Michael Jackson facts: Singer's wife, kids, age, albums, net worth and more revealed

8 February 2022, 16:48 | Updated: 4 August 2023, 15:07

Michael Jackson in 1996
Michael Jackson in 1996. Picture: Getty

Michael Jackson was one of the greatest singers of all time.

Known as the King of Pop, Michael Jackson changed music and pop culture forever when he burst onto the scene as a youngster as part of the Jackson 5, alongside his brothers.

By the end of the 1970s, Michael Jackson has established himself as a credible solo artist, and his albums Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad became iconic moments in the history of popular music.

Michael Jackson he popularized stunning dance moves such as the moonwalk, the name of which he invented, and the robot.

He has influenced countless artists across various genres. His output in music, dance and fashion, along with his well-documented personal life, made him a global figure right up until his death in 2009 at the age of 50.

  1. Where and when was Michael Jackson born?

    Michael Jackson in 1970
    Michael Jackson in 1970. Picture: Getty

    Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, on August 29, 1958.

    He was the eighth of ten children in the Jackson family, who were a working-class African-American family living in a two-bedroom house.

    His mother, Katherine Esther Jackson (née Scruse), played clarinet and piano, and had wanted to be a country-and-western singer. She worked part-time at Sears, and was a Jehovah's Witness.

    His father, Joseph Walter 'Joe' Jackson, a former boxer, was a crane operator at US Steel, and played guitar with a local blues band.

    Michael Jackson and his parents in 1973
    Michael Jackson and his parents in 1973. Picture: Getty

    Michael grew up with three sisters (Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet) and five brothers (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Randy). A sixth brother, Marlon's twin Brandon, died shortly after birth.

    Joe later admitted that he regularly whipped Michael when he grew up, with Michael saying his father regularly physically and emotionally abused him during rehearsals.

    The Jackson family in 1977
    The Jackson family in 1977. Picture: Getty
  2. How many records has Michael Jackson sold?

    Michael Jackson - Billie Jean (Official Video)

    Michael Jackson is one of the best-selling artists of all time, with estimated sales of over 350 million records worldwide.

    Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with sales of around 66 million copies.

    Read more: The 30 greatest Michael Jackson songs, ranked

    In 2016, his estate earned $825 million, the highest yearly amount for a celebrity ever recorded.

    Over 10 years since his death, Jackson is still one of the highest-earning celebrities each year.

  3. Who was Michael Jackson married to and how many kids did he have?

    Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley
    Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. Picture: Getty

    In 1993, Michael Jackson proposed to Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, over the phone.

    They later married in La Vega, Dominican Republic in May 1994. Their marriage ended just over a year later, and they separated in December 1995.

    His second wife Debbie Rowe met him while working as a nurse in Dr Arnold Klein's dermatology office. She said that after Jackson's divorce from Lisa Marie Presley, he was upset at the possibility that he might never become a father.

    Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe
    Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe. Picture: Getty

    Rowe, a longtime Jackson fan, proposed to give him children.

    Jackson and Rowe married on November 13, 1996, at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel in Sydney, Australia.

    The night before the wedding, Jackson had called Lisa Marie Presley, who gave him and Rowe her blessing.

    Several months after his divorce from Presley, it was revealed that Rowe was pregnant with his child.

    Read more: Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson's debut album is fantastic

    Newspaper reports at the time claimed that Jackson would be raising the child alone, and that he impregnated Rowe artificially with his own sperm cells.

    Jackson and Rowe's first child, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr (also known as 'Prince Michael'), was born on February 13, 1997.

    Michael Jackson's children Prince Michael 'Blanket', Paris and Prince Jackson in 2012
    Michael Jackson's children Prince Michael 'Blanket', Paris and Prince Jackson in 2012. Picture: Getty

    Six weeks after the birth, Rowe saw her son for the first time, but did not raise the child with Jackson. At Neverland, Prince was cared for by a team of six nannies and six nurses during his first few months.

    Rowe announced that she was pregnant with Jackson's second child in November 1997. The baby was a girl named Paris, after the French city in which her parents said she was conceived.

    Read more: Who are Michael Jackson's children and where are they now?

    Rowe later asked Jackson for a divorce, which he granted on October 8, 1999.

    Rowe received around $10 million in a settlement. Rowe also gave Jackson full custody rights to her children.

    In 2006, Rowe applied for access to her two children to be reinstated and reached an agreement with Jackson. Following his death in 2009, his mother Katherine was made the permanent guardian of Prince Michael, Paris, and their half-brother Prince Michael II.

    A new custody arrangement was made with Rowe, who now had visitation rights with her two children and continued to receive support payments.

    In 2002, an anonymous surrogate mother gave birth to Michael's third child, Prince Michael Jackson II (nicknamed 'Blanket'), who had been conceived by artificial insemination.

  4. Did Michael Jackson have vitiligo?

    Michael Jackson
    Michael Jackson. Picture: Getty

    Michael Jackson's skin grew paler by the mid-1980s. This change saw widespread media speculation that he had been bleaching his skin.

    His dermatologist, Arnold Klein, said that in 1983 Jackson had vitiligo, a condition that sees patches of the skin losing their pigment, and sensitivity to sunlight. He also noted discoid lupus erythematosus in Jackson.

    Read more: Beautiful moment Michael Jackson and Princess Diana shyly first met and sparked lifelong friendship

    Vitiligo's effects on the body can also cause psychological distress. Jackson used light-coloured makeup, as well as potentially skin-bleaching prescription creams, to cover up the uneven blotches caused by the illness.

    The creams would have further lightened his skin, and, with the addition of makeup, he could appear very pale.

    However, Jackson said he had not purposely bleached his skin, and could not control his vitiligo. He said: "When people make up stories that I don't want to be who I am, it hurts me."

  5. How and when did Michael Jackson pass away?

    Michael Jackson
    Michael Jackson. Picture: Getty

    On June 25, 2009, less than three weeks before Jackson was set to perform his first This Is It show in London, he died from cardiac arrest.

    Conrad Murray, his personal physician, had given Jackson several medications to help him sleep at his rented home in Los Angeles.

    Read more: Michael Jackson's mind-blowing last performance 48 hours before his death - watch video

    Jackson was tragically proncounced dead at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

    The singer had taken propofol, lorazepam, and midazolam, and his cause of death was listed as a propofol overdose.

    In August 2009, the Los Angeles County Coroner ruled that Jackson's death was a homicide. Conrad Murray was sentenced to four years in prison. He was released in 2013.