Sometimes, simply being one of the biggest stars in the world isn’t enough. Michael’s private life was always carefully studied under a microscope. Particularly, his private relationships with the women in his life. Rumor or not, let’s take a look at some of the women in Michael’s life.
Diana Ross Status : Rumor [Friends]
Diana, formerly of the Supremes, more often than less has been described as a “mother” figure to Michael. In the ’80s there were even rumors that he was her son! They obviously denied these ridiculous allegations and the rumors switched to focusing on a possible romantic relationship between the two.
Michael and Ross first met Michael when he was a 9 year old sensation alongside his brothers in the Jackson 5. While she has been credited with discovering the Jackson 5 at the Apollo Theatre, other sources have claimed this was a story concocted by Motown head, Berry Gordy in order to increase attention to both the Jackson 5 and Ross. True or not, the two became close and Michael at times stayed with Ross prior to his family’s eventual move to Encino.
Both remained close throughout the years, serving as dates to Hollywood events and at Michael often described Ross in interviews as his crush. The two were also were the subject of gossip regarding the nature of their relationship, fueled by those dates, Jackson’s gushing, and his songs. First rumored to be about Ross, Jackson’s song “Dirty Diana” caused quite a stir. Jackson denied a Ross tie, stating it was about groupies, and Ross poked fun by playing the song before her shows. Another song, Remember the Time, has been rumored to be about Ross’ split from Michael.
Regardless of whether anything happened, Michael requested for Ross to take care of his children if his mother, Katherine Jackson was not alive or unable to. It’s clear the two shared a connection deep enough that Jackson trusted her with his children in the event of his death.
Brooke Shields Status : Rumor [Friends]
Michael first met the actress when she was 15- years old and approached him at a Hollywood event. Drawn to the outgoing and spunky girl, the two paired together, and often made Hollywood appearances together.
In an interview with Oprah Winfey during Summer ’93, Jackson answered a rumor about his private dating life.
Oprah : Who do you date?
Michael : Well, right now it’s Brooke Shields. Well, we try not to be everywhere, go everywhere, it’s mostly at home, she’ll come over, I’ll go to her house, because I don’t like going out in public.
Shields has never denied or confirmed her intimate relationship with Michael. She has said,
“Michael always knew he could count on me to support him or be his date and that we would have fun”
Tatiana Thumbtzen Status : Rumor
When it comes to Thumbtzen, or “Tati” as her followers often call her, fans are never short on opinions. There’s a lot of controversy that surrounds her ‘relationship’ with Jackson. Thumbtzen and Jackson first met on the set of his “The Way You Make Me Feel” video in 1987.
Filming began around the end of 1987 to the start of 1988, which was said to be the beginning of Thumbtzen’s career. She has described working with Jackson a “life changing experience”. Even though there had been quite a few different stories about the pairing, Thumbtzen never denies her love for Jackson. She has reported that he was flirtatious with her, describing her walk as “sexy”. She has also reported that others in the Jackson camp told her that he had a crush on her.
The pair were split while Jackson continued on his 1987 BAD tour, to promote his same titled album. When the tour moved to the US, Thumbtzen was asked to join the tour. Immediately, rumors began. Thumbtzen was seen on the set of “Leave Me Alone” and their onstage interactions became more heated. Michael was quoted as saying, “I love her because she’s warm, caring and exciting.” While Thumbtzen was told to “not kiss” Jackson onstage, she described him as giving her clearance to step up the onstage tension. Then came the infamous Madison Garden performance in 1988. It was the kiss seen around the world. She was immediately fired and it became a game of finding out why. Some say she was asking for more money (which she denies), others that Michael did not like to be surprised, and others…don’t know. Thumbtzen, never one to keep quiet, stated:
“And we actually agreed on the kiss! No one else was privy to this but us. I think that made some not only jealous but angry … that we shared something private. However, I’ve never allowed myself to seriously think about how our lives could have been different or even better if his professional camp hadn’t intervened. Many fans have uttered this sentiment to me. A lot!”
She isn’t necessarily favored by Jackson’s fans being described as a ‘liar’, ‘delusional’, and an ‘obsessed groupie’. Still, she is verbal of her love for him and was seen at his funeral, after having reportedly requested an invite from his mother.
Elizabeth Taylor Status : Rumor [Friends]
One friendship that was never hidden was Jackson’s relationship with Dame Elizabeth Taylor. They first met in the 1980s when Taylor left one of Jackson’s concerts — and he called her afterward in tears to ask why. She explained that she couldn’t see the performance or hear the music. The two became close friends after, with her visiting the set of Captain Eo. She once described their friendship as “the purest, most giving love I’ve ever known… I don’t think anyone knew how much we loved each other.”
“There was nothing abnormal about it. There was no touchy-feely going on. We laughed like children, and we watched a lot of Walt Disney. There was nothing odd about it,” Taylor said then.
Taylor was named as godmother to his three children and they remained friends until his death.
Whitney Houston Status : Rumor
Lisa Marie Presley Status : Married and Divorced
Presley, the only child born to superstar Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley, first met Michael when she was 6 years old and he, 16. Her father took her to meet the Jackson 5 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Paradise, Nevada. According to a friend of Presley’s, “their adult friendship began in November 1992 in L.A.”They met at a private dinner held at the home of their mutual friend the artist Brett-Livingstone Strong.” Others say that she was linked with him over a possibility that he might help her as she was considering making music.
In the days following this interaction, Presley and Jackson spoke on the telephone almost every day, forging a strong friendship. Again, different stories have been reported. Some saying that she pursued him, others, that he actively pursued her upon hearing that she was unhappy in her marriage. Regardless, the two became close during the ’93 accusations. As Presley later explained, “I believed he didn’t do anything wrong and that he was wrongly accused and yes I started falling for him. I wanted to save him. I felt that I could do it.” She reportedly encouraged him to settle that case out of court and go into rehabilitation to recover.
It was ultimately during one of Jackson’s calls to Presley that he proposed marriage – sort of. “If I asked you to marry me, would you do it?”, the singer queried. Though still married to actor Danny Keough, whom she had wed in 1988 and had two children with, Presley replied that she would if he asked her.
Presley flew to the Dominican Republic and filed a quickie divorce in early 1994, 20 days later she and Michael were wed on May 26th, 1994. The marriage was tumultuous and the press was tireless. From kissing onstage at the MTV VMAs in 1994 to Presley’s infamous glares as he performed on the same stage in 1995. A much publicized interview with Diane Sawyer only seemed to add to the rumors. Rumors of long splits, her refusing to have his baby, and a fake marriage, all created a pressure cooker of tension on the couple. Ultimately, Presley filed for divorce in January 1996, citing “irreconcilable differences” and noting their date of separation as December 10, 1995. Notes from Michael and rumors from his camp suggest that he had in fact been the one pushing for a divorce, but that she had begged him to reconsider and even approached his mother… only to file a day after he had agreed.
In a 2010 Oprah interview, Presley admitted that they spent four years after the divorce “getting back together and breaking up”, until she felt she “had to push it away.”
In 2010, Presley acknowledged to Oprah Winfrey that Jackson did formally propose one day in the library, taking out a 10 carat diamond ring and getting down on his knees. Following several months engaged, Jackson and Presley wed on May 26, 1994, at a ceremony in the Dominican Republic.
According to Presley, the last “coherently good conversation” she had with Jackson was in 2005. She said Jackson told her she had been right about certain people around him, whom she called “vampires.” She replied that she was indifferent when he asked if she still loved him. But Presley also said his death made her realize he loved her. She acknowledged his efforts in the relationship, saying, “He honestly tried so hard and went through so much with me”, but “I didn’t appreciate it then and I wish I did.”
Following his death, she posted a heartfelt message on her site. Still, many of his fans argue that it was too little, too late.
Debbie Rowe Status : Married and Divorced
Rowe and Michael first met in the mid 80s when she was working as an assistant for the pop star’s dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein, who reportedly diagnosed his Lupus and would treat his Vitiligo. The Jackson-Rowe friendship would last for several years. Rowe and the musician would both talk to each other about their unhappy marriages during this period. Shortly after Presley and Jackson’s separation (Rowe already having divorced, herself), Rowe agreed to have his baby and became pregnant but suffered a miscarriage in March 1996. The event devastated the woman, who feared she would never be able to have a baby. Michael comforted and consoled Rowe throughout the ordeal, which remained hidden from the media and public. They tried again, and Rowe was able to inform Michael of this baby while he was on the set of Ghost.
While no marriage had originally been planned, when the news of Rowe’s pregnancy broke to Michael’s mother Katherine, the Jackson family matriarch urged her son to wed the mother of his unborn child. The result was a whirlwind marriage between the two on November 13, 1996, at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel in Sydney, Australia. Michael was in the country during his HIStory tour.
Their first child together, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. (also known as “Prince Michael”), was born on February 13, 1997, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The baby was named after Michael’s maternal grandfather and great-grandfather, who were both called Prince, continuing a tradition on his mother’s side.
Rowe announced that she was pregnant with Michael’s second child in November 1997. This pregnancy was more difficult for Rowe, and would be her last. The baby was to be a girl and named Paris, after the French city in which her parents said she was conceived. On April 3, 1998, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson was born. Her middle names come from her father and grandmother.
On October 8, 1999 Jackson granted Rowe a divorce upon her request, though it had been reported that the two had never lived together. At the time, both Rowe and Jackson requested privacy and asked the public not to speculate on the reasons for their divorce. They concluded that despite coming to the end of married life, they would continue to remain friends.