Yes, according to a report in the new issue of People magazine, the stork has made another stop at Neverland Ranch, delivering a third child to Michael Jackson.
The coming-out party for the newborn was last month in Las Vegas, when Jacko arrived at a Siegfried and Roy show with three kids in tow, rather than his regular two. According to the magazine, Jackson went backstage after the performance and introduced a six-month-old boy to the bronzed tiger tamers as "my third child."
No confirmation on the news from Jackson's camp--his publicist played the "we do not comment on Michael Jackson's private life" card Wednesday--but if the report is true, that brings the grand total of Thriller spawn to three. Jackson already has two children, a five-year-old son named Prince Michael Jackson, and a four-year-old daughter, Paris Michael Jackson, both with ex-wife Debbie Rowe.
Like everything in the singer's life, the latest addition to the Jackson camp is cloaked in mystery. Few details are available, but evidently the baby's name is Prince Michael II. ("That's correct, Prince I and Prince II," producer Gary Pudney tells People.) Jackson reportedly refers to the tyke as "the third" or "Number 3." (Which, we presume, leads to inevitable nanny confusion if, say, Number 3 goes number 1 on Number 2.)
The child is, according to the magazine, not adopted but rather conceived "the natural way." While the babe might be Jacko's biological child, mum's the word on, well, the mum. (And what passes for "natural" at Neverland is anyone's guess.)
There's some speculation the maternal unit might have been Rowe, who has supposedly remained close to Jackson since their 1999 divorce. "Anything's possible," an unnamed Jackson friend tells People. "They still have a relationship."
In any case, the latest heir to the Jackson empire is described as a "smiley, happy little baby" and Pudney calls Jackson an "impressive father."
"He had a very lonely childhood," says Pudney. "His motivation in having children is partly because of that but mainly because he loves them. Now he has three beautiful children."
Thus ends a rather active summer in Jackson-related news. Just last week, his first ex-wife, Lisa Marie Presley, tied the knot with actor Nicolas Cage. Last month, he moonwalked out of his usual seclusion to lend his support to a coalition accusing the recording industry of cheating artists out of profits. In a rather uncharacteristic tantrum, he hoisted a "Sony is Phoney" sign and railed against Tommy Mottola, Sony Music's head honcho, for allegedly mistreating artists of color.
Many industry watchers pooh-poohed Jackson's claim, saying his outburst had more to do with his money-losing album Invincible than with any altruistic concerns.
Finally, reports published in July said Jackson's much-hyped September 11 charity single, "What More Can I Give?," was derailed in part because the song's producer had ties to the gay-porn industry.