Secret Jackson wedding reported


AMERICAN pop star Michael Jackson (38) remained in his hotel in Sydney, Australia, last night following an announcement that he had been married overnight to Debbie Rowe (37), the mother of his unborn child.

Jackson's Los Angles based publicist, Ms Christine Holevas, sparked uproar among fans and media when she released a statement confirming his marriage and appealing for the singer's privacy to be respected.

However, a member of Jackson's touring party refused to confirm or deny the marriage and staff at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel in Sydney swore he had not left his room after he returned from his concert.

The enigmatic performer had earlier strutted through the first of two concerts before a sell out crowd of 40,000 in the Sydney Cricket Ground. By 1 a.m., more than 100 fans had assembled in front of the hotel, chanting Jackson's name and appealing to him for an appearance, but there was no sign of the singer who has been appearing here wearing a black mask "to protect his voice".

Jackson originally married Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie in a secret ceremony in the Dominican Republic, and any new marriage would appear to have been equally secretive.

The wedding apparently took place only 10 days after Jackson announced to a disbelieving public that Ms Rowe, a nurse and long time friend, was pregnant and due to give birth in February. Jackson denied a tabloid newspaper report that the couple used artificial insemination and that Ms Rowe had been paid to carry the baby.

Ms Rowe reportedly met Jackson 15 years ago while working for a doctor who was treating the entertainer for a skin condition. She made a low key arrival in Sydney one day after Jackson and was taken straight to his hotel suite.

The entertainment correspondent for the American NBC television network, Larry Mendle, told Sydney's Channel Seven network that news of Jackson's second marriage had been greeted with caution in the US.

"Ever since the accusations of molestation with Michael Jackson, everything he's done since then - the marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, the divorce, this baby and now this alleged marriage - has been met with scepticism on how much of it is just for publicity," he said.

Jackson would have had to make advance plans for a Sydney marriage. Under Australian marriage law, he needed to lodge a notice of intention to marry one month and one day before the ceremony.

Mendle said Jackson's divorce from Lisa Marie Presley, which was filed in January, had just been finalised.