Debbie Rowe refuses memorial invite
Jul 7, 2009, 9:30 GMT
Her lawyer Marta Almli said: "The onslaught of media attention has made it clear her attendance would be an unnecessary distraction to an event that should focus exclusively on Michael\'s legacy. Debbie will continue to celebrate Michael\'s memory privately." EPA/AARON LAMBERT
Debbie Rowe will not be attending Michael Jackson's memorial service today (07.07.09).
The former nurse - who was married to Michael and is the mother of his two eldest children, Prince Michael, 12, and 11-year-old Paris - has decided not to accept the VIP seat offerred to her by the pop legend's family for the service at Los Angeles' Staples Center.
Her lawyer Marta Almli said: "The onslaught of media attention has made it clear her attendance would be an unnecessary distraction to an event that should focus exclusively on Michael's legacy. Debbie will continue to celebrate Michael's memory privately."
A host of stars are set to pay tribute to Michael - who died on June 25 after suffering a suspected cardiac arrest - at the service, which is expected to attract over a billion TV viewers worldwide.
Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson, Usher and Lionel Richie will all participate in the memorial, while Stevie Wonder, Brooke Shields and basketball stars Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson will also be attending.
However, Michael's close friend Elizabeth Taylor has decided not to go as she's still too upset by his sudden death last month.
She wrote on her Twitter page: "I cannot be part of the public whoopla. And I cannot guarantee that I would be coherent to say a word.
"I will always love Michael from the depth of my being and nothing can separate us.
"I just don't believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others. How I feel is between us. Not a public event."
Justin Timberlake and Sir Paul McCartney had also been asked to perform but both were unable to.
Yesterday (06.07.09), Michael's close friends and family gathered at Los Angeles' Forest Lawn Cemetery for a private remembrance service.
The mourners, who were all dressed in black with the women wearing veils, gathered under a large tent before the pop superstar's casket arrived on a white carriage and the guests all moved inside.
Before today's public ceremony, Michael will be buried at the same cemetery, which will again be attended by just close friends and family.