The Head-Turning Conspiracy About Paris Jackson's Parentage Explained

Like father, like daughter. And for Paris Jackson, that is especially true — not only in looks or musical abilities, but now in conspiracy theories, too.

Over the past few months, Paris and her older brother Prince, known formally as Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., have been back in the spotlight. At the 2022 Tony Awards, the siblings paid tribute to their late father Michael Jackson — whose memory was just made into a Broadway musical. But while the two have been in public honoring their later father, Paris has also begun to make a name for herself within Hollywood. Over the past few weeks, the star has been amping up her appearances for the release of her latest single titled "Lighthouse." But with those appearances is a renewed spotlight on Paris — and renewed questions about her father, Michael. 

Undoubtedly, Paris' father was known for his chart-topping singles and hits that spanned generations, but it wasn't just his music that intrigued viewers. His personal life was constant tabloid fodder. Whether it was his skin color, the child molestation trial he faced in 2005, or the biological relation to his children, Michael was never out of the public spotlight, nor its scrutiny. And now, with Paris taking after her father and putting herself in the limelight with her new song, she has also put herself in the face of scrutiny. In particular, there is renewed interest in a conspiracy theory that Michael is not her biological father.

Why do people not believe Michael Jackson is Paris Jackson's real dad?

After marrying in 1996, Debbie Rowe and Michael Jackson had two children — Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. (aka Prince) and Paris Jackson. Given the pair's untraditional marriage, and given how little Paris resembles her father, many began to speculate on whether she is actually related to the "Billie Jean" singer.

First, based on skin color, many fans began to question if Paris is really Michael's child given her fair complexion. Michael was Black, and Paris — along with her siblings — appears to be white. Speculation furthered after the youngest Jackson sibling was born through a surrogate — creating talk of whether Prince and Paris were also conceived via a surrogate. Many were also convinced after Michael admitted to not knowing the surrogate for his third child, according to Newsweek. So when British actor Mark Lester came forward claiming he was the real father to the Jackson kids, it seemed conceivable — no pun intended.

Lester made claims that he was the real father to Paris through a sperm donation he gave to the "Thriller" singer. "I think he had a problem with actually doing the physical act of sex and [had] a very low sperm count as well," Lester told Studio 10 (via the Daily Mail). He added that he donated sperm to Jackson to "help out a friend." Though when pressed, Lester stated that even if he were to be the true father, it was Michael who raised the kids — not him. 

Prince Jackson defends his sister

Since Mark Lester first claimed to be Paris Jackson's real father, the "Oliver!" actor has only doubled down on those claims — even as recently as 2019.

But though the actor claims he could be the Jackson kids' father, the three kids are not having it with those rumors — including  Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. (aka Prince). In a rare 2017 interview, Prince shut down the biological father rumors surrounding Paris when he spoke about how much his sister resembled his late father. "The only thing that's different would be her [Paris] age and her gender," he told Rolling Stone. "Basically, as a person, she is who my dad is."

Prince coming to Paris' defense is no surprise, given how protective he is of his siblings. "We have such a close relationship, and because I'm the oldest, my father would always tell me I have to make sure the group is taken care of, and that I have to kind of be the leader and lead by example," he told People in 2021.

Paris Jackson has no time for the rumors

Debbie Rowe and Michael Jackson had an untraditional marriage — with Rowe handing over full custody to Michael following the divorce. But to the Jackson kids, and especially Paris, none of that matters — and it's not worth the speculation. Those are her parents, and that is her dad. No questions asked. "He will always be my father. He never wasn't, and he never will not be. People that knew him really well say they see him in me, that it's almost scary," Paris told Rolling Stone. "He is my father."

According to Paris, no matter what the rumors say, Michael Jackson is her dad and Debbie Rowe is her mom. Case closed!

Family members say Michael Jackson was a great father

Despite their divorce, even Debbie Rowe had glowing things to say about Michael Jackson as a dad, admitting she agreed to have the singer's children as she believed he deserved to enjoy fatherhood. 

"I didn't do it to be a mother. I didn't change diapers. I didn't get up in the middle of the night, even when I was there, Michael did it all," Rowe once shared, according to ABC News.

Paris Jackson memorably spoke about her father's impact as a parent at his funeral in 2009. "I just want to say ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine," an emotional 12-year-old Paris said at the ceremony, per People. "And I just want to say I love him so much."