Debbie Rowe, Michael Jackson’s ex-wife and mother of his two oldest children, is expected to take the witness stand Wednesday in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the singer’s family against concert promoter and producer AEG Live.
Rowe is expected to testify about their lives together and his drug use.
Jackson met Rowe in 1996 while she was working as a nurse in the Beverly Hills office of his dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein. She agreed to give Jackson full custody of Prince and Paris three years later. The couple divorced in 2000, with Rowe receiving an $8.5-million settlement.
In 2001, she gave up her parental rights, saying it was best for the children that she not be part of their lives.
Rowe told the judge who was overseeing the case that she had not communicated with the children in a year or so.
She said that even if the singer died, she did not want custody of the children.
“Not that I don't love them. I do. I think they are adorable,” she said during court proceedings. “They're his kids. They're his kids. They are not my kids."
Rowe changed her mind and tried to regain her rights after the singer was charged with child molestation and began consorting with the Nation of Islam, "whose members Deborah believed 'do not like Jews,' " an appeals court quoted her as saying. "Because she is Jewish, Deborah feared the children might be mistreated if Michael continued his association."
She protested when Jackson took the children to Bahrain in 2005, and the singer’s lawyers contended she was after his cash.
"I have not received the monies due me under the terms of the judgment," Rowe told the court that year.
Rowe started a horse-breeding business in May 2005 in Palmdale, where she moved into a modest, ranch-style house. Jackson gave her more than $250,000 the following month, according to court records. She paid a $165,000 American Express bill and some attorney's fees, and by the end of the year, the money was all spent, she told the court.
She said she did not have health insurance, and from 2001 to 2005 had spent $16,776 on prescriptions.
Rowe gave a TV interview to CBS while she was trying to regain custody. She was shown with her many dogs in a Beverly Hills home Jackson gave her.
There were no photographs of her children inside the house. She told "The Insider" that was part of the deal she made with Jackson when she gave up custody.
Rowe was Jackson’s second wife. His first wife was Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley. They had no children.
The mother of Jackson’s youngest child, Blanket, has never been revealed.
Jackson’s mother and children are suing AEG Live and two of its executives, saying they were responsible for his death because of their relationship with Conrad Murray, the cardiologist who gave Jackson the overdose of the anesthetic propofol that killed him at his Holmby Hills house in 2009. The Jacksons say that AEG negligently hired and supervised Murray. The concert promoter says Murray worked for Jackson and that any money the firm was supposed to pay the doctor was an advance Jackson would have to repay.