Longtime Michael Jackson friend Mark Lester is not the father of Jackson’s daughter, nor is he claiming paternity, despite a tabloid report indicating Lester says he’s Paris Jackson’s biological dad, sources tell PEOPLE.
Although Lester could not immediately be reached for comment, sources very close to the Jackson family say that Lester has donated sperm for Jackson and is a longtime friend, but he has never claimed to be the father of Paris Jackson, 11.
“They twisted his words around. He’s not claiming to be the father of Paris Jackson,” says one close family source.
Jackson family attorney Londell McMillan adds that the story is just another unproven and meaningless claim, and the probate court has no reason to go against its finding that the late King of Pop is father to all three of his kids.
“These are just merely claims with no legal standing whatsoever,” McMillan tells PEOPLE.
Sources say Lester, 51, best known for starring in the Oscar-winning classic Oliver!, and Jackson are longtime friends, and Lester did donate sperm for Michael – although one source says the timing doesn’t line up for that sperm to have been used to conceive 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 in all the years he has known Lester, Oxman says Lester never indicated he was Paris’s father.
Jackson made Lester godfather to all three of his kids in Oct. 2003 at a small, private ceremony where all three Jackson children were baptized Catholic with Debbie Rowe’s permission, says longtime Jackson associate Marc Schaffel, who claims to have been among the handful of people present.
Schaffel added that Debbie Rowe has always maintained that Michael is Paris’s father.