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Michael Jackson | Source: Getty Images
Michael Jackson | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson Married a Nurse Who Was a Fan—Now 65, She Once Saddened Users with Her Appearance Amid Breast Cancer

Gaone Pule
Jun 20, 2024
12:54 P.M.
  • Michael Jackson's marriage to a dedicated fan unveiled unexpected aspects of her life.
  • She was diagnosed with breast cancer and bravely showed off her bald head on television by taking off her wig which sparked sympathy from many.
  • The woman's biggest support system was her daughter, whom she had, along with her brother, as a "gift" to the musician.
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Michael Jackson’s marriage to a devoted fan-turned-friend intrigued many about her life. Their sudden wedding while she was pregnant with their first child brought her into the public eye.

Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe attend the closing performance of "Sisterella" on April 28, 1996 | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe attend the closing performance of "Sisterella" on April 28, 1996 | Source: Getty Images

Jackson first married Lisa Marie Presley, but their union ended after two years. After their split, the global superstar impulsively married a woman who was not in the public eye. It was a peculiar arrangement that hogged headlines for years.

The singer-songwriter met Debbie Rowe, a nurse assistant, and divorcée, when he went for vitiligo treatment at Dr. Arnold Klein's dermatology office. Over time, he and Rowe got to know each other.

Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe pictured on January 1, 1997 in Paris, France. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe pictured on January 1, 1997 in Paris, France. | Source: Getty Images

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Together, Dr. Klein and Rowe accompanied Jackson on world tours, leading to a deepening friendship. Rowe even had posters of Jackson in her apartment.

Friends described her as a kind-hearted woman who preferred jeans and T-shirts. She had two dogs: Cuervo, a golden retriever, and Harley, a German shepherd at the time. Mary Colandro, Rowe's friend, said, "If anyone has problems, she handles them. She's a great rescuer."

Debbie Rowe looks on as Michael Jackson signs autographs for fans on July 10, 1997 in Sheffield, England. | Source: Getty Images

Debbie Rowe looks on as Michael Jackson signs autographs for fans on July 10, 1997 in Sheffield, England. | Source: Getty Images

Rowe recalled meeting the pop star for the first time, saying, "I go 'Hi.' And he goes 'Hi,' and I said, 'You know what? Nobody does what you do better, and nobody does what I do better. Let's get this over with.' And he laughed, and we just became friends."

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Jackson married Rowe in November 1996 with the star's eight-year-old nephew acting as the best man. They exchanged vows in a private ceremony held in the presidential suite of Sheraton in the Park Hotel in Sydney, Australia.

A general view of the Sheraton on the Park Hotel on June 26, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. | Source: Getty Images

A general view of the Sheraton on the Park Hotel on June 26, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. | Source: Getty Images

Despite the secrecy, photos showed Rowe beaming and Jackson placing a tender hand on her belly. Rowe was six months pregnant with his first child at the time, after offering to have children with him.

The mother-to-be surprised her pharmacist pal by telling her she was pregnant. According to the pal, Rowe said she was "doing a favor for a good friend."

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Motivated by Jackson’s desire for children, Rowe said because he was lonely and desired to have kids, "I offered him my womb, it was a gift. It was something I did to keep him happy." She praised Jackson as "the most compassionate person I have met in my life."

Debbie Rowe and Michael Jackson during a private event at L'Orangerie on December 17, 1998 in Los Angeles. | Source: Getty Images

Debbie Rowe and Michael Jackson during a private event at L'Orangerie on December 17, 1998 in Los Angeles. | Source: Getty Images

Rowe’s friend disclosed her decision to have kids with Jackson stemmed from kindness. Colandro revealed, "[..] She told us she was having the baby for Michael as a friend." Despite public speculation, she insisted Rowe's pregnancy was natural and out of friendship.

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Three months after their wedding, Rowe gave birth to Prince Michael in February 1997. In the documentary "Living With Michael Jackson," the singer shared that Rowe had a child with him as a present.

Rowe later described his joy during Prince's birth, saying, "He was so excited when I had a contraction. He was welling up … and then his son was born. The look on his face … I'd never seen him that happy."

Michael Jackson during an interview on September 7, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson during an interview on September 7, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

Fourteen months later, Rowe gave birth to their daughter, Paris Jackson, in April 1998. Jackson recounted, "I snatched [Paris] and just went home with all the placenta and everything all over her."

However, his arrangement with Rowe was short-lived, and less than two years later, they divorced in October 1999. She received $8 million and a Beverly Hills home but relinquished custody of the children to Jackson.

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Rowe explained the dynamics between her and the kids stating, "My kids don't call me mom because I don't want them to. They're Michael's children. I had them because I wanted him to be a father. I believe there are people who should be parents, and he's one of them."

Michael Jackson attends the G&P Foundation's 'Angel Ball' on November 30, 2000, New York. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Jackson attends the G&P Foundation's 'Angel Ball' on November 30, 2000, New York. | Source: Getty Images

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In 2014, Rowe sought custody of her kids after Jackson enlisted his mother Katherine Jackson as the guardian. But she felt her former in-law was too old to be an effective guardian. Rowe also worried about the negative influence of Jackson's brothers, citing Jermaine Jackson, and the rebellious behavior of Prince.

Rowe described Jermaine as "creepy and inappropriate" and was particularly concerned about the youngest child, Blanket. She wanted to move the children to her ranch in Palmdale, California, where she raised horses.

Debbie Rowe pictured on January 12, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Debbie Rowe pictured on January 12, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

But Jackson’s brothers opposed Rowe’s custody bid. They stated, "The children are well loved and well taken care of. We are quite taken aback that Ms. Rowe has decided now to enter their lives."

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They further said it was surprising especially after she abandoned her children for money and emphasized their commitment to the kid's well-being.

Prince Michael Jackson II, Paris Jackson, and Prince Jackson during a baseball game at U.S. Steel Yard on August 30, 2012 in Gary, Indiana. | Source: Getty Images

Prince Michael Jackson II, Paris Jackson, and Prince Jackson during a baseball game at U.S. Steel Yard on August 30, 2012 in Gary, Indiana. | Source: Getty Images

The same year Rowe asked for custody of the kids, she faced a health scare when doctors suspected she had lymphoma. She underwent a biopsy and was terrified of the anesthesia, especially Propofol.

Confident she was too healthy to have cancer, she awaited the results, which thankfully came back negative. However, that was not the last of her worries.

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In July 2016, Rowe was diagnosed with breast cancer, requiring chemotherapy and radiation. This diagnosis led to a renewed bond with her daughter Paris, who had cut off contact two years earlier.

Paris visited her frequently, and their relationship strengthened. She shared a photo of herself kissing Rowe’s bald head, captioning it, "I'm a fighter because she's a fighter. Love you mom."

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Rowe shared in an interview that Paris had been her pillar of strength throughout the cancer treatment. "She's my rock, she's amazing. She was there from the first phone call, [it] took her 30 seconds to reach out," she said.

The doting parent admitted the daily struggle but found motivation in Paris, saying, "You have to work very hard to get up every morning and do this, but because of Paris, I have a reason."

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Rowe got emotional discussing the impact of chemotherapy on her femininity, saying, "Chemo does its best to make you lose your femininity. You lose your hair, your eyelashes, your eyebrows."

However, the Washington native mentioned once she takes off her wig, she is still herself and is still feminine. "I'm still a woman, and above all, I'm still human," she added.

Debbie Rowe during an interview on October 28, 2016 | Source: YouTube/EntertainmentTonight

Debbie Rowe during an interview on October 28, 2016 | Source: YouTube/EntertainmentTonight

Her brave reveal of her bald head on TV prompted sympathetic reactions on social media.“My heart breaks every time I see mothers crying,” said one person.

Debbie Rowe during an interview on October 28, 2016 | Source: YouTube/EntertainmentTonight

Debbie Rowe during an interview on October 28, 2016 | Source: YouTube/EntertainmentTonight

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“That's awful. It's so sad to see someone go through cancer. I pray we find cures for all cancers in the future,” another empathized. “So sad...I hope she's feeling better...” “Oh Debbie I am so sorry,” added another empathetic individual.

Rowe's daughter continued showering with support, too. In 2021, Paris paid a Mother's Day tribute to her, sharing a selfie and a vintage photo with her followers, highlighting their resemblance.

The actress also honored her late dad, with a heartfelt Instagram Story on Father’s Day, posting a throwback family portrait and writing, "Happy Father's Day to all my homies out there that don't have one. We not alone."

Paris Jackson paying tribute to her father, dated June 2024 | Source: Instagram/parisjackson

Paris Jackson paying tribute to her father, dated June 2024 | Source: Instagram/parisjackson

Rowe's journey, marked by unexpected turns and challenges, showcased her resilience. Her strength, especially during her cancer battle, resonated with many, drawing widespread support. Her enduring bond with Paris offers hope and inspiration, reflecting the power of love and perseverance.

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