Former child star Mark Lester: I donated sperm to Michael Jackson
Former child star Mark Lester has revealed that he donated sperm to Michael Jackson and believes he could be the biological father of the late King of Pop's daughter Paris.
The film actor, who shot to fame in the musical Oliver! and was a close friend of Jackson, told the News of the World: “I gave Michael my sperm so that he could have kids — and I believe Paris is my daughter.”
Lester (51) also said he was willing to take a paternity test to find out the truth.
He is godfather to Paris (11) and Jackson's two other children, 12-year-old Prince and Blanket (7).
“It's been a secret for so long,” he told the newspaper.
“In 1996 Michael asked me if I would give him my sperm and I said yes.
“It was a gift to him, no money was paid, it was something I was honoured to do. He wanted children so badly.”
Lester added: “I do feel a definite bonding with Paris and I think there's a definite possibility that she's part of me.
“I want to have contact with her, Prince and Blanket regardless of whether any or all of them are mine. I think it's cruel that I've now been excluded from them.”
The father of four, who played Oliver Twist in the hit ’60s musical Oliver!, said the resemblance between his 15-year-old daughter Harriet and Paris has been noted.
“Paris is very pale, with blue eyes. All my daughters, apart from my eldest, are fair with blue eyes. So many people have commented on how alike Harriet and Paris look.”
Lester told the News of the World that Jackson first revealed his desperation to be a dad to him in January 1996.
Both were aged 37 and Lester already had three children.
“He realised having kids was a natural thing but that he just couldn't do it,” Lester said.
“I think he'd already tried using his own sperm but it hadn't worked for him, so I made an off-the-cuff comment saying: ‘Try mine!”'
Jackson eventually agreed and the donation was arranged through a clinic in Harley Street, London, in February 1996.
Eight months later Jackson announced that he had married nurse Debbie Rowe, and three months later the couple revealed the birth of their first child, Prince.
Paris was born just over a year later in April 1998.
Lester said he was speaking out because he feared being cut out of the lives of Jackson's children.
Up until the pop singer's memorial last month he was in contact with them on a weekly basis, the former child star said.
But since Jackson's mother Katherine had been granted custody of the children, he said all his phone calls and emails had gone unanswered. Jackson's other long-time friend, Uri Geller, backed Lester over his revelation and said he had known “all along”.
He told Sky News: ”I am not surprised, I knew it all along simply because Michael told me.”