Openly gay Klein – at the centre of mounting speculation for the last two weeks that he fathered the pair through artificial insemination – is currently known by the children as “Uncle Arnie”. Now the 64-year-old millionaire has told friends that he IS the biological father, he wants to bring them up and he is consulting lawyers about his options.
A custody application filed with Los Angeles Superior Court in which Klein formally acknowledges he is Prince Michael and Paris’s father would be one of the most sensational developments yet in the entire Michael Jackson saga. And it would nail once and for all the Who’s-the-Daddy? mystery surrounding the King of Pop, who died last month. Klein’s intervention threatens to throw into total chaos the custody deal that was pending between the children’s biological mother, Debbie Rowe, and Jackson’s mother Katherine.
A well-placed source, who is close friends with one of Klein’s inner circle, told the Sunday Mirror yesterday: “Arnie is planning to fight for custody of Prince Michael and Paris. “He says he can prove he is their father with Debbie.”
Klein, who was Debbie’s boss when she married Michael, has never denied outright being the father of one or more of the Jackson children, to whom the singer has left his $500million fortune. In fact, when offered the chance to definitively rule himself out as the father, Klein has done the opposite. He has offered cryptically-worded non-denials which have only served to fuel the speculation still further.
Only last week the medic announced to US talk show host Larry King that he had been a sperm donor in the past. Asked about it, he told King he simply did not know whether he was Prince Michael or Paris’s father, adding that the children were the “brightest” and “most well-behaved” he had ever met. Pointedly, he added: “Michael loved those children as a father, those children loved him as a father.
“The most important thing about the father is who the children want him to be.” The source said Jackson singled out Klein as a sperm-donor because of his fierce intelligence and high IQ.
Klein – who lives alone in a £3million, 30-room LA mansion after splitting recently from his lover – has told close friends he DID father the children through artificial insemination with Debbie after a secret deal with Jackson. The notion of acting as a sperm donor was planted in Klein’s and Jackson’s minds in 1995 – by Charlie’s Angels actress Kate Jackson.
The source said: “It was Arnie’s 50th birthday and about 10 people were sitting around the dinner table. Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe were both there.
“It was getting late in the evening and everyone was having a good time. “Suddenly, Kate jokingly asked Arnie if he could father a child with her. Everyone laughed about it because he is so open about being gay. But the night must have planted the seed in Michael’s mind.
“Michael revered Arnie – all his patients do because he is so tremendously smart and treats them so well.”
Klein, who has also treated Elizabeth Taylor and Cher, has a very close bond with Jackson’s children, with whom he was pictured spending last Christmas. The source added: “Arnie has told his close friends he is Prince Michael and Paris’s father for years, while never giving a straight answer in public.
Since Jackson’s death last month, Klein has given a string of cryptic answers when questioned over whether he fathered the children. On July 9, he told Larry King: “I donated sperm.” Asked whether he was the father of Jackson’s children, he replied: “I still can’t answer one way or another.”
Meanwhile, an ex-boyfriend of Klein has claimed the doctor told him he fathered Jackson’s children because the Thriller singer was infertile. Paul Gohranson, who lived with Klein for four months in 2006, claimed: “He said he donated his sperm because [Jackson] didn’t have the ability to even donate sperm, he wasn’t producing it anymore.” Klein is known to be loathed by Jackson’s mother, brothers and sisters. They believe Jackson was over-dependent on smooth-talking Klein – who has admitted prescribing him the strong painkiller Demerol.
Meanwhile, a custody hearing held at LA’s superior court on Friday over the Jackson children was put back again until August 3. Katherine Jackson, 79, was awarded temporary custody of Prince Michael, Paris and the singer’s youngest child, son Blanket, after his death. She is applying to the court for full permanent custody of the three, but her lawyers are now in talks with representatives of Debbie, who wants some access to Prince Michael and Paris. Sources say Debbie, 50, would be happy for Katherine to raise the children as long as they did not have anything to do with Jackson’s controlling father Joe.