Mark Lester did not father Jackson's children: report

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 9, 2009 at 10:10 PM EDT

Sources "very close" to Michael Jackson's family denied claims by former British child acting star Mark Lester that he could be the biological father of the singer's daughter Paris, People magazine reported.

Lester, who played Oliver Twist in the 1968 film musical "Oliver!" told the British tabloid News of the World: "I gave Michael my sperm so that he could have kids -- and I believe Paris is my daughter."

The 51-year-old Briton, who was a friend of Jackson and is godfather to all three of his children, said he was willing to take a paternity test to establish whether or not he is the father of 11-year-old Paris.

But People, citing sources close to the King of Pop's family, said Lester has never claimed to be Paris's father, although they acknowledged he had donated sperm to Jackson, who died on June 25 aged 50.

"They twisted his words around. He's not claiming to be the father of Paris Jackson," one source told the magazine, which specializes in news about entertainment stars.

Jackson family attorney Londell McMillan, downplayed the reports, saying "these are just merely claims with no legal standing whatsoever."

The probate court, he added, has no reason to go against its finding that Jackson was the father to Paris, Prince Michael, 12, and Prince Michael II, 7.

The birth mother of the two eldest children is former nurse Debbie Rowe, and the youngest, who is known as "Blanket," was conceived by a surrogate whose identity has not yet been revealed.

Lester "has known Michael (Jackson) for many years and his children play with Michael's children," longtime Jackson family associate and former attorney Brian Oxman told People, adding that Lester had never hinted he was Paris's father.

Marc Schaffel, another Jackson associate, said the pop star made Lester godfather to all three of his children at a small, private ceremony in October 2003 where the youths were baptized with Rowe's permission.

According to Lester, Jackson first confided in him in 1996 that he was desperate to be a father. Both were then aged 37 and Lester already had three children.

Jackson agreed and the donation was arranged through a clinic in Harley Street, London, in February 1996.

Eight months later, Jackson announced he had married nurse Debbie Rowe and three months later, the couple revealed the birth of Prince.

Paris was born just over a year later, in April 1998.




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