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Jackson, ex-wife 'never shared a home'
Updated: 2005-04-28 11:13

Michael Jackson’s ex-wife took the stand Wednesday in the pop star's child molestation trial and outlined the framework of her marriage to the King of Pop.

Debbie Rowe, second from right, Michael Jackson's ex-wife and mother of two of his children, leaves the courtroom Wednesday. Rowe tearfully took the stand and described her marriage to the pop star. [AP]

Debbie Rowe was a nurse for one of Jackson's plastic surgeons when they married in November 1996, and they had two children together — 8-year-old Prince Michael and 7-year-old Paris.

Asked by prosecutor Ron Zonen how she knew Jackson, Rowe said, "We've been friends and we were married." She said she knew Jackson for 20 years before they were married, but when asked if they had ever lived together, she said, "We never shared a home."

Rowe was called for testimony focusing on how she was allegedly pressured to praise Jackson in a video. Through tears, she said she was never scripted or rehearsed to say positive things about him in the wake of a damaging TV documentary.

Prosecutors called Rowe to bolster their argument that Jackson conspired to hold the accuser's family captive to get them to rebut the documentary, in which the singer said he lets children sleep in his bed. The accuser's mother claims a video she recorded praising Jackson was made under duress and that every word was from a script.

Stunning setback

District Attorney Thomas Sneddon had said Rowe would offer similar testimony — that she was also pressured to praise Jackson in a video — but in a startling setback to prosecutors, Rowe's testimony Wednesday offered nothing of the sort.

"I didn't want anyone to be able to come back to me and say my interview was rehearsed," Rowe said. "As Mr. Jackson knows, no one can tell me what to say."

She reiterated that she had been offered a list of questions by her interviewers but she declined to look at them before she talked.

"It was a cold interview and I wanted to keep it that way," she said.

Rowe glanced at Jackson as she spoke. The pop star, dressed in a maroon suit, showed no obvious reaction to her testimony.

Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in February or March 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the accuser's family captive to get them to rebut the "Living With Michael Jackson" documentary in which the singer tells an interviewer he lets children sleep in his bed, though not in a sexual way.

The mother of the accuser testified previously that she was intimidated and that the rebuttal video was entirely scripted.

Rowe, who once gave up her parental rights to their son and daughter but recently had them restored, is embroiled in a Los Angeles family court fight with Jackson over visitation.

Zonen asked her what she expected after she gave the video interview. A teary-eyed Rowe said, "To be reunited with the children and be reacquainted with their dad."

Request for help

In 2003, Rowe said she spoke with Jackson over the phone and he said "there was a video coming out and it was full of lies and would I help. I said, as always, yes."

Rowe said her conversation with Jackson lasted perhaps 2 minutes and there was no discussion of what he wanted her to do other than to work with his associates.

She said all she could recall him saying was, "There was a bad video coming out."

"Did he tell you with any specificity what he wanted you to do?" asked Zonen.

"No," she said.

Asked why she would help Jackson, she said, "I promised him I would always be there for Michael and the children."

She did not give any details of her private life with Jackson and made it clear that she did not want to discuss it.

"My personal life was my personal life and no one's business," she said when asked by the prosecution if she had talked completely truthfully on the video.

She said the videotaped interview lasted nine hours and that she recently saw a two-hour version of it which was shown to her by prosecutors.

She said she found it "very boring and dull" and didn't really pay attention while she was watching it.

Rowe said she did not see the "Living With Michael Jackson" documentary before her interview was taped.

"All I knew is what was being put out about Michael was hurtful to Michael and the children," she said.

Judge says no to mistrial

Earlier Wednesday, Jackson's attorneys asked for a mistrial in his child molestation case Wednesday but were turned down by the judge during a dispute over testimony about the TV documentary that led to the pop star's prosecution.

The issue erupted during the testimony of former Jackson videographer Hamid Moslehi, who said that during the taping of "Living With Michael Jackson," he used his own camera to record the material as a backup for Jackson.

Moslehi also testified about his role in recording the so-called rebuttal video made after the TV documentary.

Moslehi said the accuser, his brother and sister were at his house for two or three hours before the taping began and he did not see them rehearsing. He said that the mother was there for about an hour before the taping and that he did not see her reading, rehearsing or being coached.

He also said that the mother confided in him at times but that she never told him that she was being falsely imprisoned, that she was receiving death threats, that Jackson had given her children alcohol or that the singer improperly touched her son. He said she also never asked him to call police.

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