1997, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles),[10] who was subsequently nicknamed Prince.[11] 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).[12] Jackson took full responsibility for raising the children.[8][13]


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.[8] The couple divorced in April 2000, and Rowe gave full custody rights of the children to Jackson. Rowe received a US$8 million settlement and a house in Beverly Hills, California.[14] Court documents indicated she had signed a prenuptial agreement and therefore could not obtain an equal division of community property under California law.[15]

In 2001, Rowe went to a private judge to have her parental rights for the two children terminated.[14] In 2004, after Jackson was charged with 10 counts of child abuse, she went to court to have the decision reversed.[16] 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.[17] Court documents from 2005 noted that "[b]ecause she is Jewish, Deborah feared the children might be mistreated if Michael continued the association."[18] On the stand, in the 2005 People v. Jackson case, she explained that she had been granted limited visits to her children, for eight hours every 45 days.[19]

In 2005, Rowe sold her Beverly Hills house for $1.3 million and bought a ranch in Palmdale.[20] In 2006, she sued Jackson for one immediate payment of $195,000 and one payment of $50,000 to pursue a child custody case.[16] Jackson was ordered to pay her $60,000 in legal fees.[21]

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[22][23] and that she was attempting to bargain her parental rights for money.[24]

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,[25] 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.[26]

In August 2009, Rowe reached a settlement with Katherine Jackson, the children's guardian, under which Rowe has rights to supervised visitations.[27]

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 problems.[28]


In 2016, Rowe was diagnosed with breast cancer.[29]

In popular culture[edit]

Rowe was portrayed by April Telek in the 2004 film Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story.[30]


  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". Biography. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  3. ^ Jones, Jel (April 21, 2010). Michael Jackson Rocked the World and Lives Forever. PublishAmerica. ISBN 9781456071745. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved April 1, 2019 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Debbie Rowe: I won't see Jackson's children again". The Sydney Morning Herald. June 29, 2009. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  5. ^ Taraborrelli, J. Randy (August 1, 2004). Michael Jackson. Pan Macmillan UK. ISBN 9781743032145. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved April 1, 2019 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ a b Schneider, Karen S. (December 2, 1996). "What Friends Are for". People. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2009.
  7. ^ Entertainment: Jackson to divorce again Archived March 21, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, BBC, October 8, 1999
  8. ^ a b c The Michael Jackson Interview: The Footage You Were Never Meant to See
  9. ^ "Complete Lisa Marie Presley Playboy Interview". Playboy. July 30, 2003. Archived from the original on May 30, 2016. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  10. ^ People – Manchild Has Boy Child Archived July 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Time, February 24, 1997
  11. ^ "Last Will Of Michael Joseph Jackson". The Smoking Gun. Archived from the original on March 30, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2009.
  12. ^ Debbie Rowe reaches out to Jackson family Archived February 24, 2020, at the Wayback Machine, MSNBC, June 30, 2009
  13. ^ Living with Michael Jackson
  14. ^ 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. Archived November 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Los Angeles Times (archive), September 6, 2006
  15. ^ Bruce Simon, Michael Jackson Divorce Details Revealed Archived July 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Yahoo Music news, October 8, 1999.
  16. ^ a b Michael Jackson sued by ex-wife Archived July 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, BBC News, July 13, 2006
  17. ^ Jackson kids' Jewish mother could regain custody Archived July 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, June 28, 2009.
  18. ^ Rowe seeks parental rights over Nation of Islam Archived July 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 3, 2009.
  19. ^ Jacko's Ex Rowe: Interview Wasn't Scripted Archived July 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Fox News, April 27, 2005
  20. ^ Daly: Debbie Rowe continues to waffle on custody decision for Michael Jackson's kids Archived July 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, New York Daily News, July 2, 2009
  21. ^ Jackson child custody fight ends Archived July 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, BBC News, September 30, 2006
  22. ^ Lawyer: Debbie Rowe Is Biological Mom Archived July 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, US Weekly, June 30, 2009
  23. ^ Debbie Rowe, Dermatologist Respond To Reports Over Michael Jackson's Children, but NBC New York, June 30, 2009
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Goldman, Russell; Murphy, Eileen; Pearle, Lauren (July 17, 2009). "Debbie Rowe Files Suit Over Custody Rumors". ABC News. Archived from the original on March 22, 2015. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  26. ^ "Debbie Rowe wins judgment in defamation case". USA Today. Associated Press. March 3, 2010. Archived from the original on July 5, 2015. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  27. ^ "Jackson mother 'agrees custody'". The Independent. July 31, 2009. Archived from the original on February 24, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  28. ^ "Debbie Rowe Engaged to Michael Jackson's Executive Producer Marc Schaffel—Check Out Her Ring!". E! Online. March 28, 2014. Archived from the original on March 21, 2019. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  29. ^ Respers France, Lisa (July 5, 2016). "Debbie Rowe, Michael Jackson's ex, has cancer". Archived from the original on March 21, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  30. ^ Fuchs, Cynthia (February 7, 2005). "Man in Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story". Archived from the original on October 22, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2010.

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