Michael Jackson personally asked his ex-wife to defend him in the wake of Martin Bashir’s controversial documentary, which he claimed was full of lies, a court has heard.
Debbie Rowe, the mother of Jackson’s two eldest children, told the Santa Maria court in California that the singer asked her to take part in a rebuttal video in February, 2003.
But she insisted she was not told what to say.
“He told me there was a video coming out and it was full of lies and would I help,” she testified. “I said, as always, yes. I asked him if he was okay. I was very upset.” Rowe admitted she was offered a list of questions by the interviewers, but claimed she did not look at them.
“It was a cold interview and I wanted to keep it that way,” she said. “I didn’t want anyone to be able to come back to me and say my interview was rehearsed. As Mr Jackson knows, no one can tell me what to say.”
Asked what she expected after she took part in the video, Rowe was teary-eyed as she said it was to be reunited with her children and to be reacquainted with their father.
She said she had known Jackson for 20 years before they married in 1996, but admitted they had never lived together.
Rowe gave birth to their first child, Prince Michael, in February 1997 and their second, Paris, in April 1998.
When the couple divorced in 1999 she said she gave up custody of the children, but was allowed limited visits of eight hours every 45 days.
She made it clear in court that she did not want to discuss her private life with Jackson.
She said the nine-hour interview she gave was “very boring and dull”, and said she had not seen Bashir’s documentary before it was filmed.
“All I knew is whatever what was being put out about Michael was hurtful to Michael and the children,” she said.
She made the rebuttal video at around the same time the singer’s young accuser and his family were also filmed extolling his virtues.
The family claims they were held captive and forced to make the video to defend Jackson in the wake of the Bashir documentary, Living With Michael Jackson, which triggered the current trial.
Prosecutor Ron Zonen has told the court that the interviews on both films were entirely scripted, and that Rowe was offered visitation rights with her children in return for her co-operation.
He said in both cases children were used as “pawns” to get their mothers to speak in Jackson’s favour.
Earlier, Judge Rodney Melville denied a request by the singer’s lawyers for a mistrial to be declared.
Jackson denies all 10 counts against him.