This week in nostalgia history: Mel B and Eddie Murphy’s fraught relationship and the paternity test that ended it
WRITING: MUSKAN THIND
After Megan Markle and Prince Harry’s shocking interview with Oprah aired earlier this month, the harsh way the media depicts women, especially women of colour, was at the forefront of many conversations. This reality has seen little change in the past 25 years, as we take a look back at two women who made headlines in the 1990s and 2000s for being so-called “breeders” and “gold diggers.” First, Debbie Rowe gives birth to Michael Jackson’s second child, Paris. Then, we deep dive into Mel B and Eddie Murphy’s short lived relationship and the paternity test that ultimately ended it.
Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe welcome their second child, April 3, 1998
Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe welcomed their second child, a daughter named Paris, in April of 1998. Rowe told the Daily Mail that the name was chosen because they conceived her while in Paris. It was also revealed in Yahoo News interview with La Toya Jackson, that the name was part of a pact made by Jackson, his sister and Kathy Hilton, which outlined that if any of them were to have a girl, they would name them Paris (In lieu of children, La Toya used Paris as her pet dog’s name).
While Rowe was in labour, birth complications arose. In an interview Jackson did with Martin Bashir, he explained, “Her face was facing the wrong way. She was being kind of choked by the umbilical cord.” Despite the complications, Paris was born safely. However, Jackson’s curious delivery room antics foreshadowed his infamous balcony baby dangle. “I was so anxious to get her home that after cutting the cord, I hate to say this, I snatched her and just went home with all the placenta all over her.” Rowe was the one that proposed the idea. He continued on to say, “I think I was so frightened that they would give me some bad news.”
Rowe and Jackson had a strange relationship. Many suggested that she was paid to breed children for Jackson, as photographers were making close to half a million dollars for photos of her while pregnant. Rowe, a dermatologist’s assistant and longtime Jackson fan, denied these claims numerous times, but the allegations persisted following the multi-million-dollar divorce settlement that came after 18 months of Paris’s birth. In the court papers, Rowe gave up all parental rights to her children. In recent years though, Paris has been seen supporting her mother through her breast cancer battle and maintaining a close relationship with her.
Eddie Murphy denies he is the father of Mel B’s child, April 2, 2007
Former Spice Girl, Melanie Brown, was labelled a gold digger back in 2007 by the tabloids, which she revealed on her reality show, It’s a Scary World. The harsh label came after her claims that her ex-Eddie Murphy was the father of her child. Mel B and Eddie Murphy started dating back in 2006, and after just a few months, Murphy asked Brown’s father for her hand in marriage.
Things for the soon-to-be married couple turned for the worst when Brown became pregnant. On Loose Women, Brown revealed that she initially kept the pregnancy a secret from Murphy even though she later told Larry King that it had been planned by the both of them. Once it was revealed to the public and Murphy that Brown was pregnant with his child, Murphy publicly doubted the claims to a reporter, saying, “I don’t know whose child that is until it comes out and has a blood test. You shouldn’t jump to conclusions, sir.” Two months after the arrival of Angel Iris Murphy Brown, Murphy took a paternity test, and it was revealed that he was in fact the father.
Four years later, on It’s a Scary World, Brown opened up to her therapist revealing that while pregnant she had paparazzi following her everywhere, claiming that her pregnancy was a tactic to gain a piece of Murphy’s fortune. It took three years for Murphy to start being present in his daughter’s life. Even after this dark period, Brown wrote in her 2018 autobiography, that “Eddie was and still is the love of my life.”