Paris Jackson Reignites Theories That Michael Jackson Wasn't The Biological Father Of His Kids As Fans Debate Who Is

Paris Jackson's role in the Amazon series "Swarm" reignited theories about whether or not Michael Jackson fathered his children.

michael jackson, paris jackson and prince jackson ktsimage / Getty Images via Canva, landmarkmedia, lev radin / Shutterstock

For as famous as he was, much of Michael Jackson's life was shrouded in mystery. But perhaps no aspect of the King of Pop's dramatic story is more covered in question marks than his marriages and family life with children Prince Jackson, Paris Jackson and Bigi Jackson, aka Blanket, as people have called into question whether or not Michael Jackson's kids are biologically his — and Paris' most recent acting role has only served to reignite long-held rumors.


Are Michael Jackson's kids biologically his?

In 2009, shortly after Michael's death, TMZ reported that they independently confirmed that Michael Jackson was not the biological father of Paris or Prince Jackson.

Though no official public record exists to suggest otherwise, theories about Michael Jackson's marriages and the paternity of his kids have swirled for decades. However, his daughter Paris Jackson's role in the Amazon series "Swarm" has reignited the speculation.

In a March 2023 episode, Paris' character Hailey tells the series' Black main character Andrea Green, played by Dominique Fishback, that she is Black. "You're Black?" Andrea responds with shock. 




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Jackson's character goes on to explain that her dad is "half" and that is why her stage name is Halsey — which many took to be a swipe at musician Halsey, whose mother is white and father is of mixed white and Black race, and who has been accused of not adequately speaking out about Black issues, especially during the protests of 2020.

The "Swarm" scene went viral as many people felt the line about Halsey was particularly ironic coming from Paris Jackson, whose racial identity, along with that of her brothers Prince and Bigi, has repeatedly been called into question by people who feel they do not appear to have stereotypical Black features. This in turn has reignited speculation that Michael Jackson is not actually his children's biological father.




Paris and Prince's mother Debbie Rowe has publicly stated Michael Jackson is not their biological father.

Days after Michael Jackson's death in 2009 at the age of 50, his ex-wife Debbie Rowe spoke to a British tabloid about their children, Paris and Prince. Rowe and Jackson were married from November 14, 1996 until April 2000 after meeting in a Beverly Hills dermatology clinic where Rowe was a dermatology assistant and Jackson was a frequent patient. 

Having just split from his first wife Lisa Marie Presley in 1996, Rowe said, "Michael was divorced, lonely and wanted children. I was the one who said to him, 'I will have your babies'."

Rowe went on to call their union a "sham marriage" in which she and Jackson never shared a bed or had sex, and in which she was paid by Jackson to be artificially inseminated by an unknown donor.


"I was just the vessel. It wasn't Michael's sperm" she said at the time. 

She signed parental rights over to Jackson following their divorce, and told the British tabloid, "I got paid for it, and I've moved on. I know I will never see my children again." Paris Jackson and Rowe would reunite in 2015, and have remained close since.

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Actor Mark Lester has claimed he is the real father of Paris and Prince Jackson.

A former child star himself, Lester is best known for having played the title role in the 1968 film "Oliver!" Lester has claimed there's "a good chance" he is both Paris and Prince Jackson's father because he says he donated sperm to Michael Jackson just before Rowe became pregnant with Prince. He has even offered to take a DNA test to prove it should Prince or Paris request it. He has also said that Paris bears a resemblance to his daughter Olivia and that people have often remarked how Prince looks like Lester did at his age. 


In 2013, Jason Pfeifer, a man claiming to be a close friend of Michael Jackson's, claimed that Jackson confessed to him that Lester was in fact Prince and Paris's biological father. Lester has since gone on to say it's "highly unlikely" that he was the donor and that it was more probably one of Jackson's doctors at the time.

Dr. Arnie Klein, the dermatologist Rowe worked for, fueled rumors that he is Prince Jackson's father.

In a "Good Morning America" exclusive, Dr. Klein denied having "knowledge" that he was the biological father of Paris and Prince Jackson.

"To the best of my knowledge, I am not the father of these children," he claimed. "I can't answer it in any other way. I don't want to feed any of this insanity that is going around."

However, in 2015, he posted side-by-side photos of the two with the caption "Hmm...," reigniting the paternity debate.


Photo: Facebook

Prince Jackson addressed this rumor on social media in 2015 when someone accused him of being a "Rowe-Klein, not a Jackson."

"My dad is my dad through and through same with my siblings," Prince said of Michael's paternity.

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Some fans think Paris resembles Jackson's ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley, while others think all of his children resemble Jackson himself. 

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley were briefly married from May 26, 1994, until August 20, 1996, during which time they had no children that we know of. But some fans think the resemblance between Paris and Presley's daughter Riley Keough is unmistakable. 



But others think the entire controversy is absurd because they see obvious resemblances between Jackson and all three of his children.

Michael Jackson admitted to using a surrogate to conceive his youngest son Bigi.

"I used a surrogate mother with my own sperm cells," Jackson said in the 2003 documentary "Living With Michael Jackson," via Newsweek. "I had my own sperm cells with my other two children, they're all my children, but I used a surrogate mother. And, uh, she doesn't know me, I don't know her."


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Regardless of whether or not Michael Jackson is his children's biological father, one thing is for certain.

To suggest he's not because his children don't look "Black enough" is based on stereotypes about Black people's appearance that have been used to subjugate them for centuries. It's also entirely divorced from the realities of genetics.

Inheriting half of each parent's genes means you've received, at random, 50% of all the DNA they carry — not equal halves of each trait they have.


Mixed-race children of white and Black parents, for example, do not receive 50% Black skin tone DNA and 50% white skin tone DNA — it could be 95% and 5% or 15% and 85% or any other of the myriad proportions possible. This is why skin tones vary so much — among all human beings, not just those we consider not white.



In the end, the Jackson children's appearances don't mean anything when it comes to determining who their biological parents may be. And the astonishing number of theories about the Jackson kids' parents —some even claim Paris' real father is actor Macaulay Culkin, her godfather — make the whole thing start to seem ridiculous.

Ultimately the answer to the question, "Is Michael Jackson his children's biological father" is: Does it matter? 

Family is about far more than genetics anyway. As Prince Jackson himself put it to the troll on Twitter, "The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb…I was raised by my dad with my brother and sister."


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.