All Debbie Rowe wants to do is tend to her horses. That much was clear when MTV News sent writer Rebecca White to Rowe's Palmdale, California, ranch, where she has lived since 2005.
Out in the dusty California hills, Rowe — who unwillingly became tabloid fodder in 1996 when she wed
Because that's exactly what she wanted to do.
So in 2008, White was faced with the unenviable task of making Rowe talk about her past — a past she had already moved on from and one she very much wanted everyone else to forget. Needless to say, it was an interesting chat.
"I came out here to get away from everything and do the horses. The past is the past. I just let it go," Rowe told White. "If you regret anything in your life, then you haven't learned any lessons. Not that I had to learn any lessons from anything, but no, there isn't anything that I would do differently. Maybe a couple of horses I would have bought when I had the chance, but no."
White then asked Rowe if she would talk about the first time she met Michael Jackson or her first impression of the King of Pop.
"I don't want to [talk about that]," Rowe said. "I had his poster on my walls as a child, [but] we're not going there, Rebecca. Move on, honey."
Rowe did say that she had seen Jackson in concerts "lots of times" and that, while they were married, she accompanied him on tour. But it was a world that she didn't feel comfortable in, one filled with big crowds and bright lights and one she had no interest in inhabiting.
"It was amazing, [but] could I do it? No," she said. "I think it depends if you choose it or not. If you choose it, it's not [overwhelming], because it comes with the territory. From the outside looking in, it's overwhelming, and you wonder how people can deal with it, but it's nothing I want to do."
Rowe was a bit more forthcoming about her childhood, her teenage years living in California's San Fernando Valley and the time in her life when she was just — as she put it — "Debbie Rowe, Dr. Klein's nurse." You know, basically everything before she met and married Michael Jackson.
"My dad was in the service, so we lived in Alaska and Nebraska and Riverside [California] and Los Angeles, and then I moved to the Valley when I was 18, but I wasn't a Valley girl," she laughed. "[My family] moved every two and a half years, because my dad was in the Air Force. [I had] an older sister, a younger brother and an older half-sister that I didn't know I had until I was 12 or 13."
After that, she went to work for the aforementioned Dr. Klein — who just so happens to be Arnold Klein, the dermatologist Jackson began visiting in the mid-1980s (and the man some are claiming is the biological father of Prince and Paris Jackson, the children Rowe gave birth to while married to the singer). She said she still keeps in touch with Klein, whom she described as being "sharp as a tack."
"I was his nurse for 20-some-odd years. I still talk to him," Rowe said. "He's still [in business], still sharp as a tack. He's amazing. You're nobody unless you're a patient with him. I've always felt that way with him, and I've always told him that. I said, 'Unless someone has a file in your office ... they haven't gotten there yet.' "
In addition to Klein, Rowe said she remains close to her father — who has since remarried and lives in the Basque area of France — and her sister, who lives in Prescott, Arizona. Her mother lives in Los Angeles, but the two "don't have a relationship." Aside from her family, she said she gets few visitors to Palmdale, and she is mostly left alone by the locals. And really, she's fine with that. She's done with fame.
"It's intimidating. ... It's scary if it's something you didn't bargain for and something you don't want. I don't understand people who want that kind of attention," Rowe said. "You have to be thick-skinned ... which is why I'm scared, actually. I'm harder on myself than anyone else is. ... I'm not afraid of disappointing anybody else; just myself."
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