Michael Jackson and Debbie Jeanne Rowe, a dermatologist nurse, were married in 1996 during the Australian leg of the HIStory World Tour. The HIStory World Tour, which included 82 concerts in 58 cities to over 4.5 million fans, began on September 7, 1996 and ended on October 15, 1997. The couple had two children together using donated sperm. A son, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. (also known as “Prince”), and a daughter, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson.
Jackson and Rowe first met in the mid-1980s, when Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo. Rowe spent many years treating his illness as well as providing emotional support. They built a strong friendship, then became romantically involved. Originally there were no plans to marry, but following Rowe’s first pregnancy, Jackson’s mother intervened and persuaded them to do so.
Jackson and Rowe were said to have entered a surrogacy agreement in 1996, nine months before they wed. Jackson was said to be so obsessed with controlling the creation of each child he reportedly imposed a six-month sex ban on Ms Rowe before insemination. Rowe said she received a £6 million pay-off, a £1.6 million Beverly Hills home, a car, clothes, furs and jewels. In the surrogacy agreement, Rowe agreed to “knowingly and voluntarily waive my right to contest Michael’s paternity of either child” and “consent to Michael being declared the father”. After giving birth to Prince Michael Jr., Rowe was inseminated again four months later and Paris was born in April 1998.
By October 1999 the couple were divorced with Rowe giving full custody rights of the children to Jackson. They were said to have remained friends.
Jackson also had a third child, Prince Michael Jackson II (also known as Blanket) who was born in 2002. The mother’s identity was never released by Jackson, but he has said the child was the result of artificial insemination from a surrogate mother and his own sperm cells. In November of that year, Jackson brought his new born son onto the balcony of his hotel room in Berlin, as fans stood below. Holding him in his right arm, with a cloth loosely draped over the baby’s face, Jackson briefly extended the baby over the railing of the balcony, four stories above ground level, causing widespread criticism in the media. Jackson later apologized for the incident, calling it “a terrible mistake”.