The most egregious misinterpretation of Michael Jackson’s will, which was released yesterday: that he “dissed” ex wife Debbie Rowe by indicating she wouldn’t receive any money.

This is what happens when lay people get their hands on legal documents. Jackson specifically cited Rowe because at the time, in 2002, he was in the middle of paying her millions as part of their divorce agreement. She was well taken care of, in fact. They each had that understanding.

Because the will was executed in July 2002, it was three years before Jackson’s child molestation trial. A lot changed over the years. At one point, when Jackson’s finances were a mess, he ceased paying Rowe on the court-appointed schedule. Her personal situation was endangered, as I reported at the time. Jackson’s lack of payment then caused a problem with their custody agreement. The other problem in 2005 was that Jackson had been overwhelmed by the Nation of Islam. Rowe ‘ who is half-Jewish ‘ was worried that this could affect her children. It was a bad time.

On January 14, 2004, I first wrote about Rowe’s concerns. Jackson didn’t like that, or the fact that Rowe complained publicly that she had no idea what was going on in his child-molestation case. From the time he was arrested in November 2003′ through his trial in the winter of 2005, she never heard a word from him. In the summer of 2004, Jackson cut Rowe off financially, claiming that she violated their confidentiality agreement by doing a TV interview about her horse farm.

Rowe was incensed, and rightly so: she had always defended Michael. In February 2003, after the “Living with Michael Jackson” TV special raised question about Jackson and children, Rowe went on TV a couple of weeks later and defended him. He didn’t even thank her.

By the end of 2004, Rowe had had her parental rights reinstated by a family court judge.

She nevertheless testified on Jackson’s behalf in April 2005 about his fitness as a parent. Her testimony helped sway the jury to acquit Jackson of child molestation and conspiracy charges. Jackson took the children to Bahrain in the summer of 2005, but sent them back with their nanny, Grace Rwaramba, for a supervised visit a few months later. All custody and visitation issues between Jackson and Rowe were settled, finally, in September 2006. Rowe was also made “whole” at that point, receiving the money that was due her from Jackson.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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