Editor's Note: According to a live report, neither of Michael Jackson's ex-wives, Debbie Rowe and Lisa Marie Presley, are present at his memorial service, which started today at 1 p.m. EST. Ex-girlfriend Brooke Shields, however, is in attendance. Brooke Shields: Michael Jackson Was 'Asexual'
In her classically ironic (flaky?) manner of attempting to escape the spotlight, Debbie Rowe makes headlines again. Reports this morning suggest that she has decided to butt yesterday's confirmation that she'll attend ex-husband Michael Jackson's memorial service: in fact she will not be there.
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According to MSNBC.com, a report out of Los Angeles around 3 a.m. (6 a.m. Eastern) suggested that Rowe has joined members of MJ's camp like Elizabeth Taylor who are making a spectacle out of staying home from the service. Rowe's lawyer Marta Almli has issued a statement saying that "the onslaught of media attention has made it clear [Rowe's] attendance would be an unnecessary distraction to an event that should focus exclusively on Michael's legacy. Debbie will continue to celebrate Michael's memorial privately."
The decision comes as a major surprise considering Debbie is the woman whom the media once referred to as Michael Jackson's No. 1 Fan. After their marriage from 1996 until 1999, Debbie gave Michael full custody of their two children, Prince, now 12, and Paris, now 11. She testified for him at his child molestation hearings in 2005, saying she saw Michael as "a wonderful person and as a great father and generous and caring." Some reporters suggested that with the testimony, she was attempting to rekindle her relationship with Michael and their two children—and get her hands on his money—but Debbie has remained a committed loyalist during the public's criticisms of Michael, especially following his death. Immediately after the announcement that he had died, a spokesperson said she was "inconsolable," and she has stated that her concern is to show the Jackson family respect and that her heart goes out to them in their time of mourning. Why It's Better To Befriend Your Ex-Husband
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At press time there was no word on whether Lisa Marie Presley, Michael's first ex-wife, plans to attend the memorial service. This morning on her MySpace page fans were sending her their sympathies. (You guys, they divorced in 1996!)
An estimated 17,500 people will attend the service today, with as many as 2.5 billion people tuning in around the world. We'll be watching to see which plan Debbie sticks with.