In a remarkable day of testimony marked by personal insights into Michael Jackson's personal life, his ex-wife Debbie Rowe described the pop star's desire for children and how she broke the news to him that she was pregnant.
Rowe, finishing up a day and a half on the witness stand in the wrongful-death lawsuit, testified that the singer was devastated by his divorce from Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley's daughter.
"I was trying to help him," said Rowe, who was married to Jackson for three years in the late 1990s. "I said, 'What's the thing that makes you the saddest?' He said, 'I never had any children.'"
Rowe, who met Jackson in the medical office where she worked, said she told him, "Let me have a baby with you. You can have the joy of being a parent."
She said Jackson thought about it for a couple weeks before agreeing.
Debra Chang, an attorney for Jackson's family, showed jurors a photo of Rowe riding her Harley with the singer on the back, still in makeup from a video shoot for his "Ghost" video at Van Nuys Airport.
She told him she needed to talk to him alone, without the ubiquitous film crew that always followed him. They rode around the airport and then she stopped the motorcycle and told him, "'You're going to be a dad...' He ran around the tarmac screaming."
Although Rowe described many personal details about her relationship, she did not address how the children were conceived. She was not asked the question during her testimony.
After she became pregnant, Rowe said Jackson went out and bought many books on parenting.
"I believe there are certain people who need to be parents, and I always thought he was one of them," she said.
She said that when Jackson went on tour during her pregnancy with Prince, he made two cassettes. "Every night while I was reading my horror books, I had my headset over my stomach so the baby could hear his voice,” she said.
Rowe said that when their daughter Paris was born, she told Jackson, "You’re going to be so whipped. She’s going to have you wrapped around [her] finger. All these plans you have to rule the world with Prince are not going to happen unless she says so.”
When the couple divorced, Rowe gave up her parental rights, a decision she never has regretted.
"Michael wanted to be a father," she testified. "I didn’t sign on to be a mom. I loved him very much and I still do. I wanted him to be a father. I wanted him to have everything he didn’t have growing up. I wanted him to experience it with his own children.”
As a father, Jackson "was amazing ... he was so caring," she said.
[For the Record, 3:03 p.m. PDT Aug. 16: An earlier version of this online article dropped a key word from a description of Debbie Rowe's testimony. It said Rowe "did address how her children were conceived"; in fact, Rowe did not address that issue.]