He became a star at the age of 10 when he was cast in Lionel Bart's musical Oliver! He played the title character in the multiple Academy...

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Former child star Mark Lester, a longtime friend of Michael Jackson and the godfather of his children, spoke out on the Today show about rumors that he is actually the biological father of one or more of the late King of Pop's offspring.

Specifically, he thinks he might be the father of Paris Jackson, 11.

These rumors were started by Mark Lester himself, and not without at least some merit - the Oliver! star says he once gave Michael Jackson a sperm donation.

A chiropractor and the father of four daughters of his own in London, Mark Lester, 51, said that years ago Jackson sought his sperm because the pop superstar wanted kids but for whatever reason wasn't  "up to" it physically

Michael Jackson was "shy when it came to women," said Lester, who added that it was extremely difficult for his friend to "perform the sexual act."

Even so, Matt Lauer asked, why did he need Mark Lester's sperm?

"That I don't know," said Lester after a long pause. He said he never asked questions about it or donated the sperm under any sort of conditions.

Mark Lester's story about donating sperm to Michael Jackson is beyond strange. But he seems, by and large, to be honest, candid and harboring no ulterior motive.

Another MJ friend, Dr. Arnold Klein, gave sperm to the singer and is rumored to be the kids' father. Klein says he's not, "to the best of my knowledge."

Lester told Lauer that he stepped forward with the story that he may be the father of Paris Jackson because "the story was going to break in any event" in the UK and he wanted to present the case and for his children to hear it from him.

While Mark Lester's ex-wife has subsequently stepped forward to dispute her former spouse's declarations, Michael's mother and the children's legal guardian, Katherine Jackson, says the claims are not in the best interests of the children.

Lester says he is not claiming paternity and has no agenda for speaking out other than that he wants to maintain a relationship with Michael's children.

Follow the jump to watch Mark's interview on Today ...

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Despite being quoted personally and seemingly professing to be the biological father of Michael Jackson's daughter, Paris Jackson, former child star Mark Lester isn't trying to cash in his ticket for the paternity lotto ... not just yet anyway.

"I'm sure, as far as I know, [the children] were all his," Mark Lester, who starred as the title character in the Oscar-winning Oliver, told E! News.

Michael, Prince and Paris Jackson

"I expected lots of things to come out, but this is extraordinary."

Not that the celebrity gossip tabloids who reported this completely made it up out of thin air. Mark Lester, 51, is the godfather of Paris, Prince Michael and Blanket and considered Michael Jackson a close friend for nearly 30 years.

Moreover, he admits that he once complied with Jackson's request to donate sperm to the pop star: "It's been a secret for so long," the osteopathic doctor admits. "In 1996 Michael asked me if I would give him my sperm and I said yes."

Lester also said it's possible his "gift" to Jackson could have been put to use ... one would have to imagine so, as it's kind of an unusual gift.

Michael Jackson's close friends Mark Lester and Dr. Arnold Klein didn't just provide trust and friendship to the late King of Pop. They both bestowed sperm at one point.

As for the Jackson three, while Lester told a British tabloid on camera that he can see "strong similarities" between his own 15-year-old daughter and Paris, he told E! that Michael was the only person the trio share an uncanny resemblance with.

"Paris is very pale and Prince has Michael's eyes," he said. "And certainly Blanket is facially very similar to Michael. I'm really amazed to hear that."

We were pretty amazed too ... when he said it.

Another Jackson friend, Dr. Arnold Klein, lodged an objection in court last week to Katherine Jackson, Michael's mother, being granted full custody.

Why does Klein want a say in how the kids are raised? Klein is also rumored to be the father of Paris - and Prince Michael - and also donated sperm.

In an unrelated note, a woman named Claire Elisabeth Fields Cruise just filed three guardianship papers alleging that she's the mother of all three.

Another alleged Jackson baby mama, Billie Jean Jackson, appeared in court this morning for the estate hearing in the King of Pop's case, as well.

Who is Paris Jackson's biological father?

 

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The Jackson family attorney says Mark Lester is not the father of Michael Jackson’s daughter, is not claiming paternity and is not offering himself up to DNA testing, despite celebrity gossip reports that Lester is Paris Jackson's biological father.

While Mark Lester, a longtime friend of the late music icon, could not be reached for comment, sources close to the Jacksons confirm that Lester indeed donated sperm specifically for Jackson, as alleged, but say he never claimed paternity.

"They twisted his words around. He's not claiming to be the father of Paris Jackson," says the Jackson family attorney, Londell McMillan, who adds that the story is just another unproven and meaningless claim in the wake of Michael's death.

The Los Angeles County probate court has no reason to go against its finding that the late King of Pop is father to all three of his kids, McMillan stated.

"These are just merely claims with no legal standing whatsoever," he said.

Mark Lester, 51, who is best known for starring in the Oscar-winning classic Oliver!, was longtime friends with Jackson, and he did donate sperm for the singer – though a source says the timing doesn't add up for it being used to create Paris.

"He has known Michael for many years and his children play with Michael's children," says longtime Jackson family associate and past lawyer Brian Oxman.

But Oxman says Mark Lester never indicated he is Paris's father.

There is no question Lester and Michael's children had a close relationship, however. Jackson made Lester godfather to all three ids in October 2003 at a small ceremony where the kids were baptized Catholic with Debbie Rowe's permission.

Rowe, the mother of Paris and Michael's oldest son Prince Michael (at least most likely), has always maintained that Michael is Paris' actual dad.

Arnold Klein, a dermatologist and Rowe's former boss, also donated sperm "at some point" and has been rumored to be Prince and Paris' father.

Lester, Paris, Michael

WHO'S YOUR DADDY? For Paris Jackson, that remains a mystery.

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Arnold Klein who? Michael Jackson's good friend Mark Lester looks at the late King of Pop's daughter Paris and is convinced he is her real dad.

Lester recently said in an interview that he secretly donated sperm to help the singer have kids - and that Paris looks just like his own daughter Harriet.

Until two weeks ago the child star of Oliver, the Oscar-winning classic adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel, had not told anyone this, even his wife.

But Mark Lester is now going public with this theory and is willing to take a DNA test to prove paternity, saying, "It's been a secret for so long."

"In 1996 Michael asked if I would give him my sperm. I said yes. It was a gift to him, no money was paid. I was honored to. He wanted children so badly."

Lester, an osteopathic doctor and acupuncture specialist, is only speaking out now because after Jackson's death he fears he will be cut off from her life.

"With Michael's mother Katherine now their legal guardian it's like the kids are being isolated," said Mark, who is the godfather of all three of Michael's kids. "Up until Michael's memorial I was in touch with them on a weekly basis.

Paris Jackson Pic

"I'm the Godparent to them and Michael was Godparent to my four kids. Our families spent a lot of time together, had a lot fun together. Now I'm not able to have any communication with the children. This isn't what Michael would have wanted."

Mark Lester said he has spoken to lawyers to establish his rights to contact the children. He then revealed in detail how Jackson:

  • Hatched the sperm donor plan because he was scared to have sex.
  • Joked about making donor babies using a "turkey baster."
  • Booked Mark into a special London clinic for the procedure.
  • Shared holidays and intimate moments with the Lesters.

The plan for Mark to donate sperm to Jackson all along. Amazingly, he is not the first close friend to be the subject of paternity rumors involving the children.

Dr. Arnold Klein, a dermatologist who treated Michael and also spent a great deal of time with the star as a close friend, also donated sperm "at some point."

Asked if he is the father of Paris Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson, Klein has offered only strange non-denials, saying he's not, "to the best of my knowledge."

There is also the unrelated, yet equally puzzling rumor of whether the star's "close friend" Omer Bhatti, 25, is really the secret (and biological) son of Jackson.

Follow the link to keep reading Lester's paternity story ...

Mark Lester Biography

He became a star at the age of 10 when he was cast in Lionel Bart's musical Oliver! He played the title character in the multiple Academy... More »
Born
Birthplace
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Full Name
Mark A. Letzer
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