report of Michael being married to Grace Nov 12, 2006 12:18:41 GMT -5
Post by MJSUNIFC on Nov 12, 2006 12:18:41 GMT -5
by ALISON BOSHOFF
Last updated at 23:24pm on 10th November 2006
Family thriller: Jackson, and Grace Rwaramba, the women his children call Mom
This Wednesday will be quite a date for connoisseurs of pop spectacle. Michael Jackson, who has essentially been in hiding since his trial for child abuse 18 months ago, is to appear on stage during the World Music Awards at Earls Court in London.
He is seldom seen - his last public outing was at another awards show in Japan in June - but this time the difference is that he is going to perform. It will be the first time in nine years that he has performed in the UK.
A public appearance of this nature is a bold step for a man who is, at around seven stone, extremely frail. Added to this, some in America insist that he is addicted to prescription painkillers, and has a private life which is so peculiar it defies categorisation.
Indeed, these days Jackson, 48, cuts a truly macabre figure, with his face ruined by plastic surgery and his skin a deathly shade of white.
He has been seen so little that he seems barely real, and sightings have taken on an almost mythological quality. When it was reported in October that he had been out, dressed as a woman, in a floppy sunhat and high heels in St Tropez, the reports were widely believed, even though the person in question was not actually him.
It speaks volumes that people will so readily believe he would go out disguised in this way. The fact is that since the conclusion of the trial, Jackson has become a delusional and isolated figure. Aides say he is so prone to panic attacks that he cuts himself off from human contact for days at a time.
He is terrified of germs, and has a phobic fear of being touched by his fans. According to an associate who met him last month, he virtually lacks the self confidence to speak.
While in Bahrain as a guest of the royal family, he took to wearing an abaya, the black robes traditional for Arab women, in a bid to pass unnoticed.
And yet we are promised he is ready to perform a new version of his song Thriller, the smash hit which launched 52 million album sales. The song has been remixed at a secluded studio in Westmeath, Ireland, with the help of Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas.
And an album of new material has, says his publicist, been worked on, and may be released - if he can get the financial backing of a record label - next year.
So what is the truth about the most peculiar man in pop? And where on earth has he been since he walked out of the courtroom in Santa Barbara in June 2005? Stories constantly circulate about him - that he is suicidal, bankrupt, converted to Islam.
The answer is that he has been building a new life, first in Bahrain, then more recently in Ireland and Switzerland with his children Prince Michael, nine, Paris Katherine, eight, and Prince Michael II - known as Blanket - who is four.
Significantly, at the centre of this new life is the woman who they all call 'Mom' - stunningly attractive Grace Rwaramba, whose job description is nanny, but is far more than that.
RWARAMBA, 39, started working for Jackson in 1991, dealing with insurance for his employees. In the early days, she is thought to have had a short-lived romance with Jackson's brother Jermaine. Then, in 1999, she became Prince Michael's first nanny - a position of great trust. Jackson's former wife Debbie Rowe has remarked that her services were not required because Michael did it all, from nappies to feeds, but Rwaramba soon became a valued part of the family.
Although she quite deliberately keeps out of the limelight, and did not testify at the trial or even attend it, she has emerged as the most important woman in Michael Jackson's world, and quite possibly the only person alive whom he trusts.
As his family, friends and business associates have discovered, her influence is considerable: she is the gatekeeper. No one gets to speak to him without her say-so. This summer, for instance, Jackson finally got a personal mobile phone, but within a day he lost it and gave up on the idea. Instead, it seems that he is happy for Rwaramba to be the one who deals with the outside world.
There was a six-month period after the trial when Jackson refused to speak to any of his brothers or other family members - he thought they were plotting against him. It was Rwaramba alone who he took with him when he fled to Bahrain, and only she whom he leaned on for support.
Some sources in the Jackson camp insist the relationship is so close that they will shortly be married. A date in September came and went when they were supposed to wed in Switzerland. Other rumours hold that they are already secretly wed, although both Rwaramba and publicist Raymone Bain deny this is the case.
Rwaramba is, records reveal, already married to Stacey Adair. But she and Adair seem never to have lived together, and it is not clear if Jackson knows Adair exists. American reports say the 1995 union in
Las Vegas bears the hallmarks of a marriage of convenience for Rwaramba, who originally comes from Rwanda but attended college in Massachusetts.
If she is still married - and no record of a divorce has come to light - it is not preventing her and Jackson from enjoying the longestrunning and most harmonious relationship he has ever managed to have with another adult.
The Mail has been told that Rwaramba and Jackson are fired up by the thought of launching a major global humanitarian project to 'save' children living in poverty in developing countries.
'Both Michael and Grace are genuinely very moved by stories about need and poverty,' says a friend. 'They would love to help others. That is what moves them most.'
How astonishing that Jackson believes that, after the revelations about him sleeping with young boys, he could have any possible role in a charitable arena.
However, Grace Rwaramba is religious, and apparently encourages him to believe he is a victim, and may yet be rehabilitated.
In a rare public utterance, she was asked about who was behind the accusations of abuse against her employer. 'Satan, the devil,' she said. While the rest of the world is perturbed by the accounts of Jackson regularly sleeping in the same bed as ten and 11-year-old boys, there is no doubt in her mind that he is a complete innocent.
She and Bain have been behind recent changes in manager, lawyer and record label, and the two of them firmly believe that he can and will make a comeback to the spotlight when the time is right.
MISS Rwaramba has returned to Bible study, and is believed to be a Jehovah's Witness again, as he is. She is entrusted with feeding the children, and shares his obsessive concerns about sterility and cleanliness. 'Everything is done Grace's way,' says an observer.
This has had some serious repercussions for Jackson. Shortly after the trial, he agreed to let Rowe see the children - she had barely laid eyes on Paris since Jackson snatched her up in the delivery room and ran home with her.
The gesture was one of thanks, to repay Rowe, mother of Jackson's first two children, for her surprisingly positive testimony.
(Rowe had told the Santa Barbara district attorney that she was going to tell the court Jackson was a danger to children and took drugs, but by the next morning she had changed her tune so much that they declared her a hostile witness.)
Rowe seems to have hoped her stance might be the start of a new relationship with the children, who at that point she had not seen in three years.
And so in August 2005, Rwaramba was the one trusted to take his children to a Los Angeles hotel to meet their mother. It was a disaster.
Rowe was aghast to discover the children referred to Rwaramba as Mom. What, Debbie asked, had they been told she was? 'A family friend,' said Rwaramba, who told Rowe she was not allowed to tell them the truth for fear of confusing them.
Soon afterwards, Rowe filed a lawsuit asking for money for legal fees and support, and for access to the children, who she said had been abducted to Bahrain on faked passports.
A judge asked both sides to publicly file all documents relating to the divorce, and there was talk that Rowe held documents disclosing-that Jackson was not the natural father of either of her two blonde children, despite his claim both were conceived 'the natural way'.
A deal was struck this autumn in which Rowe once again renounced all claims to custody and received a further £750,000 a year.
She feared if she had won custody, Jackson would have remained in Bahrain, which is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, and that the children would be forever out of her reach.
But Jackson has emerged from the ranchstyle house in suburban Manama, Bahrain's capital, which was loaned to him by King Hamad, along with a Bentley and a Rolls-Royce.
He had set up a record label jointly with the king's son Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, promising to make an album. But by this spring, the relationship had soured and the deal was off.
He quit the country and the company, and went to Ireland. He has been in rented properties, thought to include farmhouses in the Wicklow mountains, and in hotels such as Luggala Castle. Jackson has taken his children out to buy books in Dun Laoghaire (he chose one on The Beatles, and Paris opted for a tome on fairies).
They have been to the cinema in Dundrum, and were spotted shopping in Dalkey. He enjoyed a few weeks at Grouse Lodge recording studios in Rosemount.
Last month he hired new lawyers to sue the old ones, claiming his former attorney was plotting to have him declared bankrupt over a disputed £115,000 in fees. A case brought by his former friend Marc Schaffel, who says Jackson owes him around $1.6 million, is ongoing.
Jackson, once on the brink of bankruptcy, is understood to have been more than £135million in debt this spring, after he blew his £500million fortune on bad investments and insane spending.
The Sony Corporation has agreed to find a bank willing to loan him £200million to pay off his debts. In return, he had to put up as collateral his share in the song rights of acts including The Beatles.
It is clear his circumstances are much altered; he was recently seen using the budget airline Ryanair. This weekend, though, he and his entourage are due to arrive in London courtesy of the WMA organisers in familiar style - via private jet.
It will be something of a nostalgic revisiting of his glory days, as they are believed to be heading for the Lanesborough Hotel in central London, which was always his bolthole of choice in the capital.
He likes the Lanesborough because it is close to Hamleys toy shop, which used to open up for him in the middle of the night. He also likes the hotel because they were willing to make him 'comfortable', sending staff out to pick up his favoured Kentucky Fried Chicken meals. (He likes the chicken breasts with mash, corn and buttered biscuits, and will happily have this for both lunch and dinner.)
But, now that he is no longer the King of Pop, one wonders what kind of welcome awaits him. Will Hamleys throw open their doors? Will fans wait beneath his window and cheer when this troubled, frail man tries to reclaim his place in the public eye?