Michael Jackson: Fact or Fiction?
By Eunice Oh
Wild speculation about Michael Jackson has been making the rounds since before the late pop star was even pronounced dead at a Los Angeles hospital on June 25. What’s true? What’s false? PEOPLE.com puts the rumors to the test.
Rumor: Jackson’s nanny regularly pumped his stomach
First printed in a British newspaper, this account of events in the Jackson household described a star who mixed so many drugs that his trusted nanny had to mechanically empty the contents of his stomach to prevent an overdose. The nanny, Grace Rwaramba, recently posted the truth on the blog of her friend, Mallika Chopra, who also knew Jackson. “I am shocked, hurt and deeply saddened by recent statements the press has attributed to me,” Rwaramba wrote. “I don’t even know how to pump a stomach!!” False
Rumor: Michael Jackson isn’t the biological father of his three children
The blogs lit up after a story printed in a British newspaper June 28 quoted Jackson’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe – the mother of his two older children, Prince Michael, 12, and Paris, 11 – saying she had been artificially inseminated by an anonymous donor. One problem: The story is a “complete fabrication,” says Rowe’s attorney, Marta Albli. “The interview did not occur.” Since then, another report has surfaced that Jackson’s dermatologist, Arnold Klein – who was Rowe’s boss at the time she met Jackson – is the biological father of the two children in question. “Dr Klein will make no statement on any reports or allegations,” said his attorney. Jury’s Out
Rumor: Janet Jackson is the executor of Michael’s will
Though Jackson’s lawyers have not yet shared the singer’s will with the world – let alone his own parents and siblings – his former publicist, Stuart Backerman, says a will was drawn up in 2002 and that the executor is a Jackson lawyer named John Branca (who has not returned calls for comment). Another lawyer claims a will was filed in 2004. One reason Janet’s name might have come up? As one of the most successful family members, “she’s independently wealthy herself and has no ulterior motives,” says a source. False
Rumor: Jackson’s doctor injected him with the powerful painkiller Demerol the day he died
Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, emphatically denies it: “Not at any time did he inject or prescribe it,” says Murray’s attorney, Ed Chernoff. As for reports Jackson was also taking another strong painkiller, OxyContin, Chernoff says Murray never prescribed that either. Did another doctor give Jackson a shot? A full toxicology report could take weeks. In the meantime, the Los Angeles Police Department told the Los Angeles Times that stories about the Demerol shot “are coming from outside the investigation.” False
Rumor: Jackson will be buried at Neverland
If that is the family’s wish, they should be prepared to go through some legal hoops. Laws vary by jurisdiction, but private citizens who want to bury relatives on private land often face a sea of regulation. Brian Oxman, Randy Jackson’s attorney, tells PEOPLE that the family would like to have a funeral for his sibling at Neverland but “logistical problems are enormous.” Stay Tuned
• With reporting by LORENZO BENET, JOHNNY DODD, ANNE LANG and LESLEY MESSER