Published January 14, 2004
Debbie Rowe, Michael Jackson's ex-wife and the mother of his two eldest children, is worried her kids are becoming Muslims.
In the last few days, Rowe has complained to friends that she does not want her children, Paris and Prince, exposed to the Nation of Islam. Jackson and his kids are currently living in the most expensive "safe house" in history, a Beverly Hills mansion rented, patrolled and monitored by the group.
But the reason Rowe is upset is a surprising one and heretofore unknown. She has told these friends that she is Jewish, and that the children, by birth, are Jewish, too.
Even more surprising is that Jackson may have forgotten this, if he knew it at all.
Of course, there are many ironies here, starting with the fact that Rowe signed away her rights when she "gave" Jackson these children. She has since been compensated handsomely.
But according to sources, she has not seen Paris or Prince since Jackson moved his family from Santa Barbara to Beverly Hills.
The more damning irony, of course, is that the Nation of Islam is an anti-Semitic group. Grace, the nanny Jackson employs -- and who watches over the children and is responsible for their well-being -- is a member.
There is no evidence that Jackson has actually joined the Nation of Islam yet, but his brother, Jermaine Jackson has been a member since 1989. NOI chief of staff Leonard Muhammad is now, for all intents and purposes, running Jackson's schedule and businesses. He was seated at the head of the table at the summit meeting on Monday for Jackson's lawyers and accountants.
Strangely enough, when Jackson hooked up with controversial Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, he made no mention of his children's religious origins. In fact, when Jackson told me at a private dinner that he'd taken the kids to synagogue, there was no indication from him that it might have something to do with this.
Nevertheless, it should be interesting to see what happens next -- if Rowe decides that the NOI situation could imperil the children she gave birth to, and how she might overcome the agreement she's bound to.
Rowe's attorney, Iris Finsilver, confirmed that Rowe is indeed Jewish but had no comment otherwise on the situation.